Mar. 18th, 2011

marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Without Borders - 7
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

Chapter Seven

In the morning, they woke up tangled in each other’s arms. The sunlight was just creeping in.

“Food, coffee,” Luke said, raising his hand over his eyes to block out the light.

“I see somebody isn’t an early riser,” Reid said. He bent over Luke. “Come on! Where’s that goofy glow you always have? Where’s the chipper morning kiss?”

Luke socked him with a pillow.

Reid got up laughing and tugged on his briefs. Then he went to the kitchen and made some coffee.

“I don’t have much in the fridge,” Reid called out cheerfully.

Luke just grunted.

Reid came back and they drank the coffee and ate the fresh fruit he’d found and sliced up.

“We should discuss our next bit of work,” Luke said finally, starting to wake up at last. He sucked on an orange. Then he licked his fingers.

“Yeah and I should call the hospital too. Check in there. “

Reid’s gaze was on Luke’s mouth and fingers.

“I have interviews I should line up for us,” Luke said reluctantly. “A press release to write.”

“I have files of patients to read.”

They looked at each other.

“Or,” Reid said slowly, “we could enjoy the day. Just for once?”

Luke felt a shot of happiness fill him. He gave Reid a wide smile.

“You’re right, “ Luke grinned, “My father is always telling me to lighten up. Work less. We should enjoy the day instead.”

“I work all the time too,” Reid admitted, “but nobody is there to tell me to stop.”

He climbed out of bed and went into the bathroom. Luke felt his heart flip over at Reid’s casual words.

He wanted to be there. He wanted to be the one to tell Reid to stop, take a break, have fun. He wanted to be with him period.

I’m falling in love with him. The thought came instantly into Luke’s mind. He closed his eyes, trying to push it away.

Luke swallowed the sudden lump in his throat. He had no idea what this magical night had meant to Reid. Maybe he’d had lots of lovers. Maybe it meant nothing to him but sex.
Luke bit his lip. He forced a smile as Reid came out of his bathroom. Reid was holding two swim suits.

“I thought we’d enjoy some of the Sunshine State, “ he said. “I have a pool and hot tub on the roof of this building. “ He made a face. “I never go.” He smiled at Luke. “Want to?”

“I guess you know how to separate your professional and personal life usually, “ Luke said lightly, trying to feel Reid out. He got up and took one of the trunks from him.

Reid was finishing his coffee. He shrugged.

“I mean do you normally mix your relationships at work with personal ones like this?” Luke tried to glance at him from the corner of his eyes.

“It’s not much of a problem for me,” Reid said, putting on the swimming suit.

Luke felt deflated. Did that mean that Reid had many romances at work? Did it mean he kept things casual a lot? He probably did. Luke tried to blink back the emotions gathering in his eyes. He couldn’t let Reid see how uncertain and ridiculous he felt.

“I mean, up until now I haven’t had much a personal life,” Reid was saying. He took two beach towels out. “So no conflicts either.”

Luke’s heart began to hammer hopefully.

“Oh,” was all he managed to say in return.

Then he swallowed again. “A swim sounds like so much fun!” He tried to put a lot of enthusiasm into his voice. What he really felt like doing was hugging Reid and never letting him go.

***

They headed to his condo’s pool, and Reid immediately found them two lounge chairs and spread out a towel for Luke. The pool was empty. The sun was hot on Luke’s skin. Luke turned to thank Reid for the great idea, but Reid was sleeping . He had his sunglasses on his head and mouth slightly open. Luke studied him. His gaze took in Reid’s every feature in a way a night of passion didn’t allow. First he looked at the curly hair, the sensual curve of Reid’s neck, the flawless skin, and flat, muscled stomach. Then Luke’s gaze lingered on Reid’s trunks. He had felt that Reid was impressive last night, but now it was clear. Even relaxed, Luke could see the outline of Reid’s large cock. He swallowed hard and licked his lips. He wanted that in his mouth right now. He wanted to make Reid wake up gasping and moaning. A thin film of perspiration started at Luke’s forehead. He forced his eyes to go lower down Reid’s body. His legs were lean and long. Even his feet looked perfectly shaped. Luke felt a tender sensation taking over his emotions. He didn’t just want to sex Reid up, he wanted to own him. How could he feel like that so soon? But he did. He felt possessive of Reid.

Luke got up, semi-erect, and dove into the pool. He swam lap after vigorous lap to cool off.

***
When Luke returned, Reid was still on the lounge chair, but awake and watching him.

Luke smiled widely and toweled off.

“You’re awake! I can’t believe you slept already!”

Reid stretched his arms out in front of him. “Somebody kept me up all night.”

He gave a pretend yawn and Luke laughed. Reid tossed him a towel.

Luke dried off self-consciously, aware of Reid’s eyes darkening as he watched him.

“Come here,” he said. He patted the space on the lounge chair between his legs.

“Why?” Luke gulped. “I’m dry.”

“You’ve heard of melanoma, right? “ Reid said impatiently . “Just get your butt over here.”

Luke sat down with his back to Reid. He could hear Reid rummaging around in his beach bag.

“You’re too fair to be out here without protection,” Reid said.

“I was going to put some on-“ Luke protested. Then he caught his lip. He’d been too busy lusting at Reid to remember any sunscreen.

“Uh-huh.” Reid had squirted out some lotion. He began to rub some on Luke’s shoulders. He massaged it into his skin.

Reid’s hands were warm as they slid up and down his back. He rubbed small circles near Luke’s spine. He eased his fingers into the skin harder, kneading at the muscles there,making Luke’s whole body feel good.

“You should have been a massage therapist and not a neurosurgeon,” Luke sighed.

“Strangely enough,” Reid said smartly, “that was how I put myself through med school.”

Luke laughed and he could feel Reid laughing too.

“Be serious,” Luke told him.

Reid’s fingers trailed over his shoulder blades. Then he moved them down and began to rub more lotion on Luke’s lower back. Luke caught his breath and moved uneasily in the lounge chair. He could feel himself getting hard again.

Luke tried to concentrate on something else. “Did you put yourself through school? “ He asked.

“Hmm,” Reid’s fingers were getting near the waistband of his swim trunks. He felt them press firmly against the skin there. Reid leaned forward, his head near Luke’s .

“I’m not trying to be nosy,” Luke said in a strangled voice.

“Just comes to you naturally, does it?”

Gliding his hand up and down Luke’s spine, Reid’s words were betrayed by his soft touch.

He finally rested his hands on Luke’s shoulders again.

“There is still so much I don’t know about you,” Luke said insistently. “Tell me one thing.”

“I thought you learned the important parts last night.”

“Reid!” Luke reached back and poked him with his elbow.

Reid didn’t reply. He pressed his chest into Luke’s back, and then he kissed the nape of
Luke’s neck.

His tongue skimmed over Luke’s ear and he sucked there gently.

“What is it you want to know again? “ Reid asked.

“Mmm,” Luke could only manage to get out, “Guh.” His whole body was throbbing.

Reid nuzzled him. His fingers circled around and began to massage Luke’s chest now. Reid’s thumbs played with his nipples. His hands slid lower and massaged more.

“I’m getting hungry, “ Reid said.

“Oh? “ Luke asked in a thick voice. “ Can we stay a little longer? It’s really great here.
Then we can eat.”

“What makes you think I was talking about food?”, Reid murmured.

Luke turned and looked at him.

Their eyes met. Luke felt a pull of heat inside his body, instantly responding to the look Reid was giving him. Luke glanced away and then back. Reid’s eyes were still on him. This time Luke did not look away either. They faced each other.

Then Luke’s phone buzzed with a text. “Sorry,” he said.

Reid snapped his fingers. “And here I was just about to tell you all my dark secrets.”

Luke’s lips twisted wryly. “Yeah, I’m sure you were about to spill your guts to me.”

They smiled at each other.

Luke climbed off of Reid’s lounge chair and took out his phone. He flopped down on the other chair, reading the text.

It was from Damian. He wanted to know how things were going. Reid, meanwhile, took out his computer and began to surf the web.

Luke texted his father a quick, revealing message:

Things are great! I’m helping WMB. I sent U those plans for the foundation and the Neuro wing, right? And the doctor in charge of that new wing is also becoming my - Luke paused a moment and then just decided to be honest. Damian always wanted him to have fun. - new love interest. I’m with him right now and he’s amazing, Dad. I can’t say enough about him! Luke added a few more details about Reid, gushing. He couldn’t help it. He said the things to Damian that he wished he had the courage to say to Reid. He’s smart and handsome and funny. Aren’t U happy for me? I’ve really met somebody special!

Luke quickly sent the text and closed his phone. His heart pounded at the thought of Reid seeing it. He knew it was way too soon for telling Reid anything half that sappy. Not yet.

Luke looked over at him. Reid was not paying him any attention just then, which was a relief. Luke grinned at the way Reid was acting like a kid in a candy store as he practically drooled over the latest medical gadgets in neuroscience.

***

At lunch, they strolled along Ocean Avenue hand in hand. There were many outdoor restaurants, and the beach was just across the street. People and cars and bikers and skaters all coexisted together. Luke and Reid paused outside of Versace’s mansion. Versace had lived right in the middle of all the action.

“Where should we eat?” Reid asked him.

“Anywhere,” Luke shrugged, “How about barbeque or burgers?”

Reid’s eyes lit up. “Thanks! I was worried you’d say you wanted French food or something fancy.”

“Not my style,” Luke laughed.

To his surprise, Reid leaned into him and gave him a thorough kiss. Their lips made a loud smacking noise as they parted, and Reid’s hands were on either side of Luke’s face.

“Not that I’m complaining, “ Luke said with a big grin, “but what was that for?”

“Just an impulse, “ Reid shrugged, “I have them from time to time.”

“I approve,” Luke said with delight.

“What? Why the glow?” Reid asked. Then his eyes narrowed, “Don’t tell me the asshole ex never
kissed you in public.”

Luke bit his lip self-consciously. He really did not want to discuss Noah. He simply shook his head at Reid.

“What did you guys do with each other?” Reid said, taking Luke’s hand again as they began to walk.

“Mostly?” Luke answered, “We went over my many flaws.”

Reid looked at him, his gaze penetrating.

Luke glanced away, “And we broke up. A lot. “

“Sounds like fun times,” Reid said dryly.

“I know,” Luke said, deciding to change the subject, “Why don’t we really do something special today? Anything you want. I mean, neither of us has had too many days off from work, right? We don’t have another interview until tomorrow…What do you think?”

Reid stopped walking and looked at him. He gently touched a lock of Luke’s hair.

“Tell me something we could do down here. Something different, “ Luke urged.

“Okay,” Reid nodded slowly, “but we need to go and get your fancy car.”

“My car? Why?”

“We’re headed to Key Largo,” Reid answered.

***

Key Largo was a short drive, but a romantic one. They had to go over the famous Overseas Highway to reach Dolphins Plus. Luke loved the drive. The ocean sparkled on either side of the road. They had the windows down and the breeze was warm and gentle.
Swimming with the dolphins was something Reid had always wanted to do, and Luke was excited by that. Reid was easy about allowing Luke to treat, although he’d insisted on buying lunch. Luke was glad that Reid didn’t seem hung up on balancing their money and who paid for what equally. Noah had always criticized him for being too generous, too extravagant. Although, Noah had never objected to living with Luke’s parents rent-free for years, he’d always objected to Luke’s treating him to small gifts of affection.

Luke recalled the last gift he tried to give Noah. It was on Noah’s birthday. He wanted to throw Noah a party. He wanted to make him happy for once. Luke spent all his days back then trying and failing to please Noah.

Luke always loved celebrating birthdays, and Noah knew that. But that year, the year of his accident, he quickly told Luke not to have a party, so he’d canceled his big surprise. He kept it simple. Luke just frosted an angel food cake. Bought some balloons.

But Noah’s annoyance was palpable. He complained about the cake being too rich and he couldn’t see the balloons. Luke sat there, determined to celebrate with him, a forced smile on his lips like some frozen, grinning fool.

“I told you not to bother.”

“I know, but I just wanted to do something for you. Something nice.”

“I told you.” Noah said in a wounded voice, as if he were being injured.

“Well,” Luke said, “happy birthday.” Luke tried to peck at his cheek. He wrenched away from
his small kiss and stood up.

Even though he couldn’t see him, Luke lowered his eyes to the floor. He felt like Noah hated everything in him that was human. Luke remembered that it was then that he finally began to sob.

At the sound of Luke’s crying, Noah hesitated from leaving, and Luke had looked at him with just the smallest flicker of hope.

“I’m sorry, Luke, “ Noah said. “I just don’t feel like I have anything in my life worth celebrating right now.”

Noah continued to the bedroom and Luke just sat there, his whole body limp.

***
“Earth to Snyder?” Reid said. Luke jumped. He had been so lost in the memory, he hadn’t
realized that they were at Dolphins Plus.

Luke glanced at the rather large building. As they walked in, he spotted an outside arena and large gate. Beyond the gate was the ocean.

“Everything good?” Reid asked.

Luke swallowed and nodded. He shook off the awful thoughts about Noah and gave Reid a big smile.

“Let’s go, Luke said.
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Without Borders
Author: Marsabi
Summary: Noah remains blind and abandons Luke. Luke leaves Oakdale and moves the foundation to Rome. When he gtes a phone call from an old firend, he travels to Miami . But can he make the doctor there a media star?
Warning: some sexually explicit parts
rating: nc-17

Chapter Eight

The instructor for the swim met Luke and Reid and a small group of other people. She led them over to a table area. They all got into wet suits and signed waivers, then she lectured them about the dolphins. They were doing the free swim. The other choice had been to swim with the dolphins and have them perform tricks. But a free swim had sounded more authentic to Luke and Reid. In that swim , the dolphins might come to you or not. It was up to them. During the speech, Reid’s phone rang. He mouthed to Luke that it was Jessica and went to take the call. Luke tried to focus on the lecture, but his mind kept drifting to Reid. It still amazed him to be with a man so comfortable with his sexuality. Reid held his hand, kissed him…Luke only now realized just how starved for that affection he’d been.

“Okay, so now that I explained the way the dolphins work and the safety rules – to the water!”, the instructor said. Luke was startled; he’d missed the whole talk.

Reid came up. “Jessica set up another PR appointment for us with some friend of hers,” he told Luke. “Did I miss anything important?”

“Uh- nope.”

“Well, let’s go.”

He and Reid approached the salt water area with the other people. There were several dolphins swimming around.

“Just climb right in,” The instructor said cheerfully.

Reid went down the ladder first, then Luke. As the first dolphin passed him, Luke nearly jumped back. They were much, much bigger in the water than they looked at Sea World shows. A dolphin swam close to him and Luke tentatively reached out his finger. As the dolphin glided by him, he felt its flesh.

“The skin is like wet rubber,” he said to Reid in delight.

“There’s an image,“ Reid laughed.

“Okay, what does it feel like to you?” Luke grinned and flipped some water out of his hair.

” Hmm, like an egg white. That’s what it feels like to me.”

They smiled at each other, and moved deeper into the center of the water, away from the ladders.

A massive dolphin went by them. It splashed at them with its tail. Reid reached out and grabbed on. To Luke’s amazement, the dolphin let him ride on it. Reid looked like he was hugging the dolphin gently. Luke must have missed that part of the lecture because he saw a few other people riding with the dolphins, too.

As Reid went away from him, Luke treaded the water. Suddenly, he was aware of a few dolphins around his body. They began to circle him. He felt the power of their bodies pushing the water. It sprayed up in his face, chilling him a little. He wiped the spray away, and Luke could feel himself sweating underneath his wet suit. His heart was racing. He tried to call out, and barely made a sound.

Luke tried to break away from them, a little intimidated. But more dolphins swam over now. The circle around him was tight. He couldn’t find a way to break it. His skin felt clammy now, despite the warm day. He kicked his feet a few times in the water. He was so tired of treading . He could feel his body just wanting to rest. Just go under. Panicked, Luke looked to Reid.

Reid saw him. He released his dolphin and started over to Luke.

A dolphin bumped Luke with its nose and Luke yelped. It didn’t hurt and he was sure the dolphin could easily hurt him, but it made him nervous just the same. Luke flailed his arms around. The circle of dolphins didn’t budge. They just kept going around and around.

“Stay calm,” Reid called, trying to find a way into the circle of dolphins. They were not allowing him to cross.

“Hey!” The instructor called from the dock, “Hold on a moment.”

Luke treaded the water, his legs tired, his heart pounding.

“It’s okay,” Reid was saying to him in a very firm, level voice. “Just breathe.”

Luke realized he was panicking and tried to listen to Reid. He met Reid’s eyes and was reminded of the way Reid had been with Maya in the hospital.

“You’re okay,” Reid said. “I’m here.”

Luke breathed out.

“Here,” the instructor said and threw small fish near the dock. She banged the dock with her hand in the water, signaling to the dolphins. For a second, they didn’t respond to her or the treat. Then they slowly went away from Luke. Reid immediately went to him and half pulled him back to the ladder. They climbed out.

“They weren’t trying to hurt you, “ the instructor rushed up. “They were protecting you.”
“Protecting me? “ Luke asked, dazed. “From what?”

The instructor frowned, “Didn’t you hear my lecture?”, she asked crossly.

“Didn’t you see those dolphins coming at him?” Reid interrupted, “it took you long enough to help him!”

Luke shook his head, “No, it was my fault. She’s right; I wasn’t listening. I’m so sorry –“

“Explain to us now what just happened,” Reid said to the instructor, ignoring that.

“Well,“ the instructor said, “ I know you’re not pregnant, but –“

“Pregnant-?” Luke looked at her in confusion.

“Dolphins have x-ray abilities,” the instructor said. “I did cover all this before. They instantly can scan your body like an x-ray machine.” She frowned. “They know if a woman is pregnant or a child is handicapped. Or,” she said slowly, “If your body has experienced trauma. “

Luke flushed. “I have some scars,” he stated to say. He glanced at Reid. “I had a kidney transplant, “ Luke said quietly.

“Maybe that would do it,” the instructor shrugged. “They are protective of injured people. “ She looked at the others. “I need to go back into the water. You shouldn’t; they’d just come at you again, “ she told Luke. “ So are you guys okay changing out of your suits and all?”

She turned to Reid. “Unless you want to get back in alone?”

“That’s just what I want to do,” Reid said. “Forget him and swim by myself.” He gave the instructor a look that said she was a moron.

“Thanks for the help. “ Luke told her swiftly.

He and Reid stood up.

“I thought those scars were old. “ Reid said slowly, “but it must be new trauma for those dolphins to act like that. When did you get the transplant?”

“I had it long ago,” Luke said softly, “but then I needed a second operation just a few years back.”

“Let me guess now,” Reid said. “Metal sutures?”

“I-I think so.” He caught his lip between his teeth. “Sorry for all this.”

“Doesn’t matter.”

“I should have listened to the lecture. I mean we signed all these waivers and –“

“Let’s just change, okay?”

They walked into the men’s room.

Luke eyed him, “You seemed kind of upset out there – “

“I wasn’t upset, “ Reid denied. He opened up his locker. “ I just didn’t want any bad PR here,” Reid protested. “I don’t want my supposed boyfriend taken out by Flipper.”

Reid stripped off his wet suit and stood in his trunks. Luke did the same.

A silence filled the room.

“I should tell you,” Luke said awkwardly, “full disclosure and all. I had the first transplant as a teenager, after an unfortunate trip to Mexico. But later –my second the kidney problem was because I drank. A lot. Like twelve steps a lot.”

Reid nodded, ”I figured.”

Luke was quiet again. He didn’t know what to say next or how to act. He’d expected Reid to ask pointed questions about his sobriety or demand his whole history with alcohol. Luke’s eyes fell away as he waited.

“Are you okay? “ Reid asked abruptly.

Luke nodded. He couldn’t speak yet. He was stunned that Reid just accepted all the rest- no judgments.

“Sorry I ruined our adventure,” Luke said in a shy voice.

Momentarily frowning , Reid closed his locker and studied Luke. His eyes were hooded, making it impossible for Luke to guess at his thoughts.

Then as Reid slowly approached him, Luke kept his body still.

Reid gently touched his cheek. “We can have other adventures,” he said softly.

A whoosh of relief swept through Luke.

Luke opened his mouth for a kiss. Reid’s naked chest rubbed against his own. Reid’s skin was wet, his mouth hot. He wrapped his hands at Luke’s waist.

“We can’t here- “ Luke whispered, “in a public place. “

“Another first?”

Reid pushed him toward a door. Luke glanced up at the sign for the steam room.

“Wait, we don’t have any –“

“I do. In my wallet. Be right back-“ Reid dashed off to his locker. Luke went into the steam room. It was a simple, dark room with a hard brown bench. Luke placed his towel on the bench and then walked over to the dial on the wall. He turned it and immediately steam sizzled out.

The humid air made Luke’s skin flush with sweat. The door opened and Reid came into the room waving the condom like a victory flag.

“What about- you know?” Luke mumbled.

“There are ways around that.” Reid said. “Come here.”

Luke went to him, a painful affection pounding in his heart. He gently touched the nape of Reid’s neck. Luke could hear the strong exhale of Reid’s breath near his own. Luke embraced him slowly, placing his head on Reid’s chest.

Luke began to place soft kisses up and down his body, the steam already making him feel languid and dreamy. There was no sense of time in the small, hot room. Luke forgot about the people outside still swimming with the dolphins, he forgot about everything but the need for this man.

Luke was on his knees now, yanking off Reid’s swimming suit. Taking the hard cock into his hands. Working his fingers up and down Reid’s shaft. He kissed Reid’s thighs and then circled the cock with his mouth, his lips glided over it in a gently caress.

Reid cried out harshly, bucking his body at Luke. A surge of desire flooded Luke’s body. He trembled as he opened his mouth wider and took Reid inside. Luke let his teeth and tongue move over the head. Then he relaxed the muscles of his throat and took him all the way down.

Reid began to groan and Luke felt him getting close. The steam room had them both slick by now, the air was thick to breathe.

Luke gave another hard suck.

Reid burst into his mouth, spasms of pleasure rocking his body. Luke’s mouth filled with his cum. He swallowed and swallowed, the taste so good and right.

Then he moved up Reid’s body and held him a moment. He cradled a still shaking Reid in his arms.

Reid turned his head and began to nibble Luke’s earlobe. Reid’s hand grabbed at his ass and kneaded it. Luke shuddered, already desperate with want. His cock throbbed.
Luke panted like he was running now. Reid took off his trunks and then led him to the bench. Luke was face down on it. Reid palms were on his buttocks. He opened him up. Luke felt dizzy with anticipation.

Reid licked Luke’s crack up and down. He bit the mound of Luke’s cheek and then tasted the area where Luke’s thigh met his ass. He bit again at the crease there and Luke’s whole body tightened in response. His toes curled. His fingers clenched. He made a low guttural cry.
Reid returned to his hole, his tongue teasing a moment. Then he penetrated Luke, his mouth covering the center, his tongue dominating.

Luke lifted his ass up in offering. He placed his head down on the bench.

Reid wasn’t done yet. He continued to torture him with his mouth, making Luke half-crazy. He’d never experienced foreplay like this. He was leaking and aching. Reid stretched him with a finger. Then two.

He could hear himself begging Reid to take him.

“You’re so tight and hot,” Reid groaned as he entered Luke slowly. He rode Luke in a rocking rhythm. Luke couldn’t think. He hardly cared anymore if he was exposed or caught or anything. He felt mad with need, the last of his self-restraint gone. Luke pushed his ass back against Reid, wanting all of him inside. The physical hunger was beyond anything else.

They came at the same moment, in a kind of sweet agony. Reid was making deep, animal sounds.

Luke’s own breath seemed to just stop, caught on the impact of his release. Then his lungs filled with air again.

Afterwards, Luke felt like he was swimming again, but this time his body was floating in ecstasy, in a thick pool of exhausted lust.

Reid was the first one to move. He turned off the steam and picked up two clean towels.

“Here.” Reid held the towel open for him.

Luke looked down bashfully. Why was being naked so different after sex? He could feel
Reid’s eyes on him as he walked over.

Luke started to take the towel from Reid, but he didn’t release it. Luke glanced up and saw Reid’s focus was on his scars.

“What?” Luke whispered.

“Just thinking about those dolphins again,” Reid admitted gruffly. “The way they circled you.”

“It was kind of neat, I guess, in retrospect.”

Reid looked at him. “It was terrifying, actually.”

“I thought you said it was no big deal.” Luke titled his head questioningly.

Reid averted his eyes. He looked at Luke’s scars again. Then he reached out to touch them.

The touch was feather-light, consoling. He ran his fingers over the raised, red skin.

“It might have been a bigger deal to me than I said,” Reid’s voice was low.

Luke was amazed to realize that Reid’s fingers, so skilled in the operating room, were actually trembling as he touched the scars.

Never had Luke felt so deeply connected to another person. In an odd way, Luke valued his scars. They were the only permanent reminder of all he’d gone through, the only evidence. And now Reid’s hand was resting there. He could feel the gentle warmth of his fingers.

Luke didn’t know what to do or say.

But Reid was moving already, wrapping the thick towel around him.

“Wanna get out of here?” Reid asked, a small smile on his lips.

Luke didn’t smile back. He stared at Reid, the air between them feeling electric, not with just sexual feelings, but with a deeper urgency.

Luke took Reid’s hand in his and held it tightly.

“Want to come back to my hotel?” Luke said. “ We could hang out. I mean, unless you need a little alone time.”

“Alone time?” Reid replied. “You just satisfied any alone time I’d need.” Reid led him out of the steam room. “I do have one request,” he said.

“What’s that?”

“We stop at a store for bedding.”

“Bedding?” Luke asked, puzzled.

“Hotel sheets,” Reid shuddered, “I’m not a fan.”

A little while later, Luke waited for Reid in the car. He was in at Bed , Bath and Beyond buying some sheets. It amused Luke that the thought of new sheets seemed to excite Reid. As he waited, Luke scrolled through his missed messages, stopping at the one from Damian.

Luciano, I have frozen the funds from the foundation. I’m not sure you’re thinking clearly. We need to discuss it. Call me back soon. Perhaps I should come to Miami? I need to handle a few matters here. I will book a flight for tomorrow

Damian had never disapproved of any foundation project Luke had put together. The foundation money was Grimaldi money, but usually Damian gave him free reign. Luke chewed his lip.
What would Reid say if the money for his wing was frozen? Reid was doing all of the PR. He expected those funds. Any image of Reid happily shopping on his laptop this morning came to Luke. He swallowed nervously, feeling sick .

Reid opened up the car and tossed in a set of silk sheets.

“Fancy,” Luke said. He knew he should tell Reid about the text, but he also knew it would make things immediately uncomfortable between them. Uncertain, Luke stayed silent.

a/n: The dolphin/x-ray thing is factual (I’m not sure they’d care about a kidney scar , but they do protect pregnant ladies/handicapped people).

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