Mar. 21st, 2011

marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Without Borders 9
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 Nine


The next morning they headed for another interview. Luke had plenty of chances to talk to Reid about Damian and the wing, but he just didn’t. He wasn’t certain why. Reid was teasing him again about being such a grumpy morning person. Then Reid was leading him into the shower and soon giving him the most amazing shower sex of his life. Luke was still so hungry for Reid. He could have spent all day touching him. He didn’t know how or when it happened, but Luke trusted Reid. He eagerly opened his body. He hooked his legs around Reid’s hips and arched back against the shower wall. He gazed into his luminous eyes. He had no fear about climaxing in a hot, messy rush.

He did try to find the words about the foundation trouble over breakfast, but Reid kept stuffing food in his mouth. And Luke knew that he should find it disgusting, but he found it endearing instead. He just sat back and watched Reid in amusement. It hadn’t felt like the right time to bring up Damian. Besides, Damian had sent him a second message and told him he was delayed for a little while and wouldn’t be there so soon. It was a relief to have just a little more time. Luke was angry at his father for just freezing the funds; Damian was so typically arrogant. It would be better to talk to him face-to-face. Luke was hopeful that he could calm Damian’s concerns.

Meanwhile, Luke and Reid had another job to do, and Luke told himself that he didn’t want to upset Reid before they went in front of the cameras. There would be time to discuss the neuro wing later.

When they arrived at the studio, Jessica met them in the lobby, excited to watch them on ‘South Beach Buzz’.

“Since you guys started this PR campaign, WMB has had several large contributions from patrons in the Miami area.”

“That’s fantastic!” Luke exclaimed. He embraced Jessica. “Just think if the story was picked up by some national news too.”

“Can you help make that happen?”

Luke nodded, “I think so.”

Jessica turned to Reid. “Just remember to answer all the questions politely.”

“Even if you think they’re dumb,” Luke added, nodding.

“And most of all, “ Jessica said, “back Luke up.”

She waved excitedly to her producer friend, and then went to join him in the green room.

Reid leaned into Luke, “I always back you up,” he murmured.

***

The hosts of ‘South Beach Buzz’ were three women. There was Debs Buckman. She was the oldest in the group. She had a voice like she had chain-smoked for many years, and was always interrupting the younger hosts to cackle out her own opinions. Then there was Valerie Van. She was blond and bouncy and from the Mid-West. Actually, she had lived in Florida for 15 years now, but she liked to pretend she was just off the milk truck. The third host, Katie Webb, was a large woman with a booming laugh and grabby hands. She pinched Luke on the cheek and butt all in the five seconds it had taken to greet them.

The hosts began with a small informative talk on Without Medical Borders, but soon went off on a tangent about the awful gowns that hospitals put patients in.

“I mean do they really need to see this behind?” Katie chuckled warmly, turning so the cameras could see her ample ass.

“I hate hospitals- the smells –the sickness,” Valerie gave a delicate shudder. “Why can’t it be cheerful? Illness is just so depressing,” she gave a perky shrug.

“My ex-husband was in and out of the hospital all the time, “ Debs suddenly said, “more than he was ever in and out of me.”

All of the hosts laughed wildly. Luke could just hear the laugh track being added. He tried to laugh, too. He glanced at Reid. Luke could see that Reid was soon bored by all the empty-headed chatter. Reid was probably doing math problems in his head or something.

“Ladies,” Luke said, trying to steer the conversation back, “let me tell you about some of WMB’s projects.”

“Great,” Valerie gave him a huge grin, “and tell us again how you two cuties met.”

“He wants to talk about his projects,” said Katie, “let the man speak.”

“Thanks. I just –“

“I was going to let him speak, “ Valerie protested.

“No,“ Katie shook her head, her bosom heaving, “You weren’t. “

“Yes I was!”

“Last week you interrupted Enrique Iglesias, “ Katie said with sudden anger, “just to tell us again about your Dylan’s potty training.”

“Now there is a gay man,” cackled Debs.

“No, he’s straight, “ said Katie.

“How can you tell anymore, “ Valerie complained.

“I always know, “ bragged Katie.

“No you don’t.”

Katie turned to Luke, ”Tell us honey, how do you know when your man is gay?”

“Um,” Luke shot a glance at Reid.

“Don’t be shy, honey,” Katie boomed out. “We want to know.”

“I remember my college boyfriend,” Valerie said. “He barely wanted to kiss me and then he told me he needed room to grow.”

“What was he a flower? “ Debs quipped. “Now my ex-“

“Which one?” said Katie.

“The second one. The plastic surgeon. He liked shopping and hated sports, but he gave me great- “

“Face lifts?” Valerie said dryly.

“Listen,” Debs shot back, her face getting red, “your girls might be young and perky now, but in a few years when they’re down to your knees, you won’t be so against a little nip and tuck.”

“Luke,” Katie said to him, “how do you know it’s real?”

The question made him squirm. He chewed his lip a moment. Then he offered the hosts a smile.

“I guess it’s like being with anybody ,” Luke said, “straight or otherwise. You just look at that person,” he couldn’t help starting over at Reid a little, “and you know. You’re connected. You fit.”

He and Reid locked eyes. The look was so hot Luke thought the camera might steam up.

The ladies all turned to him like vultures seeing new prey.

“So Reid, where do you see yourself with Luke in ten years?”

“How about we first discuss where I see WMB?” Reid said.

Luke noticed he’d deflected the question like an expert.

“Men hate commitment,” Debs was saying, “straight or gay –doesn’t matter. Men hear words like commitment and think prison sentence.”

“My husband isn’t like that,” huffed Valerie. “He loves being married.”

“Your husband?” Katie laughed, “The one who was with that porn star girl before you?”

“At least I don’t keep warm with some cheap vibrator and some trashy romance novel,” countered Valerie.

The ladies all pounced on each other then, completely forgetting their guests.


***

“That was fun,” Reid said sarcastically. They were standing just outside of the studio, waiting to say goodbye to Jessica.

“It wasn’t all bad,” Luke said.

Reid cocked a brow at him, “It was a nightmare.”

“They bicker like that all the time, I think. But it was kind of frightening,” Luke admitted. He sat down on one of the patio chairs.

“Give me a war zone over a bunch of crazy women any day,” Reid groaned. “How many more of these things are we doing?”

“I don’t know.” Luke suddenly lowered his eyes. His fingers dug into the chair.

“What?” Reid asked, looking at his clenched hands.

“Nothing.”

Reid just looked at him again.

Luke shrugged. “The interviews are coming to an end. Really. And I don’t want them to be over.”

He peeked up at Reid. He waited to see if Reid would admit he would be sorry their time was ending too. They hadn’t talked about the future. They hadn’t discussed anything. Luke’s stomach flipped over as he waited.

“Right.” Reid said finally. “ Well, they have to end sometime.”

At the complete indifference in Reid’s voice, Luke jumped out of the chair. Luke felt a muscle in his cheek twitch. He narrowed his eyes at Reid, and then turned abruptly from him. Luke walked a few steps away from him.

“Now what?” Reid asked, perplexed. He followed Luke.

“So you really don’t care that all this is almost over?”

“Why should I?”

“Right,” Luke chin jutted out. He flipped his hair out of his eyes and angrily folded his arms. “ Right, why would you? I guess in a few weeks you’ll just go on with your life. In a few weeks you’ll be like - Luke who?”

“Wait? What?” Reid opened his mouth to say more, but Luke cut him off.

“Don’t worry. No strings. No problems. Just forget it all.” He started to walk off in a huff, but Reid grabbed his arm.

“What’s with the drama?” Reid gave him a searching glance.

Luke refused to meet his gaze. “Just forget me. Forget this conversation.”

“And I’ll forget how to operate on brains too, right?”

Luke sniffed, “I have no idea what that means.”

“Well if I can just forget you, then something must be really wrong with me, maybe early dementia or something. I’ll probably no longer remember anything important in my life - not how to play chess, not how to operate, nothing.”

Luke stared at him.

Reid grabbed him and kissed him hard on the mouth.

“I was only talking about the interviews, Luke.” Reid nudged him. “ You bonehead. I’m not forgetting you. “

“Really?” Luke flushed.

“Really,“ Reid said firmly.

“In that case, “ Luke grinned, ”let me buy you lunch. I know just the right place.”

***

Barton G’s was nestled in a secluded area of South Beach far from the average tourist’s eyes. The restaurant was overflowing with tropical plants and flowers. It was famous for its huge portions that were served in unusual ways. For instance, Reid and Luke ordered the Lobster Pop tarts, which came in a giant pretend toaster. Then they tried the sushi snow cones. Raw tuna was carefully wrapped up in round balls of frozen ice with wasabi dots as “cherries “ and decorated in a pretend waterfall of ponzu sauce. Reid’s eyes were shining with joy. He waved the waiter over to the table.

“I’ll try the Portobello Porsche- that one that’s mushrooms and crabmeat and shaped like a car.” He said.

“Very good,” the waiter said.

“Enjoying yourself?” Luke laughed at Reid’s eager expression.

“I think having a rich young lover has some definite perks,” Reid agreed, his mouth full of sushi.

Reid devoured all the appetizers. He asked soon for a round of entrée food: shrimp kabobs, kettle chips with different mustard sauces, confetti duck bites. He drank some odd cocktail that they served in three beakers like a pretend chemistry set.

“It’s like a circus for food,” Luke laughed. “They had nothing like this back in Oakdale.”

Reid nodded and grunted, stuffing in another lobster tart. The waiter came by and gave Reid an approving grin. A fragrant platter of sliced duck meat was put down before them.

“Now that was a small town.” Luke ate a few modest bites of the duck and then stopped. He became lost in memories of his old town. “ I felt like at the end, I just had to go. Maybe it was in my mind, but I felt like everybody was judging me,” Luke sighed. Then he looked over at Reid downing his drink and then chewing the kettle chips .

“Are you listening at all or just stuffing your face?” Luke demanded.

“Oh don’t act all wounded. I’m listening.”

“Are you?”

“I’m doing both,” Reid said as licked kettle chip crumbs from fingers. “I can multi-task.”
Reid ate some duck and made a low sound of approval. His face was almost flushed with pleasure. He glanced at Luke. “I get it. You town sucked and you left, right?”

“That’s the short version. ”

“I like succinct stories, “ Reid said.

“Well, you don’t know Oakdale if you think it was a quick decision or a short story,” Luke laughed. “Nobody leaves that town easily.”

Reid bit into a piece of giant bread and chewed. “ You know, you did the right thing,” he told Luke between mouthfuls.

“What?”

“You did right by leaving. But you’re good like that. Determined. Like a bull dog.”

Luke’s mouth dropped open. He shook his head. “I think most people would call me a cute puppy or something.”

Reid snorted. “Then most people don’t see you. The way you pursued me doing the PR thing? The way you grilled me today outside the South Beach Buzz studio? You,” he waved a kettle chip at Luke, “are pure bull dog. “ A few drops of mustard fell on the white tablecloth. The waiter rushed over and dabbed it up.

“I doubt anybody in Oakdale would agree, “ Luke mused, thinking over Reid’s words.

Reid smiled at him and then scooped some more kettle chips into his eager hands. He dipped them into the spicy mustard. “Well, maybe Oakdale should have taken a second look at you,” was all he said.

Dessert came. Luke ordered the cotton candy “tree,” and the chocolate fondue fountain. The cotton candy was huge. It had sprinkles as pretend leaves and a trunk of licorice. The chocolate fountain was literally dripping chocolate over strawberries and pound cake.

“Want?” Reid asked, breaking off a big strip of cotton fluff.

“No,” Luke wrinkled his nose up. “I’m full.”

“Then like yesterday’s trash, this is gone, “ Reid said happily. He ate the sticky treat in four bites, and then dipped pound cake into the chocolate stream.

“Everything okay, guys?” The waiter asked, smiling.

“Are you kidding?”, Luke exclaimed. “This is his idea of heaven.”

Reid shot him a look, and then he ate some more dessert.

***

Just a little later, however, Reid looked more like hell. They were driving back to his condo. Luke was at the wheel. When he heard Reid moan slightly, he glanced over at him and was immediately worried.

“Are you okay? You’re a little green?”

Reid made a wild gesture with his hand, “Pull over!” But they didn’t make it. He promptly threw up all over the Lamborghini’s floors.

“Oh boy,” was all Luke said. Then Reid threw up again.

“You can go,” Reid told him later. They had made it up to his condo after several emergency stops. Reid was leaning down by his toilet, a wreck.

“Maybe I should take you to the hospital?” Luke asked.

“No,” Reid said. He emphatically shook his head. “It’s food poisoning, but it will pass. I’d rather get it out this way than have some dumb nurse pump my stomach.”

He heaved a moment and groaned. Then he looked up at Luke.

“Will you quit gawking?”

“I’m not.” Luke shook his head at him. “ Now stop being such a baby.”

Reid just moaned a second.

“This isn’t pretty,” he managed to say before helplessly retching into the toilet. When it was over, he mumbled, “You can go.”

“I’m okay,” Luke insisted stubbornly, bending down and rubbing a consoling hand on the space between Reid’s shoulder blades.

Reid flushed the toilet. He rested his head on his hands.

“Well, this should win me date of the year award. Molly and Mick would be proud.”

Luke laughed softly. But his eyes examined Reid’s pale coloring as he began to heave again.

“Ahh-sorry,” Reid said and then turned back to the toilet.

Luke turned and busied himself with finding a washcloth. He could tell that Reid was embarrassed. He opened the linen closet and took out a tiny towel. He ran the tap water over it and then wrung it out.

“Here,” Luke crouched down by Reid again. “Let me help.”

Luke cradled his neck as he gently washed Reid’s face. He glided it over the stubble on his cheeks. Carefully Luke slid the washcloth down Reid’s neck, his wrist grazing the skin.

“Go figure,” Reid said, “I eat hospital food daily and have been in terrible locations all around the world, but a five star restaurant does me in!”

“I feel so bad about taking you there,” Luke answered. He gently touched the washcloth to Reid’s forehead.

Reid was staring at him. “You don’t mind all this? Pretty gross.” He looked down at the toilet in disgust.

“You‘d help me,” Luke said, suddenly sure of that much.

Reid grimaced. “I’m a doctor. I cut open brains, get splattered with brain matter and blood on a regular basis. This is easy stuff for me”

“Okay, that image is turning my stomach- please stop,” Luke teased.

“Exactly. I‘m used to gross, it’s part of the job. “ Reid paused and held his stomach a moment. He swallowed hard. “ But seeing me like this for you-“

“I’m a drunk, “Luke interrupted, “I’m familiar with vomit.”

“Luke-“

“I mean it. I’m fine.”

Reid half-smiled. “I guess you did probably toss your cookies lots.”

“From what I can remember, ”Luke admitted, “I tossed them all over Oakdale - diners, hotels, friend’s houses, farms, ponds, libraries, malls- “

“I get the picture,” Reid said, then his mouth twitched. “I guess that makes me feel better. I only threw up in your million dollar car.”

Luke shrugged. ”It’s a rental”

They smiled at each other a second.

Then Reid gasped and turned back to throw up once more. His face looked clammy with sweat and his back was shaking. Luke soothingly stroked his spine up and down.

“Maybe you should go,” Reid said again.

“I’m not leaving you.” Luke massaged his shoulder a moment. “I want to be here,” Luke told him. Then he caught his lip. “Unless you don’t want me? Do you want me to go?”

Reid had stopped vomiting and flushed the toilet again. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes.

Wordlessly, Luke mopped at the corners of Reid’s mouth with the washcloth. He reached out and pushed Reid’s hair back from his face.

“Stay,” Reid said simply, opening his eyes.

***


In the morning, Reid was awake first and showered. His color was back and he looked much better. Sitting up in his bed, Luke ran a distracted hand through his hair and thought about calling Barton G’s to complain. He usually was not one to do that, but Reid had been so sick last night. The restaurant would be hearing from him.

Luke smiled at Reid, relieved he seemed recovered.

“Your turn for a shower,” Reid said. He tossed Luke a clean towel.

“Okay,” Luke got up and headed to the bathroom.

Reid’s arm grabbed him a second. “Hey um,” Reid looked away. “Thanks. I’m not use to…no one has ever taken care-“ Reid shook his head.

“I’m sure when you were a little kid, right? Your uncle took care of you? When you were sick?”

Reid made a face. “Not really. “ He looked off into the distance. “I pretty much took care of myself.”

“Oh.” Luke’s eyes widened. “Well, you’re welcome.”

They nodded at each other. Impulsively, Luke touched Reid’s cheek with the palm of his hand.

Reid stared a moment at Luke. His eyes were full of emotion, his lips tight.

“Okay then,” Reid said awkwardly, stepping back. “I’ll go make us some breakfast. “

“Are you up to eating?”

“Maybe toast.”

Luke headed into the bathroom. He felt a little shocked and sad about Reid’s past. He couldn’t fathom being so alone in the world. It made Luke suddenly grateful for his family. It made him happy to help Reid too, even in some small way.



A/n : Barton G’s is a real restaurant and it is fabulous. The food really is served in crazy ways and it is delicious. To my knowledge, nobody has ever gotten food poisoning there!

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