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OMG-I realized today Chapter 9 was missing from the story on my home page(smacks head)!!!!

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marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Anywhere USA
Author: Marsabi
Summary: This is a two part story with multiple chapters.
Part One: Abandoned as a teen, Reid is forced to live on the Snyder farm as a foster kid for a few months, before he heads off on his own, but will a certain child worm his way into Reid’s heart?
Part Two: Reid returns to Oakdale as a favor for Bob, something he planned never to do, and he can’t wait to leave town, until his past slams into him in the form of Luke Snyder and damn if Luke isn’t all grown up.
Warning: Sexual Content in some parts
Rating: PG-NC-17
Thanks to the following friends for their support of this story: shadownyc, traciamc, and Rhiannonhero
Author’s notes: This was bid on by Rhiannon Hero for the Japanese auction. Because I know Rhiannonhero loathes short chapters, these chapters will be long.



Chapter 13 (last)


It wasn’t going well. Reid tried to do it all quietly, but Bob refused to listen.

“I’m perfectly fine," he kept on insisting.

He wouldn’t take the test and Reid had to get Kim involved. She’d forced Bob to do it, all the while shooting looks of hatred at Reid. Kim turned her back on him and made some phone calls, and Reid just paced the hallway. They’d given each other space for a good hour. Kim kept the phone glued to her ear and made more calls, and Reid had fallen back into his old habit of doing math problems in his head. Every so often, Reid took out his own phone and checked for messages. None. Well, what had he expected? He had been pretty harsh at Java. He had no right to think Luke would call him. Even if he did, nothing had changed. Reid hugged his arms to his body. He walked the halls some more. His scrubs felt sweaty and Reid tugged at them, an unwanted image of following Bob around in his first pair of scrubs came to his mind like a painful flash. Reid turned, almost knocking his body into the wall, wanting to pound his hand into it or butt his head against it or do something, anything, to release all this feeling zeroing in on him. Reid squeezed his eyes shut. He would control himself. He picked up some stupid magazines and paged through them. Let me be wrong, Reid thought, let me be wrong.

Some more time passed. Suddenly, waiting, Reid understood what Luke had been trying to tell him about building a family wing. Waiting in a hospital sucked so much. Families needed a place to go, to grieve, pray, cry or whatever. Luke had been so right. Thinking about him, Reid held himself motionless, trying to ward off the wave of pain moving through him. Reid blinked hard, a burning feeling behind his eyes. Even if Luke hated him now, Reid just wanted him here. He wanted to hold him, to hear his name on Luke’s lips, and to be in Luke’s arms.

Finally, Bob came back and the results arrived. It was confirmed. Bob had senile dementia. It was still in the early stages, but seeing the results, Reid had to lean against the hospital wall. Bob took the news without expression, locking his office door, leaving Kim and Reid to face one another.

“Did you have to push all this so soon?” Kim said to him. “Why couldn’t we do the test without his knowledge? “

“Because I needed his consent,” Reid said, speaking to her like a dimwitted child. “And because Bob should know what’s going on.”

“And now he’s in his office devastated,” Kim snapped. She yanked off one of her earrings and glared at him. “You know, I think we should just slow all of this down and wait a moment. “ Kim ran her hand through her short hair. “I need to think.”

“Wait?” Reid replied. “Wait for what? Bob to start drooling? Incontinence?” Reid shook his head. “Bob needs treatment to begin right away.”

“This is a delicate matter,” Kim argued. “Bob is a proud man. “ She tightened her lips. “And frankly, Dr. Oliver, I question your motives.”

“My motives?” Reid gave her a look like she was certifiable.

Kim nodded emphatically at him. “Yes. You come to me, insisting on tests, making all kinds of assumptions about Bob.“

“I’m not assuming anything. We have the test results.”

“-And I’m not promising you anything,” Kim cut him off. “I want to take a long moment and examine the situation clearly.”

“Bob needs treatment,” Reid said again. "Right now. He can’t wait for you to go to high tea with the gals and mull it over. By the time you think about it, you’ll be pushing Bob in a wheelchair and chewing his food for him."

Kim gasped. “You're an awful man. I have no idea what Bob sees in you. You don’t know what Bob needs; I’m his wife. And I want another opinion. I’m going to call Christopher in Africa and –“

Reid groaned. “If you’re going to get a second opinion at least get an expert's,” Reid said. “Not some idiot relation’s bad advice.”

“Chris is not an idiot.”

“Sorry, was that not PC? Intellectually challenged,” Reid corrected himself.

“I ought to flatten you!” Kim exclaimed.

“Well, have at it,” Reid snapped back. “I’ve been hit for less important reasons –“

“Okay, that’s enough! Stop right now!” Luke was suddenly there, grabbing Reid, dragging him away from an irate Kim.

“Wait,“ Reid protested, but Luke shoved him down the hall and into his office.

Luke let him go and closed the door.

“You had no right to do that. You have no idea what was going on there.”

“Maybe not,” Luke agreed. “But I know that making Kim crazy isn’t the answer to any problem you might be having with her. Can you just calm down?” Luke took his shoulder.

“Can you just mind your own business?” Reid rolled his eyes. He broke away from Luke’s grip.

“Whatever it is can be worked out with Bob’s help -“

“Bob can’t help,” Reid barked out. “I need to help Bob. “

Luke’s eyes darkened with concern. He reached out to Reid again, attempting to calm him. Reid dodged the touch. He couldn’t bear it. He staggered farther away.

“What’re you doing here anyway?” Reid’s voice was raw.

Luke shrugged. “I have a board meeting about the new wing.” Luke puffed out his chest defensively. “I didn’t come to bother you.”

They faced each other, unable to avoid looking at each other any longer.

Reid couldn’t help the disappointment at Luke’s words, his heart skidding to a stop.

“But since I am here,“ Luke said. “Why don’t you tell me how bad is Bob?”

“I’ll give you the short version. Bob needs my help. Kim is an idiot. You pulled me away from a fist fight.”

“Reid,” Luke half-smiled. “I know you’d never physically fight with Kim.”

“I wouldn’t be too sure of that,” Reid grumbled. “I was prepared to clock her.”

Luke frowned. ”Then Bob must be showing symptoms already? ”

Reid shook his head, his eyes glistening a moment. “I can’t talk about it. It’s privileged.” Then he realized what Luke just said. “Wait, you know?”

Luke nodded. “This is Oakdale, Reid . The whole town knows. Kim called Barbara and Margo. That’s all it took. Margo called everybody else, including Casey. He got in touch with me. So you don’t need to keep quiet. Talk to me.“ Luke knitted his brows together. “How bad off he is. Reid?”

Reid stood silently, unable to speak, his fingers digging into his skin.

As usual, Luke easily understood what Reid couldn’t say out loud. Luke drew in a breath. “God. Can you help him?”

Reid threw up his hands. He began to pace the room. “Sort of. There are medications, memantine or donepezil. Vitamins.“ Reid swallowed hard. “He’ll need haloperidol too for his mood changes; things that might help for awhile, but only awhile.”

“Well,” Luke said. “That’s good. It’ll help him. Help his symptoms.”

“No it’s not,” Reid snapped. “It’s temporary. Do you understand? He can’t be fixed. I can’t cut open his brain and solve this. There isn’t a magic pill or a surgery to help him and over time his mind - “ Reid broke off.

He stumbled over to the wall, leaning against it for support, and ran his hands over his face.

“How is Bob taking it?” Luke asked gently, and took a small step in Reid’s direction.

“How do you think?” Reid rolled his eyes. “He doesn’t want to admit it’s happening.“ Reid frowned at Luke. “He’s a doctor, after all.”

“What does that mean?”

Reid let out an exasperated noise. “You can’t be a doctor and a patient. It doesn’t work that way. “ He paced back and forth again, pinching his nose. “We don’t have illnesses, we treat them.”

“That’s stupid,” Luke protested. “Doctors can get sick – they aren’t Gods.”

“You don’t get it,” Reid said, his voice cracking.

“Once a doctor is patient -” Reid just shook his head. "All the lines are blurred. And with Bob, it’s only a matter of time. I’ve been looking at the research, trying -“ Reid closed his eyes a moment. “I can’t figure out what to do.”

Reid put his hands to his temples and then slowly opened his eyes again. His eyes felt bloodshot. Reid felt a tug of desperation as he looked at Luke, his hands twitched, his insides contracted painfully. He’d always been so sure of what he wanted and where he was going, and now Reid felt like his life was somersaulting. He kept his eyes on Luke, not moving.

Catching his lip with his teeth, Luke came closer, making a sympathetic sound and giving Reid a tender glance. “Reid-“ Luke said quietly, his eyes soft, he tilted his head to one side. “You can’t fix everyone.”

“Why not?” Reid answered. He breathed deeply, his chest rising and falling.

Luke’s face was etched with compassion, and he started swiftly toward him again.

Reid jumped back, putting up a hand to stop Luke. “No, no, no,“ Reid mumbled to himself. He shook his head vigorously, banging his forehead with his hand. “This was all a mistake.” He looked at Luke. “Why did I let Bob bring me here? Reminding me of all the times he helped me out as a kid? The medicine he taught me.“ Reid swallowed hard, choking on his feelings. “Why did I ever come here and have to see him again?” He looked at Luke. “And see you-“

Reid stopped talking, unable to finish his sentence, his eyes lingering on Luke’s.

“Bob won’t be able to practice medicine soon. His entire identity as a doctor will be just gone.” Reid could barely push the words out of his mouth. Reid gazed at Luke, and he knew his face must be revealing too much by the way Luke was gazing back at him, starting again to come closer.

“But Bob isn’t just a doctor,” Luke said, running his tongue over his lips. “He’s a person too.” Moving slowly, his eyes fixed on Reid’s, Luke closed the distance between them. He reached out a hand and cupped Reid’s face, Luke’s fingers stroking gently. “Bob can hold onto his family. He can hold onto the people who love him.”

At Luke’s touch, a violent shudder ripped through Reid’s entire body, his ears rang, his skin felt feverish, and Reid opened his mouth, trying to gather his ragged thoughts. Luke wavered toward him, and it was pointless to resist.

Reid lunged forward, seeking solace in Luke, kissing him so hard their teeth clinked. Luke's hands were all over him now, and Reid couldn't get enough. They pulled and tugged, moving their shirts up and opening buttons, getting skin under their fingers. They kissed again and again, breathing heavily, struggling and grunting for more contact, more flesh.

Luke’s hands were at Reid’s zipper, yanking it down, and then his hand was there, firm, soft, warm, and stroking Reid’s dick frantically. They stumbled for a moment to get their pants all the way down, pushing their clothes off, and then Reid let out a growl, cupping Luke’s ass and lifting him onto the desk.

Luke’s hands sought out Reid’s skin, gliding over his chest, digging his thumbs at Reid’s nipples, pinching them. Reid groaned and pulled Luke’s body closer, biting his ear and his neck, tasting the saltiness of Luke’s skin. They scratched and grabbed at each other, wildly intertwining their limbs, needing more.

Luke bucked his hips up, as his hands reached around to grasp Reid’s lower back. Reid pushed his hand under Luke’s ass again, taking hold of it. With his other hand, Reid spat into his palm and his fingers found Luke’s dick, his balls, his hole. All Reid could think about was getting inside Luke’s body. He pumped his hand over Luke’s erection again, getting him ready, feeling it harden more, caressing the silken warmth.

Luke made a guttural sound low in his throat, and the hand at Reid’s back clawed into his skin. Reid ground his mouth against Luke’s one more time, tasting his lips and tongue. His fingers pushed in and everything inside of Reid felt unshackled. Luke whimpered at the rough finger fucking, but he spread his legs wider. Reid kissed him again, demandingly and thrust another finger inside Luke’s hole. Luke hit at Reid’s shoulders, pounding at Reid, and then Luke rose up his body and threw back his head, moaning, “Yes!” Reid increased the pressure of his fingers against Luke's prostate, and Luke’s hard dick began to leak.

Withdrawing his hand, Reid gave Luke’s cock one hard suck, and then he broke away, fumbling for his wallet and tearing the foil package with his teeth. With a low keening sound, Reid entered Luke quickly, almost falling into his body. All of Reid’s bottled feelings exploded into passion as he rutted in and out of Luke, and Luke scrabbled at his back, trying to drag him in tighter and harder. Reid’s body pinned Luke’s, and he pummeled into him. Reid charged on, knocking the breath from his own lungs, slapping his body at Luke’s. He couldn’t get enough of him; he needed all of him, every thrust, every inch. He could never be close enough. Reid clutched Luke to him, giving him everything, fucking him raw. Luke’s dick was trapped at Reid’s stomach, hot and pulsing, until finally Luke gasped and a shudder ripped through him, his cum streaking out at Reid’s belly, chest, and even his neck. Reid’s own orgasm followed quickly, rocking his entire body, and he burrowed his face in Luke's neck, riding out the aftershocks, trembling and feeling emotional in a way that hurt and scared him, until they both were still.

“Reid?” Luke asked, lifting his head, his expression vulnerable and disorientated.

Reid held him, both of their bodies slick with sweat, and rubbed his cheek against Luke’s. But Luke rolled out from under Reid, pulling their sticky bodies apart, and carefully climbed off the desk. He didn't look at Reid as he put on his underwear and pants.

“Luke-“ Reid stared at him, watching him dress. Reid sawed his finger up and down at his jaw. He wanted to touch him all over again, but gently this time. He had done it all wrong. He should have been tender and sweet, not rough and crazy. He wanted to worship Luke with his body, suck his cock, slowly, all night. He wanted to get down on his knees and grovel, if that’s what it took. Luke was standing right in front of him, but he could easily walk out the door and disappear, and if Luke left, he’d take all the important parts of Reid with him.

“What?” Luke said, and jammed his hands into his pockets. The room smelled of sex, the papers on Reid’s desk all fallen away. Luke’s hair was mussed, anger had tightened his lips.

Reid, still naked, and sweating with fear, exertion, and love, stared at him.

“I’m not a boy,” Luke said, his jaw clenched. “I knew what I was doing on the roof that day. I know what I’m doing now.”

Reid nodded, swallowing hard. He wasn’t looking into the eyes of a boy, but the face of a man.

“Sorry,” Reid voice was strained, the word awkwardly stumbling off of his tongue, but he met Luke’s gaze steadily.

Just the simple act of looking at Luke’s face again, the act of looking at his expressive mouth, looking into his eyes, so naked with their wistful expression, the act of looking at his hair all kicked up in deliberate spikes that begged to be played with, looking at his creamy skin that demanded to be licked, looking at Luke and seeing the hidden pieces inside of him, just looking at Luke, all of Luke ,the whole of him, filled Reid with a fierce need to acknowledge what was still between them, always there, and to make Luke forever, irrefutably, his.

Luke frowned and shifted his weight. “That’s all you have to say?”

“Why ruin a sincere apology with a lot of cheap excuses?”

Luke snorted at that and Reid offered him a glimmer of a smile.

“When are you going to admit that you need me?” Luke asked. ”Cause you do.” But there was a slight question in his voice.

Reid shook his head, smiled, and shrugged his shoulders. “Maybe a little.”

They looked at each other. Luke rubbed his sleeve across his nose. He watched as Reid threw his clothes back on.

“You look terrible, by the way.” Luke told him.

“You don’t.” Reid answered. He let his gaze sweep over Luke’s body.

Luke sucked on his lips and just stared at Reid. Both of them grew still a moment. Luke’s expression was full of yearning but he remained motionless, and Reid knew it was up to him, and even though his legs were shaking, he didn’t take his eyes off of Luke.

Reid approached him slowly, his every step heavy, his heart hammering, his hand out. “I’m not good at all this. I’ll forget your birthday. I’ll work too much. I’m pretty much crap at romance. And if we do this thing, really do it…If I put myself out there, it’s got to be for good, for keeps. I can’t do it halfway because I’m just not that kind of guy and I don’t work like that. And the only thing I understand about relationships is they can’t be calculated like math problems, so I’ll probably- ”

“Reid.”

“What?”

“Breathe,” Luke advised.

Luke’s face softened as Reid neared. He opened his arms and Reid slipped in, nuzzling his lips at Luke’s collarbone, holding his waist.

“I know who you are,” Luke said. He ran his fingers through Reid’s hair and then down the nape of his neck. “And I don’t want halfway either.”

Reid looked into Luke’s eyes. Reid inhaled and then exhaled painfully.

Luke touched his cheek gently. “Trust me.” He leaned in and their foreheads touched.

“I’m trying,” Reid said.

Reid felt Luke’s hand snake around him firmly.

“I get that you’re afraid, “ Luke whispered. “But you have me, all of me.“

Reid’s body trembled. He managed a nod.

“All those years with Noah, it never felt right,“ Luke murmured, “and the moment you came back I figured it out.”

“What?” Reid asked, pulling back slightly, so that he could look into Luke’s eyes.

“That you stole my heart when I was just a kid,“ Luke answered, “and you never gave it back.”

His heart tightening in response, Reid kissed him softly, his mouth barely touching Luke’s at first, hovering. The kisses were light and sweet for a moment, then Luke opened his mouth wider and Reid pressed his lips to Luke’s, seeking the warm, true taste of Luke’s tongue. When he released Luke, Reid noticed Luke’s lips were swollen and wet, and his eyes were shining brilliantly at him. Reid traced a finger down Luke’s face.

“I love you,” Reid said simply.

“I know,” Luke said. “I’ve always known.”

They kissed again, capturing each other’s lips in a promise.

***



6 weeks later

“I should step down,” Bob said, waving Reid into his office. “It would be for the good of the hospital. Memorial has to come first.”

“Bullshit,” Reid retorted, closing the door. “This place would fall apart without you.” He went over to Bob’s desk, picked up his ham and cheese sandwich, and took a bite. “This isn’t bad. Is it from Al’s?“ Not waiting for Bob to answer, Reid ate some more. “And you’re not going to step down, not yet.“ Reid talked as he chewed. “Don’t let those old buzzards bother you. “

“Those old buzzards on the board are all younger than me,” Bob sighed. “And they have a right to question my ability to run the hospital.”

“Your medication is working, right?” Reid half-smiled at Bob’s nod. He had prescribed the combination himself, and it seemed to have Bob’s symptoms controlled. “Then forget them.”

Reid knew Bob faced difficulties in the future, such was the nature of his illness. Illness had no sentimental side, no sense of fairness, and it would pursue Bob with a steady detachment and a stubborn relentlessness for the rest of Bob’s life, but Reid was ready to fight back at every step, and he’d rather attend a thousand trustee dinners or kiss every phony ass in Oakdale than admit defeat. He would see Bob through this the best he could and he had to believe that the fight make some difference-might give Bob the one gift he could offer-more time.

“Reid,” Bob paused, stroking his jaw. “I am not sure how to say this, but I wanted to thank you for all that you did for me, son. I really –“

“Improve the food around here, keep the nurses off my back, and that’s thanks enough,” Reid waved his words away. Reid preferred not to have Bob speak, offer his gratitude, force Reid to acknowledge his own deep need to help Bob, or worse, force him to reveal the filial attachment he had for Bob in some schmaltzy moment of bonding.

Bob was about to reply, when Reid’s phone buzzed. He smiled down at the message from Luke requesting that Reid meet up with him as soon as Reid could get away.

Luke, on the other hand, could drop to his knees, show him some gratitude, and Reid wouldn’t object at all. Just last night, Reid had introduced Luke to a little light bondage, wrapping a tie around his eyes and another at his hands, and it been ridiculously hot having Luke at his mercy, writhing under his kisses, and helplessly ejaculating all over the sheets.

“Well?” Bob asked, and Reid blinked at him.

“What?” Reid said, tapping the side of his head with his fingers, clearing it.

“Nothing much,” Bob frowned at him sternly. “I was only asking you if you would perhaps consider being the next Chief of Staff here. Obviously, you have other important matters on your mind?”

“I thought we just agreed you’re not going anywhere.”

“Eventually, Reid, we both know the time will come.”

Reid said nothing to that, examining his hands a moment, thinking about how he would feel if they ever failed him.

“Memorial is a fine institution,” Bob said, ignoring Reid’s sudden smirk. “With you at the helm, it could be great.”

“I have to be honest, Bob. I don’t see myself pushing papers and calling meetings. Right now,” Reid finally answered. "Let’s just concentrate on your time as Chief. “

Bob nodded, a small smile on his face. “Fair enough, Doctor Oliver. While I am still Chief, it will give you time to hone those people skills of yours.”

Reid rolled his eyes. “Half the staff here are more qualified to serve coffee at Java or flip burgers at Al’s than be part of any hospital that I run.”

Bob shook his head and sighed at Reid. “I can see that this conversation is going nowhere. I guess I’d better stay healthy for a long time.”

“A very long time,” Reid agreed.


***

Reid arrived at the pond. As he got out of his car, he was still dressed in his blue scrubs, and the air had turned chilly, making Reid want a jacket. Hugging his body, Reid looked around. The water was surrounded by trees, vibrant with color, and there was Luke, sitting quietly, his knees pulled up to his chest, his cheek resting on his palm, eyes gazing worriedly out at the water.

“Hey,” Reid called, making Luke jump. “Got your text,” Reid said, walking over and kissing him hello. “What’s up?”

Luke kissed him back, but then sighed. He picked up a few pebbles and skipped them into the pond water. Reid waited patiently. He picked up a pebble too, feeling how smooth and cool it was in his fingers, and threw it across the water. They sat there awhile, shoulder-to shoulder. Finally, Luke stopped tossing in the pebbles and looked at him anxiously.

“Did you really get your last paycheck from the Mayo Clinic today?”

“Yep.” His old boss had been playing games, trying to make Reid reconsider. “Why?” Reid cocked his head at Luke. “Worried about my being able to wine and dine you in the style you’re accustomed to?”

Luke laughed at that, cuffing Reid on his head. “Idiot. And I pay for most of our dinners, which usually are cheeseburgers and shakes, hardly breaking my bank account.”

“I’m a cheap date,” Reid agreed.

“And you put out,” Luke teased, throwing back Reid’s old words at him. "That’s a plus.”

They laughed, but then Luke’s smile started to slip away again. He picked up another pebble and watched the ripples in the water. Reid watched him, his gut uneasily stirring. He reached out to touch Luke, massaging his arm, and Luke looked at him again, his eyes soft.

“What’s wrong?” Reid asked. He braced himself, trying to trust that Luke wasn’t disappointed in him somehow.

Luke shook his head. “I’m just thinking about all you gave up: leaving the Mayo Clinic, living at the hotel, your stuff in boxes, and working at Memorial, which you’ve told me a half dozen times is totally inadequate and not up to your standards at all. When you called and mentioned the paycheck, I realized,“ Luke paused, gulping hard. “I realized today that I’m being incredibly selfish.”

Reid merely raised his eyebrows. As far as he was concerned, the words selfish and Luke didn’t belong in the same sentence together.

Luke turned to him, his face full of guilt and doubt. “I never even discussed anything with you; I just assumed you’d be here with me. But I can move the foundation anywhere. You deserve to work and live in a place that makes you happy, Reid. “

“What’re you saying?” Reid narrowed his eyes. “That you’d leave here with me?”

Luke nodded. “I would. Or,“ he looked away, ducking his head. “If it’s too much too soon, I could visit you. Fly to wherever you are as much as you want.” Luke gave a wobbly smile. “As you’re always pointing out, I’m stinking rich.”

“Hell no!” Reid exclaimed. He gripped Luke by the shoulders. “I want you, all of you, “ he growled. “Twenty-four seven.”

Luke grinned at that, and he wiped some imaginary sweat from his brow. “Whew.“

He leaned into Reid, resting his head at Reid’s collarbone. “I don’t want to be apart from you either.” Luke eyes softened. “But I meant the rest. We can go, if you need to live and work elsewhere.”

Reid stared down at him. Luke, who loved this town and his family more than breathing, was offering to leave it all. For him.

Amazed and shocked, Reid said nothing. He stroked Luke’s hair and then rested his hand at the nape of Luke’s neck. Reid could feel the final resistance inside of him melting away. He slowly let the feeling of happiness, so new to him, wash over his body. Luke really did love him. Reid examined Luke’s tense face. Luke needed to be in Oakdale, and Reid would never force Luke to leave. He only wanted to give Luke what he needed, what he wanted.

“Reid?” Luke asked at his silence. “What are you, calculating math equations or something? This is the part where you talk back.”

Reid grunted, pretending he couldn’t speak. Luke nudged him, exasperated, making Reid give him a quick smile. Luke was so easy to rile up, and Reid liked to see his eyes flash, lips twist.

“What do you think about leaving?" Luke persisted.

“Well, I can’t just desert Memorial, even if the place is from the dark ages. My arrival did chase off the other neurosurgeon.”

“Oh.” Luke bit his lip. “That’s right.”

“As far as Memorial goes, you can bet your sweet ass that if I remain there, I plan to drag it into this century. After all, they now have a family wing being built, and they have the finest neurosurgeon in the country, so…”

“What modesty,” Luke said.

Reid ignored him. “When I’m through with it, other doctors will be begging to come and work in Podunk.”

“If anybody can get it to happen with sheer determination and huge ego, it would be you.”

Reid nodded emphatically. “And there’s Bob. He has a long road ahead. I should keep my eye on him. God knows, Kim will be of no use. She’s even calling Chris daily and I can’t let Doogie fly back to be in charge of Bob’s medication; he’s a complete moron.”

“Reid.” A small glimmer of hope was entering Luke’s eyes.

“What? “ Reid smiled quickly. “Kim stuck me on the phone with him the other day, and he hasn’t gotten any smarter. He approaches medicine like it’s an 8th grade history test- all memorization and no critical thinking. I don’t trust him.” Reid would have had a little more respect for Chris if he’d flown back to the States to be with Bob, or had even argued with Reid about Bob’s care. But Chris had been all false joviality on the phone, oozing charm, quoting medical statistics, and all that civility was sickening to Reid because in the end, Chris did nothing of use.

Luke just pursed his lips at him. “If he does visit, try and get along. “

Reid nodded. Since Chris was too selfish to actually get on a plane, it wouldn’t be a problem. Reid studied Luke. He had never expected to end up with him. He had never expected to have love in his life. He smiled at Luke wordlessly. His heart pounded just looking at him. Reid never wanted to do him wrong.

Reid scooped up Luke’s hand and held it firmly, Luke’s fingers threaded in his, palms together. “And let’s not forget the most important thing keeping me here.”

“What’s that?” Luke said eagerly, his eyes widening on Reid’s.

“Emma’s pies.”

Reid nearly laughed at Luke’s face. “Your cooking is pretty good too. And then there’s the crumb snatchers to consider.“ Reid shrugged. “I have to teach Natalie about blood and guts; I promised her.“ Reid looked out at the water. “And God knows we can’t leave Natalie and Ethan to the whims of your parents. “

“Reid,” Luke murmured. He hesitated, his face looked strained. “I admit I’d like to be here, and I’d miss my family. But I can’t let you do this just for me. You could be at Hopkins or Cleveland Clinic- anywhere.”

“And I can stay anywhere too,“ Reid argued, gazing at Luke steadily. “As long as I stay with you.”

Ignoring Luke’s startled gasp, Reid leaned in and kissed him, his lips coaxing Luke’s open, his tongue gentle in Luke’s mouth. Luke took a deep inhalation, and kissed him back, their arms holding each other, their bodies fitting, molding together. Reid could feel the steady beat of Luke’s heart at his own chest. He kissed Luke again; his fingers nestled at Luke’s face.

Luke pulled back slightly, searching Reid’s eyes. “I love you so much. And I love you for offering to stay here. But are you sure?” Luke chewed his lip.
Reid smiled, thinking that Luke looked pretty sexy when he bit down on that lower lip, his face hopeful.

“I know how much you hate Oakdale,” Luke added.

“I don’t hate it,” Reid finally admitted, rolling his eyes. “I mean, yeah, it’s a dump…But you know,” Reid shrugged at him. “ It’s the closest thing that I ever had to a home.”

Luke smiled then, that huge, blindingly beautiful smile of his, the one where his dimples appeared, his eyes lit up, and his face glowed, radiating joy; the one that was Reid’s favorite look of all. Reid put his fingers to the corner of Luke’s mouth and sucked in a shaky breath, and Reid knew beyond a doubt that Luke’s smile was all the welcome he’d ever need.


The End


Thank you for reading! I love this community lots and lots!
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Anywhere USA
Author: Marsabi
Summary: This is a two part story with multiple chapters.
Part One: Abandoned as a teen, Reid is forced to live on the Snyder farm as a foster kid for a few months, before he heads off on his own, but will a certain child worm his way into Reid’s heart?
Part Two: Reid returns to Oakdale as a favor for Bob, something he planned never to do, and he can’t wait to leave town, until his past slams into him in the form of Luke Snyder and damn if Luke isn’t all grown up.
Warning: Sexual Content in some parts
Rating: PG-NC-17
Thanks to the following friends for their support of this story: shadownyc, traciamc, and Rhiannonhero
Author’s notes: This was bid on by Rhiannon Hero for the Japanese auction. Because I know Rhiannonhero loathes short chapters, these chapters will be long.

Chapter 10

After leaving the farm, they headed to Lily’s to get some of Luke’s belongings. The car ride was silent, but a nice type of silent, like they had no need for words. Reid felt more relaxed than he had in years. They drove on, the sun starting to set now, warm colors of pink and orange spreading across the sky.

“Do you mind some music?” Luke asked softly.

“Sure.”

Luke smiled and fiddled with the radio a moment and then took Reid’s hand in his.

Giving him a quick look, Reid thought again about his vacation time. He had some due to him, lots and lots actually. The Mayo Clinic couldn’t refuse him. He wouldn’t tell Luke about it just yet, not until he was officially on a break, but he made a mental note to get in touch with his boss there.

As they pulled up to Lily’s house, Reid’s relaxed feeling began to fade. He knew he should keep it all casual and easy, but he was feeling anything but that at the moment. He felt proprietary toward Luke; he didn’t want to have Luke go inside his house, feeling suddenly certain that seeing other people might make their new closeness vanish. He wanted Luke for himself - if only for a little longer.

Reid glanced at the house; it was smaller than he’d pictured but still impressive looking. Lily was probably home and Reid would need to make small talk with her. And while he didn’t dislike Lily, she had a way of making him feel like a really bad guest. She never wanted him at the farm that summer, not really, and Reid could imagine that she didn’t want him here now, much less want him inside her son, which of course she didn’t know about, but he could imagine her horror all the same.

Seeing the house, a wave of irritation went through him. This was Luke’s world, his family. Reid could pretend it was just him and Luke at the hotel or even back at the empty farm, but here Reid could almost feel the Snyder clan roping Luke off and pulling him in.

Well, at least it was just Lily and Luke’s immediate family he might have to face inside. It could be worse. It could be the entire town. Reid could still see the adoration on their faces at Luke’s birthday as he rode around on a pony, waving to them all. Luke belonged here; he was rooted here.

For Reid, this town just reminded him of the endless days as an insecure, scrawny nobody, trying desperately to follow his ambitions, refusing to be sidetracked. But Reid understood that for Luke this place was everything that mattered. It was family and it was home. Not that he cared what any of these idiots thought, but Reid could imagine the gasps of outrage as the town learned that Reid was screwing the unofficial prince of Oakdale.

He swallowed hard and turned off the ignition, making no move to leave the car.

Luke turned to him suddenly, un-clicking his seat belt and scooting close to him. Gently, Luke ran his thumb over Reid’s lips and then held the side of his neck. Tilting his head, Luke smiled slightly.

“What?” Reid asked, feeling the skinny kid he used to be chafe under scrutiny. Reid knew what most people thought of him when he entered a room; he knew he wasn’t an easy person.

“Nothing. Just….” Luke slid his gaze away. “There’s still so much about you that I want to know. “

Reid said nothing. His mouth turned down. Great. Just great. Luke wanted to know about him. Of course he did, but what was there to tell? His past was a prickly, painful thing and he hated thinking about it. Why couldn’t they just enjoy each other? Reid should have taken Luke straight back to the hotel and continued to screw his brains out. Then he wouldn’t be sitting here in the car sweating out old memories of being alone. Besides, no one ever died from wearing the same clothes two days in a row.

“Like…before coming here, were you involved with anybody recently? “ Luke peeked at him from beneath his eyelashes.

“Not really. Let’s go inside.”

Why did it keep coming up, the constant reminders of how alone he’s been his whole life? This thing with Luke was just temporary, too. He shouldn’t be thinking of extending his stay. He should be trying to find a way to cut it even shorter. If he was smart, and he had it on good authority that he was very smart, then he’d be getting the hell out of Dodge, not getting his dick further and further in Luke.

Reid opened up his door and started for Lily’s house, while Luke hurried to catch him. Reid swallowed a muffled curse. Of course, he should have realized that Luke, being Luke, would feel a compulsion to analyze him. He probably read self-help magazines at his dentist’s office. For that matter, Oakdale probably offered a college course on how to get your boyfriend to be a star-crossed lover.

Not that Luke couldn’t ask about his past, but why should they go there? He’d done lots of things with lots of people, but none of it had anything to do with Luke.

“So it has been a long time? Or it hasn’t been? What’s not really mean?”

“It hasn’t been that long, okay?“ Reid snapped. “But it’s just sex, Luke. I enjoy sex, but I just don’t think about them afterwards. I’m not putting notches on my bedpost; I’m too busy for that nonsense.“

“That’s it?’ Luke pursed his lips together. “That’s all the men you’ve slept with mean to you?”

“That’s it. “ Reid nodded. “My personal life can’t compete with medicine. Never has and never will.”

Bob was wrong all those years ago, some people couldn’t have both a home life and a medical career. Reid grimaced, remembering how Bob seemed to have it all. He could see Bob leaving with Kim and Chris for the day, as Reid had stood alone waiting for Holden to pick him up, acting like he hadn’t wished it was Bob’s hand on his arm instead of Chris’s.

Luke clicked his tongue at him. “That explains a lot.” He jammed his hands in his pockets. “What’s the matter with you?”

Reid frowned. “Me? Nothing. What’s the matter with you?”

Luke didn’t answer, but he gave Reid a piercing, injured look.

“Don’t overreact,” Reid said, pushing the memory away. He felt an impulse to wrap his arms around Luke.

“Why do you say I’m overreacting, whenever I want to know about your life? “ He tossed his head back. “And I hardly ever overreact. I’m interested, making conversation. It’s what people do, you know, talk.” Luke’s lip jutted out again. “I told you about my past.”

“You don’t have a past,“ Reid said. He pinched his nose. “Look, there’s nothing else to tell. I never cared about them. I’m a doctor; that’s what I care about. Stop looking at me for things that aren’t there. Leave it alone, will you?” Reid grunted at his own words, aimed more at himself than at Luke; he was the one thinking about being a 15 year old screw-up again, longing for a father figure, hoping for a family that would never be there, wanting too much from the past, from the present.

A myriad of expressions crossed Luke’s face. He shrugged, “Sure, okay.”

Reid opened his mouth, tempted to apologize for his abrupt tone, then he shut it. Reid rubbed the back of his neck. “I didn’t mean to hurt you-“

“I’m not hurt,” Luke said quickly, feigning disinterest. “You don’t have relationships; you have medicine. Got it.” Luke started to walk up the front steps, but Reid grabbed his shoulder.

“Hold on, hold on,” Reid said.

“What?” Luke folded his arms at his chest.

Reid let out a long breath. “You know I’m an ass. But when I said they never matter… I don’t mean you, alright?” Reid took his hands on both sides of Luke’s face and held them there. ”You’re more than those other men and all of that,“ he added, unable to stop . Christ, he was babbling like an imbecile and Luke knew it.

“What am I?’ Luke asked softly, searching Reid’s face.

Reid swallowed hard, his lungs tightening painfully, making it hard to breathe. “I don’t know…” He gazed a moment a Luke. He could feel the softness of Luke’s skin under his hands, and see the wistful hope in his eyes. Reid remembered Holden pulling up in the truck outside of the hospital, Luke in the front seat with him, a grin on his face, excited to see Reid, and the way even then, Reid’s stomach would warm with affection for the kid.

Reid took a deep inhale, squeezing the air in. “You’re-“ Reid paused, then he shrugged. “You’re … Luke” he finally said and kissed Luke’s mouth to stop any more questions.

Luke wrapped an arm at Reid’s waist and kissed him back, hard. Luke pressed his forehead against him, and Reid closed his eyes briefly. Then, with a pat on Luke’s cheek, Reid stepped back.

“Now let’s get your stuff and go back to the hotel,” Reid said, feeling relieved the conversation was over and glad to have cast off the bad memory for a good one. Luke nodded and took Reid’s hand in his own. They marched up the steps of the house.

“And don’t forget your toothbrush," Reid instructed. “You’re not using mine.”

“Oh, you mean the one I scrubbed the toilet with this morning?” Luke grinned. He opened up his front door and they went to the stairs.

Reid was about to joke back with him, when Lily’s voice rang out.

“Who‘s there?” Lily called, coming up the stairs.

“Me, Mom,” Luke said.

“I didn’t know you’d be around today.” Lily said, coming up to them, looked like she’s been crying, her face was splotchy, her eyes looked pinched.

Luke immediately went to his mother and embraced her. “Are you okay?” he asked.

She patted him. “Of course, baby. Just tired.“ Lily smiled at Reid. “I don’t know if I’ll see you after today. I have to pack for Paris. I go in a few days to see some perfume factories.”

Reid nodded, thinking Lily’s fragrance must be desperation with a splash of self-pity.

“Mom,” Luke said, still frowning at her. “If you want me to come-“

“Oh, no. You have so much going on here.” Lily squared her shoulders. “I’ll do it alone.” Then she sniffed and said, “Do you boys want a snack? It’s so nice to have you visiting Luke, Reid.”

“We’re good,” Luke said. “Um, we’ll be in my room.”

Lily just nodded and went downstairs.

“She okay?” Reid asked.

Luke sighed. “Not really.”

They went up to Luke’s room. Reid took in the narrow bed, collection of basketball trophies, and goofy pictures his siblings had drawn for him tacked onto the walls.

“Excuse me,” Reid said to Luke, who was busy putting some things in an overnight bag. “Have you decided to stay seven years old? All that’s missing is your stuffed bear collection. “

“Shut up,” Luke laughed and pushed at Reid. Reid smiled at him and sat down on Luke’s small bed.

“Just saying-time to put the toys away.”

“Can you be nice to me for like five minutes?” Luke made a face at him.

“I thought I was very nice to you earlier,” Reid pointed out. “Say the word and I’ll very nicely introduce you to some grownup toys.” Reid waggled his eyebrows at Luke.

Luke grunted in reply. He threw some pants into his suitcase. Reid stood up a moment, and opened up his other drawer and tossed him a few t-shirts. Luke caught them in one hand, and then smiled at Reid, as Reid flopped back down on Luke’s bed.

“That was it? “ Reid said. “Not gonna continue your lecture on making me a better person?”

“Nope,” Luke started to put some toiletries into his bag. “And I never said you weren’t a good person. In fact, I kind of like the person you are.” Luke walked over to him. He ran a finger down Reid’s chest.

“Good,” Reid replied huskily. “’Cause I was just about to comment on all your copious hair products. Are they all necessary to bring? I feel like I just invited Cher back to my hotel.”

Luke laughed, shaking his head. He dropped his hand away.

Reid picked off some lint form the blue bedspread. “Just so we’re clear? I’m never having sex with you in Lily’s house, no matter how magnificent looking you might be. I have real issues with the idea of mommy walking in. I can just imagine Lily calling you baby and wanting to powder your ass.”

Luke leaned back against his wall and looked at Reid, a small smile on his mouth. “You think I’m magnificent looking?”

Reid rolled his eyes. “Don’t be all coy - you own a mirror.”

“No, I’m not trying to be coy,” Luke looked self-conscious and rubbed at the back of his neck. “It’s just kind of nice to hear…You’re the first person to- Noah never – he didn’t like to talk or anything. I always had to work really hard to know what he thought about me.” Luke caught his bottom lip on his teeth.

“So, you never talked or had sex. And you were unhappy? Shocking.”

Reid glanced at the picture of Noah with Luke. They were a good two inches apart, not touching each other. It looked like a picture of two friends on their way to school.

“So why did you stay with him so long?”

“I guess…. I don’t know.” Luke looked at him helplessly. “I mean I thought he loved me, and I’d waited for somebody to say that they loved me for a long time, so - I don’t know. I just kept trying to make it work. But we never fit, not easily.” Luke ducked his head.

Reid got off the bed and went to him. He walked over to where Luke stood and he grabbed Luke, pulling his body in tightly to his own. Reid pushed him back against the wall, capturing his hands, and held them high above Luke’s head. Luke gasped in surprise as Reid smiled at him until Luke slowly smiled back, their eyes gripped in passion. Reid began to kiss Luke’s lips.

The door opened suddenly and they moved apart.

“Oh!” Lily inhaled a sharp breath. “Oh.”

“Mom!”

“Hey Lily,” Reid said.

Lily’s eyes darted back and forth at them. “Are you- are you?” Lily floundered.

“Mom-“ Luke said and then stopped in confusion.

Reid took his hand. “Let’s make this simple. “ Reid looked at Lily. “Luke and I are spending some time together.”

Luke blushed, but he smiled down at their linked fingers.

“Reid,” Lily said. “Please excuse us a moment?” Lily gestured for Luke to step into the hallway.

Reluctantly, Luke let go of Reid’s hand and followed his mother. Neither of them probably realized that their voices carried, and Reid could hear every word.

“Luke,” Lily said. “I don’t understand, baby. You and Reid? You’re so different.”

“We understand each other, Mom. We aren’t so different really. Not in the important ways.”

Reid felt his heart bang against his chest and he flushed. He just stood there, listening.

“I’m trying to stop you from a mistake. Listen to me-“

“It’s not a mistake. You have no idea what it is.”

“Luke--”

“Mom, it isn't your business. Look, I’m going back in to Reid.”

Reid tried to appear indifferent as they both came back into the room, but he couldn’t help peering over at Luke. Luke smiled at him. He came over and picked up Reid’s hand again and Lily frowned, her brows knitted together. She turned her attention to Reid.

Lily shook her head. “I know you’re a good doctor and not a bad man,” she told Reid stiffly. “But surely you must see how odd this is? Luke is much younger than you.”

Reid tried to be indifferent to Lily’s cold statement. He just shrugged at her. “Luke’s a grown man, able to make up his own mind.”

The whole thing was a little crazy, considering they weren’t even a couple really, that it was a sex thing or a friend thing or…Reid scowled. Whatever it was, Luke was right, it wasn’t any of Lily’s damn business.

“Mom!” Luke said. “Reid is a good man, and I am old enough to decide that for myself.”

“And what about Noah?”

Luke’s entire body tensed. “Mom, we broke up. You know that.”

“Luke,” Lily said, ignoring Reid completely now. “You just broke up with Noah; you can’t possibly be ready for another relationship.”

There was a silence, and then Reid felt Luke squeeze his fingers. Luke nodded at Lily slowly. “I appreciate you worrying about me, but I’m fine. Really. Go on your trip and enjoy yourself, okay?”

“But Noah-“

“Is a grown man, too, Mom, and, like I said, so am I.“ Luke went on, ignoring Lily’s growing frown. “And you know how it was with Noah. We broke up more times than I can count. We’ve barely seen each other all these months, especially since Ameera came into the picture.” Luke shook his head. “Even before she came, we weren’t happy. You remember the election and all of that, right? It should have been over then. It was over. I just didn’t want to admit it. You know how sad I was with him, how alone I felt.”

Lily was about to reply, when they all heard the door bang open.

“We’re home, mommy,” shouted Natalie.

“Go make a snack, honey,” Lily shouted out. “I’ll be right there.”

“Lily?” Holden called. They heard him come up the steps. Holden walked into the room, a sleeping
Ethan in his arms, and seeing Luke, Reid, and Lily's expressions, he asked, “What’s going on?”

Reaching out his other hand to touch Holden’s shoulder, Luke shrugged. “I was just telling Mom that Reid and I are involved.” Luke moved his hand to Ethan’s small frame. “Shouldn’t you put him to bed?”

“You and Reid….” Holden said, perplexed.

“Can you believe it?” Lily said. “Just after breaking up with Noah, Luke says he’s with Reid now. “

Holden made a face at Lily. “Well, if that’s what Luke wants-“

“For God sake’s, Holden, Luke can’t know what he wants right now.“ She glared at him. “And of course, that’s what you’d say!”

They began to fight bitterly, in hushed voices so as not wake up Ethan, and Reid was amazed that even now, Holden and Lily could find a way to turn Luke’s life into their own drama. It was still all about them.

This time, Reid squeezed Luke’s hand. They turned to one another, shutting Lily and Holden out, and exchanged a smile. Luke’s eyes held a sadness though, and it made Reid want to drag him down the hallway. Reid knew that Luke would always care deeply about his home and his family; he wouldn’t want Luke to be any other way, but neither did he want Luke to needlessly listen to them.

“Look, we gotta go,” Reid told Holden and Lily abruptly. Luke eyed his still fighting parents.

“I’ll call you both,” Luke said, lovingly, and it jolted Reid to realize that Luke’s heart truly had no limits, and his own heart lurched in reaction. Holden and Lily only nodded, their hostile glares focused on each other. They had always been that way; their children always second behind their own drama.

As if Luke were thinking the same thing, he reached out protectively to stroke his little brother’s silky hair once more.

“I’ll take him, Dad,” Luke offered.

Holden nodded, barely looking at Luke as he dumped Ethan into his arms. Holden’s attention was on Lily, the air between them turning even uglier. Reid was glad to help Luke take Ethan, even asleep, away from them, and he was glad to have Luke leave the room too.

Reid picked up Luke’s bag and followed him down the hallway. Carefully, Luke carried his brother to his room and laid him on the bed. He took off Ethan’s shoes and socks, and rubbed Ethan’s small feet. Reid handed Luke a cover, and Luke spread it across his brother, tucking him in.

Reid motioned toward the door.

Luke hesitated a moment, looking down at Ethan again, and giving him a kiss on his forehead. Ethan stirred a moment and then was silent. Luke walked to the door, and still paused, chewing his lip. Reid waited for him to be ready, his hand resting at Luke’s waist.

Luke sucked in a breath. “They’re good parents, and they do love us. Really. But sometimes…” He shook his head. Reid moved his hand up from Luke’s waist and then wrapped both his arms around Luke’s chest, not speaking. Luke looked back at him, smiled slightly, and then rested against Reid. They both looked down at Ethan’s sleeping form.

“He’s got you,” Reid whispered into Luke’s ear. Reid could feel a deep sigh move through Luke’s body, before he looked at Reid again and nodded.

“I try,” Luke smiled. “We can go. I’ll call them in the morning.”

“Sure?”

Luke nodded.

With his free arm, Reid picked up Luke’s small overnight bag, and they went downstairs, hand in hand, leaving Luke’s home behind them.

As they got to the car, Reid stopped Luke from opening his door. He put a hand on Luke’s neck and searched his eyes.

“What?” Luke asked. He already seemed more at ease away from his parents. He jammed his hands into his pockets, looking inquisitively at Reid, ready to be there for him too. For a moment, it made the words Reid wanted to say stick in his throat.

Reid stared at Luke intensely, devouring his face, fervently glad that he had a photographic memory, and that he would forever be able to summon it up. Reid put his hand to Luke’s smiling mouth and ran his fingers over their shape.

“No matter what, do me one favor okay? Don’t go back to a guy like Noah. You deserve better than that. You deserve somebody who doesn’t play games. Who treats you right. Noah’s not that guy.” Reid tenderly cupped the side of Luke’s face.

Luke blinked at him slowly. “Okay,” he said in a soft voice.

Reid kissed him, still keeping his fingers on Luke’s cheek.

Luke smiled, and covered Reid’s hand with his own, letting it rest on the side of his face a moment longer.

“Good, now that we’ve settled that,“ Reid said briskly, giving him a fast smile. “Let’s go back to the hotel and we can try out some of those positions you’re so curious about.” Reid put his mouth to Luke’s ear. ”How about you do me?”

Luke gaped at him, “Seriously? Now?”

Reid shrugged. “Got something more important to do? Somewhere else to be?”

“No,” Luke shook his head vigorously. “I’m ready to go. I won’t let you down,” he told Reid with an earnest look.

Reid patted him once more. “Then you’ve got the job.”


***
The drive back to the hotel, Luke never stopped talking. He seemed full of excitement, even more than normal, he rocked in his seat, waving his hands around as he spoke.

“I’m going to call a few favors in and start on that family wing, and then maybe build a brand new Peds wing too. A neuro wing?” He shot Reid a sly look. “There is so much I can do for Memorial. ” Luke drummed his fingers at his knee. “And I have other ideas. I think I can make them happen,” he said. “Like maybe I’ll look into buying a small newspaper here too. I wanted to have a gay magazine focusing on issues of gay rights. Another idea I had is -”

“Maybe focus on one idea at a time, Trust Fund,“ Reid teased.

Luke shrugged, smiling widely. “I know, you’re right. I’m just excited. I put all these ideas on hold, doubting I could make them really happen, but now. I dunno. I feel so energized!”

Reid nodded. He enjoyed listening to all of Luke’s ideas. Reid knew why he felt energized; he felt that way too. It was all the mind blowing sex. He looked at Luke’s animated face and smiled again.

Luke could do anything he wanted with his life. Reid has always believed that about him. Whatever dreams he had stored up in his heart, Luke could make them happen. Reid’s smile faded a little. He would like to see them come to fruition. It was only now that Luke seemed ready to start down a path of self discovery, and Reid would have liked to watch him take on the world with his eyes open and heart aimed so high, but Reid would be long gone by then.

“Hey,” Luke tugged at his arm. “Where are you?”

Reid forced a smile. “I’m right here.”

Luke narrowed his eyes at him, his head tilted. “Are you sure?” His face filled with concern.

“I’m fine,” Reid replied, rolling his eyes.

“Okay,” Luke answered, wrinkling his nose up, and then rolling his eyes right back at him. “Be all strong and silent.” Luke took his hand. “But I’m here if you want to talk to me.”

Reid’s mouth kicked up at the corners. “I’m fine,” he said again, but in a softer voice. Reid shook off his worries and smiled at Luke. “Tell me more about your magazine idea.”


A huge grin swept over Luke’s face. “Really? You wanna hear? ” At Reid’s nod, Luke beamed. Eagerly, Luke launched into detail about his plans. Luke was so damn excited. Clearly, all the sex had agreed with him. Maybe spending time together hadn’t hurt Luke’s confidence either.

Suddenly it occurred to Reid that if Luke were this upbeat now, what would Luke be like after he topped him? Reid felt an ache in his groin. He drove a little faster toward the hotel. Reid had only bottomed a few times. He preferred to be the one in control, but the idea of teaching Luke how to do it? Showing him how to make a man ready for his cock, and move inside of him? A thrill of anticipation ran down Reid’s spine.

Reid quickly pulled up to the building and parked the car. He and Luke both laughed as they practically leaped out of the car, and rushed inside and over to the elevator. For once, Reid was eager to ride in it. He kissed Luke a few times on the way up to his suite. Luke took off Reid’s jacket, running his hands over Reid’s back. Then the elevator doors opened and they hurried to the room, still stopping to kiss and grab at each other, and then hurrying some more. Reid fumbled, unusually klutzy, nearly dropping his key.

As they banged open the hotel door, kissing some more, Reid’s pager went off. Both he and Luke glared at it.

Reid read the message from Bob.

“Work. I gotta leave,” Reid said.

“Right now?” Luke pouted.

“Ameera’s awake,“ he told Luke. “A bit sooner than expected, but it’s good news.“

“Oh,” Luke’s face cleared. He nodded. “That’s wonderful! I’m happy for her.”

“Yeah, but I do need to run over there now.” Reid still held Luke’s waist. He knew that it was odd that he didn’t really want to leave.

“Well, I’ll just work on some foundation business on my laptop.” Luke clasped his shoulder. “I can wait for you.” He made no move to release Reid either.

Reid kissed him once more, urgently needing to taste his mouth, feel his lips. Luke moaned slightly and kissed him back. Cursing, Reid broke it off and stepped away.

“I’ll be as fast as I can.”

Luke nodded once more. He went to Reid, inhaling sharply. Luke put his lips on the side of Reid’s neck and sucked at the sensitive skin, making Reid twist his head in response. Then Luke released him, smiling at him.

“I’ll be here,” Luke promised.
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Anywhere, USA
Author: Marsabi
Warning: None
Summary: Luke and Reid meet again as adults


Chapter 6

The next morning Reid was running late. He’d slept poorly and hadn’t heard his alarm, and now he hurried into the locker room. He had no time for breakfast before he needed to start to prep for Ameera's operation, and so he quickly downed some vending machine snacks. He’d have to operate on sugar and adrenaline. He'd done it before, and he could do it again.

Briefly, he wondered how Luke was doing this morning. He imagined Luke already at Ameera’s room or lingering out in the hallway. After last night, Reid hoped he wouldn’t see him. His feelings for Luke confused him. Luke wasn’t just a little brother; Reid could admit it now. How could he tell himself that Luke was like a brother, when he kept picturing those lips on his cock? If it was only an attraction, Reid would deal with it, but Luke brought out weird, messy feelings of affection - and it was so much more complicated now that he knew Luke was gay.

Reid ran a hand over his face. He would do his job, avoid all this craziness, and leave as soon as possible. With any luck, he’d barely have to see Luke today. Besides, given how things ended last night, Luke was annoyed with Reid too, so he’d probably just stay away.

Feeling slightly better, Reid began to change. He took off his pants and put on scrub bottoms, and he had his shirt off, just about to change into the scrub top, when the door swung open.

“Reid,” Luke called out.

Reid paused in shock, his shirt still in his hand. Jesus. It was like Luke had a sixth sense. He always knew where to find Reid.

“Don’t you knock?” Reid snarled, annoyed at the way his heart raced at the sight of Luke.

Luke said nothing, his eyes on Reid’s bare chest. Reid could practically feel Luke’s eyes move like a caress, gliding over his bare neck and shoulders, then sliding down to his pecs, staying a moment on his nipples before moving to his lower abs. When he saw that Reid was watching him, Luke quickly averted his gaze and stared off at the lockers.

Complicated, Reid thought again and frowned.

Reid noticed Holden standing just behind Luke, a warm smile on his face, and the usual farm-ready wear making a drab fashion statement.

“Sorry for interrupting you, Reid,” Holden said. “I just wanted to stop in and say hello. It’s been a long time, and I didn’t want to miss you after the surgery.”

Social niceties always confused Reid. Who really cared? He nodded and said, "Okay."

“And you became a doctor,” Holden smiled, stating the obvious like he always did. “I guess you really did like all that medical stuff.”

“Nah,“ Reid drawled. “I only did it so I could wear these scrubs.” Reid pulled on his top. “They’re like pajamas. “ He glanced at Luke. “The medical stuff was just a bonus.”

“Well,” Holden went on, “I know Luke’s glad it’s you taking care of Ameera. He was ecstatic to tell me that you had returned to town and that you were the one operating on her. Ecstatic.”

Reid eyed Luke curiously. Luke was flushing a slightly pink color. He appeared to be still transfixed by the lockers.

“So you’re close to Ameera too?” Reid asked Holden.

“Oh, sure. And Noah. I’m here to support Noah through this, and Luke too.”

“I didn’t realize the Mayers meant so much to your whole family,” Reid said. He knew the Snyders were meddlesome busy-bodies, but everything about this situation reeked of weirdness.

Holden was about to answer, when his cell phone buzzed. “Excuse me, I gotta take this. “ Holden answered it with an annoyed glare. “Not here,“ he told the person on the other end. “Later.” He walked out the door to talk in private.

Reid wondered if he should mention the small fight he and Luke had had from last night, but Luke didn’t seem to be thinking about it. His eyes were at the door as he listened to Holden talking. They heard Holden whispering and then his voice rising at the person on the phone. Luke looked at Reid and smiled a bit ruefully.

“New girlfriend?” Reid guessed.

Holden’s voice carried again. Then silence.

“Yeah. And maybe, well Mom thinks - new long lost sibling.”

“You’re kidding!”

Luke sighed deeply. “I wish. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love Abigail and Aaron, and I’m fine with anything Dad does.” Luke didn’t look fine to Reid. He looked stressed. Now that Reid was facing him, he could see circles under Luke’s eyes, tension in his face.

“What I worry about,“ Luke said. “Are the little ones. I really hope there’s no truth to Mom’s worries. I mean for Faith, Nat and Ethan’s sake. It will just upset them. Confuse them, you know?”

Reid nodded. “Maybe Lily’s wrong.”

“Maybe.” Luke ran a tired hand over his eyes. “You’re so lucky in some ways not to have anybody.”

Reid said nothing.

“Oh, God!” Luke said, his mouth dropping open. “I didn’t mean - that sounded so - I’m sorry. That wasn’t how I meant-“

Reid held up his hand to stop Luke’s words. “It’s just the truth,” Reid replied calmly.

Luke gazed at him with a mixture of guilt and compassion. “I’m sorry,” Luke repeated softly. “You know that I feel-“

“I have medicine,” Reid interrupted. “And being a doctor is fine; it’s more than enough for me.”

Luke gave him a troubled look.

“So you really might have another sibling out there?” Reid said crisply, trying to get the subject off of how alone he was. Why did that fact keep coming up?

Luke looked at him a long moment and then he nodded. “Seems to be the case.” He walked a few steps closer to Reid. “And the strange part is that Dad was the one who gave me the whole birth control lecture.”

Reid raised an eyebrow at that.

“Before he knew I had no danger of knocking anybody up.” Luke half-smiled.

“Worried about the girl next door and that tempting barn house, was he?”

“Yeah,” Luke said. “He stumbled over a few basic pointers and then handed me a book about it. It had some really nice pictures too, colored illustrations.“ Luke laughed. “Not really the book I needed though.”

“I doubt Oakdale library carries that book. If I recall, their circulation material stopped around the 1950s.”

“And now Dad once again might be in a paternity mess,” Luke sighed.

“Well,“ Reid offered. “I’m about to go into brain surgery, but if you want I think I could handle giving Holden a quick neutering afterward.”

“Reid!” Luke exclaimed “That’s awful.” But his eyes gleamed and mouth curved up.

“Snip , snip?” Reid made a scissor with his hand.

Luke snorted out a laugh.

“You know these heterosexuals,” Reid continued, “they can never keep their pants zipped.”

The door swung back open. “All done.” Holden smiled at them. “Luke? Want to head with me to Ameera’s room? I’m sure Reid has to get ready.”

“I do,” Reid said

“Okay,” Luke answered. He moved closer to the door.

“Oh, Holden,” Reid said, turning to the other man for a moment.

“Yeah?”

Reid saw Luke’s eyes bug out. He flashed Luke a quick grin.

“There’s something I wanted to tell you.”

Luke frantically mouthed, ‘please no.’

Reid held back the urge to laugh. He gave Luke an innocent stare and Luke shut his eyes like he had on Casey the night before.

Reid walked over to Holden, and, forgetting about teasing Luke, Reid studied Holden’s face. He’d been planning to say something to both Lily and Holden, and the time seemed as right as any. “Look, I,“ Reid paused. “I wanted to say I appreciate that summer that you took me in.” He extended a hand out to Holden and they shook.

Even though Reid didn’t think much of Holden as a reliable husband and questioned his choices as a father, he knew that he’d done him a kindness way back then.

Looking stunned, Luke watched them shake hands. Then his eyes became all big and melting. Reid could practically hear all the sappy, gooey thoughts running in Luke’s head. Reid rolled his eyes at him.

Luke’s grin widened at the eye roll, and he just wrinkled his nose back at Reid.

“Thank you for that,” Holden nodded.

Reid nodded back.

“We all just hope you can save Ameera,” Holden said. “We’re counting on it.”

“I’ll do everything I can.”

“We should go,” Holden replied. He clasped a heavy hand on Luke’s shoulder. “I’m sure Noah needs us there, right?”

Reid was watching Luke’s eyes, and he could just see the light going out of them. The moment of teasing and sweetness evaporating before him, Luke appeared miserable now. He shifted his feet.

“You’re right. I should go and see.”

“I’m sure it will all soon work out and return to how it was before,” Holden told Luke cryptically. It felt like he was speaking in some odd code.

Luke merely shrugged.

Once again, Reid felt like he was confused by the situation. He couldn’t figure out the Snyders and the Mayers deep connection. Since learning that Luke was gay, and therefore not in love with Ameera, the situation baffled Reid. But then again, this was Oakdale, where nothing made sense and everything got lost in translation.

“Bye, Reid,” Holden said. “We’ll be waiting outside the OR.”

Reid nodded.

“Bye,” Luke said quietly.

“Bye, Luke.”

Whatever this bizarre situation with Ameera and Noah was, Reid was firmly on Luke’s side. Reid just wished that Luke would stop blaming himself about Ameera . Wasn’t he sick of that yet? Luke always blamed himself for everybody else’s troubles; he’d been that way as a kid, too.

With his eyes, Reid attempted to communicate his desire to help him. Something gentled on Luke’s face, and Reid knew he understood him. Luke had always understood him.

But Luke said nothing else, his gaze swept over Reid’s body a moment, and then he followed his father out the door.

***

During Reid's final briefing of Noah, Luke had been nowhere to be seen, which wasn't too much of a surprise given how adamant Noah had been about leaving Luke out of all decisions concerning Ameera's care. But the presence of Holden and Lily, both physically supporting Noah with hands on his arm and shoulders, had triggered another round of questions for Reid to ponder as he walked toward the OR. They were treating Noah almost like a son, and hadn't Luke said that Noah had no family? Was he yet another stray the Snyders had taken in at their farm? Was he a warmer, touchy-feelier version of Reid himself? Had he milked cows for a few summers in exchange for a home, and managed to wriggle his way into their family, to actually be one of them?

Reid snorted. Who'd even want that?

Turning toward the OR, Reid saw Luke slumped against a wall; avoiding Luke was proving impossible today. Luke straightened up at the sight of Reid and came toward him, provoking in Reid an odd combination of feelings. As Luke nearly reached him, Reid couldn’t determine if it was fear or thrill that made his pulse leap slightly.

"What are you doing here?" Reid said, not stopping, but continuing on to the OR.

"Waiting for you." Luke was immediately at his heels, and Reid stepped up the pace, hoping that he still stood a chance of shaking him.

"Why?"

"Just 'cause," Luke said. "I wanted to say good luck in there."

Reid stopped short, unable to keep himself from looking at Luke again. "Don’t need it."

“Oh, course not,“ Luke said, amusement on his face. “I forgot who I’m talking to.” Luke gave a little, mocking bow and then grinned.

Reid smiled back at him, almost shyly. “I thought you were angry with me last night, but you came in to see me with Holden before and now you’re here again.”

Luke shrugged generously. “I was angry, but if you’re only here for a few days…I don’t want to waste them being mad at you.”

“Oh,” Reid said. Luke was so close to him there wasn’t an inch of space between their bodies.

“Even if I’m a blip,” Luke added.

“I-I never said you were a blip- I never,” Reid couldn’t believe he was actually stammering now.

Luke gave him a saucy grin.

“Are you being a wise-ass?” Reid asked him.

“Maybe. “ Luke tilted his head. “What’re you gonna do about it?”

“Listen, If I wasn’t on my way to surgery –“ Reid began stepping threateningly at him.

Pain suddenly shot through his leg. Cursing, Reid began to hop around on it, trying to make the charley horse go away.

Luke frowned, his teasing grin gone. “Are you okay?”

“Do I look okay?” Reid replied. He stamped his foot on the floor to try and stop the cramping pain.

“What is it?”

Reid sat down in a nearby chair and pulled at his toes. “Just a charley horse . I get them, mostly in the morning. I’ve had too much surgery lately and not enough stretching. And my hotel bed sucks. ”

Reid left out the fact that he had barely slept. The reason for it was staring him in the face all full of concern now, making the empathetic sounds that Luke made so well.

“You should try yoga,” Luke advised. “I’ve heard it’s good for loosening up muscles.”

“Yoga?” Reid snorted. “Do I look like an earthy-crunchy type?” Reid made a face.

“And for a doctor? Your diet is terrible.” Luke scolded him. “I saw all those vending machine snacks.”

Reid shot him a glare. “Thanks, Mom. Damn it. Right now, I'd try anything. Getting a kink in my leg right before a major operation is going to set it back. Can't go in until it's resolved.”

“Here,” Luke said, “let me help.”

“How?” Reid grimaced and pulled at his toes again. After a moment, he stood up, and tried to walk down the hallway.

“Wait, Reid,” Luke cautioned. “Give it a minute.”

“I don’t have time for this.” Reid made it one more step, when pain sliced through his calf muscle.

“At least lean on me ,” Luke said, grabbing at Reid’s waist and hoisting him close, causing Reid’s body to stiffen and his heart to speed up.

“I’m not leaning on you . Don’t you have a foundation to fulfill all these obsequious, do-gooder instincts of yours? Go rescue a small country or something. Leave me alone.”

Luke pursed his lips. “Being a jerk might scare off most of the people you meet. In fact, I’m sure it causes the hospital staff to flee in terror, but it doesn’t work with me. “

“Why not? Too much hayseed between the ears?” Reid grumbled, but he grabbed Luke around the shoulders, which felt firm under Reid’s hands.

“Too much exposure to you,” Luke replied, “and at a young age.” He wrapped his arm at Reid’s waist and, half-carrying him, helped Reid into a nearby room and over to another chair.

As he sank down, Reid couldn’t help letting out a small yelp of pain, and of course Luke noticed it, his eyes went big with worry and a stubborn look crossed Luke’s face. Reid knew there was no escaping Luke’s strange need to fuss over him. Reid made a sour face at him, but he found he couldn’t object any further, both because he knew Luke was a person of singular purpose and because the idea of Luke’s attention turned solely on him wasn’t entirely unappealing.

“Does it hurt that much?” Luke asked, clucking sympathetically. He gave Reid a small touch on the side of his leg; the touch was both a pat and a poke. “Should I get a nurse?”

“Do you want to kill me? Just let me up, alright?” Attempting one final escape, Reid started to rise, but Luke pushed him firmly down into the chair. Their eyes locked on each other and the force of Luke’s determination struck Reid. Luke’s eyes were so large and so deeply brown, Reid became momentarily lost in them. A faint spot of color was on Luke’s cheeks and he seemed equally compelled to just gaze back at Reid. Then Luke sighed deeply and dropped his eyes.

Luke bent down between Reid’s legs.

“What are you doing?” Reid snapped, coming to his senses again, trying to squeeze his knees together.

“I’m helping you,” Luke said, practically gritting his teeth.

“You know, I can prescribe you something for this irrational need you have to meddle. Or there might be a shot for it. Say the word and I’ll put a big needle right in your butt.”

God, Reid really had to stop fixating on Luke’s ass. First he threatened to tattoo it and now he was prattling on about sticking something in it. He’d been trying to change gears deliberately and get rid of Luke’s attentions, but now he’d only boxed himself into a corner with his own big mouth.

“I’m helping you,” Luke repeated, his lip jutting out. “Now quit fighting me.”

Luke stared him down, practically daring Reid to argue, and when Reid didn’t say anything more, Luke lifted up Reid foot, and quickly rolled the scrub bottom up to his mid-thigh. Then Luke placed Reid's foot on his knee, and began to knead Reid’s calf muscle, stroking the knotted flesh with his fingers. He had really warm, surprisingly strong hands, and Reid swallowed back a soft moan.

Luke scooted closer, massaging Reid’s leg in steady circles with the pad of his thumb. It felt good, really good, and a small shudder passed between Reid’s shoulder blades; he had to concentrate on not allowing his breath to come too quickly. Luke’s fingers dug harder into his flesh, creating equal parts pleasure and pain, and Reid had to fight the urge to contort his body in reaction to both. Reid’s heart thumped violently just under his ribcage as Luke dug his thumb in again, pressing on just the right place.

“Mmm,” Reid said, the sound escaping his lips before he could squash it.

“Feel good?” Luke stopped and looked up at him. Luke’s palm pressed flat against Reid’s leg, generating warmth, and Reid’s eyes felt pulled to Luke’s. For a second, he again lost himself in their clear gaze; the energy between them was electric.

“It ain’t bad,” Reid admitted, attempting to sound breezy and unaffected, but watching Luke from under his lashes, examining Luke’s flushed skin, he knew -- something was brewing between them. Reid could feel it in his gut, not that he planned to act on it, but just knowing that Luke might want him too caused a delicious coiling sensation in Reid’s groin.

Luke smiled quickly, bashfully, and went back to the massage, using all of his fingers on Reid’s skin, pushing into the muscle and then rubbing softly. Luke’s mouth hovered near Reid’s knee; his breath blew gently out, his fingers stroking Reid's skin, as his hand traveled up to Reid’s thigh, and worked the flesh there. For some reason, Reid didn’t protest. He didn’t remind Luke the pain was in his calf. Luke ran his other hand up Reid’s thigh and then glided it back down, moving closer, close enough that Reid could feel the heat coming off of him.

Reid gazed at the top of Luke’s golden head, bent practically at Reid’s crotch, and groaned. He firmly pushed Luke’s hands away, rubbing a hand over his eyes, trying to keep his dick from making itself very obvious to Luke and anybody else who might enter the room.

“Better?” Luke asked him softly.

Reid was incapable of speech; he nodded.

Luke flashed his dimples at him and grinned, jerking Reid's pants leg back down as he stood up. “I’m glad. Listen,” Luke said. “After the surgery, when all this is over, you know, if it goes well and all, do you want to meet up? Maybe grab dinner. Or even come over to my mom’s and I’ll make something for us.”

Reid stared at Luke for a moment, still trying to shake the image of Luke's head by his crotch, and asked the first thing that came to mind. "You cook?" He took a deep breath and focused on that thought. He was desperate to focus on anything after that massage to prevent getting hard. “You cook real, actual meals?”

“I do,” Luke laughed. “It was a matter of survival, since Mom never did. Once we moved out of the farm, I practically starved every night. Anyhow, I begged Grandma to teach me. She tried to teach the girls too, but they weren't interested. I started fooling around with it more and more. I mean, I’m not as good a cook as Grandma Emma, so don’t expect anything like that, but I can make a killer chicken parmesan.“

Reid just stared at him.

“It’s cooking Reid,“ Luke teased, "not brain surgery.“ Luke dropped his eyes a moment. “It was nice hanging out last night, right? I thought maybe we could get together tonight too. Let me thank you for all you’ve done.”

Reid raised his eyebrow in question, “Don’t you want to celebrate with Noah, Casey or your family? Assuming I’m my usual brilliant self today?”

Luke shook his head.

“I did a lot of thinking last night,” he said softly. "About them all…. I’ve made some decisions today that-“ He stopped and his body hunched forward protectively. “My timing sucks. Look, you’re about to go into surgery, right? I’m sure you need to do some things. We’ll talk later.”

“I’m holding you to that promise. “ Reid examined Luke curiously, wondering what decisions he’d made.

Luke just smiled warmly “I know you will. Just like I know you’ll be great in there with Ameera. You’ll be great.”

Reid didn’t know what to say to that, so he kept his mouth closed, and stood awkwardly to his feet. He angled his body closer to Luke’s, wanting to thank him, touch him. Reid started to lift his hand up and hesitated. He could sense the weight of Luke’s body and it would be so easy to just lean forward and kiss him, but one kiss would lead to a thousand problems, so Reid lowered his hand to his side.

Luke stared at him, like he’d known exactly what Reid was thinking, and then he moved back to let him go.

Reid left the room without looking back, forcing his mind off Luke, and the way Luke could look at him as if he mattered more than anyone else in the world.
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Anywhere USA
Author: Marsabi
Summary: This is a two part story with multiple chapters.
Part One: Abandoned as a teen, Reid is forced to live on the Snyder farm as a foster kid for a few months, before he heads off on his own, but will a certain child worm his way into Reid’s heart?
Part Two: Reid returns to Oakdale as a favor for Bob, something he planned never to do, and he can’t wait to leave town, until his past slams into him in the form of Luke Snyder and damn if Luke isn’t all grown up.
Warning: Sexual Content in some parts
Rating: PG-NC-17
Thanks to the following friends for their support of this story: shadownyc, traciamc, and Rhiannonhero
Author’s notes: This was bid on by Rhiannon Hero for the Japanese auction. Because I know Rhiannonhero loathes short chapters, these chapters will be long.

Warning: strong language and sexual content in this chapter

Chapter Five

The next morning, as he hurried to find a parking space at Memorial, Reid let his car turn sharply, making the tires screech. He’d had his own private parking space at the Mayo clinic, and now he had to circle around and around like some gopher again.

Reid glanced down at his pristine white coat. Nope, still a world class neurosurgeon - one without a place to park. Out of the corner of his eyes, Reid finally spotted an open space. He accelerated.

He barely tapped the other car’s bumper; it had come out of nowhere to steal his space, before Reid slammed the brakes on.

Reid honked the horn several times at the idiot driver, before getting out.

“You,” Kim Hughes said as she opened up her car door.

Unlike Bob, Kim hadn’t aged well. Her mouth was heavily lined and her hair had turned mostly white. The only thing about her that was the same was that expression of haughty disapproval, and she was probably still as sweet as a packet of artificial Sweet N Low; Reid could almost imagine her bitter aftertaste.

“So happy to see me that you had to hit my car?” Reid joked.

“You hit my car,” Kim informed him. “And we need to exchange insurance information.”

“Why?” Reid made a face. “It’s a fender bender. No damage. See?”

Kim ignored that. “Don’t bother to ask if I’m alright.”

“I can see you are,“ Reid replied. “But don’t worry, I’m sure Bob will run 100 tests on you for free and then confirm what common sense tells us right now.”

Kim walked over to him. “I heard you were back in town. I should have known. Bob has been working twice as hard as usual.”

Reid handed her his insurance card. “And you blame me?”

Kim glared at him. “Shouldn’t I?”

“No,” Reid said annoyed. “I’m not making Bob stay at work. He’s doing his job. Imagine that.”

“Bob needs to take it easy,” Kim said frostily. “Not spend his time with neurosurgeons.”

She made it sound like a dirty word. “Would you rather I’d gone to clown college with Chris?” Reid asked, baiting her. Why did she always act like he was about to steal Bob away or something?

“Chris is a doctor,” Kim told him proudly. “A good family doctor. He’s off in Africa right now making a difference to poor families.”

Reid snorted. “Do they have golf in the jungle? Otherwise, I can’t imagine what he’s doing out there.”

“He’s concerned about humanity.”

Chris Hughes was still full of so much shit, he could fill up a port-o-potty. Reid opened his mouth to tell that to Kim.

“And the last thing Bob needs,” Kim continued before he could talk, “is you. “

“Bob doesn’t seem to mind my presence,” Reid said flatly. He glanced at the exit door, ready to leave her and this ridiculous conversation.

“Bob is exhausted. Several doctors have left him already. Richards left because of you.”

“So Bob is understaffed and tired and Chris just took off for Africa.” Reid nodded. “That sounds like him. Maybe what Bob needs is needs a vacation or a checkup,” Reid suggested. “Or less pressure at home.”

Kim stared at him. “I’m not discussing my husband or our personal life with you!”

“Isn’t that just what you were doing?” Reid countered.

Kim walked away from him, not answering. Reid shrugged. He would look into asking Bob about his staffing issues. If Bob needed some competent new doctors, Reid could make some calls for him and do some research. There must be a few decent M.D.s out there still foolish enough to think that small town living sounded quaint.

“There you go again making friends.” Luke called out. “You always did have a talent for that.”

Reid turned startled and looked at Luke, who somehow had come up right behind him and was now standing nearly on top of Reid’s feet.

“That woman has always hated me,” Reid said. “And I don’t need friends.”

“Well,” Luke laughed, jamming his hands in his pockets and grinning foolishly at Reid, “You have one friend .” He smiled wider. “Right here.”

“Is that what we are?” Reid said cautiously.

Luke pushed his face closer to Reid’s own and smiled again gently.

The trouble was, Reid couldn’t help returning the smile. Luke had a great smile; it was warm as sunshine. Reid couldn’t help wanting to get tangled up in its light.

“I guess I don’t understand people,” he admitted.

“There’s news,” Luke laughed.

“Thanks,” Reid’s lips twisted wryly.

Then Luke’s whole face softened. “Aww, don’t be sensitive about it “

“I’m not.”

Luke reached out and touched his arm. His eyes were full of sweetness. “Maybe you don’t get people, but they don’t try and get you. Like Kim for instance? She should be thanking you for being concerned about Bob. If she knew you, she’d know that you are going to work harder for him while you’re here and even try and help him with his staff. That you would tirelessly go over applicants for Bob if he asked you, right?”

Reid’s mouth fell open a moment. It was exactly what he’d been thinking before Luke had spoken. Luke’s eyes practically melted into his. His fingers squeezed Reid’s arm.

“Excuse me, I didn’t know you moonlighted as a psychic. Where did you pick up your insight? From the back of a cereal box ? ” Reid pulled his arm away. “And I have no interest in the Hughes family. “

“Uh-huh,” Luke grinned. “Okay. You’re a rude jerk who doesn’t give a damn about anybody.”

“You got it,” Reid replied.

“And that’s why you need me,” Luke happily added in a smug tone. “To be your friend.”

Reid was about to protest, when Luke smiled at him again, his brown eyes dancing. Luke’s dimples appeared and his grin widened. Reid’s breath caught in his throat.

“I guess if I have to be in Oakdale, it’s not such a bad thing to have a friend.”

Luke’s face lit up. “Careful, Reid,” he teased, “I might lure you in to extending your time here. And who knows? Stay long enough, we might get to be BFFs again. “

“Oh no. I have to give that honor to Bob or he’d cry.”

Luke burst out laughing. He pushed at Reid with the heel of his hand. Reid clasped his shoulder. It was nice to make Luke laugh.

Luke’s tongue darted out and ran over his teeth. Reid couldn’t help following the motion.

Their eyes stayed on each other, lingering, unable to break off the contact. Luke was watching him like he wanted something from Reid; his smile started to slip slightly. Reid breathed in his scent. He was so close to Luke he could smell his skin and hair. He could feel the air charged between them. Reid looked at Luke’s mouth as it parted, open, waiting. That mouth hovering by his own, asking to be kissed, those lips so near, with their promise of soft skin and warmth.

They swayed closer to each other.

Reid pulled back. This was crazy. It must be all in his head. Luke was in love with Ameera, and even if he wasn’t, Luke was like a little brother. Reid wound his arms around his waist. He felt an urge to sit down and put his head between his knees to keep from hyperventilating.

“I should get inside.”

Luke nodded.

Reid gritted his teeth. He deliberately made his face a mask. As they slowly start to walk toward the door into the hospital, Reid could feel Luke sneaking glances at him.

“So,” Luke smiled at him as they walked. “Do you like Minnesota?”

Why did he always insist on chatting? Reid took deep breaths through his nose. He barely glanced at Luke, but he could feel Luke waiting.

“I guess.“

“What’s there to do for fun?” Luke persisted.

Reid rolled his eyes, “How would I know?”

“Okay, let’s try another question.” Luke sighed. “How long have you lived there?”

“Couple of years.” Reid opened the door to the hospital, walking up to the elevator.

“And you know nothing about the place?” Luke nudged him. “Reid?”

“What?” Reid shrugged. “Every place is the same to me. Food. Sleep. Work. Whatever.”

“Well,” Luke said, his eyes soft now. “Oakdale isn’t like just anywhere.”

Reid snorted derisively. “Tell me about it.” He jabbed his finger at the up button, frowning at the elevator’s slow response.

“I mean…you have people who remember you and care that you’re back.” Luke smiled at him, his expression affectionate.

Reid stared. He rubbed a hand at his neck for a second.

If anything, Luke’s face seemed to soften more as he watched him. ”Am I making you uncomfortable?”

“No,” Reid said. He pressed at the button again, leaving his finger on it.

“Are you in a hurry?” Luke asked.

Reid ignored him.

“You do know it’s okay for people to care about you, right?” Luke’s voice was teasing, a light of humor in his eyes.

Reid sighed as the elevator finally arrived. It was only when he quickly got inside and the doors closed, that Reid remembered how much he hated small spaces, and now he was inside one with Luke. Reid watched the numbers slowly lighting up; he would be out of this sardine can and away from the source of these uncomfortable feelings soon enough.

“I don’t have time for that. I‘m here to operate on Ameera. That’s all,“ Reid said. “So why are you at the hospital? I thought you were staying away?”

At the name Ameera, Luke’s face grew somber again. “Then you’ve forgotten a few things about me,” Luke joked weakly. “I just came to talk with Noah, but I won’t go into the room.”

The fact that Luke was so obsessed with Ameera’s condition told Reid quite a lot. Luke’s feelings for her must be deep. Reid’s stomach lurched a little as the elevator continued to climb.

Luke shifted from side to side. “This is weird, but there is one thing I do need from you, okay? A small favor.”

Reid raised an eyebrow questioningly.

“Here? At the hospital? Can we not share the fact that we know each other with Noah?” Luke had a look of stubborn concentration on his face now; his tongue was tucked at the corner of his mouth.

“Why?” Reid demanded bluntly.

“It’s complicated, I’m paying for her hospital care and that was hard enough to convince Noah about…” Luke scratched at his ear. “I don’t want him thinking I’m taking over and brought you here too.”

“Bringing me is bad?” Reid frowned.

“No, of course not. I just-” Luke looked away. “Noah’s proud and he wouldn’t like the idea of me controlling the situation.”

“What? By helping? By getting the most brilliant neurosurgeon here to save his wife?”

“I told you, he’s proud.”

“Sounds more like ungrateful.”

Or was Noah not as vacuous as he appeared? Did he know about Luke’s feelings for Ameera?

Luke shook his head.

They fell into silence. Reid looked at the elevator lights again. There was a barely perceptible clicking noise as they passed each floor. Reid could imagine the cables snapping and hurtling them down to the ground.

The elevator doors opened and Reid started down the hall with Luke trailing behind him. After a few yards, Reid stopped and looked at Luke.

“And I’m supposed to call you Mr. Snyder?” he asked. He folded his arms across his chest.

Luke nodded. “And I’ll call you Dr. Oliver. But just in front of Noah.”

“Terrific,” Reid mumbled.

“What’s the big deal,” Luke asked. “It’s my name.”

“No, your name is Luke, at least to me,“ Reid answered flatly. “I don’t like this situation.”

“I can see that.”

Reid nodded, his mouth turned down. Just then, Reid’s pager went off.

“What is it? “ Luke asked. “Ameera?”

“No,” Reid said, already moving quickly. “ Emergency. An accident. Head trauma. Gotta go.”

“About the name thing, do you agree to -“

“Are you an idiot? I gotta go!” Reid snapped and hurried off to the OR.

“See you at dinner,” he heard Luke call to him as Reid rounded the corner toward the ER.

***

The car accident was pretty brutal. There were actually two different head trauma patients. The woman from the car was comparatively lucky, only needing a CT scan, some staples in her head, and maybe some plastic surgery to cover what is sure to be a nasty scar. The other victim, an apparent genius who chose to ride his motorcycle without a helmet, required surgery to save his life, and he was in the Intensive Care unit recovering when he seized, and Reid spent another three hours going back in – a dangerous procedure, to say the least. The longer a brain is exposed, the longer the potential for complications, and this man's life was hanging by a thread.

After seeing the family, Reid quickly went to Bob’s office to update him. "Good thing I was here, Bob-o. Saved the idiot’s life. For now."

“Oh yes,” Bob said slowly, looking up from a huge stack of papers. “So the operation was a success?” Bob asked.

“Of course.” Reid sat down across from him. “You actually need to ask me?”

“Forgive me. “ Bob smiled. “I forgot that I was speaking to the great Dr. Oliver. We mortal doctors actually experience a few failures from time to time.”

"Must suck to be you," Reid said, letting his eyes twinkle a little. “Now I need a hot shower to wash off the family’s endless hugs of gratitude.” Reid gave a mock shudder.

Bob chuckled in amusement, folded his hands on his desk, and leaned forward. "Regardless, Dr. Oliver, it looks as though you'll be stuck here in this town that time forgot for at least one more day."

"Yep. Ameera Mayer's surgery will have to wait." Reid rolled his shoulders and inclined his head, stretching his sore muscles. "I suppose you explained the delay to the patient's husband."

"Yes, and I have to say, he wasn't thrilled. But if anyone is familiar with being thrown a curve ball, it's Noah and Luke."

"Yeah, about that," Reid started, but his beeper cut him off. "Christ, can't the guy give me a break?" he muttered. "He seized again. A bunch of panicky, squawking nurses have it under control for now, but I’ll need to check the MRIs, sees what's going on. And here I was hoping for a nap."

Bob shook his head. “You know one day, Reid, you might actually come across a patient who impacts on you emotionally. You might care about him and his family, too. It won’t be a bad thing. In fact, it might even make you a better doctor for it.”

“That’s deep, Bob.“ Reid rolled his eyes, standing up to leave. “Why not have Kim embroider it on a pillow for your office?”

Bob held up a hand. “Enough. Go and shower. Rest up, Dr. Oliver, you earned it. By the way, that motorcycle patient, do you think he'll require a second procedure? That's risky.”

Reid’s own smile faded. “I went in a second time already. I'm trying to avoid a third.”

Bob blinked at him several times, and then he rubbed his eyes. “Oh, right. I was thinking of Dr. Dixon’s heart patient from the accident. Long day.”

“Dixon? He’s still around?” Reid said. “No wonder this hospital is second rate; half the staff here should have retired to a condo in Florida decades ago.”

“We might be old, but don’t count us out.”

Reid only shrugged. Bob did look tired. Maybe Kim was right about his being overworked. “You really should hire a secretary for all this paperwork,” Reid told him, fingering at a file.

“Memorial has a budget problem currently, “ Bob sighed. “Otherwise, I’d gladly do that.”

“Well then, forget about paying somebody. That’s why you have interns, right?”

Bob failed to hide a smile. “Goodnight, Dr. Oliver,” he said sternly.

“Not quite. MRIs first, and then, with any luck, I can get out of here."

"Right," Bob agreed. "Care to join us for dinner?"

"Thanks, Bob, but I've got plans."

Reid shut the door behind him, hoping that the motorcycle idiot wouldn’t require anything more than close monitoring and stronger anti-seizure meds, so that he could make it out to the farm in time for Emma's pie.

***

After finally leaving Memorial, Reid raced back to his hotel for a fast shower. His muscles were aching and sore from holding such awkward positions during the day's two grueling surgeries, and he knew he should stretch out soon, or he'd risk a cramp. Cramps always sucked, but for a neurosurgeon, if they come at the wrong moment, say, while curled over a patient's delicate brain with a sharp, sharp scalpel, the consequences could be deadly. He checked the clock; he had no time to worry about it right now.

As he shaved, barely nicking himself, he cursed as he stuck a piece of toilet paper on the tiny bleed. He was exhausted, and would have liked a nap before heading out to the farm, and had even briefly considered not going, but the lure of Emma's cooking, and a strange coursing excitement that he didn't want to look at too closely both compelled him to ignore his lust for sleep, and get on some clean clothes. He even remembered to stop by the grocery store for flowers, proud of himself for remembering not to arrive empty handed.

It was almost six. Time to eat.

Lily especially loved the flowers, fussing over the roses and praising Reid more for them than for the patient he’d saved. Emma immediately sat him down to eat. She’d cooked lasagna, and Reid happily dipped his bread into the thick sauce. Holden was apparently out of town until the morning and the kids were staying the night, excited to see their father soon. Lily merely smiled and didn’t whine as much, though Luke sat close to his mother anyway, offering his usual sweet comfort.

Reid thought the meal was going really well. Luke and Emma both asked him about the trauma victim, and that gave him something to concrete to discuss.

"So, you'll be here for another day at least, then?" Luke asked, and he looked incredibly hopeful in Reid's estimation. Why did he care? And why at Luke’s wistful smile did Reid’s chest swell with a buoyant feeling?

"Looks like," Reid agreed. "Ameera's operation will be tomorrow, and sans any emergency operations, it'll be a few days after that before I'll be sure that motorcycle idiot and Mr. Mayer's wife are in the clear."

"Tell me more about the motorcycle idiot," Natalie said, her eyes gleaming.

“Well, I can’t tell you the details about this while he’s in my care,” Reid said. Then, seeing Natalie’s disappointment, Reid quickly launched into a story about a motorcycle accident from a few years back . Excited now, Reid was just at the good part in the brain surgery, where he’d scooped out some damaged tissue, when Faith pointed out that he was chewing with his mouth full.

Lily gave her a reprimanding look.

“What?” Faith shrugged insolently. “That’s gross.”

Reid shrugged at her, opening his mouth full of pasta wider and said, “No, gross is brain matter underneath your nails, but don’t worry, I wore gloves.”

“Eww,” Natalie said. “Do brains really get under your nails?” she looked impressed.

Reid turned to her. “There’s nothing quite as cool as slicing bit by bit through a dead person’s brain.”

Natalie clapped her hands in delight.

“The grosser the better for her,” Luke laughed, wrinkling up his own nose Reid’s description.

“Not for me though.” Lily waved her hands at Reid to stop. “And not over dinner.”

Reid smiled at Natalie. She smiled back, revealing a huge gap in her mouth. Reid remembered Luke having a lot of missing teeth too. Luke used to bang and wiggle the tooth until it came free.

“I’ll tell you more after dinner. We haven’t even talked about guts or intestines.”

Natalie nodded eagerly, and Luke laughed, as Emma deposited the pie in front of everyone. Just one taste of the sweet cherry goodness on his tongue made Reid nearly forget everything else. He made a sound of deep appreciation as he took a bite, letting his eyes drift close. When he opened them after savoring the decadent dessert, he found everybody watching him, and Luke's grin was huge.

"What?" he asked.

"Nothing," Luke said, and everyone else went back to their food. "You just…really like to eat, don’t you?"

Reid shrugged. "Just because you've always had an embarrassment of riches, doesn't mean that those of us less spoiled shouldn't thoroughly enjoy what's on offer here."

"Oh, no, go right on ahead," Luke laughed. "Just, you know, keep your enjoyment PG-13 at least."

Emma slapped at Luke's hand, and said, "Ignore him, Reid. I'm happy you're enjoying the pie."

"It's delicious," Reid said around a mouthful. "Best I ever had."

Emma looked pleased, and Luke did, too, as Reid took another huge bite.


Afterward, the family broke up. Ethan and Natalie went to the living room to play board games, and Faith disappeared upstairs with a goodnight snarl toward her mother. Lily, for her part, thanked Emma graciously for the dinner, and then checked her voicemails, her face falling in disappointment. She pathetically seemed to be waiting for a man, any man, to ring her. After announcing that she was going to take a short walk around the farm, she told Ethan she’d be back soon to give him a bath, get him in his pajamas and read him a story. Lily had always been a good mother to her children in the small ways; it was in the big picture that she seemed to fail. Reid just wished she’d get her adult life together. He could still remember Lily at Luke’s birthday party; he doubted she had much more self control now.

“Game, game!” Ethan was shouting to Emma and Luke, his small face grinning at getting out of bedtime for a little while longer.

“Okay, okay,” Luke laughed at him, ruffling his hair.

As Luke took out Candyland to play with the kids, setting up the board, Reid quietly studied Luke’s silky skin, deep brown eyes, long eyelashes, full mouth, firm body. Luke had beauty, but also a maleness to him, a promise of hidden strength that Reid found exciting. The moment Luke glanced up from the game and caught his eye, Reid looked away.

He decided to retreat, not wanting to unnerve Luke with his attraction, and seeing an option for escape, Reid offered to help Emma clean up.

“You don’t have to help,” Emma said.

“No problem,” Reid answered quickly, already stacking up the plates. “I’d rather help you than face the Lollipop Queen or whatever that game’s about.”

“In that case, help.” Emma chuckled and smiled at him. “My goodness, help would be lovely.”

Reid carried the dishes to the sink, and as he began to wash, Emma dried them. “I’m surprised some lucky guy hasn’t swept you off your feet yet,” Reid told her sincerely. “That was the best dinner I’ve had in forever.”

Emma pursed her lips in pleasure. “Thank you.” She handed him some glasses. “My heart is taken with my grandchildren though.”

“Well, Luke always was a lucky guy.”

Emma sighed. “Well, not always. He’s had a few bumps.“ She looked at Reid. “I did sometimes wish that you’d been around for him when he was a teenager.”

“Me?” Reid asked surprised. “Why?”

“To help him see it would be okay. “

“What?”

“Being gay,” Emma told him as opened up her cupboard. “He really struggled coming out.”

Reid almost dropped the plate in his hand. Slowly, he placed it into the sink and looked at Emma.

“Luke’s gay?”

“Yes, dear. He told us years ago. And like I said, it wasn’t easy for him.”

Reid barely heard her. He was still processing the information. His thoughts, usually so swift, felt like they were moving through mud. Hadn’t a part of him known today? Deep down? For a moment, Reid flashed back to the parking lot and the way Luke looked at his mouth, had almost leaned in for a kiss. Then Reid shook his head vigorously. He refused to allow his mind to go there.

“His parents all had some problems with it, but they seemed to be resolved now,” Emma said as she took the dried plates from Reid.

“Resolved,” Reid snorted. “Sounds supportive.”

“Well,” Emma sighed. “I know Luke felt very alone. “

Reid winced at that, imagining it. He washed a few more dishes in silence.

Outwardly, Reid was careful to wear a mask of indifference, but inside his heart beat wildly. Reid continued to clean up, looking at his hands in the sudsy water. He picked up a sponge and washed the same dish twice. His mind circled around and around thoughts of Luke, the way he'd looked at Reid earlier, and the undeniable attraction that Reid felt toward him. Reid scrubbed the plates until his fingers pruned, and he had no more excuses to stand there.

It was ridiculous. He wasn't here to play doctor with the boy he'd always thought of as a little brother. He was here to save a life, Ameera Mayer's life, and Luke…Luke wasn't his type. Luke would be all about love, romance, and family, and Reid was a one night stand or a fuck-buddy kind of guy. It would never work. It should never get started.

Reid nodded his head firmly, and let the water out of the sink, determined to say his goodbyes. He would treat Luke like he would treat as Natalie or Ethan; he could control his emotions the same way he controlled a scalpel. Reid bent to retrieve a towel that had fallen to the floor; he dried the dishes efficiently and then he strode out of the kitchen. It had been good to see them all, but he wasn’t planning on coming over for any more meals. He would simply do his job and then get out of Oakdale as fast as humanly possible.

***

Reid found Luke outside. He seemed lost in thought. The moonlight was bright, illuminating his features.

“I’m heading out.” Reid’s voice sounded low to his own ears. He carefully took out his keys and tried to appear casual.

Luke turned and his face lit up as he saw Reid there. His skin glowed, his eyes shined, and his mouth curved into a delicious smile.

Reid inhaled sharply. Why did he have to look like that?

“You’re going?”

Reid just nodded, clasping his keys in one hand tightly. He had planned to talk with Luke further about Noah and this Mr. Snyder crap, which made even less sense to Reid now that he knew there was no love triangle, but looking at Luke suddenly, being alone with him, Reid felt off balance again. He continued to just stare at Luke, holding his keys, while his legs refused to budge.

“I could stay a little longer,” Reid finally mumbled, still gazing at Luke. “Or I could go. I should probably go -“

“Stay,” Luke said, hastily. “Just a little longer.”

Reid tried to remind himself that he was a genius. He’d graduated medical school before he was twenty-one. He’d drilled open skulls to remove tumors the size of grapefruits. He’d bested doctors twice his age.

He could handle the information that Luke was gay. He would ignore it. What Luke did and with whom was none of his concern. Luke was just a kid to him. He’d seen him do arm farts. He’d seen him spit milk out of his nose. He’d seen him dance around with underwear on his head.

“Why didn’t you tell me earlier?" Reid demanded.

“Tell you?”

“That we play for the same team,” Reid answered. At Luke’s blank look, Reid clenched his jaw in annoyance. “About your sexuality.”

Luke jumped about a foot in the air. He stared at Reid, his eyes on Reid’s face. “What?” Luke’s voice was a croak.

“Relax. I’m not asking your favorite positions.“ Immediately several positions popped into Reid’s head and he nearly cursed.

Luke still looked like he was completely clueless. “Positions?” he echoed.

Reid’s eyes narrowed at the way Luke was gaping open-mouthed at him. “Why didn’t you tell me you were gay too?”

“Oh.” Luke laughed nervously. “Yeah that.”

Reid moved a little closer to him. “I thought you were in love with Ameera. I could have sworn –"

"Me? In love with Ameera?" Luke choked on his laughter. "No. No, never."

"Because you're gay."

Luke nodded, dumbly, his eyes wide.

"Have you known a long time?” Reid asked, suddenly curious.

“Long time, yes,” Luke said, like he was confused by the question.

“Are you dating anybody?” It wasn't his business. Why was he asking? The question just flew from Reid’s lips.

Luke cheeks tinged with pink. His tongue darted out over his lips. “Dating?” He repeated in a dazed voice.

“Yes, dating. Do you need to look the word up in a dictionary?”

“Yes - no yes.”

Reid raised his eyebrows. This was absurd. Ridiculous, but he really had to know. “Which is it? Don’t you know?”

“I’m dating N-Casey.” Luke nodded. “Casey. He’s nice.”

“Sounds serious.” Reid smirked. But underneath his teasing, Reid felt a jolt of disappointment. He quickly tried to brush it aside. Why wouldn’t Luke be dating? Reid eyes gently skimmed his features. Of course, he’d be dating.

Luke crossed his arms defensively. “What about you?”

“Nope. Not attached.”

“Probably work too much.”

“Most likely.” Reid did work a lot, but he'd never met anyone who made him want to work less.

“Or it could be that winning personality,” Luke threw out.

“Possibly” Reid replied, enjoying the exchange. He shrugged at Luke. “So we’re both gay.”

Luke nodded.

“Must have been that secret handshake,” Reid teased.

Luke laughed. “You remember that?”

“I remember everything about that time, “ Reid said, his eyes sharpened on Luke’s face.

Luke stared back at him. “Me too.”

“Really?” Reid tilted his head. “You were very young.”

“Try me.” Luke suddenly lit up again. He grinned and stuck out his fist at Reid challengingly.

Reid met his fist with his own. They bumped them twice, hooked their thumbs, and then ended with their hands on each other’s shoulders.

Reid was aware of the warmth of Luke’s fingers. He could smell a subtle hint of Luke’s aftershave, and another, slightly muskier smell. Luke looked at him, their hands still on each other’s. Luke’s mouth quivered slightly. Reid watched it. Then he swallowed hard and dropped his hand.

Luke smiled shyly.

Reid didn’t return his smile. He felt like somebody had socked him in the stomach. He stared intensely at the shape of Luke’s mouth as Luke came a little closer to him, looking into his eyes. Reid licked his lips and his heart pounded in his throat.

“Yo, Luke,” somebody called out.

They jumped apart. A guilty flush rose up Luke’s neck.

“Hey, Casey,” Luke called out as a tall, well-formed guy approached them. “I was just talking about you.”

Casey bounded up the porch steps. “And my ears are burning.”

“What’re you doing here?” Luke asked.

“I thought I could see you before the big operation day tomorrow. You know? Anyhow, aren’t you glad to see your main squeeze?” Casey laughed, socking Luke’s shoulder lightly.

“Right. I am,” Luke smiled at him. Then he turned to Reid.

“Um, Casey Hughes, Dr. Reid Oliver.”

“Hughes?” Reid asked. What was it about this town? The whole place consisted of Hughes or Snyders. These families bred like rabbits.

“Bob’s grandson,” Luke informed him.

“Hey man,“ Casey said, grinning away. “Good to meet ya. You're the guy who’s gonna drill into Ameera’s head, right?”

Reid just nodded his head. It was clear that the Hughes gene pool thinned with every generation. Reid shot Luke an incredulous glance. He knew Oakdale wasn’t a gay mecca, but was this really the best Luke could do?

Luke blushed, as if he knew Reid’s thoughts, and then gave a tiny shrug.

“Yep,” Reid said. “That’d be me.”

“Cool!” Casey enthused.

Reid narrowed his eyes. “So how long have you two…?”

“Oh not long,“ Casey laughed, “I mean , I’m new to this whole gay thing. But then I got with Luke and figured, why not?”

Luke shut his eyes for a second.

Casey glanced at Luke and suddenly looked nervous. “I- I mean I like dudes totally now.” He stumbled little on his words. “A lot. Dudes. Yeah.”

“And what did you like specifically about Luke?” Reid asked smoothly, his tone like ice.

“Um…He has great hair,” Casey said.

“His hair, not his ass? Or his –“

“Reid!” Luke jumped in. “Casey is a bit shy talking about all this. He hasn’t been out of the closet too long.”

Reid looked at Casey, who was drumming his fingers on his thighs to some internal rock beat. He was an idiot, anyone could see that.

Luke straightened his shoulders up, and determinedly took Casey’s hand in his own. “I’m glad you’re here,” Luke smiled suggestively.

At the expression on Luke's face, all warm and flirtatious, Reid felt his own gut clench and his dick twitch. Reid stared at Luke’s fingers locked with Casey’s, watching Luke’s thumb stroke there.

“I gotta go,” Reid said abruptly. “I have work early. “

“Wait a minute-“

“Don’t worry, you’re 'Mr. Snyder', I got it. And by tomorrow, Ameera Mayer will get her surgery, and I’ll be out of here. And we won’t have to think about it anymore.”

Luke looked confused. "Think about – what? Reid? " Luke dropped Casey’s hand. “One minute,” Luke told Casey, and Reid walked faster, hoping to outpace Luke. No such luck. Luke grabbed his arm. “Wait-“

“What?” Reid turned, and Luke halted inches from his face.

“It's just that…after the operation,” Luke asked. “You’re not staying in town for a while?”

Reid got the car door open, and held it like a barrier between them. “No. I'll stay as long as my patients need me. Maybe a few days. Then I have to get back to my real life.”

“Oh,” Luke said.

“Thankfully,“ Reid said harshly, “Oakdale is just a blip on my radar.”

“A blip?” Luke repeated, his expression changing, a pout forming on his lips. “So I’m a blip too?”

Reid could see that simpleton Casey Hughes looking over. He probably didn’t even know how to give good head. Reid would bet anything that Casey was a gagger.

“What do you want from me?” Reid snapped. He held his keys pointed at Luke, almost like a weapon.

Luke glared at him a minute. Reid glared back, sparks of electricity firing off between them. “Not a thing,“ Luke said.

Reid sighed. “Look, thanks for dinner. Okay? I gotta go.”

“So go,” Luke said, and turned back to Casey, to his boyfriend. Reid rolled his eyes again at that, before getting into his car, turning the key and pulling out of the driveway.

He tried to push out the image of Luke’s smile, his full lips out of his mind. He’s dating somebody. He’s too young. I’m leaving soon. Reid sucked in some air. He’s like my brother.

“Like my brother,” Reid muttered out loud. ”Like my brother.”

A brother he had spent just five months with as a boy. Did that really make him a brother? Reid exhaled slowly and turned onto the road toward town. Close enough. It was definitely close enough.

***

Reid went back to the Lakeview and took a long shower. He leaned his head against the wall and let the steam soak into his skin. The water hit his back in a powerful rush, as Reid soaped his shoulders and neck and lower stomach. He turned to wash his thighs and calves, and then his hand drifted down his body to his cock. He palmed it, rubbing circles there, and his lips curled, his neck arched back, as his movements increased.

Desperately, he began to stroke, squeezing the tip hard, and then gliding his fingers along the engorged flesh. He held the weight of his cock in his hands and ran a thumb relentlessly over the small slit. Then he wrapped his whole fist around the shaft and worked it firmly up and down.

He thought about the last guy he’d screwed. The guy had been young, and blond, but Reid couldn’t remember his name. What was the point? A new nurse from peds, with strong shoulders, and a nice long neck that Reid had marked for the hell of it, and an ass that had been sweet, and tight, and he'd pounded into the guy so hard.

Reid blinked his eyes. It wasn't working. He needed something more. His other hand slid to his ass, and he pushed a finger at his own hole. He massaged the sensitive flesh there, imagining a hard cock plowing him open. It didn't matter who – just someone, big, and strong, who'd push into him with abandon, and make him come. His finger thrust in and out, and he groaned. Or someone with warm eyes, and a tender touch, someone that he could trust.

“God!” Reid stroked himself harder now, his entire body tensed, and a hot stream of cum burst out, covering his hand like a sticky net. Reid turned his body back under the water and trembled, washing the mess away, and trying to forget the image that had entered his mind at the last moment.

Afterward, Reid dried off, pulled on some sweatpants, tied the drawstring, and drank a beer from the mini bar. I really need to get laid, he thought, by some unimportant fuck.

Lying on his back, alone in his bed, Reid stared at the ceiling, but sleep wouldn't come. For a moment, he allowed himself to remember Luke’s hand on him, his forehead pressed close, his body radiating warm heat. Reid sat up and gazed out the window at the dark sky, visible from between his hotel curtains.

Despite his orgasm, his body didn’t feel relaxed. He kept seeing Luke’s face. Reid reached down between his legs. He was rock hard again.

He curled up with his pillow and let out a soft string of curse words. It wasn’t a stranger he wanted.
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Anywhere USA
Author: Marsabi
Summary: This is a two part story with multiple chapters.
Part One: Abandoned as a teen, Reid is forced to live on the Snyder farm as a foster kid for a few months, before he heads off on his own, but will a certain child worm his way into Reid’s heart?
Part Two: Reid returns to Oakdale as a favor for Bob, something he planned never to do, and he can’t wait to leave town, until his past slams into him in the form of Luke Snyder and damn if Luke isn’t all grown up.
Warning: Sexual Content in some parts
Rating: PG-NC-17
Thanks to the following friends for their support of this story: shadownyc, traciamc, and Rhiannonhero
Author’s notes: This was bid on by Rhiannon Hero for the Japanese auction. Because I know Rhiannonhero loathes short chapters, these chapters will be long.



PART TWO

Chapter Three

“Miss me?” Reid said.

He pushed open the door. But the office was empty.

Reid shrugged and tossed his bags down. He stretched his arms up over his head. It had been a long flight. He’d forgotten how he loathed the red-eye. He could use some sleep and good food. He sat down in the leather chair and put his feet up on the big desk and wondered if Al’s Diner still made those super greasy onion rings . He could go for those and a chocolate milkshake right now.

Part of Reid couldn’t even fathom that he was back in this town. Oakdale. It was still a dump. He only had to drive through the one main street to the hospital to see that his assessment held true. He’d been fifteen when he’d been here last. He’d walked into the town, trying to pretend he wasn’t scared shitless, and stumbled into an insane, do-gooder, hell.

Reid closed his eyes and remembered it all: the Snyder farm, milking cows, and a comfortable bed that never felt like it was really his. Reid remembered the bumpy drive leading to the farm; it shot off the main road just outside of town. Could anybody still be living out there? Maybe the place was sold by now? He couldn’t imagine Emma ever leaving. He would have to ask Bob. He was curious about Lily, Holden and Emma.

And Luke? Reid’s mind went blank a moment; his neurons refusing to fire, and then an image of Luke flashed in his memory. Luke had been such an innocent kid, with so much promise. He pictured Luke standing on his toes to look Reid in the eye, excitedly demanding his attention, his upturned face, almost obnoxious with its devotion, shining up at him. Stupidly naïve little kid. Reid sighed and wondered what had become of him. Did his parents finally warp him, or break him? Or worse.

Reid hoped Luke had escaped the insane asylum that was Oakdale and was making his way somewhere else in the world, like he had.

At least his time on the farm had been tolerable. They’d treated him well. Considering how rude he’d been to the Snyders, they were pretty decent to him. They were a screwed up family, for sure, but what family wasn’t?

Reid pressed the bridge of his nose and shook his head, trying to shake it all away. Fact was, he’d been taken in like a stray puppy. For years he’d tried to forget how that felt. But now, back in Oakdale, it was closing in around him. How easy it was for the past to merge with the present.

Reid stiffened his shoulders. Maybe he wouldn’t ask Bob about the Snyders, after all. It would be better to leave it alone. Reid would do his job and then try to forget about all of this again. And that’s the way it should be. When he’d left Oakdale the first time, he’d promised himself that nobody would ever jerk him around again.

Unless it was some hot blond doing the jerking. Reid sighed. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d fucked somebody senseless. The last boner he had was all alone in his apartment, looking through a dirty magazine and letting go all over his chest and belly. It wasn’t the same as being with somebody.

God. Why was he even thinking about this? He should be thinking about the case. Usually, he had a one track mind – medicine and only medicine. But he’d been restless lately, and not just for some sex. Reid never took vacations. Since leaving medical school he’d worked every day without fail, but these last few months he hadn’t felt his usual passion for it. His recent patients had all been routine, no excitement in fixing them, and Bob’s phone call had come at the perfect time. Listening to Bob explain the help he needed, hell, just hearing from Bob, had sparked a response in Reid. He’d felt more alive since that call than he had in a long time.

Angus would call him a sap or worse. He’d say Reid was whipped for jumping on a plane the moment Bob called. Normally, Reid refused calls from other doctors begging for his help. He had a waiting list and he stuck to it. He didn’t care if a patient was Mother Teresa or a serial killer – they all had to wait their turn. It was surprising how something so fair could piss so many people off.

And doctors – doctors were the worst. Arrogant pricks, most of them, pressuring him to place their patient’s name higher up than the others. Everybody had a reason, a sob story, for wanting their patient to move to the top spot. Reid didn’t give a damn. Fair was fair, and people would wait their turn.

But Bob was different. Bob had favored him, taught him, accepted him. Reid really didn’t understand why. He would never let some stupid kid follow him around the hospital. But Bob wasn’t like him. Bob had allowed him in the OR. He’d handed him a skull saw. He’d recognized the fire inside of Reid to become a doctor. Bob had been warm and kind and good with people. No, he wasn’t at all like Reid.

The moment Bob called, the warmth he greeted Reid with, even after all these years, had crushed Reid’s defenses. Reid shifted in his chair. That last thought was far from comfortable. Reid sucked in a few deep breathes. Maybe he wasn’t quite so ready for this meeting after all.

Reid picked up a notebook and a pen. Really, he could use some food. He started to write a note, informing Bob that he would come back later, when he froze. He heard Bob’s voice just outside the door and Reid cursed his perfect memory then. Just the sound of that voice combined with the smell of Memorial’s halls brought it all rushing back: walking the corridors with Bob, his scrubs hanging off his skinny frame, as he desperately followed Bob from room to room, attempting to look more confident and self assured than he was. Bragging to Bob about all the medical things he already knew, scribbling things down in that ridiculous notebook he’d carried. Reid could see now that he’d probably never fooled Bob with his bravado. He’d been so eager then, practically stumbling over his own feet to fit in at Memorial. He shuddered slightly.

Last week, Bob had called him and asked for his help. Reid had agreed readily. But now memories of being that ugly teenager made him feel trapped, like Bob’s office had no windows and really poor air circulation. Reid detested that sensation, almost as much as he loathed the fifteen year old kid he’d been, and when he’d told Bob yes, he hadn’t anticipated any of that.

The staff at the Mayo Clinic where he worked now would be shocked to see him wiping at his forehead with his handkerchief, sweaty and unsteady. He was Dr. Oliver, for God’s sake. Nurses cowered in the corner every time he entered the room. Patients looked up to him and feared him. Other doctors despised him with all the hatred inspired by rampant jealousy and respected his every idea. He’d made it. Big time.

So why did hearing Bob’s voice just outside the door make his palms sweat? As a kid, he’d never wanted to please somebody so much.

As Bob entered his office, Reid made a sour face.

“Reid!” Bob smiled. “Thank you so much for coming.”

Reid stood up. Bob looked the same. His hair was gray now and his eyes were lined, but it was still Bob. When Bob moved as if to embrace him, Reid quickly stuck out his hand. They shook solemnly.

Reid picked up Bob’s name plate from off of his desk. “I see you finally made it,” Reid said, tapping on the Chief of Staff title under Bob’s name. ”How many decades did it take you?”

“You know, the moment I saw your frowning face on that website , I knew it was you. But I’d forgotten that charm of yours.”

“I’m just surprised someone as ancient as you can navigate the internet.”

Reid could never remember a single person in Oakdale ever talking to Bob with anything but the utmost respect. The hospital might as well name a wing after him, or erect a statue of Bob in Old Town; he was that much of a central part of Oakdale. Reid suspected that kind of reverence got boring, and deep down, Reid had always sensed that Bob enjoyed their exchanges. Bob took the joke good-naturedly now.

“Even an old guy like me can learn a few tricks,” Bob said with a twinkle in his eye. “But I must admit my grandson helped me. “

Reid wondered for a moment about Bob’s family. Was the grandson Chris’s kid? Now, there was a person who should never have gone forth and multiplied. Reid felt an old, familiar twist in his gut.

As a kid, he’d had no use for the Hughes family, but he valued Bob, and he’d always thought Bob’s sons hadn’t appreciated their father enough. In fact, that gangly, fifteen year old Reid had sometimes imagined with vivid desperation that Bob was his father, and he’d wanted to thump Tom and Chris for having no idea just how great they had it. He could admit that to himself now, standing in front of Bob. It was the first time he’d admitted that to himself since he’d left this ridiculous place.

Bob clasped his arm. “I am very appreciative that you came here to consult on this case. “ Bob looked at him warmly. “My neurosurgeon was way out of her depths.”

“Well if she trained in Oakdale that’s no surprise.”

He was a little uncomfortable with Bob’s sincerity. While it pleased him that Bob recognized his brilliance, discussing Bob’s gratitude unnerved him.

It was a good thing that Bob never needed to know just how far Reid’s daydreams as a teenager had gone. Truth be told, if he’d been Bob’s son, he most likely would have disappointed him anyway, because he was not very good at being a person. Truly belonging was not something Reid could really imagine for himself. The best he could do was to be a fucking fantastic doctor, and he certainly always succeeded there.

People with good families, loving fathers and mothers, just took it all for granted. Chris certainly had, and Reid had seen it many times in the hospital: sons and daughters neglecting their parent’s care. They were burdens suddenly, too much trouble to deal with, even though Reid could see that their folks had given everything to make sure they had gone to the best schools, and they had everything their hearts could desire. Ingrates, all of them, and without any sense of gratitude. It made no sense. It was inexplicable to him. Not that Reid knew anything about the intricate workings of a family.

Reid cleared his throat. “Where is your so-called neurosurgeon anyhow? Did you give her a time out?”

Bob sighed. “No. I’m afraid Dr. Richards left in quite a huff over this matter. “

“She didn’t want another surgeon playing in her sandbox, huh?”

It didn’t displease Reid to learn of Dr. Richards’ departure. If he took on a patient, he wanted complete control. It was messy to work with other, always inferior doctors, so he was pleased that he would be doing the operation solo. Dr. Richards’ petulance allowed him to escape the pretense of inclusion. Reid nearly sighed with relief at not having to pretend to ‘play well’ with others.

Bob ignored his quip and handed him a file. “Here’s the case. She’s a young woman with quite an interesting story-”

Reid opened the file. “Right. I don’t really care about all that. Just so long as the case is challenging, like you promised. Just give me her name and a synopsis of her medical history.”

“Still think compassion is for the nurses, do you?” Bob shook his head. “I know you’re a serious surgeon, Reid, but the really gifted surgeons care about every aspect of a case. “

Reid was surprised that Bob remembered his remarks as a teenager. He certainly had liked to shoot his mouth off. And Bob always was a bleeding heart.

Reid preferred to keep a healthy distance with his patients. If anybody else had lectured him about compassion, Reid would have smirked at them with a mixture of scorn and enjoyment of their stupidity. The few times he had attempted to reach out to a patient, when he’d been young and foolish, Reid had gotten burned. One had sued him for malpractice when the surgery, successful in every other way, left a scar that was larger than the patient deemed necessary. It had been all the confirmation Reid needed that he’d been right not to trust the human race. After that, Reid pulled back and remained strictly professional.

“Her name is Ameera Mayer,” Bob continued. “Her preliminary CT scan was serious; the tumor is located in a rare and dangerous place. The bleed is contained right now, but has the possibility of a massive eruption at any second. You should see the brain scans - the swelling.”

“Oh, Bob,” Reid drawled. “Now you’re just sweet talking me.”

Bob laughed. “Let’s go meet the Mayers, shall we?”

***

Ameera Mayer was in her last year of college, young and seemingly healthy, when she collapsed with a violent seizure. A friend had quickly phoned 911, but Ameera had already slipped into a deep coma. Her CT scan revealed a massive tumor in her brain, deep in the center of her head.

As Reid listened to Bob go over the medical facts, he looked at Ameera. She was a pretty woman, though obviously very ill. Her face was pale and her body looked tiny in the hospital bed, especially with her husband, Noah, standing like a giant over her. His face was scrunched up, as if begging Reid for some understanding.

“Are you the specialist?,” he said the moment Reid walked in. “Please, you have to save my wife.”

Reid pressed his lips together, avoiding the hundred or so sarcastic remarks he longed to make. Reid was careful about every word he uttered either patients or family members. Discussing a case with the family was like unfolding a map; you had to be cautious of every crease or they read it completely wrong.

“You’re in excellent hands with Dr. Oliver,” Bob told him. He patted Noah on the back and Noah nodded his head up and down. “I called him in because I believe Dr. Oliver is truly the best man for the job.” Bob met Reid’s eyes. “I have every confidence in him.”

“Thank you, Dr. Hughes. Dr. Oliver.“ Noah smiled at them.

“Don’t thank us yet,” Reid said dryly. “One step at a time.”

Noah bent over his wife, stroking her hand. “Don’t worry,” he said to his wife. “I won’t leave you for a moment. I’ll be here night and day. “

Terrific, Reid thought, just what he needed.

Noah looked at Reid. “I made her a promise, when she came to this country. I swore to take care of her.”

Noah paused then, like he expected Reid to praise him or something. Reid just looked at him. Wasn’t that what husbands and wives did, take care of each other? Noah said it like it made him special.

His chest puffed out a little. “I rescued my wife.” His face changed slightly. “And then this happened.”

“We’ll do everything possible to help her,” Bob assured him warmly. “She’s lucky to have you.”

Noah seemed satisfied by that and nodded in agreement.

Bob signaled Reid to join him at the door. “I trust you want to examine her now?”

“Examine her? “ Reid’s mouth lifted. “Nah, I thought I’d go right for the skull saw. Just do it right here in this room. Figure it out as I cut.”

“I’d forgotten your rather colorful sense of humor.” Bob sighed. “Seriously, Reid, do you need any further assistance from me? I’d be happy to stay for awhile. “

“I got it, Bobo.” Reid’s brow lifted. He glanced at Noah. “Unless you can get rid of him for me?”

“We allow our immediate family members to stay.” Bob gave him a stern look. “We try and work with our families and offer them some comfort.”

“Well, there’s your first mistake.”

Bob crossed his arms over his chest. “Our rule here is to practice sound medicine with a compassionate heart.”

“Sure, let’s all join hands and sing ‘It’s a Small World’.” Reid leaned forward. “Medicine is about results.”

Bob shrugged. “Well, Dr. Oliver, when you run a hospital of your own, you can make the rules.”

Reid gave a bark of laughter. “Me? Run a hospital? I’d rather be tied up, gagged to a chair and forced to watch soap operas all day, than listen all day long to the histrionics of the nurses and interns.”

Bob shook his head at him. “After you’re done, meet me on the second floor, room 201. I’d like to hear your evaluation of the case and go over it with you.”

Reid felt slightly annoyed at the way Bob was ordering him around. At the Mayo Clinic, he had free reign. Nobody questioned him or wanted to meet with him every second. He’d forgotten how Memorial worked. This place was so old-fashioned. They probably still accepted chickens instead of cash as payment.

Besides, Bob had called him, hadn’t he? Reid might need to remind Bob of that fact. But this wasn’t the right moment. When they were alone, Reid would remind Bob of that he wasn’t a boy of 15 anymore. He didn’t need a babysitter.

Bob left the room and Reid went over to begin his exam. He was hoping Noah would just be quiet and let him work. Noah, however, had other ideas. It was almost as if he couldn’t stand the silence. He’d swallow, and burst out with strangled comments, going on and on about his wife, her background in Iraq, and a bunch of other insignificant nonsense that had nothing to do with the upcoming operation.

Reid didn’t listen. The case was difficult, but clear cut enough to know that nothing in her history or environment led to the tumor. Reid sighed, examining Ameera’s reflexes.

“…And she’s a great person, doctor. She’s an honor student and has a job at a fashion store, and she-“

Blah, blah, blah. Reid pinched the bridge of his nose in irritation and tried to shut out the noise.

Noah went on now about how his wife didn’t deserve her illness. That it was unfair. Reid tried not to roll his eyes in response. He tried to nod sympathetically. If a doctor learned to fake a good nod, he might be able to escape small talk.

While Noah strangled out sentences, Reid focused on his patient. He intently looked her over, careful not to miss a thing. Reid gave her cold fingers a soft squeeze; he hoped this fragile girl had the strength for her battle ahead.

“Well,” Reid interrupted finally, straightening up, “I really need to study her case file.”

“Thank you, Doctor Oliver, thank you so –“

Reid waved a hand to stop his gushing. “Again, don’t thank me until I’ve done my job, all right? Here. Look over these consent forms carefully. I’ll be back soon.”

He picked up the other file of her scans and exited the room quickly. He really didn’t want to hear Noah prattle on any further about the unfairness of life-as if life ever balanced on a scale of justice. Reid had seen a baby born with half a brain. He’d witnessed children dying of cancer, taking a final breath in their mothers’ arms. Suffering was never given out in equal measure.

Reid felt lucky to escape the room. He hoped to get this operation done quickly. He considered transferring Ameera back to the Mayo Clinic. The trip down memory lane had already been anything but comfortable, and Memorial was a tiny hospital in the middle of the sticks; the chances that it had upgraded its O.R. to rival the state-of-the-art facilities he was accustomed to was unlikely, but, from everything Bob had said, Ameera was far too delicate for that. She might not survive the trip. Reid frowned grumpily; he was trapped here for now and being trapped sucked.

Just then, a body slammed into Reid, causing his scans to go flying.

“Watch out!”

“Sorry!”

The young man bent to pick them up. Reid had a nice view of a firm ass. It was exactly the way Reid liked it-- high and tight.

“I’m so sorry,” the guy was saying, “totally my fault.”

“Just move aside, “ Reid said impatient and suddenly horny again all at the same time. “I’ll get them myself.”

“No, no. I insist.” The young man glanced at him, his gaze lingering on Reid’s features with curiosity a second, and then he bent back down once more.

A jolt of recognition shot through Reid. He knew that face. But, no, it couldn’t be. What were the chances? Well, okay, given that it was Oakdale, a town the size of a postage stamp, the chances were pretty good.

Reid narrowed his eyes. “Luke?”

The man glanced up questioningly.

It was him. It had to be. Same brown eyes. Same expressions.

“Luke,” Reid repeated and, for the first time that day, broke into a real smile.

“Do I know you?” Luke answered, tilting his head.

Reid swallowed a sudden jab of hurt. Of course, Luke had been a kid and –

“Wait. Reid?” Luke’s mouth dropped open. He stood up, his eyes moving up and down Reid’s frame, the CT scans left on the floor. Luke ran his tongue over his lips and asked, “Seriously? Is it you?”

“It’s me.” Reid nodded. “Have I changed that much?”

“No- I mean- you do look different.“Luke flushed. “I don’t think I would have recognized you now,” Luke went on. “You’re so- so filled out.“ He flushed again. Then he chewed his lip. “Not that you looked bad before-“

“I was a nightmare,” Reid laughed slightly, not offended. “Puberty isn’t anybody’s best look.” Reid studied Luke’s features slowly. “I’d have recognized you,” Reid said, “you have the same face you had at seven.”

“Oh,” Luke answered, clearly unsure if that was a good thing or not.

Their eyes locked on each other.

Reid remembered the way Luke had always scurried to catch up to him, looking at him with that open and eager face, and he knew they could be meeting on the other side of the world and Reid would know him. He would recognize Luke.

Luke chewed his lip now, making Reid smile. He’d always done that as a kid too. Reid half-expected him to have ruined those lips with that habit. But no, his lips weren’t scarred at all. They were full and lush- a generous mouth.

Reid realized he was staring at Luke’s lips. He forced himself to look away.

“What are you doing here?” Luke asked finally, breaking an awkward silence.

Reid liked that Luke asked that instead of the more asinine “How are you?” or “How’s life treating you?,” Luke’s question had a clear cut response, and Reid had an actual answer to it.

“I’m working on a case. Bob tracked me down and asked me. The internet is a dangerous thing.”

Luke laughed, and Reid felt oddly pleased . When Luke laughed, his whole face expressed joy. Unlike most people who laughed with their hands at their mouths or with only a polite chuckle, Luke laughed openly. He laughed in a way that made Reid want to laugh too.

“I’m not surprised you’re sought after. I always knew you’d be at the top of your field.”

“And I am.”

“Still modest, too, I see.” Luke smiled.

“Modesty is overrated. “

Luke rolled his eyes, but seemed amused more than anything. “What’s your specialty?”

“Neurology, of course.“

Surely Luke remembered Reid at the dinner table sketching the Frontal and Central Lobes on all those napkins, while Luke’s family babbled on and on, and he waited for Emma’s food?

“Well, I guess you always were doodling those pictures of the brain,” Luke said, as if reading his mind, although Reid took a slight offense at the word doodling. Those drawings had been accurate renderings. He started to correct Luke about that, when Luke added “ And Bob found you on the computer?”

“Yeah,” Reid nodded, “Who knew the old dinosaur could work a mouse?”

Luke started to laugh again and then stopped. “Wait. Neurology? Are you- it’s not Ameera’s case, is it?” Luke didn’t wait for him to answer. “What am I thinking? Of course, you’re the specialist Bob promised Noah. That’s you. Wow.”

“You know her?”

Luke’s eyebrows shot up underneath his hair. “Sort of…I mean, yeah.”

Why was he surprised? Of course, Luke knew her. The Snyders knew everybody in this town. All Oakdale residents were either tied by blood, marriage or a weird combination of the two. That’s probably what made ‘em crazy.

“She’s not your wife and stepsister too, is she?” Reid joked.

“What? No,” Luke tugged nervously at his ear. “She’s just a friend.” But he looked guilty. His eyes darted to the side.

Reid cocked his head. Interesting. The woman was married, of course, but in a town like Oakdale where infidelity was as pervasive as opinions, that didn’t mean a damn thing.

“Is she really so bad?” Luke folded his arms across his body. He slumped his shoulders in protectively. “I mean, she can be fixed, right?”

Reid stared at him. He wasn’t going to discuss a patient with Luke, but something about Luke’s eyes made Reid think of the many nights when Luke, frightened of his nightmares, had crawled into his bed for comfort.

“That’s privileged information,” Reid simply said. But he said it almost gently.

“Oh! Of course it would be. Sorry!” Luke straightened up and flashed his dimples at him. “Anyway, it’s terrific that she has you on board now. I’m sure you’re a great doctor. “

“I told you. The best.”

Luke grinned. “Right. The best.“ Amusement and something warm lit up his face. “It’s really good to see you!” Luke came at him with open arms.

Reid didn’t hug. Ever.

But as Luke reached him, Reid automatically opened his arms to tolerate the coming embrace.

Luke grasped him and hugged tightly. He leaned a moment into Reid’s neck, and Reid took a deep breath. Luke smelled good, like fresh laundry soap. His body felt warm and strong, and nothing at all like the little kid he’d known.

The hug ended abruptly. Luke stepped back, tugging at his ear again, suddenly interested in what the nurses across the way were doing. Luke brushed a hand over his hair, tidying it. Reid swallowed. He felt a little off balance, too.

“So did you come alone?” Luke inquired suddenly.

“Of course,” Reid said, puzzled at the lack of segue. “I’m hoping it will only take a few days.”

Luke nodded, focusing on Reid intently. “And then back to?” Luke asked curiously.

“Minnesota.”

Luke nodded, and Reid saw that he looked a tired and sad. Of course, Reid hadn’t seen him in years. But it was there all the same. Reid never was good at reading people, but he knew he wasn’t wrong about reading Luke.

“The Mayo Clinic?”

Reid nodded. Was it the girl? Or something else? He wasn’t sure, but Luke was not happy. That much he knew for sure.

“Wow,” Luke said. “So, how long will you be here?”

“A few days, tops.”

Luke looked genuinely disappointed, and he sighed. “That’s too bad.”

Reid shrugged. “Three days of second-rate sushi and freaky hotel room sheets? I’d say that’s more than enough time for me.”

Luke bent over the x-ray films again, moving with what seemed like incredible slowness. Reid remained still, watching Luke as he moved, admiring the shape of him.

“Here,” Luke said, rising.

“Thanks.”

Gazing at each other, Reid felt like the air had suddenly grown hot and he was breathing too hard. So was Luke. Reid folded his arms. He had a strange burning inside of his chest, a pressure almost, like a tight valve was about to be released. He cleared his throat and took the scans from Luke. Their fingers brushed.

Luke quickly pulled his hand away from Reid’s.

Reid backed away, forcing images into his mind of small Luke giggling and making him sandwiches, with gobs of mayo on crusty bread, layering the meat and cheese for Reid to eat. Reid breathed out slowly, calming down.

“Well,” Luke said in a high voice. “I was headed to Ameera’s room . Are you?”

“No, I need to look these over now. “

He should shake hands and go. But he stood and looked at Luke instead. He couldn’t seem to stop looking. He had an urge to touch Luke on the arm, as if to make certain he was real.

Luke smiled softly. “But you don’t work tonight, right? Want to come out to the farm for dinner? Grandma Emma can still cook up a storm.”

“I was just thinking about her pie,“ Reid licked his lips.

Luke’s eyes darkened a moment; he ducked his head away. When he looked back, Reid could almost swear that Luke was giving him a coy look, his eyelashes fluttering up and down.

Reid rubbed a hand over his eyes, clearing his head. His weird reaction to seeing a grown-up Luke was crossing his wires all wrong. He needed food. A nap. To get laid. Something.

At that moment, a nurse rushed by, pushing a heavy cart, and they were forced to take a step away from each other.

Luke cleared his throat. “Anyhow, my mom and all the kids –I have three younger siblings now- Faith, Natalie and Ethan- they’ll be at the farm tonight. You should come. Eat with us.”

Reid bit back a snarky comment about the respective parentage of each of the new siblings and said, “I don’t want to intrude on family dinner time.”

Reid wanted to accept Luke’s offer. He hardly ever ate a home cooked meal. Most of his dinners, were around the television, eating plastic covered crap from the microwave. On the other hand, he’d always sucked at dinner chitchat, and the Snyders were a mushy bunch. Reid knew they liked to sit around and ask about each other’s day and all of that. It had always twisted his guts up. He’d never felt relaxed with it all. It was probably a really bad idea. Reid massaged his temples; he had a headache coming on.

“Reid,” Luke murmured, and Reid felt an odd ache at his name on Luke’s lips. ”You were family once...“ He walked closer to him, until their shoulders almost rubbed together. Luke searched his eyes.

“And I’d hate for you to leave town without getting to see you again. Please come.” Luke smiled. “Please?”

It had always been difficult to refuse Luke anything. Like the time that Luke had managed to drag him out of bed before dawn to see the sunrise over the pond. Luke had sworn to him that it would be a great adventure. First, Reid had tripped on a cow patty and had to wash his foot off in the stinking cold water of the pond, and then after a rather disappointing sunrise, red ants crawled onto his towel and bit him; he’d ended up needing calamine lotion on his face, neck and back. He’d vowed never to do anything Luke suggested ever again.

Luke caught his eye and hit him with another warm smile.

Reid sighed. “What time’s dinner?”

“Six!” Luke’s smile turned goofy. Weirdly, Luke seemed genuinely happy at the thought of Reid’s company. That never happened to Reid. Most people couldn’t stand him. When he entered the room, the nurses all busied themselves or ran into the bathroom. Other doctors only ate lunch with him if they had need of a consult. Reid pretended not to notice, not to care.

“And don’t be late,” Luke added.

“I’m never late for food,” Reid replied.

“Good to see some things never change.” Luke grinned widely at him.

Reid’s mouth lifted slightly. He couldn’t help smiling back at Luke. “I’ll see you out at the farm.”

“See ya then!” Luke said cheerfully.

Reid watched Luke head toward Ameera Mayer’s room.

***

Bob opened the door of room 201. It was a small office, with a square-shaped desk, an old laptop, and a phone.

“For you Dr. Oliver,” Bob said graciously.”For as long as you’re here.”

Reid walked into the room, taking in the nearly ancient computer. Oh, well, he supposed it would do just fine for checking email from Mayo. His eyes fell on the phone.

“Is this a rotary?” Reid made a face. He was still annoyed at Bob for all of the hand holding.

“I’m afraid the hospital hasn’t updated a lot of things.”

Reid looked at the old fashioned clock on the wall and the flowered wallpaper. “I swear Oakdale is the town that time forgot,” he muttered.

‘Well,” Bob said, and smiled. “Feel free to make it your own space.” He put a friendly hand on Reid’s shoulder. “I really want you to feel comfortable.”

Reid felt his annoyance fading. As usual, he had misunderstood the social situation. Bob wasn’t mistrusting him; Bob was attempting to be generous. At the Mayo Clinic, the doctors worked like it was a giant factory. There were no personal touches, no visits from the boss. Bob wasn’t like that, had never been like that. Everything about Bob, Memorial, and Oakdale was personal.

Bob stood looking at him, waiting. Reid knew he should say thanks or something.

“I’ll be here two days, Bob. Three tops. But I’ll be happy to decorate it with candy wrappers and Coke cans.”

“I remember when I used to travel for the occasional consult—“

“In the dark ages?”

“I’m not as old as I look. I used to like to bring a picture of Kim and Christopher. I’d put it out wherever I was, and I always felt at home.”

“Still got the sermons on home and family, I see.”

“Still got the loner chip on your shoulder.”

“No chip. Just pragmatic acceptance of reality and an appreciation for having everything I want exactly how I want it.”

Bob just smiled at him. “Why don’t we move on to the lab?”

“Finally! Maybe we could actually focus on what I came here to do.”

“All right,” Bob agreed. “In that case, I’ll confide in you that this case has me a bit anxious.”

“Losing your nerve in your age old man? Sure it’s a difficult case, but it’s far from beyond me—“

“No, Dr. Oliver. That’s not the problem. Unfortunately, there is something we need to discuss about Ameera.” He hesitated. “Have you by any chance seen any unusual activity around her room?”

“UFO sightings? Paranormal activity? You’ll have to be more specific, Bob.”

They left the office and headed for the lab.

“INS. There appears to be some concern over her citizenship.”

“I haven’t seen them and don’t really care,” Reid shrugged, “As long as they stay out of my way.”

Bob started to reply, when a nurse stopped them.

“Good morning, Dr. Hughes. Thanks again for the pep talk last night.”

“You’re welcome, Gretchen. You have the makings of an excellent nurse. Just remember to keep your chin up.”

The nurse gave him a wobbly smile and moved on. Three other nurses passed by and each of them also had the need to thank Bob or ask his opinion on a matter. Their questions struck Reid as rather idiotic and he’d have happily told them where to stick them; Bob, however, patiently answered them all.

At this rate, Ameera Mayer would die before Reid had a chance to examine her scans.

“By the way,” Bob glanced at Reid, as they started toward the lab again. “ Dr. Richards informed me this morning that she’s taking some personal time . There is a serious question about her returning to Memorial. As you can imagine, her rather abrupt decision is a problem for the hospital. Can I count on your help for any emergency neurological cases?”

Reid was about to ask just how many neurological cases a small town like this had, when another doctor grabbed at Bob.

“I must speak with you,” he said, practically tugging on Bob’s white coat.

“Dr. Stevens. This is Dr. Oliver-“

“Nice to meet you,” Dr. Stevens said without looking at Reid. “Please, Bob. Five minutes.”

Bob looked at Reid. He almost sighed. “Can you find your way, Dr. Oliver?”

Reid nodded.

It seemed like everybody in the hospital wanted a piece of Bob. Reid wondered if Bob ever felt like he was surrounded by a bunch of hungry vultures. Probably not, what with Bob being Bob and all.

“About those Neuro emergencies?” Bob turned to him, removing the other doctor’s hand from his coat.

“Sure, why not.” Reid would probably be gone before a single problem came up in the ER.

“Fantastic.” Bob smiled widely, his eyes gleaming. “I’ll meet you in the lab.”

He hurried away with Dr. Stevens. Reid stood there for a moment, his eyes narrowed. Bob had given him a smile like Reid had offered up his first born. Why did he feel like he had just been tricked?

***
Sighing, Reid went on to the lab. He began to unload his papers and x-rays.

Moments later, Bob joined him. He handed Reid a cup of coffee. “It’s still awful and burnt, but here.”

Reid accepted the cup.

“I read your background,“ Bob said suddenly, as he slowly sipped his drink. “I was impressed with your work at Hopkins.”

“Of course you were.”

Bob smiled. “Dr. Oliver, I see that has ego stayed with you all these years.” Bob handed him a scan. “I actually think I might have missed it. Or maybe I’m just missing my own sons lately.”

“Oh?” Reid put the scan up to the machine and pointed at the tumor.

Bob nodded at it. “Tom’s very busy, and now Chris is off.”

Bob looked at Reid. “I guess it’s natural. All young men want to go out there and see the world.”

“I just want to see an OR,” Reid replied grumpily. “Sometime in the next day or so, preferably before Mrs. Mayer dies.”

Bob shook his head. “You make a valid point, Dr. Oliver.”

“Thank you.”

He and Bob studied the test results . As they reviewed them, Bob listened and asked him pertinent questions. Time didn’t matter, only medicine, only the pursuit of the right treatment. Reid felt his adrenaline kick in; a good medical talk always gave him a high.

Reid appreciated that Bob worked swiftly and was professional. They discussed the prognosis, trouble shooting different scenarios for how to deal with possible complications during the operation. It felt oddly good to go back and forth with Bob. When Reid had been a teenager, he would have been in heaven for five minutes of Bob treating him like an equal.

“Let me tell you what I have in mind for the first part of the operation.” Reid tapped at the x-ray. “See here? That is where we take out part of the skull-“

Bob nodded his agreement, and a flush of pleasure went through Reid’s body. Usually, Reid kept his Chief of Staff at a great distance, answering only direct questions, avoiding meetings. Most Chiefs lived to shove paperwork down your throat and Reid never wanted to waste time with any of them.

“And here is where I can remove the tissue and still not damage the cortex. Do you see?”

Bob made an appreciative sound. “Impressive.”

Reid couldn’t quite hold back his smile.

Finally, they reached the last scan. Reid drummed his fingers on the chart. He waited for Bob to finish examining the picture.

“So? “Bob said. “As bad as I thought? Right?”

Reid nodded. A surge of excitement went through him; this was a case he could really sink his teeth into and it’d been a long time since he’d faced a true challenge of his skills. Reid’s hand eagerly twitched at his side for a scalpel.

“You know I was right to call you,” Bob said, “I always knew you’d be the best. But your ideas are just amazing, cutting edge.”

“Well, don’t give yourself a medal.” Reid rolled his eyes. “Any competent Chief of Staff would know to call me.”

“But nobody else could have gotten you to come,” Bob replied, amused. Then his expression sobered. “Have you explained all this to Noah? Her husband will need to know the full scope of the operation. It’s a risky procedure.”

Reid nodded grimly. “He has the waivers and disclosure information already. Once he signs, we’ll be good to go.”

“Dr. Oliver, I want you to take some time with him. Make sure he understands all the facts.”

Reid had his doubts that Mr. Mayer was capable of understanding even a few of the facts, much less all of them, but he said, “Will do.”

Reid started to leave.

“Oh, and one more thing.” Bob held up a hand, asking him to wait.

Reid sighed impatiently.

“Is it feeling like home here again?” Bob gave him a big, hopeful smile.

Reid grunted. “It never felt like home before .”

He walked off, drinking the horrible coffee, and hoping that Memorial’s cafeteria wouldn’t give him too serious a case of food poisoning.
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Anywhere USA
Author: Marsabi
Summary: This is a two part story with multiple chapters.
Part One: Abandoned as a teen, Reid is forced to live on the Snyder farm as a foster kid for a few months, before he heads off on his own, but will a certain child worm his way into Reid’s heart?
Part Two: Reid returns to Oakdale as a favor for Bob, something he planned never to do, and he can’t wait to leave town, until his past slams into him in the form of Luke Snyder and damn if Luke isn’t all grown up.
Warning: Sexual Content in some parts
Rating: PG-NC-17
Thanks to the following friends for their support of this story: shadownyc, traciamc, and Rhiannonhero
Author’s notes: This was bid on by Rhiannon Hero for the Japanese auction. Because I know Rhiannonhero loathes short chapters, these chapters will be long.

Part One:

Anywhere, USA

Chapter Two

His first few days at Memorial, Reid attempted to make himself indispensible. He had no intention of returning to farm labor. But he was off to a rocky start. No one there seemed to like him. The nurses didn’t seem to like it when he diligently reminded them of the doctor’s orders. It sincerely baffled Reid. Why didn’t those nurses want to improve their performance? Why wouldn’t they want to fix their rather glaring inadequacies? Reid would appreciate some constructive criticism; that is, if he ever made a mistake.

The doctors seemed to hate Reid too. They resented his meticulous list of questions. One of them actually tore his list up. Reid, unfazed, made a new copy for that doctor and stapled it to his to do board. The doctor hadn’t been amused. Reid was quickly learning that some doctors, despite graduating from med school, were just idiots. He soon gave up on them. He concentrated on the few good doctors at Memorial. Even the competent ones though, hated Reid, and he tried, he really did. He attempted a minute of small talk. He had it in his notes even, make small talk. Maybe he didn’t listen to the answers about their flea-burdened dogs or timed out offspring, but he tried. It just that small talk was such a huge waste of his time. Finally, when Reid gave up on the pretense of chit chat and merely inquired curiously about the medical choices they were making, the doctors became so defensive.

“Remind me again what medical school you went to? “ Dr. Dixon had snapped at him.

Dr. Stewart had been more polite, but as soon as her shift with Reid was over, she’d gone to the Chief and requested he no longer be allowed in her OR. And he’d even faked listening to Dr. Stewart prattle on and on about her latest divorce.

Reid swallowed the little bit of hurt he felt. Let them all rebuff him. He concluded that their egos were bigger than their skills. He went to the library and took out thick stacks of medical journals. If the staff at Memorial couldn’t teach him, he’d find out the answers alone. Reid spent his next few days at Memorial quietly. But he observed everything like an eager sponge. He wrote down all of his observations and poured over his medical texts at night.

The only doctor who made time for him was Bob. He was always patient. He even allowed Reid to watch his operations, as long as he stayed out of the way. Watching a person being cut open thrilled Reid, he studied every move Bob made. Reid followed Bob around so much, he heard the other doctors teasing Bob about his shadow. Bob only smiled at their jokes. Reid no longer gave a damn what those doctors thought. Reid continued to follow him, eating snacks from the vending machine, and scribbling down things Bob told him in his notebook.

Bob didn’t seem to mind being questioned as much as he minded Reid’s food selection.

“Why don’t I take you down to the cafeteria and buy you lunch,” Bob told him, watching Reid shoving Doritos into his mouth. Reid had been working at Memorial for an entire week.

“No thanks,” Reid said, still chewing. He licked at his fingers. “I’ve seen the cafeteria food. I want to live to sixteen.”

“Even future neurosurgeons need nutrition,” Bob said. “It is still neurosurgery you want to go into?”

Reid nodded. Bob was the only person he’d told that to.

“Cardiology can use bright minds like yours,” Bob mused. “Or what about a pediatrician? There can never be too many good family doctors?”

“No way,” Reid scoffed. “I want to actually practice real medicine.”

“You don’t think children are worthy patients?” Bob countered.

“I don’t think holding the hand of some mother having histrionics over another case of her brat’s sniffles is worthy,” Reid replied.

Bob grinned at him. Reid stared back. He’d been perfectly serious about hating pediatrics, but he clearly was amusing Bob for some unfathomable reason.

“I do find children with brain problems interesting, “ Reid said, pointedly ignoring Bob’s smile. “There was a recent article on children and Autism,” Reid told him. He dug among his notes to find it. “ It offered really pertinent theories about why so many lose their language abilities in those first two years. The studies showed-”

“Reid,” Bob held up his hand. “I’d love to hear it, but don’t you want to head out? It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Don’t you have someplace else to be for the rest of the day?“

Reid shrugged.

“You know,” Bob said gently, “even future doctors are allowed a life. “

“I don’t know what you mean.” Reid shifted his feet back and forth.

“I mean go have some fun,” Bob advised him. “ Life is more than homework and hospitals.”

Reid’s mouth turned down at the corners. “What else matters?”

Bob sighed. “Friends? Family? “

Reid just looked at him.

Bob clasped him on his shoulder and laughed. “One day, you’ll get what I mean.”

Reid began to argue with him, when as if on cue, his wife and son interrupted them.

“Darling,” Kim said, coming over and giving Bob a peck on his cheek. “Did you forget about coming to see Chris pitch today?”

Chris stood near his mother in a baseball uniform.

“Oh,” Bob replied. “Sorry, Chris. Let me just finish up here first.”

Kim made a tiny frown of displeasure.

“Oh say,” Bob turned to Reid. “I have an idea. Reid, would you like to come to the ball game with us? See Chris’s team?”

Reid shrugged casually and chewed his chips. He looked at Chris’s hostile gaze.

“Sure. I like baseball. I can calculate all the averages of the team members.”

“Of course you can, “Chris said. “Why would you go to actually just watch?”

Kim pulled Bob aside. She whispered into his ear.

Chris looked at Reid with pure dislike. “You know my dad just feels sorry for you?”

“Actually, I think you’re the one he’s sorry about.”

“Just ‘cause you want to be a doctor,” Chris muttered.

“And you don’t, right?”

“No. I don’t. I’ll never become a doctor,” Chris vowed.

Reid nodded sagely, “Wise of you. Future patients are rejoicing.”

“Freak,” Chris said.

“Really? That’s your best insult? “ Reid shrugged. “Oh well, keep trying. It’s like those scratch off cards in the lottery, eventually even a dope like you might score. ”

Bob and Kim suddenly were whispering loudly to each other. Bob kept glancing over at him.

“I can’t just take back an invitation,” he heard Bob say.

Reid pretended not to notice that remark and busied himself with his notebook. Chris smirked.

Kim ignored Bob’s protest. She walked over to Reid and touched his arm lightly. “Reid, you understand that this is father and son thing, right?” Kim smiled at him frigidly. “We’ll have you join us another time?”

“Kim,” Bob said. His cheeks were slightly red.

“No,” Reid waved a dismissive hand at Bob. “It’s fine.” Reid tapped his papers. “ I wanted to read up on that Autism thing. Oh and there’s another journal covering metopic craniosynostosis.”

“Oh,” Bob’s eyes lit up. “That is a fascinating condition.” He motioned for Chris, who looked sullen and bored. “You should hear about this illness and its treatment.”

“I was reading the newest procedure breaks open the skull to make room for the brain –“

“Yes! “ Bob nodded vigorously, his whole face delighted with Reid. “I read that too!”

“Yeah,” Reid gave a small smile back. “The bones in this one baby’s skull had fused prematurely and –“

“All very interesting,” Kim interrupted, “but the game is going to start. Bob?”

Reluctantly, Bob followed his wife. As he left he turned back once to Reid. “Reid,” Bob called with a smile, “eat a real meal and we’ll discuss all this on Monday.”

Then he was gone, off to be with his family.

Reid stood there a moment, and then went back to eating Doritos alone.

***

The month of May brought more scorching heat, the last of Emma’s brilliant flowers blooming, and Luke’s birthday. The entire Snyder clan was involved in planning the party. As the day approached, they were all running around in excitement. You’d think Luke was about to get married, instead of just turning eight.

The day of Luke’s party seemed to shut down the entire town. Everybody from Oakdale was there, maybe because the kid’s birthday was at Lucinda Walsh’s mansion. It was a formal affair, too. The men were in dark suits and the women were in various dresses. The kids were all looking like future princes and princesses. Luke was in a dark jacket, red tie, dark shorts and knee socks. His hair had been combed and slicked down to one side. Lily and Holden took a “family” picture with their kids; their smiles too wide and too fake for Reid’s taste. As soon as the pictures were over, they took off for different parts of the party.

The party was outside on the patio area of the mansion. Lucinda Walsh had apparently flown in just for Luke’s birthday. A full staff of servants were running around, and there was a live band, and Luke had a literal mountain of expensively wrapped gifts, too. Luke shook all the guest hands as they arrived. He was like the little man of the manor.

Reid did hear Luke ask repeatedly if his other father had called. Apparently, Damian usually called on his birthday, but he hadn’t this year.

“Oh,” Luke’s face looked crestfallen and then he shrugged, “doesn’t matter. I’m sure he’ll call me soon.”

As far as Reid knew, there was no call coming.

The highlight of the party was the moment Holden showed Luke the Shetland pony he’d bought for him. Finally, Luke seemed to be having fun. Holden led him out on it and everybody clapped. Luke waved to everybody with his huge grin. Then Holden helped Luke feed the pony a sugar cube and the animal took the treat with big gums and surprisingly yellowed teeth. Then Luke hugged Lily. He hugged Holden. He even hugged the damn pony.

Reid never had a birthday party as a kid. Angus took him bowling once, when he turned nine. Reid was having trouble fathoming this lavish affair. He was glad for Luke, but the whole event made him uncomfortable. He quickly made a huge plate of lasagna and turkey meat, and then looked for a place to be out of the way. He sat down behind a big tree and began to eat.

“Darling, you need to deal with this now.” Somebody was standing on the other side of the tree. Reid ate another forkful of pasta, and then froze at Lily’s voice.

“I can’t. I just want it to go away.”

“Ha,” the other woman laughed a little caustically. “That , my dear, is not how life works. Things don’t just go away. You have to face them!”

Lily sniffed loudly.

“Mark my words, that Molly isn’t going anywhere. You need to get rid of her.”

“I’ve tried, mother. I did. I confronted him about Molly and that- that girl. I confronted him about smelling her perfume on his shirt the other day, that cheap junk.”

“I’m sure that she buys her toiletries at Walmart darling, but the point is you need to a plan. Let me help.”

“No, absolutely not.”

“Why? I’m so awful , is that it?” Her tone was scorching now. “You weren’t so easy, you know. Do you think I wanted you to be with Holden? Didn’t I warn you about all of this?”

Lily didn’t answer.

“Put down that drink,” Lucinda ordered.

“I’m fine, Mother. Holden and I will work it out. Molly promised not to make trouble.”

“Darling, don’t insult my intelligence on my own property. “ Reid heard her snort. “And think what all this does to Luke? That poor child!”

“He’s fine.”

“He’s not fine. He’s being damaged.”

At last, Reid thought, brain power being used. He waited for Lily’s reply.

“He’s fine,” Lily’s voice had an edge to it now, and her words sounded slightly slurred. “He’s too young to understand.”

Reid rolled his eyes.

“Let’s hope.” There was a pause.

“Why can’t Holden just be done with her?” Lily was whining at Lucinda now. “I just can’t bear the thought, Mother.”

“Of Holden and Molly?”

“Of being alone,” Lily cried out.

Lucinda sighed in clear annoyance, “Stop riding on this pathetic merry-go-round.”

“If you ever loved a man like I love Holden-“

“Oh, p-shaw. I’ve loved many men. Powerful exciting men! But I’m my own woman, darling.”

Lily started to say more, but Lucinda hushed her.

“Quiet. Look who’s coming. Get yourself together.”

“I can’t.”

“Just do!” Then Lucinda called out. “There he is! My best guy!”

Kissing noises.

“Hiya, Grandmother. Thanks for the great party! Mommy? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” Lily said in a small voice.

“Mommy has allergies, my darling. She’ll be fine. Lily, go and look at Luke’s presents.”
Luke and Lily’s voices soon trailed off. Reid waited a moment, and then decided it was all clear, he stood up.

“Are you the boy living out at the farm?”

Reid nearly jumped out of his skin. He should have stayed hidden longer.

Lucinda Walsh tilted her head majestically at him. She looked at his half-eaten food and slightly wrinkled, cheap suit.

Reid stared back at Luke’s grandmother. She was the only woman there in a pantsuit and not a dress.

She had a diamond pendant at her throat. Her eyes were shrewd, her gaze direct.

Reid shrugged. “What gave it away? Is there some hay in my hair?”

“I know this entire town, darling, and I have never seen you.” Lucinda circled him, sizing him up. “Do you like living there? At the Snyder farm?” she persisted.

“Not really,” Reid said sourly.

Lucinda look turned calculatingly. “Interesting. Most would have lied about that. “ She studied him. “Has a woman named Molly been there lately?”

Reid said nothing. His mouth turned down in displeasure. He really wished he’d remained hidden by that tree.

Lucinda smiled at him now with a predatory gleam in her eyes, “I can make it worth your time to answer me.”

“Really? ‘Cause I just came for the food.”

“Well how would you like some money with your dessert? Tell me about the farm and Molly. ”

“You should be more concerned with your daughter,” Reid said crisply. “And I can’t be bought.” Reid made a face. “Why do rich people think everybody is for sale?’

Lucinda shrugged, “Because most people are,” she told him flatly.

“Well I’m not.”

“A stray with a moral compass? “ Lucinda appeared amused and hooked her arm around him. “I may need to rethink my whole strategy now.”

“ Moral and gay,” Red told her pointedly, trying to piss her off. “So get your hands off.”

Lucinda threw back her head and cackled with delight. ”Gay? Oh well, all the best ones are, darling. Don’t worry,” Lucinda grinned wickedly at him, “ straight or gay your honor is safe with me. You have a handsome face, but I like my men with a little more meat on their bones. “ She gave Reid’s ass a friendly pat.

Shocked and trying not to show it, Reid refused to move away.

“And your meat is way past its prime.” Reid slowly moved her hand.

“Ha! Oh, I like you!” Lucinda declared, not the least bit offended. She pointed a finger at Reid’s chest. “Think over my offer, young man. I was told you are headed to Harvard in a few months. That’s not a cheap place.”

“I’m getting a full ride.”

“Including text books? Food? Clothing? “ Lucinda narrowed her eyes. “Just think it over some more, before you refuse me. I could use a smart guy like you keeping an eye on things.”

Reid started to reply, when a strange excitement swept through the crowd.

Molly took that moment to crash the party, dragging a sullen teenage girl with her.

“Holden!” Molly called.

Everybody stopped and stared. Molly walked determinedly up to Luke and Lily.

“Oh damn it all,” Lucinda said, “the cheap entertainment has arrived.”

She began to walk determinedly in Molly’s direction, but everything was happening too fast. Molly had already reached Lily and Luke.

“Luke, happy birthday, buddy!” Molly sang out. She thrust the girl in front of her. “This is your sister, Abigail.”

The teenage girl looked miserably at Luke. He stared back.

“You!” Lily shouted at Molly. “How dare you?” Her hysteria grew with each syllable.

“What?” Molly chirped up. “I thought they should meet.”

“Molly, “ Holden said, “we agreed this would be done privately.”

“Why? You said you weren’t ashamed of us?”

“You whore.” Lily swayed unsteadily near Molly.

Molly sneered back.

Luke jumped in between them all. “I want my cake now,” Luke said. “Can I please have my cake?”

“Not now, baby,” Lily said, practically pushing Luke aside.

“Yes, now,” Luke tugged at her hand.

“Why shouldn’t Abigail be here? “ Molly said suddenly. “Holden is her father.”

“You have no rights- none!” Lily screamed at Molly. Lily’s color paled, her breathing seemed erratic. She lurched closer to Molly.

“Holden? “ Molly demanded. “Tell her we can stay.”

“Let’s all try and be reasonable,” Holden said, his eyes gleaming with something close to excitement at the two women fighting.

“I want her gone!” Lily shrieked. Her words were slurred and desperate.

“It doesn’t matter what you want, “ Molly yelled right back.

“I’m ready for my cake, “ Luke said in a small whimper. “Please?”

Lily flung her drink in Molly’s face. Molly lunged at Lily. The two of them began to pull each other’s hair and roll around on the lawn. Holden jumped in and pulled them apart. The girl, Abigail, ran off crying. Then Lily’s face went white, she gasped and fainted into Holden’s arms.

Bob ran over and began to help. Lucinda also ran over and shouted for an ambulance to be called. “We have to get her to Memorial and pump her stomach. Right now.”

Bob and Lucinda rode with the ambulance. Everybody around Reid was whispering and motioning to Molly.

Molly was crying now, big gobs of mascara ran down her face. “I’m a mess,” she cried to Holden. Then she tried to smile. “She was drunk; I didn’t hurt her. I do hope Lily will be okay. I really do.”

“She brought this on herself.” Holden said critically.

Molly glanced down at Luke. “I’m sure your mommy didn’t mean to cause a scene,” she told him with a syrupy voice. “I think she’s just a little sick.”

Luke’s face contorted. “Don’t say my mommy’s name!” His small face twisted with rage and grief. He pounded at Molly with his fists. “Don’t talk about her!”

Holden grabbed him. “Luke! Stop.” Holden shook Luke firmly.

The crowd fell silent.

“I know you’re upset about mommy, but…” Holden stared down at Luke. “That’s no excuse! You don’t act this way, understand? Apologize to her.” When Luke was silent, Holden continued to lecture him. “All of our friends have come here for your birthday. And you are letting them down by misbehaving?“

Luke’s big eyes drifted over all of the faces at his party. Guilt flooded his features.

“Sorry,” he said to his guests in a wobbly voice.

Holden released him. He went over to Molly. “Are you okay?”

She clung to him.

“I’m waiting for you to apologize to Molly too, Luke.”

There was another silence.

“Don’t make me ashamed,” Holden said.

Reid took a few steps closer to Luke.

Luke hung his head a moment. “Sorry, Molly,” he whispered.

“That’s okay,” Molly said with false cheer. “No big deal. And I’m sure soon you can meet your new sister!”

Holden shook his head. “Not now.”

“Right,” Molly said, covering up her mouth. “Bad idea.”

“We need to talk, “ Holden told her. She linked her arm in Holden’s and he led Molly away from the crowd.

Luke looked up, his eyes moist, his lip quivering. He pulled at the collar of his starched white shirt. One of his little knee socks had fallen down.

Reid approached him slowly. For the second time today, Reid felt like socking one of Luke’s parents. All these weeks on the farm, Holden acted like a good dad. But now Reid thought he was full of it. Luke didn’t need a lesson in morality, his parents did.

He bent down to Luke’s level. “ Lily’s gonna be fine. Okay?”

Luke looked into his eyes. “ Really? You’re not lying to me?”

“I’m incapable of lying. Takes too much effort and charm.“ Reid lifted the corners of his mouth and took Luke’s hand a moment. “That’s the truth. They’ll pump her stomach, she will feel like crap for a day or two, and then go back to hounding you about baths soon enough.”

Luke gave Reid’s fingers a little squeeze. The poor kid looked devastated.

“If I’d never had my stupid birthday party, “ Luke whispered to him, “none of this would have happened.”

“Luke,” Holden called sharply. He had returned with Emma.

“Go back to the farm with Mama. I’ll go to the hospital.”

Luke let go of Reid’s hand and looked at Holden. “I wanna go to the hospital. Please!”

Holden just shook his head. “For your own good, Luke. Go to the farm. “

“He just wants to see for himself that she’s alright,” Reid protested.

Reid was ignored.

Holden was already walking off.

“Oh dear, “ Emma said, hugging Luke to her ample bosom. “Let’s just go home.”

***

As they reached the farmhouse, Emma left them to go and settle Faith down for a nap.
Luke had been pretty quiet on the ride. Usually, he chattered away.

Reid gave him a small nudge.

“Hey, don’t you want to go in and open your gazillion presents?” Reid asked him now.

“Not really.”

They climbed out of the truck and just stood there.

“When can I see her?” Luke asked him.

“Lily?”

“Yeah.”

Reid was quiet, unsure of what to say to him. Luke seemed to sadly accept his silence. He kicked at the ground with his shoe.

“You know what, Reid? “

“What?”

“That Molly is a- “ he hesitated a second and glanced around, clearly nervous to be caught saying anything. Reid pretended to glance around too, even though he knew they were alone, and he gave Luke the thumbs up. Luke nodded. Then his features scrunched up in an angry, pouty face, “She’s a dummy.” His eyes widened as if he’d just said the worst profanity on the planet. Reid had to smother his smile.

“No arguments from me. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody dropped her on the head as a baby, maybe left her back a few grades in school.”

Luke nodded emphatically a moment. Then he caught his lip with his teeth. “Don’t tell, okay? That I said that?”

Reid crossed his heart with a finger and nodded. “Don’t worry, Luke. I got your back.”

Luke smiled trustingly at him.

“My birthday wasn’t so good, right? ” Luke went on confessing his feelings, “I mean, I didn’t even get to eat my cake or give out my goody bags. They were Spiderman goody bags too.”

“That isn’t fair,” Reid agreed, “especially the cake part. “

Luke put his hands on his small waist. He let out an almost grownup sigh.

“Being eight really stinks.”

Reid couldn’t help it. He laughed at that.

“Try fifteen,” Reid said dryly. Then he studied Luke. His hair was blowing in the hot wind, his mouth had a small stain of Kool-Aid or something around it, and his dress shoes were once again untied. Luke felt his gaze and gave him a beautiful smile, full of simple warmth. Reid felt a clenching at his heart and looked away a moment. Despite everything that had happened at his birthday, Luke was still so full of simple goodness. His crazy family and this stupid town hadn’t beaten it out of him yet .

Reid reached into his jeans pocket.

“Here.” He thrust the gift at him.

“What this?”

“I’m a little late,” Reid shrugged, “but happy stinking birthday.” “

Luke examined the gleaming white queen in stunned silence.

“Thanks,” Luke said. He turned the chess piece around and around in his hands.

Reid shrugged self-consciously. “Just learn to play right, will you?”

“Happy stinking birthday,” Luke repeated and then he giggled.

It was the first time Reid heard his laugh since the fight between Molly and Lily. Reid would miss carrying around the white queen- it’d been his lucky piece- but hearing Luke’s laughter made it suddenly worth it.

“Come on, pest,” he told Luke, hooking an arm around him. “Let’s go raid Emma’s fridge. There might not be cake, but we can find something good.”

Luke slipped his hand into Reid’s. Together, they went into the house.

***

A few days later, the events at the Snyders’ had settled down. Lily was at Lucinda’s , but she visited and appeared well. Holden told Reid they’d found pills mixed with alcohol in her system, and she was getting some outpatient rehab. She and Holden had some kind of temporary truce, and Molly was keeping away from the farm. The weeks went by and soon it was June. Remarkably, Holden and Lily were still getting along. Reid felt relieved about it, since he had to work at Memorial and didn’t see Luke much. Everything appeared to be better for the moment.

Best of all, Luke was happy again. Just that morning, he’d snatched up a pair of clean underwear that Emma had laid out for him and put it on his head. Luke ran around the kitchen, pretending to fly and shouting ‘I’m an underwear superhero!’ Emma had been appalled that underwear, even a clean pair, was on her grandson’s head. Holden had tried to catch him and make him get dressed. Reid had found it hilarious. His sides ached even now from all that laughing. Who knew little kids were so funny? Or maybe it was just Luke.

Reid was still thinking about the underwear incident while he shadowed Bob on his morning rounds. Although he would never tell him, Reid had to admit that Bob was amazing with his patients. He knew their names, their spouses, the names of their pets for god’s sake. When Bob entered the room, all the patients straightened up. Even the cantankerous lady in 3A, who did nothing but spit ice chips at the nurses, loved Bob. By the end of the visit, she was giving him her wrinkled hand to hold and flirting with him.

“Remember, Reid, “ Bob told him as they left the room, “even the worst of the whiners, even the mean ones, are really just frightened. Remember, the doctor has all the power, too.”

“The power?”

“Think about it, “Bob said, “ these poor patients have been poked and prodded and tested. They might have sores in their mouths from the chemo or unbearable pain that no meds can fully take away. In the end, they need us to help them. Hopefully, save them. That’s a great power, “ Bob told him, waving his finger in the air like Merlin brandishing a magic wand. “ A great responsibility.”

“Touching.” Reid rolled his eyes. “But when can I get to observe another operation?”

Bob sighed.

“Aren’t you scheduled for a surgery?’ Reid asked persistently, although he knew Bob was due in the OR. He had Bob’s schedule memorized.

“Yep, right now. “ He tossed Reid some scrubs. “Okay, come watch, but stay out of the way, alright?”

“Right!” Reid’s heart beat frantically. He hadn’t expected Bob to agree. He pulled the scrubs on. They were way too big for his thin frame. The scrub top could easily have been wrapped around him several times and should be pinned, and the bottoms fell below his feet. He cuffed them up quickly, not caring.

Reid watched fascinated as Bob cut into the man’s abdomen, he could see the flesh and muscles being opened. Reid leaned closer to see the organs inside. He felt like the mysteries of the universe were suddenly being exposed. His pulse raced. He felt a rush of adrenaline flood his body as Bob cut away a massive tumor. It was a high like nothing imaginable. Reid’s fingers flexed. He couldn’t wait for his first surgery, his first cut.

Afterward, as Bob changed, Reid couldn’t stop asking him questions.

“Okay, Reid okay. I’ll answer everything. While I admire your dedication, son, and I intend to answer all those questions, calm down. I intend to have my lunch first, and I expect you to join me.”

“What is it? Bypass surgery? A brain aneurism?”

Bob laughed and was about offer more, when Chris and Kim arrived.

“Here he is,” Kim said with a smile.

Reid felt a stab of irritation at their unexpected arrival. They often showed up to take Bob out, but it was still early. Reid had been hoping for more time.

“Are you excited?” Bob asked his son.

“I am,” Chris gave Bob a big grin. “I can’t wait.”

Reid sighed. Maybe Chris had a big golf tournament or had finally passed basic Geometry or something. He waited for them to go.

Bob turned to Reid. “I have some good news. Christopher wanted to join us today. His classes are pretty much done for the summer now. Just this morning, Chris informed his mother and me that he wants to be a doctor.” Bob beamed at Chris proudly. “Isn’t that right, son?”

“That’s right, Dad. Just like my old man.”

Reid stared at Chris.

Kim waved her hand at him. “Oh, dear. I need to make a call for a moment. I forgot my interview is coming in to the station by three. Bob? Let me into your office a moment, darling?”

“Sure. Wait here, boys.”

As soon as Bob and Kim went into the office, Reid turned to Chris accusingly.

“I thought you didn’t want to be a doctor?”

“Funny thing,” Chris smiled charmingly, “I changed my mind. “ He clapped his hands together. “And after Dad gives me the tour today, I might even suggest I get a job here for the summer. “ Chris continued to smile at him. “Course the job you do is about the only one I’m qualified for.”

Reid didn’t reply. He felt his heart just stop.

“Aww Reid, what’s wrong?” Chris asked mockingly. “Not feeling so superior now?”

Bob and Kim came out of his office. At the same moment, the elevator opened and Luke and Lily got out.

“Reid!” Luke called cheerfully. “We came to take you to lunch.”

“Why don’t we all go to Al’s?” Bob suggested, “After lunch, Reid and Chris can do afternoon rounds with me.”

“Great!” Lily said.

“Fantastic,” Chris added. “I can’t wait for the afternoon, Dad. “

***

Outside of Al’s, Reid just waited for the others to be done. He had gobbled down the food, appreciating the milkshakes and burgers, but now he felt slightly sick.

Luke came outside to join him. “Hi,” he called.

Reid said nothing.

“You had some fries left over,” Luke told him.

“So what?” Reid shrugged.

Luke frowned at him and tilted his head. “What’s a matter?”

“Nothing.”

“Reid-“

“Chris is about to take away my job, damn him.” Reid spoke almost to himself more than to Luke. “ He doesn’t even want it!” Reid rubbed his hands over his face. He sat down on the nearby bench and tried to take deep breaths.

“But,” Luke said baffled, sitting down next to Reid, “it’s your job, right? Finders keepers, right? He can’t just take it away.” Luke patted Reid’s shoulder lovingly.

Reid shook his head, feeling miserable. “He can. He’s Bob’s son. “ Reid sniffed loudly. “And I’m nothing.”

“Don’t say that, you’re- “

“Just stop,” Reid jumped away from Luke, off the bench. “What do you know? You’re just a kid, an entitled brat. Like all the rest of them.”

Reid hurried away, headed for the bus stop. He’d find his own way back to the hospital. He needed to just be alone.

He refused to look back at Luke, and he refused to allow the stinging behind his own eyes to fall into tears.

***
It took Reid awhile to find the right bus back to Memorial. He dreaded seeing the smug look on Chris’s face or the pitying one on Bob’s. That would be the worst of it. Having to listen to Bob explain why his job now would belong to Chris.

He felt bad about taking his anger out on Luke. He knew he owed him an apology. Whatever. Luke probably wouldn’t understand, but Reid did feel sorry about it. Reid had to dig for enough money to pay the fare and the bus driver gave him a suspicious look, as if he didn’t think that Reid belonged. Reid got on and quickly slid down into a plastic seat. Reid gazed at his own reflection in the glass; he looked thin and anxious. He frowned at himself. The bus lurched forward and the people riding were all quiet. Some were dressed carefully, headed to their jobs. Others looked defeated, like they were only riding to the next bad thing. Every stop, the bus driver with the mean, pinched face hurried the people off or on. The bus went through Old Town and then headed for Memorial. By the time his stop arrived, Reid was ready. He straightened up his shoulders determinedly. He no longer cared about a-holes like Chris who though the world should be handed to them on a plate. Reid had to fight for everything. So what? That wasn’t news. He’d just have to go in there and fight as hard as he could. He’d remind Bob that one day he’d be the best neurosurgeon on the planet.

When he finally arrived at Bob’s office, he was startled to see that Bob was with only Luke. They appeared to be waiting for him. Luke gave him a smile and Reid looked down at his shoes a moment. Then Reid glanced around for Lily and for Kim. In confusion, he looked around for Chris. Reid was ready to fight Chris for his position, but he was dumbfounded now. Maybe Chris was already doing his job?

“Sit down, Reid,” Bob said.

“But I-“ Reid stood, scowling.

“Sit.” Bob’s voice was firm. Reid sat.

“Seems you have a little champion,” Bob told him.

“Champion?” Reid repeated.

“You took a long time to return. In that time, Luke here has been giving me quite an earful of all your good qualities. He seems to think I’d be rather foolish to let you go.” Bob turned to Reid. “I told Luke I was surprised, since I have no intentions of firing you.”

Reid stared at Bob. “You – you don’t?”

Bob shook his head.

“But I thought…” Reid trailed off, baffled. “But Chris?”

“Can apply for this job next year,” Bob answered smoothly.

“He’s your son.” Reid said.

“Who can apply like everybody else. You’re one of the finest young minds I’ve ever encountered, Reid, “ Bob said frankly. “You deserve this job.”

Reid felt his whole body grow warm.

“Lily is waiting in her car outside,” Bob informed him crisply, sensing his embarrassment. “ I told her you and Luke might want to talk for a moment. “

Bob went over to Reid and patted his back. “Now I have some other hospital business to see about. “ Then Bob smiled down at Luke, “and you should be a lawyer, young man. You are quite persistent.”

Luke flashed his dimples at Bob.

Smiling back, Bob closed the door behind him. He left Reid with Luke.

“I- I was obnoxious before,” Reid said haltingly.

“Yeah, “ Luke agreed.

Reid frowned, perplexed. Luke sounded fine, not at all upset. “I was a jerk,” Reid said slowly, “yet you…you still pleaded my case with Bob?”

Luke smiled. He got up and went to him. “I know you were just scared. “

Reid snorted at that. ”Was not.”

He gazed into Luke’ eyes. Luke gazed back. How could a little kid see him better than any adult ever had? Reid swallowed hard for a moment. He glanced away. He hated admitting to fear. It was a wasted emotion.

“Reid,” Luke said softly. He looked back to see Luke chewing on his lower lip. “ I told Bob to keep you? Is that okay?”

Reid cleared his throat. He just nodded.

Luke beamed at him. “I’m glad you’re not mad at me. Ms. Hughes seemed mad. And Chris,” Luke shrugged at that.

“I would have loved to have seen their faces, “ Reid shot him a smile.

Luke giggled. “They looked like this.” He made his cheeks blow out and eyes grow big. Then he pretended to choke and stuck out his tongue.

“That’s good, Luke,” Reid laughed. “You look like Chris.”

Luke giggled some more. Then his face grew more serious.

“I kind of tattled on Chris,” Luke admitted sheepishly.

“Yeah, I see that big old tail coming out of your butt.”

“There’s nothing in my butt,” Luke said indignantly. Then he laughed hysterically.

Reid just shook his head. “Why am conversing with a kid? “ He looked skywards as if the answer would be written on Bob’s office ceiling.

“Thanks for not being mad at my tattling, “ Luke said, once he’d stopped laughing.

Reid shrugged. “Well, in this case, you were just helping me out, true?”

Luke nodded.

“So, I don’t think it’s wrong then. In fact, I- I should be the one thanking you.” Reid felt heat coming to his cheeks. He did feel grateful to Luke. He had done his a favor, and he’d stuck up for him, no one, big or small, had ever done that.

Luke stared at him a second. He gave Reid a dazzling smile.

“No big whoop,” Luke said generously. “ Forget it.”

“Yeah, well I intend to forget it,” Reid teased.

But he wouldn’t forget it. Not ever.

“It’s like you said,” Luke added, running his small hand down Reid’s cheek. “We got each other’s back. “

“Yeah,” Reid nodded simply. “We sure do.”

“I know!” Luke’s eyes lit up, ”We need a secret handshake!”

“A what?” Reid made a face.

“A secret handshake,” Luke repeated patiently. “That only we know, see? And that way, we never forget.”

Reid just sighed.

“Okay,” Reid grumbled.

“Hmm,” Luke put a finger in his mouth and concentrated. “What should it be like?” He looked deep in thought. Then Luke grabbed Reid’s hand.

“I got it!” His whole face beamed with sudden joy, “we fist bump- like this. Twice okay? Hook thumbs. Yes, right. And now…" Luke thought a moment. “We grab each other on the shoulder.”

Reluctantly, Reid held out his fist, bumped it twice with Luke’s, hooked thumbs together for a moment, and then released it and clasped Luke by his small shoulder. Luke held Reid’s shoulder too. He had to stand on his tip-toes to reach it. Reid bent down a little to help him, putting his face close to Luke’s.

“Let’s use it whenever we need each other again? Okay?” Luke said.

“Okay,” Reid answered.

“Now we belong to each other,” Luke told him happily.

***

The summer flew the last months. Luke was in camp and Reid was at Memorial. Before he knew it, August came. Harvard sent Reid his housing information. He was off to begin his real life. Finally.

Reid requested a single room. He didn’t want a roommate bothering him. He secured a work-study job. He packed up his few things. Holden and Lily were back together now. Molly and Abigail had left town. Luke was over the moon with joy about his parents. Reid personally had doubts about them staying together, but he said nothing. Emma was planning him a farewell meal on his last night. Reid even got to pick the menu. He’d miss Emma.

Meanwhile, it was his very last day at Memorial. He knocked at Bob’s door and waited. Reid might have just left; he hated goodbyes, but he knew Bob would just show up at the farm or something. Better to get it over with now.

“Come in,” Bob called. He was sitting at his desk, surrounded by case files.

He smiled at Reid warmly.

“Off to Harvard in another day, right?”

“Yep.”

“So 4 years of college and then right to med school?”

“Four years? “ Reid scoffed. “I don’t think so…two tops. I plan to be n the accelerated track just like high school.”

Bob shook his head ruefully, “Still not slowing down to find a life, huh?” Bob walked over to him. “When you get to be my age, son, you’ll see that the important parts are what happens outside of work.”

“When I get to be your age,” Reid countered, “I’ll be drooling in some nursing home.”

“You should learn to speak to your elders with respect,” Bob gently scolded.

“And you should go after that Chief of Staff job already,” Reid advised. Then he gave Bob a shy, fast smile. “You’d be ten times better at it than anybody else here.”

“I don’t suppose you ever want to come back here and work for me?”

Reid let out a fast, incredulous laugh. “Here? “ He shook his head. “Never.”

“Never say never.”

“Right, “ Reid said, “that will be my new mantra.”

“Dr. Oliver,” Bob laughed, “and I can call you that before anybody else does…Wherever life takes you, you will make a fine surgeon.“ Bob gazed at him steadily.

For once in his life, Reid found he could not reply. He nodded curtly. Bob offered his hand and they shook.

Then Reid hurried away. Gathering up his things, Reid left Memorial and headed to the farm.

***

Emma’s dinner was over and Reid thought his stomach might explode. The only down note was that Luke had run off somewhere before dessert. He had to endure the rest of them insincerely prattling on about how they would miss him. If there hadn’t been ice cream and pie, Reid might have run out too.

Finally, the meal was over and Reid searched Luke out. He was easy to find; Luke would make a lousy criminal. The light from the barn was clearly on. Reid went over to the barn quietly, trying to figure out exactly what to say.

He pushed open the barn door and nodded at Luke.

“Hey,” Reid said, ”you missed pie.”

Luke shrugged, “I get pie every week.”

“Lucky you,” Reid answered

Luke didn’t respond. He had his hands jammed in his pockets and his mouth was twisted up. Reid was praying Luke wouldn’t start to cry or something.

“You’re leaving.”

‘Obviously’, Reid almost said, but, as he looked into Luke’s unhappy face, he quickly bit back the sarcasm.

“Yeah,” Reid glanced away from him. Then he took a deep breath. “But Boston’s not that far,” Reid offered. “And you’re loaded. You can visit. Hop on your grandmother’s jet.”

“No.”

“Yeah, we can write or call each other –“

“Don’t lie to me,” Luke said, suddenly angry. “You’re the only one who doesn’t lie to me.”

Reid fell silent. He looked into Luke’s eyes.

“It’s not gonna be like that,” Luke said. “My daddy Damian said stuff like that, “ he sniffed. “And it’s not true.”

Luke took his hands out of his pockets and wiped at his eyes.

“You’re right, “ Reid replied after a long moment. “You and I have always been honest with each other.”

Bending down to Luke’s level, Reid wiped a stray tear away. Then he reached out uncertainly and cupped Luke’s small face in his hand.

“We probably won’t see each other ever again,” Reid admitted.

He held his hand at Luke’s cheek and stroked it a moment.

“I love you,” Luke said.

Reid swallowed hard. He could feel a muscle twitch in his cheek.

Without saying anything, Reid pulled Luke’s body to him. He rocked him a moment in his arms.

“Me too,” Reid whispered into Luke’s ear. His voice was rusty sounding and trembled slightly.

Quickly, Reid pushed Luke away from him and stumbled for the door. He blinked hard several times, refusing to let his own tears fall.

“Bye, Reid,” Luke called softly.

An ache in his chest, Reid just stood there a second. He looked back at Luke and gave him a sad, slow smile.

“Bye, Luke.”

Then Reid left.
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Anywhere USA
Author: Marsabi
Summary: This is a two part story.
Part One: Abandoned as a teen, Reid is forced to live on the Snyder farm as a foster kid for a few months, before he heads off on his own, but will a certain child worm his way into Reid’s heart?
Part Two: Reid returns to Oakdale as a favor for Bob, something he planned never to do, and he can’t wait to leave town, until his past slams into him in the form of Luke Snyder and damn if Luke isn’t all grown up.
Warning: Sexual Content in some parts
Rating: PG-NC-17
Thanks to the following friends for their support of this story: shadownyc, traciamc, and Rhiannonhero
Author’s notes: This was bid on by Rhiannon Hero for the Japanese auction. Because I know Rhiannonhero loathes short chapters, these chapters will be long.

Part One:

Anywhere, USA

Chapter One

As he pushed open the door to the barn, the smell of hay and manure filled his nostrils and he twisted up his lips. He was dressed in a white t-shirt that hung loosely on his skinny frame, a pair of faded black jeans and some scuffed sneakers. In his jeans, were all the things he actually owned: a leaky pen, some Band Aids, a white Queen and a ten dollar bill. Listening for any noise outside, he exhaled a deep breath. Nobody was coming. Satisfied that he was alone, he carefully slid the book out from underneath his shirt. Anatomy. He had seen it on in a bookstore and spent his last winnings on it. He sighed and opened up the first page, gliding his fingers across the text. He only needed a few hours; he’d have the entire book memorized by then. Since he was alone, he allowed a tiny smile to pass over his lips as he glanced down at the picture of the human heart.

Then a small movement in the hay caught his attention. Frowning, he made his way over to it. The hay rustled. He crouched down and threw some pieces aside.

“Who are you?” he demanded, irritated.

“I’m Luke.” The small boy answered. “Who’re you?”

Reid stared into a pair of wide, brown eyes.

“I’m nobody,” Reid said. “Forget you saw me in here.”

“Forget you saw me,” Luke replied.

“Why?”

Luke wrinkled up his small nose. “My mother. She wants me to take a bath. Again. “ His chin jutted out, “And I took one yesterday. I’m totally clean.”

“Actually, regular hygiene is important to your health. This hay probably isn’t sanitary. Mice can get into the loft and their droppings –“

“You talk funny.” Luke emerged out of the hay now.

“So I’ve been told.”

Luke had on a striped shirt, and a pair of khaki shorts; his legs were bare and scabbed, his hair a mess of blond, slightly dirty strands that almost reached his eyebrows. He was one of those annoyingly cute kids that adults fawned over.

They examined each other a moment.

Then Reid’s stomach let out a gigantic growl, and Luke began to giggle.

“I guess you’re hungry.”

“Brilliant deduction.”

“I got a candy bar.” Luke suddenly offered him. He gave Reid a shy glance, “It’s yours.”

“Why?” Reid narrowed his eyes at him.

“Just ‘cause.” Luke pulled a slightly melted candy bar from his shorts.

“I can’t be bribed, kid.” But Reid’s stomach growled again, and he grabbed the candy.

Luke began to chatter then, something about his mother and grandmother, and Reid closed his eyes to block out his noise. He couldn’t believe his great escape had led to this encounter, or that he was standing in a barn. Reid didn’t bother to make small talk with Luke, or glance at him. Instead, Reid devoured the candy bar in a few big bites.

Finally, Luke had fallen silent. Either he had realized that Reid was not listening or else he had simply run out of things to say.

Reid looked down at him. Luke stared right back. Luke had just been waiting for his attention; he wasn’t as dumb as Reid had thought at least.

“Look, are you gonna tell on me? Or not?” Luke asked, his small face earnest. “I need to know. Seriously.”

“What will you do if I say yes?” Reid asked. He handed Luke his candy wrapper. Luke looked at it, and then just shrugged and shoved the wrapper into his pocket.

“Run,” Luke promptly replied. “I’m a really good runner. I won a ribbon last year, beating Casey, even though Casey bragged he’d win, and my dad said –“

“Whatever,” Reid quickly interrupted him. He did not want another bout of endless chatter.
Then Reid shrugged. “Do what you want. I could care less.”

“Thanks,” Luke flashed him a ridiculously big smile, revealing a missing tooth.

Reid was about to reply, when they both heard a loud nose outside the barn. It sounded like a truck kicking up some gravel.

“Hide me!” Luke squealed and dove back under the hay.

Cursing, Reid found himself putting down the book and covering Luke up.

A moment later, Holden pushed open the barn door.

“That you, Reid?” he said.

“Obviously,” Reid replied.

Holden studied him. “You’re supposed to be helping in the corn fields right now. The other boys are out there already.”

“Well, I’m not other boys,” Reid answered. He rolled his eyes. “And I told you this morning that I won’t pull corn or whatever it is you farmers do. I’m going to Harvard in 5 months and then med school. I’m going to be the best damn surgeon in the world. I’m not risking these.” He held out his hands.

“Then I’ll find you some other chores.” Holden just shrugged at him. “Right now. A lot of farm work requires some muscle though.”

Holden slowly examined Reid’s body up and down, making Reid flush. He followed Holden’s gaze down his own bony frame. He imagined what Holden saw: ribs visible, knobby knees, gangly limbs. Angus had called him Toothpick enough times.

“I can do the work,” Reid said coolly. “I look stronger than I appear.”

“Let’s hope so,” Holden said. “And you might be some kind of boy genius or whatever, but that hardly matters here in Oakdale. “

“Of course it doesn’t,“ Reid scoffed. “I’ve seen your police. I’ve been through your court system, remember? Believe me, I know that you people don’t rank intelligence as important.”

“We care about values, heart.” Holden suddenly smiled at him. “And I think hard work at our farm will be good for you.”

Reid scowled at him. “You know what I hate more than anything?”

Holden waited.

“People who think they know what’s good for me.” Reid sneered.

Holden looked like he might laugh. “Well, you’re stuck with us.” He shrugged at Reid.

Reid hugged his arms around his chest and cursed his uncle beneath his breath.

“By the way,” Holden said. “You haven’t seen my son Luke, have you? His mother is searching for him.”

“Nah,” Reid replied. “But then again, I can’t keep all of you Snyders straight.”

Holden just nodded at the insult and then gestured for Reid to follow him.

Reid left the barn without a backwards glance.

***

It had only been a few days earlier that Reid’s whole life had turned inside out. He did it to himself, really. Reid regretted not keeping his mouth shut, but when he’d figured out Angus’s scheme, Reid had up and refused to do it. He had told his uncle that clearly.

“You’re going to do it, smart-ass!” Angus snarled from the front seat.

“No,” Reid pinched the bridge of his nose. “I’m not.”

Angus glared at him in the rearview mirror. They were headed to Chicago for a very important chess match. The old Pontiac was guzzling up their last bit of gas money, their frayed suitcases piled up next to Reid’s feet, the radio full of static. Reid was glad that the radio had static, or he’d be forced to listen to Angus’ oldies station all day. Angus was still yelling at him and Reid purposely shut him out, gazing out the window, looking at the rather sad houses that could be seen from the highway, their paint peeling from neglect, revealing their own disappointed stories. Reid and Angus had lived in houses like that, renting them out once or twice when money was tight, and they’d lived in far worse places too. In the front, Angus paused to chew his tobacco, making his mouth look swollen. He ignored every time Reid tried to tell him about the dangers of chewing. He would just spit the dirty brown wad at Reid’s feet. So Reid had given up on it. He’d pretty much given up on changing anything about his uncle.

Abruptly, Angus pulled the car to the side of the road. He turned fully and faced Reid.

“Listen up, you spoiled brat. We have no money, get me? I need to win this thing. And winning here means betting on somebody else. You’re the favorite. You win and we get squat, see?”

Reid climbed out of the car. He clutched the Anatomy book he’d been reading to himself. Angus was supposedly home-schooling him, but that had stopped years ago. Angus’s intelligence was razor-sharp and he had taught Reid a great deal, but once Reid had become a chess champion, all Angus’s greedy focus had switched to that, and Reid’s education from then on had been self-motivated. Reid had been pathetically eager to please him. It was never enough. There was always one more competition – one more win. Not that Reid didn’t love the game, he did. He loved it the way a person loves a deeply hidden secret. He loved the way an almost invisible force took over his body and showed him the answers. With chess, everything would just click and Reid could see the moves. He never felt that way about real life. Angus though, turned the game into profit, into results, the sheer pleasure of playing stolen from Reid day-after -day. Now Reid had just applied early admission to Harvard. He was 15 and confident he was about to be accepted there. Reid could taste the freedom. He only had to put up with Angus and the chess competitions a little longer.

Right from the start, when Reid had been forced into his life, Angus had made it clear that Reid was unwanted. “What am I gonna do with this scrawny brat?” he‘d asked the social worker who’d tracked him down after Reid’s parents’ fatal accident. No, he hadn’t wanted Reid. But the money from the State had tempted him. They had lived off that money, eating convenience store food and traveling around as Angus drifted from job to job. Angus was always looking for an angle, the next big thing. The day Reid had picked up a chess board, Angus found it. Memories of his parents faded daily, leaving only Angus and his demands. One day, Reid worried, he might forget completely his father’s laugh or his mother’s face. Even now, the memories felt more like faded impressions and his brain was failing him.

Reid stood watching the traffic whiz by them. The fumes from the cars filled his lungs.

Angus climbed out of the car, too. He went over to Reid and jabbed an elbow at his stomach.

“I’m talking to you, genius.” His watery eyes met Reid’s. One wrinkled hand, aged with spotted skin, attempted to hold Reid’s arm firmly. Reid pulled back from him.

“I hear you,” Reid replied. He began to think of a problem to solve:

Two cars 225 miles apart start traveling toward each other at the same time, and one car travels at twice the speed of the other car. Find the speed of each car if it takes two and a half hours for them to meet.

Reid quickly did the calculation in his head as Angus ranted at him. It was what he did during his uncle’s sudden rages.

Finally, Reid became aware that Angus had stopped screaming at him.

“I won’t do it,” Reid repeated flatly. He was a lot of things, but he would never be a loser. He would never deliberately throw a chess match.

“You’ve got a real problem then,” Angus said in a low tone.

Reid refused to let Angus see any definable emotion on his face.

“I did you a favor, taking you in, a skinny, no good smart-ass. And this is how you repay me? “ Angus nodded thoughtfully and chewed his tobacco. They stared at each other. Something like a smile passed over Angus’s lips, but his eyes were small and mean. He was dirty and unshaven. Reid dropped his gaze and examined his own clean hands. Every time they stopped on the road, Reid would find a restroom and attempt to keep himself clean.

Angus walked away from him and headed to the car. Reid looked up at the sound of the door being slammed shut.

Angus turned the key in the ignition. “So be alone then, big shot. Find out what it’s like.”

The engine roared to life. The tires squealed at the fast rotation back to the highway.
Reid watched him pull away, stunned and stupid-acting for once, unable to move.
He looked all around, lost. Reid swallowed hard. He wouldn’t cry. He wouldn’t feel anything about it. Angus didn’t matter. Reid didn’t need anybody. He began to walk off, ignoring the smell of exhaust fumes and stepping around the discarded cans, balled up tissues, and half-torn candy wrappers that littered the road. Determinedly, Reid’s eyes focused on the nearby exit sign. He planned to leave the highway, regroup, and think. He would come back later, maybe hitch a ride. For now, Reid headed for the exit ramp, toward the town called Oakdale.

***

He didn’t get far. A police car followed him the second Reid had entered the town. Apparently, everybody in this one-horse town knew each other, and immediately the cops knew that Reid did not belong. A red-haired female officer then insisted he get into the patrol car. She proceeded to ask him a bunch of stupid questions that Reid simply refused to answer. Angus would be back; the situation could not last too long. Reid was his uncle’s paycheck, after all.

Only he didn’t return.

Within hours, Reid stood in front of a judge, the police officers and a social worker, all trying to “help “ him.

“Tell us where you’re from,” the judge ordered.

“No place.”

“Tell us your home address,” said the social worker.

“What are you, a town of idiots? I just told you I’m from no place.”

The judge droned on and on. Reid did more math problems in his head.

Finally, the judge ordered Reid to go with the cops to the station and for the social worker to find him a “suitable, temporary residency.”

Inside the tiny police station, Reid sulked. He leaned up against the wall. He might as well be in their half-assed jail cell. He’d slept in worse places.

The cop offered Reid a donut. She and another officer just stood nearby, sipping old coffee out of Styrofoam cups. Reid chewed the stale donut and sighed.

After investigating him some more, the social worker and cop agreed he really did have nowhere to go. Reid just rolled his eyes at them and took a second donut. He’d told them as much hours ago. Maybe there was something in this town’s water that damaged brain cells.

The social worker approached him with a big, fake smile. She was a heavy woman and it looked like her feet were pinched too tightly into her shoes. Rolls of fat clung to her belly and thighs.

“So let’s talk about where we will live,” she told him in a patronizing tone.

“I assume you live at Burger King ,” Reid told her, “but by all means, we can discuss it.”

“No need for nastiness, young man.”

“No need for obesity either,” Reid countered. “It’s called diet and exercise.”

Less than twenty minutes later, she gave up. “He’s all yours,” she said and left.

The cop watched her leave. Then Margo Hughes quietly examined Reid. “ I get it. You’re angry. It’s okay to be mad.”

“What have you been reading, psycho-babble in cop sensitivity training or something?” Reid shook his head. “I’m not mad, lady. I just want to go. I’m perfectly fine taking care of myself.”

Officer Hughes ignored his rudeness. She patted Reid’s bony shoulders.

“Oakdale is a great town. We want to find you a home here.”

“Look,” Reid snapped, “I don’t want any help. And I sure as hell don’t care about this town of Anywhere, USA. I’m leaving, as soon as I can, do you hear me? “

She shook her head sadly at him, and the pity in her eyes made Reid flinch. “We can’t let a minor just be alone. “ Then she smiled. “But don’t worry, Reid, I have an idea. I’m going to call a great family and see if they’d agree to foster you for a while. The Snyders have fostered many teens before and they’re warm, decent people. They even live on a farm!”

“And that’s a selling point to you? Do I look like I want ‘Little House on the Prairie’?”

“You can be happy here, “ she told him. “If you let yourself.”

“It’s the human condition to be miserable,” Reid shot back in his most authoritative voice. “Happiness is just a delusion.”

She shook her head. “You sure are smart. I wish my own boys used their brains half as much.”

“The average person only uses a third of their brain’s potential,” Reid started to inform her, and then he realized she was not truly listening to him. She had already picked up the phone.

Nobody listened to a teenager, not even one with a genius IQ. Reid tried to formulate another math problem in his head, but found it impossible. His mouth felt sticky from the donut, and his throat was dry. He refused to ask the bonehead cops for water. Reid closed his eyes; he felt like they must be burning. He imagined that Angus must have reached Chicago by this time. He could picture the tournament. He could see all the other contestants receiving their numbers and exchanging relieved looks that Oliver didn’t attend the competition. The other kids always went out for pizza after they’d lost and talked chess strategy for the next contest, but Reid never went. He didn’t need to hear their puny ideas or hear about the newest chess book on the market. He was always the winner. Besides, nobody ever asked him to go.

“The Snyders want you!” Officer Hughes told him suddenly and gave Reid the thumbs up.

“But I don’t want them,” Reid replied. Blunt as usual.

A little while later, they’d sent for Holden Snyder and he’d packed Reid up into his truck and taken him away.

***

Dinner at the farm was an endless event. There were always people, that for the life of Reid, he couldn’t quite figure out: cousins and more cousins and half-brothers and adopted grandparents…it went on and on. After his first few nights, Reid simply gave up trying to keep the endless mix of family straight. All he cared about was the food anyway. The food made it all almost worth it.

Emma Snyder didn’t seem to know about microwaves. She made everything from scratch. She put down a plate in front of Reid filled with food: roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, corn fritters, fresh rolls, and green beans. She never sat down at the table herself, she was always too busy serving her family. She seemed to love to do this. Reid practically drooled at her side, holding out his plate. Emma didn’t really try and talk with him; she simply fed him. Reid could easily be in love with her or at least in love with her cooking.

The rest of them drove him crazy. Luke always insisted on sitting near him and prattling away to him. Everybody else clearly found the kid adorable and so there was no ditching him, not if Reid wanted to sit there and eat. Lily and Holden usually were there. Sometimes they acted lovey-dovey to each other, and other times the air was filled with a strange tension. Reid noted that the mood of their marriage went up and down like a see-saw. The other cousins and their babies came and went and added to the loudness of the meal. Somebody was always shouting for something.

Tonight was fairly quiet for a meal with the Snyders. There was only Lily and Holden and Luke and baby Faith. The baby was screaming though, and Emma was trying to soothe her. Reid was busy shoveling in some of Emma’s chicken.

“Reid,” Lily admonished him. “You can slow down. There’s plenty.”

“I know,” Reid told her impatiently, his mouth full of food. “But I’m starving.”

Lily frowned at his open mouth. Luke giggled.

After his parents’ death, Reid had never sat down at a real table and ate a meal. He and
Angus ate in the car, or on rickety wooden picnic tables, with the food wrapped in Saran wrap. Sometimes they had stopped at restaurants, mostly small diners, places full of truckers, smells of frying bacon, plastic flowers on the table. Eating with the Snyders, Reid missed those greasy spoon stops. He would have liked to have Emma’s food in peace and quiet. His stomach let out a sudden rumble of agreement and Reid pushed in the food quickly.

“By the way,” Lily told him, “my sister’s daughter Lucy is coming to town. She’s about your age. I thought maybe you’d like to make a friend.”

“Not interested,” Reid said.

Lily gaped at him. ”Why not?”

Reid’s mouth turned down in displeasure. “Do I look like a people person to you?”

Luke, meanwhile, spilled his milk. Reid handed him a napkin and Luke dabbed at the mess. All he succeeded in doing though was pushing the milk around toward the edge of the table. Reid snorted at him and then grabbed the napkin from his hands. In one move, Reid efficiently wiped up the milk. Luke smiled at him, leaning his head into Reid’s arm, just beaming up at him. Reid ignored Luke and continued to eat his meal. He looked back at Lily.

Lily was shrugging in confusion. “Everybody needs friends, Reid.”

“What for?” Reid asked her bluntly. He really did want to know. To him, friends appeared a lot of work and a colossal waste of time.

Lily didn’t answer that. She only said, ” Lucy is a great girl. You might even find yourself interested in being more than friends.” Lily actually let out a giggle. “Who knows?”

Reid stared at her. He found Lily extremely irritating. Out of all the Snyders, she seemed to him the most illogical.

The baby started to wail again, and Emma took her out of the room. Reid spooned some more food onto his plate.

“I don’t want to date her,” Reid told her. “Do you understand? “ He rolled his eyes. “I have no interest.”

“Well,” Lily laughed. “Nobody’s asking you to marry her. But she is a beautiful girl and –“

Reid shook his head. Okay, he’d just have to spell it out for her. It might be rather enjoyable to watch Lily’s carefully made up face.

“I’m gay,“ Reid said flatly. It pleased him to see Lily’s stunned expression.

There was a dead silence at the table. Holden shifted in his chair. Reid chewed loudly and indifferently.

“Oh,” Holden said, finally. “That’s okay, Reid.”

“Thanks for your permission.”

“What’s gay?” Luke asked.

“Happy,” Lily said quickly, passing him some rolls.

“Reid’s never happy,” Luke said in confusion, wrinkling up his small nose.

Reid let out a bark of laughter.

Luke smiled up at him widely, clearly not getting what he had said to make Reid finally smile, but pleased by Reid’s response.

“Reid may not need to entertain Lucy anyhow,” Holden was saying slowly to Lily. “ It looks like another girl Lucy’s age might be in town too.”

“Who?” Lily’s eyes narrowed. “Oh no. Not her!”

Holden’s face grew pinched. “She is my daughter, “ he whispered to Lily firmly.

“This is just a ploy of Molly’s , Holden, “ Lily said crossly. “Wake up!”

“Abigail isn’t a ploy-“

Emma came back a moment, grabbed baby Faith’s diaper bag, and left again. Reid was sorry to see her go. He was almost ready for dessert.

“Shh,” Lily was hushing Holden. “We can talk about it later.”

“No,” Holden said angrily. “We’ll talk about it now. I welcomed your past mistakes. I’ve adopted Luke, haven’t I?” Then Holden realized what he’d said. He flinched and glanced at Luke. “And I love you so much, Buddy,” he added.

Luke ducked his head away and nodded.

Reid glanced at Luke. He was adopted?

He saw Holden try and take Lily’s hand, but she was too angry.

“You always throw Luke’s father in my face. Damian was long ago,” Lily said heatedly. “Molly is here now.”

Reid slid a glance at Luke. He might not know much about parenting, but even Reid could sense this conversation shouldn’t be in front of a little kid.
But Holden and Lily appeared to have forgotten that. They had eyes only for each other now.

“Molly is not a threat to you,” Holden insisted. His voice grew louder.

“She is, too!”

Reid looked at Luke once more. The kid sat stiffly now beside him. Holden and Lily were talking about people like they were misplaced socks. Reid grew more and more confused by them.

“Damian won’t ever be back,” Lily said. “He doesn’t care about me or Luke. But Molly is just waiting for you to feel sorry for her again and to –“

“Children!” Emma scolded, as she and the baby came back into the room. She gestured to Luke, “That’s enough!”

There was a brief, guilty silence.

“Sorry, Mama.”

“Yes, sorry.”

Emma just shook her head at them. “Reid, “ she said, “will you please take Luke to your room for a while? I’ll call you boys back down for dessert.”

“Sure,” Reid said. He was eager to escape this insane dinner. Reid grabbed a few rolls as he left. Luke followed him silently.

Upstairs, Reid glanced at Luke.

“So um..want to watch some baseball?”

Reid fiddled with the TV, but they could soon hear voices from below.

They sounded angry. Lily was yelling. There were some sounds of chairs being moved. Then it was quiet.

Luke sat on Reid’s bed, his feet dangling off. He didn’t say a word. His small mouth pulled tightly closed.

The voices started again, trying to speak in more hushed whispers, but still the voices were clear every once in a while. Reid looked at Luke. The kid’s shoulders shook, hunched in, and Reid could see he was trying not to cry.

Crap. Reid went over to Luke.

“How ‘bout a game instead?” Reid asked.

Luke didn’t answer. Reid hurried to the closet with the board games.

The door opened and Lily peeked in. Her face was red from crying. “ Dessert is ready guys.“ Then she looked at Luke. “Baby, I’m going to visit Grandmother for a while, “ she told Luke in a fake, cheery tone that put Reid’s teeth on edge.

“When are you coming home?” Luke asked in a small, quivering voice.

“Oh real soon. It’s just for tonight,” Lily gave him a big hug, but didn’t look Luke in the eyes. “Real soon.”

“He’s not an idiot,” Reid snapped. Why did adults think kids had no brains?

Lily gave Reid her chilly smile. “Reid, this is a family matter.”

She hugged Luke again and then left.

Reid reached down and awkwardly patted Luke’s stiff shoulders.

“A game,” Reid said again. At Luke’s unusual silence, he felt desperate. He went back to the game closet. Reid’s eyes found the chess board. What a plastic piece of junk, but better than nothing, Reid figured.

He gingerly approached Luke with it.

“We can play this.”

“My fault,” Luke said in a low voice. He wasn’t even looking at Reid.

“What?”

Luke sniffed a little and wiped his eyes with his shirt.

“What’s your fault?” Reid asked. “ Your folks?”

Luke nodded, his gaze still on the floor.

Impatiently, Reid grabbed Luke’s chin and tipped his head back. Their eyes met.

“Listen, mini-Snyder, it isn’t your fault.” Reid sighed loudly. “ Let me tell you what a genius like me knows to be true, okay? It’ll save you lots of time in the future. Grownups suck. People suck. They’re selfish. They let you down.” Reid released his chin.

He sat down on the bed opposite Luke and began to set up the chess board.

“Now pay attention. I’m about to teach you the greatest game on Earth.”

“I don’t know how to play,” Luke said, his attention finally off of Lily and Holden.

“Too bad. I won’t take it easy on you. Got that brat? You’ll have to suck it up and learn.”
Reid gave him a small, fast smile. “It might take a few nights until you get it.”

“We can play every night?” Luke asked, a little light returning to his eyes.

“Why the hell not? “Reid shrugged. “It’s not like I have any place else to go.”

Reid glanced at the door. He was hungry for dessert, but he didn’t want Luke to have to face Holden just now. Reid sighed again. Pie would have to wait.

“Your move,” he told Luke.

***

“Would you quit following me, kid?”

Luke dogged his every step, practically on Reid’s heels. The day was hot and humid and marked the coming end of the spring. Reid’s entire body ached from farm work. His mind was bored too. He had been counting the days off until Harvard. Oakdale was sucking out his brain cells the longer he stayed.

“But you’re my friend, “ Luke protested.

“I’m not your friend,” Reid mumbled.

“Sure you are.” Luke beamed a smile at him, revealing his dimples.

Reid sighed. They had this conversation at least once a day now. Luke was everywhere he turned. Teaching him chess and giving him attention had been a huge mistake. Now he was stuck with Luke.

“Anyhow,” Luke was grinning, “I made you sandwiches.”

Then again, the kid had some uses.

Reid stopped abruptly causing Luke to smack into him. Reid pulled him off and looked at the bag in Luke’s hand.

“What kind?” He asked hungrily.

“Roast beef. And Peanut butter and Jelly. And baloney.”

“No turkey?”

“How many sandwiches can you eat?” Luke asked with wonder.

Reid shrugged at him. “Just hand it over.”

Their fingers touched briefly. Luke had sticky hands.

“Whatcha doing?”

Reid glanced down at his bathing suit. “Going to take my SATS. What do you think I’m doing, moron?”

“You shouldn’t call little kids names,” Luke told him, scolding him. “That’s what my parents say.”

“No one’s asking you to listen, Miss Manners.”Reid chewed on the baloney sandwich as he talked.

“Not that I’m a little kid,” Luke said suddenly, poking the ground with his shoe. “I’m seven, almost eight.”

Reid opened up another sandwich.

Luke watched him, pleased. “Good, right?”

“Not bad,” Reid grudgingly replied. “ More mayo next time.”

Luke peeked up at him with big eyes. “More mayo,” he repeated, like he needed to commit the knowledge to memory. He studied Reid as he ate the food, not moving, his small face completely serious. Reid sighed, finishing the last sandwich, wiping the crumbs on his swim suit.

“I’m going to the pond,” Reid told him.

Luke jumped up, suddenly animated. “Wait for me to swim, okay? I’ll go get my trunks. Don’t go without me!” He dashed off urgently.

Inwardly groaning, Reid watched him run off into the house. He shook his head. Why Luke wanted to follow him around was a complete mystery to Reid.

Of course, people in general made no sense to him.

Reid ran his hand across his sweaty forehead. It was only late April, but there was a record heat wave the past few days. Reid was dreading the long summer. Luke came back, his small arms loaded with pool toys and towels. Reid didn’t offer to carry it. He let Luke stumble along beside him and they made their way down to the pond.

At the pond, Reid and Luke quickly went into the water. It was frigidly cold, but somehow refreshing. There was soft, cool mud at the bottom. Reid tried to keep treading water, but his foot would sink into the mud occasionally. Luke was a pretty fast swimmer for a kid. He swam eager, exuberant circles around Reid, trying to get him into a splash contest. Reid gave and in and soon they splashed around a little, laughing, and something inside of Reid loosened up as he played with Luke. Reid’s own childhood was all about focus and reward, not fun. Luke stuck his tongue out at Reid, dodging the spray of water. A surge of exhilaration filled Reid as he splashed Luke back, the sun hot on his face, laughter gurgling again from his lips, a strange, unfamiliar joy inside of him.

***

“Hey Luke!”

“Lukey! Oh, he’s so adorable.” A girl squealed as Luke turned and waved.

“Hello there!”

Reid’s gaze turned to look at the gaggle of teenagers. They were all in bathing suits and carrying coolers and towels. He watched them wave at Luke again and then spread out a big blanket. Reid saw them look at him, whisper to each other and then look away. The boys sniggered with laughter at something.

He had no real reason to assume they were laughing at him, but still…

Reid was suddenly aware of his bony frame. He crossed his arms. He painfully realized that he was goofing around with a child while all the other teens were with each other. Reid clasped his hands together in a tight grip. He treaded water, his feet kicking out.

“I’m going to swim over there,” Reid told Luke, pointing to the other side of the pond.

“But my tube and noodles are here,” Luke protested, “and now other kids are here.”

“Whatever,” Reid said.

“Stay, Reid!” Luke implored. “I’ll give you the blue tube?”

“I’m not playing with your toys,” Reid snapped. “Just stay here.”

He swam away from the other kids and from Luke. Reid went to the other side of the pond. Stubbornly, Luke went after him.

This side of the pond had less grassy area and more rocks. Reid treaded the water. He tried to think about the lungs- he’d been studying that in his Anatomy book. Reid went under the water a moment, deliberately feeling the pressure build for air. Lungs were amazing really. He held his breath until he couldn’t stand the sensation a moment more, then he broke through the surface of the water.

Luke was walking on the rocks, putting one foot in front of the other.

“Look , Reid! I can jump off of these. I’m a really good jumper.”

Reid frowned. “Go back to the other side,” he told Luke.

Luke climbed up the jagged rocks and then threw himself into the water.

“Cannonball,” he yelled in a high-pitched voice.

He emerged from the water, flicking the hair out of his eyes.

“Did you see Reid? Did you see?” Luke cupped his mouth, shouting at him. “I was awesome!” Luke beamed at him in delight.

Reid just grunted. His eyes were on the group of teens again. Some of them were clearly kissing now, their hands at each other’s waists. A few of the boys had their shirts off. Reid’s eyes moved over the hard, flat torsos.

“Watch me do it again. “

Reid didn’t ever hide who he was; he wasn’t ashamed. With a sigh, Reid swam around in the murky water a second. But it was one more thing making him the odd one, the outsider. Reid glanced back at the others. They were just starting to go into the pond. The girls were shrieking and giggling, and the boys were playfully shoving each other and calling each other “asshole.”

A suddenly loud splash and a yelp drew Reid’s immediate attention.

With one look, all the color drained from Reid’s face as he realized that Luke had fallen. He had tumbled down a jagged rock and into the pond. Reid reacted swiftly, although his heart pounding, his throat caught. He dove under the water and grabbed Luke’s small, slippery body. Reid held Luke in his arms and treaded to the edge of the water. He quickly pulled them both out.

“Jesus! Are you okay?” Reid gripped Luke’s shoulders, his eyes probing Luke all over.

“I think so,” Luke answered, dazed. Then Luke felt the top of his head and blood stained his tiny fingers.

He looked at Reid. They both froze.

With a quick intake of his breath, Reid moved. He took a towel and put pressure on the cut.

“It’s okay, Luke.”

Luke just whimpered and clung to him.

“It’s okay,” Reid said again. “Heads bleed. I’ve read about brain trauma. Most bleeding head wounds are strictly superficial.” Reid touched Luke gently, feeling his skin inch-by-inch for any problems.

Luke wrapped his arms around Reid tighter; he leaned against him, shuddering.

“I’m gonna get Holden, and we can go get your head checked out, okay?”

Reid scooped up Luke and carried him back to the farm. The other kids hadn’t even noticed. They were all in the water across the way by then, swimming with each other.
Reid hesitated. Maybe he should ask for their help too. Then he felt Luke shaking in his arms. He determinedly walked off with him; he could take care of Luke alone.

***

Holden was pretty good about Luke’s injury. Reid had to give him credit. Many fathers would scream or curse or something. Holden had been calm. He and Reid had glanced at the cut from underneath the towel and seen the injury wasn’t too deep.

“Put him in the truck,” Holden told Reid. “I’ll call a friend of ours and let him know Luke is coming to the ER.”

“I feel okay, Daddy.”

“We still need to get it checked. “

Holden went into the house to make the call.

Reid and Luke sat in the truck waiting for him.

It was only then that Reid felt a little of the tension that had clutched his guts easing. Thank goodness Reid was right about the superficial wound. His hands trembled and Reid quickly pressed them down at his thighs.

“Sorry,” Luke whispered.

“Good thing you have a hard head,” was all Reid could manage.

***

They reached Memorial and found Dr. Bob Hughes waiting for them. His son Chris was there too.

“Thanks for coming, Bob,” Holden said, as Bob led them to an exam room.

Chris, however, didn’t look too thrilled, Reid noted. He had a sour expression on his face.

“Want to watch me stitch him up?” Bob asked his son. “I keep hoping Chris will show an interest,” Bob joked to Holden.

“Me too, “ Holden laughed, “with Luke and the farm.”

“I’ll wait outside,” Chris said in a disgruntled tone. “Give me a dollar for the vending machine?”

Bob sighed and opened up his wallet.

“Can Reid stay?” Luke asked.

Bob looked at him. “As long as you don’t mind the sight of some blood.”

“Not me.” Reid’s mouth hitched up. “I plan to go to medical school.”

“Really?” Bob looked at him with a sudden interest. “In that case, look at this. It’s the latest staple gun. I don’t need to do any stitching. “ Bob showed it to Reid. He let Reid hold it a second.

The staple gun felt surprisingly light. Reid studied it reverently. He could feel Bob Hughes looking at him and the way Reid glided his hand over the instrument.
Embarrassed, Reid quickly gave it back.

“Interesting, right? “ Bob said.

“Whatever,” Reid shrugged.

Then he watched in fascination as Bob cleaned Luke’s injury. Holden held Luke’s hand as the staples were shot into his head. Bob did it quickly, Reid saw, but perfectly.

“All done.”

“How about a lollipop?” Holden said to Luke.

“Okay!” Luke grinned, his wound forgotten with the promise of candy.

“Just a second,” Bob said. “Holden? Can you come to my office a moment?”

“Sure.” Holden glanced at Luke. “Right back, buddy. Stay with Reid.”

When they’d left, Luke tugged at Reid’s arm. “You’re my hero. Thanks!” His brown eyes glowed up at Reid.

Reid looked at Luke. “Oh, shut up.”

“You are.”

Reid pinched the bridge of his nose. “Next time, just pay attention.”

“Okay.”

“I mean it. Don’t be stupid. Turn your brain on!”

“It’s here,” Luke said seriously.

“What is?” Reid dropped his hand to look at Luke.

“The switch.” Luke tapped behind his left ear. “The switch for my brain is there.”

Reid’s lips twitched. He leaned over and flicked his fingers behind Luke’s ear.

“Okay then. It’s on. So no excuses for acting like an idiot again.”

“Right,” Luke beamed.

Reid smiled at him reluctantly.

Just then the door opened, and Chris came in. “My father here?”

“Obviously not,” Reid snapped, embarrassed to be caught smiling. “Unless you think your old man is a ghost.”

Chris flushed. “And you are, again?”

“None of your business.”

“This is Reid, “ Luke said, “ he’s staying with us.”

“Oh,” Chris’s lips twisted. “A charity case.”

“They pay me actually.“ Reid nodded his head at Chris. “To keep morons away from the farm.”

“Like a skinny geek could ever keep me away,” Chris said hotly and puffed out his chest. He walked to Reid. “I’d like to see a wimp like you try it.”

Luke turned to Chris. “Reid’s not a wimp and he’s not a charity case,” Luke defended him instantly. “Reid’s fun to have around. Reid’s gay.” Luke added proudly.

Chris took an instinctive step back. His eyes bulged.

“Don’t worry,” Reid said caustically, “it’s not catching.” He gave Chris a deliberately flirtatious look. “Or maybe it is.”

Chris nearly tripped over his feet to escape.

‘Dumb fucker’, Reid thought, ‘As if he’d ever be my type.’

Chris opened the door and fled.

Reid looked at Luke. Luke tilted his head in puzzlement.

The door opened and Bob came in. Holden followed and handed Luke his lollipop.

“Come on Luke,” Holden said, picking him up. “Let’s wait outside a second.”

Reid started to follow them, when Bob put a hand on his arm. “A moment, please.”

“I didn’t do anything,” Reid frowned.

Bob shook his head. “Not yet. But I’d like you to do something.”

“What?”

“Work here. I just spoke to Holden about you. He told me all about you. We both agreed that you might do better working here with me than at the farm.”

“What would I do here?”

“Nothing glamorous,” Bob shrugged. “Mostly mop up after operations, but you could observe them, too, on occasion.”

Reid tried to ignore the hopeful hammering inside his heart.

“Of course, I have to run it all by the Chief of Staff first.”

“That’s not you?”

“No,” Bob laughed, “not yet.”

“Wow,” Reid snorted. “You’re so old and you aren’t even Chief.”

“I guess you plan to run a hospital by what? Twenty?” Bob looked amused. “ Holden said you were opinionated- most good doctors are.“ He gave Reid a wry look. “I might be old to you, but I know a great deal about hospitals and I know my way around a good surgery.”

“ Did they have even have operating rooms back in the Stone Age?” Reid made a face, “What did you do? Knock the patients out with a big boulder?”

“I’m younger than I look,” Bob replied dryly.

Reid shrugged, “If you say so.”

Then Bob touched Reid’s shoulder. “You’ll have to lose that attitude, young man, if you want to work here.”

“Good thing I haven’t signed a contract yet,” Reid said.

Bob ignored his remark. “If you really want to be a doctor one day, you should learn about compassion and about patient care.”

Reid stared at him. The guy really looked like he believed that malarkey.

“Yeah,” Reid said slowly, as if talking to an idiot. “I thought that’s what the nurses were for.”

Bob just shook his head. “If all clears with the Chief, I’ll expect you to start here on Monday.”

***

For the next few days, Luke’s parents treated him like a yo-yo. The poor kid bounced back and forth between the farm and his grandmother’s house.

Why am I thinking about him? Reid frowned as he headed to the barn. He was starting the job at Memorial in the morning after what had seemed like endless delays of ridiculous paper work, and that was what he should be focused on. Opening up the barn door, Reid grabbed the bucket from off of a hook. Holden had ordered him to milk the cows this morning.

Gingerly, Reid approached the animal. Up close, cows smelled worse than he had imagined. Reid nearly gagged. He forced himself to walk closer, and, as if sensing his unease, the stupid bovine thrashed its tail like a whip. Reid squatted down on the stool and slid the bucket under the cow’s udders. He tentatively reached out his hand.

“Wait! That’s not right,” Luke called to him, stepping into the barn.

“You’re back,” Reid said, surprised. He studied Luke. He looked good, other than the bad haircut somebody had given him.

“Yeah. “ Luke flashed his dimples at him. Then he held up a sneaker, “Can you tie this for me?” He asked. The laces flopped around as he waved his foot at Reid.

“No.”

“What? Why not?”

“Learn to do it yourself,” Reid told him.

“Fine,” Luke’s lips came out. “Go back to grabbing the cow’s teat.”

“Teat,” Reid repeated in disgust, “no wonder I suck at this.”

The cow mooed in agreement with him.

Luke watched him struggle a moment.

“Here,” Luke handed him some Vaseline. “You need to make your hands slippery. She doesn’t want dry fingers on her.”

Reid scowled , but he took the Vaseline and quickly used it.

“Now go and squeeze the base of her teat,” Luke instructed him.

Reid started to put his hand on the cow’s udder. He paused.

“You wanna do this? “ Reid turned to Luke hopefully.

“Nope.”

“Why not?”

Luke grinned at him. “You gotta learn to do it yourself.”

“Brat,” Reid said, but with some admiration.

With a sigh, Reid fingered the cow’s teat and pushed down. To his surprise, a spray of milk came out and shot into the bucket.

“Yay!” Luke cheered him and Reid gave him a fast smile in return.

“No big deal,” Reid boasted and then began to milk the cow some more. Milk spurted out in a thin white line.

After the bucket was full, Reid walked over to Luke.

“Now watch,” he told him. He bent down and picked up Luke’s laces.

“This is a knotty mess,” Reid scolded.

“I tried to make bunny ears-“ Luke protested.

“Bunny- what? What the hell is that?”

“That’s what Mom told me to do. Make two bunny ears and then go down the hole.”

“Figures,” Reid mumbled. He was not particularly impressed with Lily’s intelligence. Luke clearly got his brains from his mysterious father.

“No bunny ears- no baby stuff, clear? I’m going to show you and only once, the real way to tie a shoe.”

Reid explained the steps as he tied up Luke’s sneaker.

Luke bit his lip and nodded, giving Reid all of his attention. He made Luke practice it over and over. Finally, Luke looked at him in absolute delight.

“I did it!” Luke exclaimed, his small face flushed with pleasure.

“I have news for you,” Reid told him dryly, “most seven year olds can tie a shoe.”

Luke still smiled. “Well I have news for you. Grandma Emma’s so happy to have me back, she’s making her special chocolate fudge cake.”

Luke giggled as Reid clasped at his heart.

“You’re certain? Chocolate fudge?”

Luke nodded again.

“Fantastic!” Reid smiled a second. “Emma is the only person in this crazy town that I actually like,” Reid declared.

Reid could almost taste the decadent cake already. His stomach gave a rumble.

Then Reid saw Luke’s face. “What?” he asked perplexed. Luke looked as if somebody had shot his dog.

“Nothing.” Luke dug his heel into the ground, poking at the dirt. “She’s not perfect, you know. “

“Who?”

“She snores louder than a bulldozer. And she makes you not swear and say thank you all the time.” Luke crossed his arms over his chest and looked at Reid. There was that pout of Luke’s lips again. The kid really needed to outgrow that face. Nobody pouted past childhood.

“What do you think about her knowing that?” Luke asked.

“Who?” Reid had lost the thread of this entire conversation.

“Grandma Emma. Is she,” Luke voice trembled, “is she really - the only person?” Luke said finally, his small face crumpling.

“The only person?” Reid repeated blankly.

“That you like?” Luke persisted. Tears were starting in his big eyes.

“Oh, that’s why you’re upset? Geez, don’t get all weepy,“ Reid waved his hand at him. “I wasn’t thinking about you.” He stood up and awkwardly patted Luke’s hair. “You’re okay too. For a little pest.”

“You like me?” Luke demanded.

Reid shrugged.

“You like me?” Luke said again. He pushed his face close to Reid. He was practically standing on Reid’s feet.

“Yeah. Maybe, you get the Oliver stamp of approval. “

He reached out and mockingly slapped his palm at Luke’s forehead.

“I knew we were friends!” Luke beamed up at him.

“Well, I never said that,” Reid huffed. He walked to the barn door. “Now scram. I have other chores to do for your slave-driving old man.”

“Okay,” Luke said happily. He practically danced out of the barn, “See you at dinner!”

Reid just frowned, shook his head and didn’t answer.

***

Dinner had gone pretty well that night and Luke didn’t lie about Emma’s fudge cake. It was beyond delicious. Afterwards, they’d all played a game of checkers and watched mindless TV. Nobody pushed Reid to talk too much. Still, Reid was happy another day at the Snyders’ was ending. He went to his room and read.

Suddenly, he heard Lily downstairs. She wanted to take Luke back; something about that Molly woman again. She had showed up at the grandmother’s house, bragging to Lily about Holden. Reid listened as Holden defended his actions. He looked at the clock. It was pretty late. Luke would be sound asleep. Reid drummed his fingers against his textbook. Part of him longed to march down the stairs and tell them both to shut the hell up. They should just accept the fact that their relationship was toxic, put the kids first, and deal with each other. Reid listened to them fight some more. Idiots.

Finally, Lily must have just left. Reid heard the door slam. He heard Emma and Holden whispering to each other, and then silence. He contemplated sneaking to the kitchen for more fudge cake. He decided against it - too risky. He didn’t want to run into the adults. Maybe he could sneak some for breakfast. Although, Luke was right about Emma and her rules. She’d insist he eat something healthy first. Shrugging , Reid went back to his book. He studied the skeleton and the spinal cord for a while.

A long time later, Reid put down his text book and drifted off to sleep. His last coherent thought was that he would start in the morning at Memorial, impress the hell out of Bob Hughes, and never touch another teat as long as he lived.

Reid sighed in his sleep. He was half-dreaming about the bones in the body. He felt warm. Something was rubbing up next to him. Reid tried to push it away. It snuggled determinedly back.

It was a body and it was shaking.

Reid’s eyes flew open.

“Luke? What - why are you in here?”

Luke sniffled and nestled even closer against him.

Reid felt Luke’s tears wetting his t-shirt.

“Bad dreams?” Reid asked.

“Don’t send me back to my room,” Luke pleaded. He pressed his face into Reid’s chest and sobbed.

Hesitantly, Reid patted Luke’s back. “Wanna tell me what it was about?”

Not that Reid couldn’t guess. Why a sweet kid like Luke had to have such awful parents was beyond him. It didn’t take Reid’s genius IQ to know Luke must not have been sleeping earlier.

“Monsters,” Luke replied. He lifted up his tear-stained face and stared at Reid. “They were getting me. They had my mom and dad too. “

“Hmm…. What did they look like?”

“Purple,” Luke answered quickly, “with two heads and claws like this.” He showed Reid a curled hand. “And snake eyes. “

Reid shook his head at Luke.

“ Don’t worry about it, okay?” Reid said. “It’s just your REM sleep has triggered a nightmare. Actually, the amazing thing about the brain is that it never really shuts off. In fact, the emotions in your dream possibly overloaded its circuits, see?”

“Okay,” Luke replied. Then he promptly burst into giant sobs. Reid frowned in confusion. Science always helped him though bad moments, but it clearly wasn’t working with Luke.

Reid searched his mind for what to do.

“And there are no such things as monsters,” he said decisively.

Luke was bawling now. If anything, all of Reid’s words had made him just cry harder. He was soaking his shirt with snot and tears. Reid was baffled. He ran his hands through Luke’s hair and down his thin, sweaty shoulders. “Okay, okay,” Reid murmured to him.

Clearly, Luke didn’t care about explanations or reality.

He took a deep breath and decided to try something completely unlike what he would need, but maybe Luke…

Reid began to sing softly to him. He sang the only song he really knew from childhood. “Mr. Sandman...” As he sang, his voice alternated between deep and true and an occasional, embarrassing cracking high note. Luke didn’t seem to mind that. He looked at Reid transfixed and listened to him.

Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream
Make him the cutest that I’ve ever seen
Give him two lips like roses and clover
Then tell him that his lonesome nights are over


Reid sang it once more, noting that Luke’s tears had lessened now. When he was done, Reid broke the song off and looked away.

He felt Luke patting his arm insistently. Reluctantly, Reid forced his gaze back to Luke.

“Better now? “Reid asked gruffly.

Luke stared at him a moment. Then he nodded slowly.

“I love you, Reid,” Luke said.

Reid’s heart jumped in his chest. “Shut up!” Reid said quickly, “you don’t.”

“I do.”

“You don’t.”

Luke tilted his head at him in puzzlement. His big eyes looked at Reid with compassion beyond his years. Reid felt himself almost flush.

“Why do you say that?”

“Cause you don’t, “ Reid answered.

Luke didn’t argue. Instead, he grabbed Reid’s cheeks with both of his small hands. He leaned down and kissed Reid’s lips softly, his mouth lingering on Reid’s mouth a moment. Luke smacked his lips once more on Reid’s stunned ones. Luke’s skin was soft as dough, his breath sweet as candy.

“ I do,” Luke said simply. “I love you.”

With a satisfied little smile, Luke put his head back down on Reid’s chest and closed his eyes.

In no time, Reid could hear Luke’s little snores.

Reid didn’t sleep for a while. Nobody had ever told Reid that they loved him. If his parents had ever said the words, Reid had no memory of it. Angus never said anything even remotely affectionate to him. The closest he came was after Reid would win a chess match. He’d let out a grunt of approval. Reid had a few past friendships, but moved around too much to ever keep a friend for long. Besides, his friends were the types to discuss Physics or video games, not emotions.

Reid stayed awake and tried to lecture himself. Luke was just a little brat, and it shouldn’t matter. Little kids probably went around telling everybody that they loved them and it didn’t mean a thing. But for once, Reid’s logical mind was losing the fight. His heart was pounding with emotion. Reid wrapped an arm protectively around Luke. He’d always thought a little brother or sister would only be a pain, but now he thought it might be kind of nice.

Luke had said he loved him.

Up until that moment of Luke’s kiss, Reid had always believed he was simply unlovable.
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Without Borders 14/14
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: none
Rating: PG- NC-17
First of all, a big shout of thanks to the amazing rhiannonhero! Thanks also to lovely traciamc



Chapter 14

Luke rushed there. He flew out of his car and down the wooden walkway. He prayed Reid would be where he asked him to meet. Luke glanced at his watch and practically ran.
Reid was there.

The sun was setting behind him and he was looking down at some ducks swimming in the green algae of the swamp. Luke’s pulse pounded as he started toward Reid. At that same second, Reid seemed to sense Luke’s approach and turned. They walked to each other, drawn closer and closer. They were in the middle of the Fakahatchee Wildlife Preserve. The wooden walkway stretched out for over 3 miles.

They stopped inches from each other. Luke wanted to press his lips on every part of Reid; he wanted to taste the curve of his neck and then move over his chest and shoulders. He wanted to inhale him as he made his way down. He wanted to just hold him forever and always. Luke looked away a second. Then back.

“Alligators,” Luke said suddenly.

Reid glanced at the water. “Where?”

“By that small bush area. See it?” Luke pointed. “Looks like a rock in the water, but see the nostrils? The snout?”

Reid followed his hand. “Oh, I do see it.” He nodded. “Look at that.”

“Sorry I was late,” Luke said.

Reid nodded again. Luke’s journal was near his feet, sticking out of Reid’s medical bag.

Luke cleared his throat, “It’s strange, isn’t it? Here we stand in a marshy wonderland, but shopping malls and houses are just outside of here. Go figure.”

“Yeah, I think a group of early bird diners just power walked past me,” Reid said.

They were quiet a second and listened to the sounds of the swamp.

Luke took a breath. “Here’s the thing,” he said to Reid, who was now watching him, “I want to stay in Miami. I like it here and – I want to stay. I told my father that I want to try to start my own PR firm. I told him it was time to move on.” Luke exhaled a moment. “I want to do that with you.“

There was a pause. Luke tilted his head to try and get a better look at Reid’s face. “You can say something back here. ”

Reid rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah, I might have been a little impatient last night, waiting for you to tell Damian yourself.”

“Been impatient?” Luke said, but with a smile. “You were obnoxious.”

Reid held up his hand to indicate an inch, “Only by this much.”

Luke spread his hands wider.

Their eyes met and held.

“Maybe waiting isn’t my best event,” Reid conceded. He glanced away.

“I know,” Luke said. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Reid said dismissively. Reid’s eyes were soft, vulnerable. His hands were nervously tapping at his side.

Luke nodded. He felt paralyzed by feeling, unable to speak.

Reid appeared to be having the same problem. He seemed to be taking in large gulps of air. His gaze remained fixed on Luke.

They circled each other a minute.

Then Reid rolled his eyes at him, ”Are we done with this apology stuff? All better?”

“Better.”

Reid blew out a quick breath. “ Good.”

“Although, technically, you didn’t do any apologizing,” Luke pointed out.

“Oh,” Reid looked at him warily.

“Hmm,” Luke answered. Watching Reid squirm a minute, he couldn’t help giving Reid a grin. Luke had already heard the contrition in Reid’s voice and had seen it on his face.

Reid came closer to him. He reached one finger out to touch Luke’s smiling lips.
Luke stared at him. They both exhaled the same moment, and Luke felt their breath mingle in the humid air. He swallowed hard. He began to reach out for Reid.

“Luke, I’m-“

“Scuse me,” said a voice to Luke’s left.

They paused, dropping their hands, waiting as a man lugging a giant camera went by them. A few others with cameras scurried to a nearby spot to capture a picture of some turtles. They looked at each other, forced to wait some more.

“Nature lovers,” Reid said in an annoyed voice, as they all finally left. “Why can’t they go elsewhere?”

“We are standing at a preserve,” Luke wasn’t really concerned with the people passing by them. Luke’s gaze had fallen on the journal.

Reid saw him look at it.

“You read it?”

Reid nodded. “I did.“

Luke’s eyes darted all over the place, looking anywhere but at Reid.

“Hey,” Reid said, waiting until Luke reluctantly turned.

“What?” Luke folded his arms at his chest.

“Did that bonehead really not sleep with you for two years?”

“That would be the part you’d focus on,” Luke shook his head at him, a small smile on his face. ‘Five hundred and fourteen days, actually’, Luke recalled, ‘of pure misery’.

“Well, I focused on the other stuff too.” Reid said, also with twitching lips. “But nearly two years? He was damaged way before his accident. I want to touch you every hour of the day.”

They gazed at each other. A bird flew over their head. Reid looked up, “Blue Heron,” he said, impressed by the bird.

Luke stared only at Reid. When Reid glanced back at him, Luke had lifted up his shirt.
He lifted it and pulled his shorts down slightly, revealing the scars.

“Why are you doing that?” Reid asked, his voice low now. A muscle jumped in Reid’s cheek.

“These have healed.” Some more people walked past them, but Luke just ignored them and their curious looks. He focused on Reid.

Reid was listening for him to go on, his face directly on Luke. Luke almost smiled at that. Reid didn’t think waiting was his best event, but Luke knew better. When it really mattered, Reid would wait. Luke licked his lips and paused, gathering his words slowly.

“My scars on my body have healed, “ he repeated, “but the one in here?” Luke tapped his heart. “Not as much as I thought. I hid out in Europe, and behind my father, and I thought it was all better. It wasn’t. I let this wound fester for a long time. See? Noah wasn’t the only damaged one.”

Luke lowered his shirt back. “I love you,” he told Reid softly, looking right at his eyes. “Can you deal with me and my messed up heart?”

Luke held his breath. Reid stepped to him. He put his hand on Luke’s chest, fingers splayed out.

“The heart’s just a muscle, Luke,” Reid whispered. “And you don’t need it to be fixed.”

Luke threw his arms around Reid and pulled him close. He buried his face in the warmth of Reid’s neck and clung to him.

Another bird soared over their heads. As Luke began to kiss Reid, the bird landed in the mottled nest of a nearby tree. Luke closed his eyes and saw nothing else. He kissed Reid on and on, no longer aware of time, holding him possessively, his hands stroking Reid’s face. Reid wrapped his arms at Luke’s waist.

Finally, Luke pulled away. He took the journal from Reid.

With Reid watching, Luke ripped up the first page and threw it down into the marshy water.

“I’m going to do this until it’s all gone, “ he smiled at Reid.

“Ah,” Reid put a cautionary hand on Luke’s arm, “not the best gator food.”

“Oh no!” Luke jumped back with dismay. “Oh, I wasn’t thinking. Do you really think eating paper hurts them?” Luke looked down at the still visible paper in the water.

Reid patted him reassuringly, “Maybe not one piece.”

Luke sighed. “I guess I can’t do it in some great, dramatic way. “ He walked over to the nearby trash. He smiled at Reid, and then just chucked the whole journal away.

“Done,” he told Reid.

“Sure?”

Luke nodded. Reid came over to him. He cocked his head at Luke.

“So you’re done writing? No more journaling? No more putting pen to paper to get out your thoughts?”

“Yeah.”

“Too bad.” He touched Luke’s face with affection.

“What? Aren’t you glad I’m not going to focus on my past anymore?”

“Yeah, but what about everything else? You won’t be tempted to write about it all? About us?”

Luke flushed. Reid knew him so well.

“I might be a little,” Luke said.

“Here.” Reid thrust something quickly at him. “Just don’t tell anybody I was encouraging you with this.” He looked around.

“What’s this?” Luke laughed, delighted. He held a small, leather notebook in his hands.

“A new start.” Reid’s eyes gleamed.

“Oh,” Luke exclaimed, “that’s so sweet.”

“Sweet?“ Reid looked pained, “No. It’s not sweet. I just,” He pinched the bridge of his nose a second and then he took Luke’s hand. “After I read the other journal, I felt even worse about last night so… “ Reid cleared his throat suddenly. “Besides, our story should get equal time, after all.”

“More time” Luke said laughing. “Our story will fill up a 100 notebooks.“

“Let’s go back to my place,” Reid suggested, “and I’ll give you something to write about.”

They kissed hungrily.

***

Banging open Reid’s door, they began to tear each other’s clothes off. Luke eagerly lifted off Reid’s shirt. He pressed a kiss at Reid’s collarbone. Reid returned the favor, his nimble fingers opening up the buttons of Luke’s shirt. The second the shirt was pulled off, Reid gazed at Luke’s skin, looked at it with such longing and intensity that Luke could feel his entire body just sway towards Reid. Reid leaned forward and caressed Luke’s flat nipples with his tongue. Then he murmured his name in appreciation. Luke grasped Reid’s head, pulling him closer. Luke’s hands stole their way around to the nape of Reid’s neck.

Reid yanked at Luke’s shorts, taking his underwear off too, and he threw them across the room. Their lips kissed frantically. Reid walked Luke backwards to his bedroom, not breaking the contact.

“I love you,” Luke managed to pant.

“Me too,” Reid said. “I love you.” He was kissing a hot path down Luke’s chest.

“You’re so beautiful. I just want to be with you,” Luke could no longer resist gushing to him. “I love you. I do. Everything about you.”

He waited for Reid to speak. He nudged him and felt Reid sigh.

“I love you so much,” Luke prompted. “You make me so happy.”

He waited for Reid to answer. Reid stopped kissing him and lifted his head.

“I want to hold you each night and wake up with you. I want to know each part of you,” Reid murmured back.

Luke felt his heart jump. Then he came to his senses.

“Reid!” He smacked at him. “Wait a minute – that was from my journal!”

Reid held off Luke’s slaps. “I needed to say something,” he laughed.

“Terrific,” Luke’s lip jutted out, “I want you to say your own thoughts.”

“Naw, you don’t.” Reid said, totally unapologetic for remembering lines from an entry. Luke recalled it was a passage where he was lonely and wishing to just find somebody. He felt some of his annoyance fade at that.

“You don’t want my thoughts, “ Reid told him, “because I’m no poet, Luke. I think things like, ‘maybe we can eat after this’. ‘Wonder where the chips are?’”

Luke let out a small laugh, despite himself.

Reid flashed him a smile.

“And you wrote some nice things in that journal. Really nice.”

Luke shook his head at him. “You and that photographic memory. Okay, fine. Steal my lines. But that’s it! You’re not reading my new journal. “

Reid laughed. “Okay, I won’t read it unless you offer it to me. “

“Good.”

“I’ll just tell you what to say.” Reid pretended to think this over. “I can see the first line based on your life with me. It will start out with this line, ‘Every morning, Reid wakes me with the most amazing, fantastic, explosive blowjobs of my life.’”

“I dunno. Can you live up to that? That’s a lot of adjectives?” Luke said, suddenly grinning madly.

“Please,“ Reid scoffed. He ran a finger down Luke’s body, and Luke couldn’t help the shudder he released. “I’m thinking whole chapters should be dedicated to my fingers and tongue. “

Luke laughed fully now. Reid was stroking his arousal and watching him.

“Ahh,” Luke said, “how can I be so hard and find you so funny all at the same time? “

“See? You’ll turn us into a bestselling memoir. He makes me laugh and then he fucks me senseless.”

“Eloquent. New York Times look out!” Luke giggled.

Reid dropped to his knees.

“I guess you’re more an action person than a –“ Luke’s thoughts crumpled.

Reid began to take him down his throat.

Luke’s laughter faded as he felt the wet heat of Reid’s mouth. He arched his head back. His arms went up to cover his eyes. The pressure of Reid’s tongue pushed down on his head. It glided along the underside of Luke’s erection. Luke could feel his jaw muscles working. He felt Reid’s hands holding him up higher, taking Luke more firmly in. Then Reid sucked him and Luke felt like his whole body could get sucked up in that mouth. He felt Reid’s teeth teasingly graze the sensitive flesh and then another, demanding suck.

Then those magical fingers were kneading Luke’s ass, massaging him. Luke’s breathing became labored, his body straining with urgency. His lips parted and a cry was torn from Luke’s throat. Reid’s mouth was still on him, ardently tasting and then devouring his cock.

“Oh please,” Luke choked out. His body moved instinctively for more. Reid had him all the way inside now. Luke’s face flushed. His body felt a wave of heat.

Reid’s mouth held the weight of his cock, pumping and pumping it, never letting it go.

Luke surrendered, fully and joyously. He let his body convulse, felt Reid drinking him in. He was in a thick fog of delight.

Reid went back up Luke’s trembling body. He was the only reason Luke had not fallen to the rug. Reid took Luke’s hands away from his face, then Reid’s lips came crashing down on his own. As Luke opened his mouth, a few drops of cum that Reid had held released down into Luke’s throat. Luke swallowed his own taste.

Luke’s eyes widened in shock. “You could have told me you were planning to do that.”

Reid didn’t answer. He began to suck and nibble at Luke’s neck.

Luke felt like his entire body was humming. For a moment longer, Luke just floated in a state of bliss.

Then Luke looked at Reid. He stopped his kisses a moment and took his head in his hands. Reid met his eyes.

“If I get woken up with blowjobs –“ Luke’s voice was heavy.

“Amazing, fantastic, explosive ones,” Reid corrected.

“Does that mean I wake up here with you daily?” Luke continued. He ran a hand over Reid’s face and then held him by the back of his head, threading his fingers in his hair.

“I told you earlier,“ Reid said, “I want to touch you 24 hours a day. “

Luke beamed at him.

They walked the few steps to the bed and Luke pushed Reid on to it first. He climbed on top of him. Luke took off the rest of Reid’s clothes and then rested his head a second on Reid’s bare stomach. He looked up at him and offered a giant smile.

“Or we could buy our own place?” Luke asked and Reid just nodded. Luke didn’t think he could smile any wider, but he felt his lips keep stretching open.

“Okay,” Reid was saying a small smile on his own face now, “but I need more than a place. I need a castle by the sea.”

Luke laughed and raised himself up to Reid. “That was the worst imitation of my father’s accent I’ve ever heard.”

He kissed Reid soundly, their mouths making happy noises together. He let his tongue circle Reid’s lower and then upper lip. He tasted him again.

Then Luke shimmied down his body, his hands touching Reid as he went. Soon he was all the way down, Reid’s foot in his hand.

“I will make love to you now,” Luke said, easily mimicking Damian’s voice, “ and kiss every place on your body.”

Luke kissed the arch of Reid’s foot, and then suckled Reid’s toes. Reid made a surprised groan and bucked up. Luke kissed his leg gently. “And then we can discuss castles by the sea.”

Luke began to hold and caress him, their silliness giving way to more.

Luke kissed on every part of Reid’s body, his movements slow and deliberate. Luke spent long moments just gazing openly at Reid’s limbs, his stomach, his cock. He’d look at him and then carefully begin to savor him. With each steady touch, Luke could feel Reid’s barriers dissolving. Luke loved the way Reid could no longer be guarded here, not in the bedroom. His mouth was open, eyes closed, and face vulnerable. He let his palm circle Reid’s cock. At the same time, Luke lubed and guided Reid’s fingers to him, until he felt slick and ready. Then Luke rolled a condom on him. He lowered his body down on Reid’s, joining them, taking Reid inside of him.

“Look at me,” Luke whispered, “let me see you.”

Reid grasped Luke’s hips and pushed Luke even harder down, making Luke gasp. Then Reid’s eyes opened and they stared at each other for a second. Luke gasped again, but this time it was because of Reid’s face – he felt like Reid’s heart was right there in his eyes.

Their bodies now moved together, writhing and aching for it. Luke drove himself up and down on Reid’s cock, his flesh yearning for connection with him. It was never going to be enough, he wanted so much. Luke was giddy with pleasure, with happiness. He bent his head down to Reid’s shoulder and gave it a slow, tantalizing lick. He smiled as he nibbled his neck, and Reid arched his head back for more. Reid’s whole body felt open to him then. Luke ran his palms up and down in a gentle touch. Half-dreaming, Luke pressed his lips again to Reid’s lips, and rode him in loving strokes. Everything he held inside, he was now giving to Reid, turning his soul over to him, trusting him to love it forever.

“Luke-Luke-Luke-Luke,” Reid shouted out in a dazed chant. His pelvis thrust upwards, pushing himself in deeper, grinding his body closer. Reid’s fingers dug desperately into Luke’s buttocks. His head began to thrash back and forth on the pillow.

Reid quickened the rhythm, moving Luke’s body, urging Luke to ride him faster. He moaned. Luke moaned too. They kissed each other fiercely, and then there was a rush of intense pleasure.

Luke collapsed onto Reid, a sweaty, satisfied mess. Reid held him to his body, still inside of Luke, and gently rubbed at the small of Luke’s back.

They remained connected and gave each other lazy smiles. Their nude bodies glistened; their hands were linked. Their eyes were open with love.

***

Three weeks later, Luke had sent for all of his belongings in Rome. He and Reid were still living in Reid’s condo, but Luke was actively looking for a small house near the beach. WMB was still his first priority for PR, but Luke had already picked up a few potential clients who’d heard about his success at WMB. They’d also seen the full magazine article that Newsweek had done on Reid, leaving out the boyfriend part and focusing (as they should) on Reid’s work and the organization. He’d clipped it out and framed it, insisting a grumbling Reid put it in his office. Luke was happily fixing up that space, adding plants and pictures and letting Reid have office sex with him on his desk to convince him. He could only imagine all the sex he’d have to give Reid during the time he would want to decorate their house.

Damian and Jessica were still corresponding. Damian had plans to visit them all in a few weeks. Luke, meanwhile, promised his mother a week’s stay in Oakdale. He’d already bought two tickets for the week of July 4th. Reid had merely shrugged, accepting the large sandwich Luke had made him, and agreed to go to Oakdale with him. It amused Luke to see Reid so innocently chewing his sandwich; he had no clue about what awaited him in Oakdale. The thought of his family no longer filled Luke with dread. He was ready to go back to visit and to show off Reid.

The weeks had just flown by, and Luke couldn’t believe that he’d yet to write a word in his new journal. He had it with him now. He and Reid were at the condo’s pool. Luke had chatted with some neighbors there, and was planning a small party with them. He wanted to invite Claudia and Jessica too. Maybe even Long John.

Luke could see Reid swimming laps in the small pool. Reid’s body was sure and strong. Luke smiled and adjusted his sunglasses. He loved it here. He loved his man. He loved his life. He let out a deeply, contented sigh.


Then he opened up the small notebook, grabbed a pen and began:

Every morning, Reid wakes me with the most amazing, fantastic, explosive blowjobs of my life .



The End

A/N: Hope you guys liked the ending! Thanks so much for the beautiful comments!
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Without Borders 13/14
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: none
Rating: PG- NC-17
First of all, a big shout of thanks to the amazing rhiannonhero! Thanks also to lovely traciamc

Chapter Thirteen

By the time Luke woke hours later and showered, finally headed to WMB, the hospital was already busy. Sirens blared in the distance, nurses scurried by him, and the smell of disinfectant and hospital meals hung in the air. Luke started determinedly to Reid’s office. He was still shocked that their fight had gotten so out of hand, that they’d spent a night apart. He wondered how Reid would greet him now. He couldn’t help thinking of Noah and his long grudges. Reid might not want to see him. But Luke needed to try. If Reid would only ask him to stay - he would.

“Luke!”

Jessica waved at him.

“Hi.”

“Hi! How’s your father doing this morning?”

“Good, I think.”

“That was a great night we had.” Jessica was flushed and smiling. Luke sighed. Damian always had the ladies flushing.

“It was fun. Um, is Reid here?”

“Oh. Haven’t you heard?” Jessica sighed, unsmiling now.

“About what?”

“That patient I called Reid in for? We tried. Reid operated an hour ago, but we lost him.”
Jessica broke off sadly. “He was 18 years old.”

“That’s awful.”

Jessica nodded. “Reid took it hard. It had looked good there, in the surgery, he did everything right. “

“Then what happened?”

“Post Op complications.” Jessica shook her head. “Very common thing.”

“Is Reid in his office?” Luke asked her.

“Yeah, I think so.”

“I’ll go check on him.”

“That’s good,” Jessica nodded, “he could use seeing your face.”

She walked off.

Luke just hoped she was right.

***

Carefully, Luke opened the door to Reid’s office and poked his head inside. Reid was just standing there, looking lost in thought. Luke drank in the sight of him.

“I’m so sorry,” Luke said.

Reid jumped in surprise. “What’re you doing here?”

He looked tired, Luke thought, he had circles under his eyes. All thoughts of their fight vanished from Luke’s mind, and he just wanted to wrap his arms around Reid.

“I just heard and I’m sorry,” Luke offered again, coming closer to him.

He hesitated a split second, unsure if Reid would welcome a hug from him. So Luke let his hand touch Reid’s cheek instead. Reid kept his eyes on Luke’s and then swallowed hard as if he were in pain. He leaned his body into Luke’s and their foreheads touched. Luke rubbed his other hand up and down the small of Reid’s back. Despite their unresolved fight, Luke was so happy to be touching Reid.

“A dumb kid,” Reid murmured, his breath near Luke’s cheek, “on his stupid motorcycle without a helmet.” He shuddered a second. “Idiot.”

“I know, so terrible. I don’t know what to say.”

He could feel Reid’s shrug, “Nothing to say. That’s it.”

Luke looked at him. “Do you want to come to the hotel with me now?”

“Why? Does somebody there need a neurosurgeon?”

“Reid.” Luke wanted to help him so badly. He equally wanted to discuss the night before and make things up with Reid. He felt a little lost on how to go about either task. Luke could tell that Reid’s defenses were up again, the moment of touching over.

Sure enough, Reid straightened up. “I’m not off until four.”

Luke could sense so much feeling beneath Reid’s surface. Luke ignored his slightly cold, abrupt voice and stared into Reid’s eyes. He could just see the emotions churning there. It only made Luke more determined to help him.

“But with losing a patient,” Luke began.

“I have other patients.” Reid’s voice was crisp now. He began to move around the room.

“But you’re hurting?”

Reid gave him a look. “Pretty sure the guy down the hall with the brain cancer is hurting more.”

Bewildered, Luke just stared at him. He knew Reid was upset, but he wasn’t letting Luke in. Luke took a deep breath.

“It wasn’t your fault.” Luke took a step to him. “Patients die.”

“I know that,” Reid shot him an impatient glance. “They cover that in medical school on day one.”

Reid went to his locker and pulled out his white coat.

“You don’t have to put up a front for me,” Luke protested, following him.

“It’s not a front. “

“I’m trying to comfort you,” Luke said.

“Well, get over that impulse. I’m fine.”

Reid began to sort through his desk drawer. Luke studied Reid’s face.

“That was your cue to go,” he said to Luke.

“I want to help,” Luke said stubbornly.

“Terrific. Write a letter to the state asking for some helmet laws in Florida.”

Luke shook his head. “You can try and hide this, Reid, but it won’t work with me. Talk to me.
I know you care about that patient you just lost. “

“Look,“ Reid said. “It doesn’t matter what I feel. Dragging my feet and feeling sorry for myself? Boo-hooing about it all? It’s a waste of my time.”

“So you’re over it?” Luke said skeptically.

Reid shrugged.

Luke could see him just gathering his strength, a fierce focus was on Reid’s face now. Luke couldn’t help but admire that about Reid.

“I don’t know how you do it,” Luke admitted, “move on like this.”

“You just do.“ He looked at Luke. “You get a thicker skin. “

“You make it sound easy.”

“No. Necessary.”

Luke frowned at that. It was so different from the way he was made. “I don’t know if I could ever be a doctor, “ Luke said. “I’d mourn every patient. I’d go over and over the loss.”

“Well, I don’t mourn them.”

“You’re just tougher than I am,” Luke said, almost accusingly. “I wish- “ he broke off. “Were you like that from your very first patient? Just forget them and everything? Go right to the next one?”

“I never said I forget them,” he sounded offended. “ I said I don’t mourn them. “ Reid hesitated. ”I save them. Some of them. The important ones. “

Luke was confused, “Save them?”

Reid held up a hand a moment. Then he turned and got his phone out. He gave it to Luke. Luke looked at the picture of a young man, clearly dead. He flinched.

“You save these?” Luke could barely look at the photo. “Why?”

Reid didn’t say anything. Luke looked at the picture again. He saw it was one of several on Reid’s phone. He scrolled through.

“Who is this one?” He asked softly. She looked like a pale, broken doll.

Reid looked. “Jenny. Six years old. Brain tumor. Big as a fist. “ Reid paused. “She’d probably be twelve now, be some poor crazy, pubescent brat in middle school - “ he trailed off. Luke hit the next picture.

“And him?”

“Paul. He should be a baseball star now. He was a great athlete. All American. Massive blood hemorrhage. Too much bleeding…“

“And this older man?”

“Mr. Gonzalez. Tough bastard,” Reid’s voice was rough with admiration. “He survived years longer than other doctors told him he would.”

“What happened with him?”

“The inevitable.”

Reid took the phone back abruptly and closed it.

“We’re done with this trip down memory lane.”

Luke refused to let Reid turn all dismissive again. He purposely let his fingers brush against Reid’s in a feather light touch.

“Thank you for sharing this with me,” Luke said in a gentle voice.

Reid stared at him a second. He glanced down at their fingers. Then he nodded.

“So I think I understand now. You don’t get sad,” Luke said slowly, “you get angry.”

“No, I get even,” Reid said firmly. “ I go to the next one and fight harder. I use the loss and train better. Fuck, Luke, I try and kick death’s ass.”

They walked to Reid’s office door.

He looked at Luke a moment. Then Reid suddenly shifted his feet and stared off. “We didn’t get around to why you’re here exactly.”

Luke shrugged. This was no time to go over what happened last night. “To see my favorite doctor.”

Reid’s mouth lifted at that.

“Meet me after,” he gestured to the hospital, “ alright?”

Luke nodded, a big smile shooting across his face. “I’ll be back at four. “

Reid looked somewhat relieved. “Hey, um I appreciate, well …you know. ”

Luke smiled at him a moment more. Despite the earlier fight, the connection between them was palpable again. Luke gave Reid a shy, coquettish glance.

They stepped out into the corridor. Luke looked at the hallway. A nurse was running near a patient’s cart, comforting him. Another doctor was chatting with a woman standing with an IV. All around, more illness, more hopes to get better. Reid was right. He was needed. Luke would have to wait.

Luke fixed the collar of Reid’s white coat. “Go on back to the fight,” he told him.

“I’ll see you,” Reid said. His eyes rested on Luke with a laser-like intensity that made Luke blush.

Luke nodded. ”See you at four.”

***

An hour later, Luke sat on the beach, his knees at his chest. He looked at the ocean. It was choppy water today, a turbulent color. The waves were fierce and unrelentingly pounding the beach. There were no shells visible, just small clumps of seaweed. Luke breathed in the salty air. He studied the horizon, where the water met the sky.

Luke took his journal out and turned to a blank page.

Today I learned something. I thought I’d let Noah go, just because I wanted to. But he is still with me.

Noah has been the villain in my story for a long time. And some place, out there, I’m no doubt the villain in his version of us.

It no longer matters. Noah and I are dead. What I’ve been carrying for two years is not Noah. It’s that dead relationship that I keep on mourning. I keep on searching for answers as to why it got so sick and looking to see if I am to blame. I’ve been carrying around the weight of our failure like an awful secret.

What I finally see is that it doesn’t matter. It’s over. I need to let it go and move on to my next fight. I may not be a doctor fighting for the next patient, but I can fight for my next chance at love.


Luke closed the journal. Memories never faded, not really. They could return from out of the darkness, and some memories remained sharp, coming at you like an arrow. But it was how you dealt with them that mattered. Luke felt light as he walked back to his car. He climbed into the front seat and quickly made a few phone calls to Rome. Then he opened up his computer. He set up the web camera on it, hooking it up.
Luke called the number he knew by heart.

“Mom,” Luke said, when Lily’s face filled his screen. “How are you?”

“Fine, baby. But why haven’t you returned my calls?”

Luke could see his father Holden in the background.

“I’m sorry. But I wanted to talk to you now. And Dad. “

Holden came over and greeted him.

“There’s something I need to tell you,” Luke said. “Well, two things. The first is, I’m in
love with somebody here in Miami, and I might not make it home for a little while. But the second thing is about Noah and me.”

“Noah?” Lily said.

“Wait- you’re in love?” Holden asked.

Luke smiled at them. He took a deep breath and began.

***

It had gone well. His parents had been shocked at how ugly Luke and Noah’s relationship had ended, and they listened with rapt attention about Reid. As Luke finally closed his laptop, after promising them a visit for real this time, he felt incredibly good. He glanced out at the immense ocean. It was even rougher now, the waves were really kicking up. Luke stripped down to his boxers, not caring how he looked. He dove into the blue water, using his whole body to fight the current. The day was hot , the sun high and warm. He swam out, riding up and over the waves. He laughed as he felt the sea lift him up. He even laughed as it slammed him down. Underneath the water a moment, Luke felt that pressure in his lungs right before he burst back to the surface. He breathed out. Another wave approached. Luke just got right back up and rode it. The water radiated with light. He felt free, exhilarated. Luke’s arms and legs moved confidently. The waves carried Luke to the shore and he was not afraid.

***

Then Luke went back to WMB. Jessica’s eyes widened at the sight of him, all wet and sandy. She recovered quickly. “I’m afraid Reid has gone back into another surgery.”

“I know, I tried his office.” Luke smiled. “I just wanted to leave something for him there. Can you let me in?”

“Sure.” They walked together.

“I’m meeting your father tonight,” Jessica told Luke with a faint blush.

“That’s great.” Luke looked at her. ”But you know he leaves town in the morning.”

“I know,” Jessica smiled at him as she unlocked Reid’s office, “I’m enjoying his attentions, but my eyes are clear.”

Luke smiled, relieved to hear that. He looked at her. “Would you mind if I wrote Reid a note privately and then locked it?”

“Go ahead. I think I can trust you,” Jessica laughed.

Jessica left. Luke waited until the office was silent.

It felt odd to stand in Reid’s office without him.

Luke walked over to his desk. Reid had not one personal item. It made Luke a little sad. It made him hope to change that.

Luke took out his journal and placed it down. Then he took out the packet of mini doughnuts he’d bought Reid from the vending machine. He put those down too.
Luke took a small piece of scrap paper and a pen. He wrote a simple note.

You already know the facts that are in this journal. But you don’t know all the whys. The emotions. I think it explains a lot, and I want you to read it. Please. I will give you two hours. A guy with a photographic memory shouldn’t need any longer, right? Meet me at 6 at this address. Luke added the address and then hesitated. He wasn’t sure how to end the note to him. Then he sighed and simply added Love, Luke PS –enjoy the doughnuts.

Luke left the office, feeling lighter, his hands dangling free.


***

One more stop, then he could be with Reid and not have to look back again. He could finally tell Reid how much he wanted to stay.

Luke stood outside his father’s room and knocked.

Damian answered, a towel flung around his hips and a shaver in his hands. “Luciano?” He gestured for him to come inside. “I was just getting ready to meet Jessica.”

Luke smiled at him. He looked at his father’s strong hands holding the razor. Then he looked into Damian’s eyes.

“I’m not going back to Rome, “ Luke said. “I’m remaining here.”

He held up a hand, when Damian opened his mouth to speak. “And yes, it is because of Reid. But it’s also just time.” Luke’s eyes were moist suddenly. “I know I owe you a huge debt for helping me through the worst time in my life, but I want to be here, in Miami. I want to run the foundation from here and I want to start my own PR firm.”

“You do?”

“Yes,” Luke flashed him a smile. “I want something that’s just mine, that I can build myself. I think Miami has a lot of potential for a PR firm here. Anyhow,” Luke looked at him again, “have I really disappointed you?”

“If I say yes,” Damian replied, “will you come back to Rome?”

“No.”

Damian smiled, his teeth flashing. “Good for you then, Luciano!”

“You’re not angry?”

Damian shrugged. “Disappointed that I won’t see you every day, that we won’t work side by side, yes. Angry- no.” Damian began to dress for his date. He took out an expensive suit and tie. “I almost expected it, truthfully. “

“I do love him, “ Luke said softly.

Damian nodded, “You love deeply and well. I was concerned at first.”

“Not now?” Luke watched Damian splash on some of his cologne.

Luke rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet a moment. “Do you like him?” He asked almost bashfully.

He came to Luke then and touched a little cologne onto Luke’s cheek with a friendly smack. “He’s arrogant, rude. Yes, I like him.” He grabbed Luke by the shoulders. “I think he might be good for you.”

Damian released him.

“I think so too- “ Luke started to say, then his eyes narrowed. “Wait a minute. I thought you were testing Reid last night. But you were testing me too, weren’t you?”

Damian shrugged. “I needed to make sure.”

Luke started to reprimand him, but then he saw the clock by Damian’s bed. “Aw no! Is that really the time? I’m totally late right now.” The last thing Luke needed was Reid thinking he was stood up. “I gotta go.” He raced over to Damian and gave him a huge hug. “But thanks, and enjoy your date with Jessica.”

“I plan to,” Damian said in amusement- watching Luke dash around frantically- “You enjoy yours.”

“I will,” Luke opened the door. He stopped a moment and looked at Damian, “I am driving you to the airport tomorrow, no arguments.”

Damian smiled, “You just want to drive my car.”

“Ciao, Dad.”

“Ciao, Luciano.”
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Without Borders
Author: Marsabi
Summary: Luke meets Reid in Miami
Warning: None
Rting: NC-17

Chapter Eleven

Reid took forever to answer his door. Luke tapped his foot impatiently. He had decided the best way to prepare Reid to meet with Damian was with a little gentle coaching.

They still had the afternoon to get it right. Luke raised his hand to give another firm rap, when the door swung open.

“Hey,” Reid said. He had a slightly sweaty look to him and was dressed in scrubs.

“Operating in here?” Luke joked.

“Exercising,” Reid gestured for him to come inside.

“I should have called- “Luke began to say.

“Oh, just get your butt in here.”

Luke followed Reid curiously. He could hear the television on. There was a green exercise mat on the floor, and a plate near it with a giant turkey sandwich oozing with mustard and mayo.

Luke glanced at the television and saw it was a Marlins game.

“What kind of exercise?”

“Yoga,” Reid answered, sitting back down on his mat and stretching out.

“You do yoga while eating sandwiches and watching baseball? “ Luke asked. “Isn’t that kind of against all the yoga rules?”

“Rules are meant to be broken,” Reid took a bite of his sandwich and chewed. “Besides, I don’t go in for all that Zen crap.”

“Then why do yoga?”

Reid shrugged. He began to go into a perfect plank position. “I started it in Moldova. There were no fancy gyms there, and even running outside the camp could be dangerous. With yoga, you only need a small space.”

Reid sat up a second and reached out to toss Luke the remote. “Here. Watch whatever you like and I’ll finish up.”

“Baseball’s fine.”

Luke pretended for a moment to watch the Marlins. He snuck a look at Reid.

Reid’s ass was now high up in the air, his palms down on the mat in a downward dog pose.
Then Reid glided his body forward, smoothly transitioning to an up dog. He stretched his neck back, his chest thrust forward.

Luke swallowed hard.

Reid changed again into a pose Luke didn’t recognize. He tucked one foot in front of his body, the other leg behind him.

“What’s that?” Luke asked, intrigued. He gave up all pretense of watching the baseball game.

Reid bowed his head low over his front knee. “A Swan,” he mumbled.

“I never knew you were so,” Luke felt a heat building up in his lower stomach, Reid was in downward dog again, “so flexible.”

“Years of practice,” Reid had humor in his voice. He looked up at Luke, “Care to get on the floor and join me?”

Luke walked over. “I’m not sure I know what to do,” Luke admitted.

“Take my mat and face me,” Reid instructed. “We’ll begin with sun salutations.”

Luke faced Reid and tried to mirror his moves. He stretched his arms over his head and then bent down slowly at the waist. He smoothly sank to the ground into a plank. Luke followed. He could hear a batter strike out on TV. He could feel Reid near him, moving into another salutation.

“Luke, don’t giggle,” Reid ordered. “Hold your plank.”

“Sorry.”

Reid looked at Luke’s pose.

“Get that ass down,” Reid told him. He broke his own plank off and squatted by Luke. He pushed gently at his backside.

Reid demonstrated the next part- he went into a low lunge and held his hands up as if to the sun. He arched his back and closed his eyes. Luke stared at him, taking in the firm thigh muscle and the sight of Reid’s Adam’s apple exposed nicely.

Luke imitated him the best he could. His own legs wobbled a bit as he attempted to look up and still balance.

“Shoot,” Luke said, “this is harder than it appears.”

Reid sighed. “Forget salutations. Try a simple pose.”

“Okay.”

“How about a three legged dog,” he said.

“Sounds painful.” Luke grimaced.

“Watch.” Reid did it easily. His leg aimed high in the air, his crotch open for Luke’s glance of approval. Luke fantasized briefly, imagining seeing Reid in this pose completely naked. He would grab him and squeeze his –

“Now you.”

Luke jolted out of the fantasy. His own cock was getting hard. Embarrassed, Luke got onto the floor and tried to get into three-legged dog. Reid was just above him, watching.

“Raise your leg.”

Luke dangled it in the air. “Other leg- no.” Reid tried to correct his pose. He came up behind Luke and jerked his leg higher.

As soon as Reid let go, Luke fell down with a thud.

“Whoops,” Luke laughed. He beamed up at Reid with a wide grin.

“Guess I’m just not that bendy,” he complained good-naturedly.

Reid cocked his eyebrow, “Really? “

Luke fought a blush.

“I seem to remember you quite bendable in my bedroom before.”

Reid sat down next to him and wrapped his arms at Luke’s hips. He gave him a long kiss.

Luke lifted Reid’s shirt up and slid a finger at his stomach. “Guess I know how you keep these abs,” He said admiring the muscles there. He lowered his mouth to Reid’s stomach and licked at his navel.

They kissed again, their tongues dancing around each other in playful thrusts. Luke was between Reid’s legs now. He deepened the kiss, savoring the taste.

“At least I’m a good kisser, “ Luke said with a smile, his lips still close to Reid’s.

“Who says?” Reid teased and then kissed him some more.

Luke broke it off reluctantly. “I did come here with a goal,” he said.

“No kidding,“ Reid replied.

“What?” Luke asked, perplexed. “You knew that?”

“This isn’t the first day we’ve met,” Reid said dryly. “You usually have your stubborn mind on something.”

Luke smiled. “We need to go over dinner with my father.”

“Why do we need to do that?” Reid wiped at his forehead with a small towel.

“Because, you don’t know Damian Grimaldi. And this dinner is all about you.”

Reid rolled his eyes. “Terrific. “ He stood up and then held out a hand to help Luke.

“I’ll tell you what,” Luke offered. “Let’s take a walk on the beach and then I’ll treat you to some dessert.”

“Ice cream?”

“Yeah.” Luke watched Reid roll up his mat. “Whatever you want.”

***

“Can we go into the ice cream shop now?”

“One sec,” Luke said dreamily, as he held Reid’s hand and walked along the ocean. The breeze blew Luke’s hair back, he could taste salt on his lips. It was heavenly. He heard Reid say something more , but the sudden roar of a wave made Luke miss it. Luke smiled at some kids playing in the surf. Then, at his ear, he heard Reid whisper:

“I’m a cheap date and I give great rim,” Reid said clearly in his ear, “for some ice cream.”

Luke’s head whipped around to look at him. Reid gave a small, innocent smirk.

“I’m ready to leave, “ Luke said breathlessly.

“Good idea. I need some mint chocolate chip with hot fudge, caramel sauce and strawberries.”

“Seriously?” Luke laughed, “that sounds bit gross.”

“No ice cream is gross. What are you- plain vanilla? Cookies and cream? What are you doing now?” Reid asked as Luke didn’t answer him, and began to suddenly run a big circle around him, pumping his fist in the air.

“I’m celebrating. I know two more ways to your heart,” Luke grinned and did a little Rocky move around Reid, “weird ice cream and yoga.”

“And you’re certifiable,” Reid laughed and hooked an arm around his shoulders. He rubbed at Luke’s head affectionately. “Now feed me.”

They sat at an outside table, under a crooked umbrella and ate ice cream. They spent their time, eating from each other’s spoons and doing a great deal of kissing. Luke felt light and happy. He even liked the taste of Reid’s ice cream concoction –at least on Reid’s lips.

Luke gave a long sigh. Reid looked so handsome right then, with the sun at his face. Luke watched him suck on the ice cream spoon, his tongue darting out around it. He watched him brush off his sticky hands, and then Reid joined their hands palm to palm. And with those small gestures, Luke could feel his heart opening up and finding a tiny seed of light inside of it.

“Uh, Luke,” Reid said suddenly.

“Hmmm?” Luke felt like he could just drift into the sky right then. He wanted Reid, badly. He wanted him always. He couldn’t deny it anymore; he was madly in love with him.

“Your ice cream is melting all over.”

“Oops,” Luke said and turned away for a napkin.

“We’d better head back. “ Reid said.

“Yeah,” Luke bit his lip hard a moment. “Dinner is coming up in a few more hours.”

***


It wasn’t until the drive back to Reid’s place, that Luke told him everything he needed to know about Damian.

Reid listened in silence and then, as he opened up his front door, he grimaced. “You’re making your father sound like he needs to audition for Godfather Part Four.” A muscle jumped in Reid’s cheek.

“No, no,” Luke protested, “he’s not that bad.” Luke studied him. “Are you getting nervous?” he asked.

“No,” Reid denied. Then he sighed loudly. “Or if I am it’s because you’re grilling me about his past blackmailing and kidnapping schemes.” Then he pinched the bridge of his nose. “Besides, this is a weird experience for me. I’m about to meet your father and have to make nice. I’ll have to chat or something with him. I don’t meet parents of my boyfriends.” Reid shuddered. “ I feel like I’m going to a prom or something.”

“Aww, do you want romance?” Luke teased. “Should I come back tonight with roses?”

“God no,” Red looked pained. “See that’s just what I’m talking about! Roses and candy are romantic? I don’t get that - I don’t get romance, it makes no sense. That’s why I skipped my real prom and all other formal affairs. Birthdays, weddings- I don’t like them. I never know what to do and I always put my foot in it.“

Luke stared at him a second, his mouth hanging open.

“Now you’re babbling,” Luke said amused. He’d never seen this side of Reid.

“I’m just having teenage nerd flashbacks or something. “ He ran a hand through his hair. “I know things need to go well tonight for the neuro wing and,” He paused a moment and swept his gaze over Luke, “for other reasons.”

“Just be yourself,” Luke advised. He touched the side of Reid’s cheek.

Reid gave him a pointed look.

“Okay, maybe not quite yourself.” Luke smiled. He watched Reid toss down his wallet and keys, finding a disconcerted Reid absolutely adorable. He could eat Reid up. Luke had a strong desire to suddenly keep Reid off kilter. He clearly had no clue how edible he was.

Luke smiled again, wanting to keep Reid going. “So you’ve told me what romance is not.“ He tilted his head at him, ”What do you think romance is then?”

“No idea.” Reid shrugged and locked his door. “ The opposite of roses, though . That’s generic. It’s definitely not spouting some ambivalent poetry or making vague declarations. It should be clear-“

“Like cutting into a brain?” Luke suggested, smothering a laugh .

“Yes,” the corner of Reid’s mouth lifted. “Exactly. Like a good surgery.”

“ I have to be honest with you. As far as your view on romance, I completely disagree.”

“Of course you do,” Reid sighed.

“True romance is something that can never die.”

“Like Disco.” Reid nodded.

“Like the spirit of it –I gotta believe it’s not planned like an operation. “ Luke wrinkled up his nose.

“Okay fine,” Reid groaned, “tell me how you see it. Let’s get it over with.”

Reid plopped down on his couch and put his feet on his coffee table.

Luke grinned. “I think romance is like a good movie- an escape. Or maybe a rush - like riding a giant wave.”

“Until the movie ends or you crash on the sand.”

Luke shook his head, laughing openly now, and grabbed at Reid’s feet as he moved around him. He collapsed next to Reid on the couch.

“How cynical,” Luke scolded Reid.

Inside, his heart was thudding happily. Why did everything Reid did suddenly make Luke feel lit up? He gave Reid a ridiculously big smile and rested his head even closer to him.

“What?” Reid was saying. “It’s not cynical. No, it’s practical. You see romance is required in a relationship, apply it a little bit and boom –done. A healthy solution.”

“Sounds like you’re applying leeches to cure a disease.”

“Don’t knock leeches, “ Reid answered. “It was a sound medical practice at the time. “

Reid poked Luke in the ribs lightly.

“Practical romance?” Luke frowned, “ An oxymoron.” Luke waved a hand in the air for emphasis, ”No it’s got to be spontaneous, not practical at all, not planned and canned.” Luke warmed to his own topic. “It’s got to make your heart pound, knees go weak, and then it has to go beyond that. Romance is fun and thrilling and makes you want to just grab the person and say ‘Go with me’ and you do.”

Luke looked at Reid right into his eyes a second.

“So,” Reid drawled, “all this talk of romance. Do you have a point?”

“What do you mean?”

“Are you asking me to,“ Reid made a face, “court you or something?”

“No.” Luke stared at him. “You don’t need to do anything romantic.”

“I don’t?” Reid stared back.

Luke knew he should be quiet, shut up, just stop all the emotions from bubbling out. But he also knew he was lost. He wanted to give Reid everything. He just hoped Reid might give something back. Luke shrugged. He knew love was a risk. He knew that better than anybody.

Luke looked into Reid’s piercing eyes. He smelled the hint of his after shave - a warm, citrusy scent. His heart was not his own anymore. It was as simple as that.

“Listen,“ Luke said gruffly. “I don’t need romance, okay?” He stood up and jammed his hands into his pockets. Luke paced a moment in front of Reid. “You have me. You already have me.”

Luke stopped directly in front of Reid, all the emotions inside of him flooding to the surface.

“And since you hate sappy poetry and flowers –I’ll just say it.“ Luke looked at Reid. “I love you. I do - I love you – so - blah, blah , blah. Deal with it!” Luke’s voice rose up with each syllable. He sounded almost angry, but he was mostly afraid. He looked away.

God, had he just told Reid he loved him with a blah, blah, blah?

Luke flinched. He dared to look at Reid again.

Reid looked startled. He actually flushed and his eyes were bright with emotion.

“Luke-“

He walked over to where Luke nervously stood. Gingerly, Reid touched him on the arm.

It was all the permission Luke needed.

Luke came at him wildly, pressing his mouth on Reid’s, pushing him all the way back to his bedroom, and up against his bedroom wall. He stripped off Reid’s clothes frantically, still keeping him at the wall. Reid attempted to turn around and face him, but Luke pushed him roughly again. He pulled Reid’s hair so that his neck went back and then tongued the delicate shell of his earlobe. He nibbled and sucked a path down the slope of Reid’s neck and over his shoulders.

Reid turned to him and looked like he might speak.

“Don’t look at me,” Luke said fiercely, “Just let me do this. Let me show you. Let me love you.” He removed his own clothes and went to Reid’s dresser for a condom and then lubed up his fingers.

Then he came back over to Reid, who hadn’t moved.

“Luke-“ Reid tried again.

“Shh,” Luke urged him.

Luke wrapped an arm around Reid’s chest and began to kiss his upper back. Reid moaned and bucked a little as Luke’s mouth trailed downward. Luke gave his ass a firm spank. He loved it. He loved Reid’s backside. He loved every part of his body. He wanted to be inside him so much he could burst into flames. Luke banged Reid against the wall with his body, pushing his erection near the fleshy part of Reid’s ass again and again. He teased him, rubbing his cock at Reid’s crack.

Then Luke moved lower, kneeling down now, his arm now holding Reid at his lower stomach. Reid clawed at the wall and moaned.

Luke kissed and nibbled at Reid’s inner thighs and then bent down to his dick. He began to lick it aggressively, his tongue moving over the velvety skin. Luke let his warm breath caress it. Reid thrashed against the wall. Luke opened his legs up more and took him in his mouth. Then Luke squatted under Reid’s body . Reid was still facing the wall, when Luke took him all the way into his eager mouth.

With a shout, Reid began to slide to his knees, and Luke also went down. He flipped onto his back and was on the floor. As Reid slid, Luke grabbed his cock and kept sucking him off, Luke’s face between Reid’s legs. Reid was sinking down into Luke’s waiting mouth, deeper and deeper. Luke could hear Reid shouting out and then groaning his name. Luke’s hand went back to Reid’s ass. Without warning, Luke inserted a finger in. Reid cried out and trembled at the invasion. He pushed back at Luke’s finger, and Luke thrust another one inside of him, twisting it until he found the right spot.

Reid came violently into Luke’s mouth, his cock all the way down Luke’s throat. Luke sucked the final milky drop and then pushed Reid off. Reid rested on the floor a second, panting. Luke rolled on the condom. Reid looked at him then, his eyes dazed.

Luke bent to him and kissed his mouth fiercely, possessively.

Luke raised him up to his feet and placed him spread eagle at the wall. He pounded into Reid, finding his hole so tight and perfect, Luke nearly came right then. But he took deep gulps of air and hammered in and out. Reid had his upper body slightly lowered at the wall, his legs were quaking with each thrust. Luke held him up with a firm arm. He bit down at Reid’s sweaty shoulder,and then licked at the salt of his skin.

Luke gave one more urgent thrust and then convulsed. He could feel Reid’s ass squeezing him with his muscles, helping Luke to come even harder. Luke let out what sounded like an animal howl. He and Reid sank down to the floor together.

Without words, they got up and stumbled over to the bed. There they collapsed in a tangled heap.

***

A long time passed. They might have slept awhile, Luke wasn’t certain. He slowly became aware of the condom still on him, and Reid still wrapped up in his arms. Reid’s arm lay protectively across his chest, and Luke could still feel the slight burn of his stubble at his skin.

Luke quickly pulled away and cleaned up. He went briefly to the bathroom and then came back to Reid, who remained motionless. Luke glanced at him and slipped under the covers. He listened to Reid’s breath a moment.

Luke covered his eyes with his hands. “I’m sorry.”

“For?” He could hear Reid now getting out of the bed.

“Getting a little crazy.”

“I’m not,” Reid said.

His voice held a note of something true and deep. It made Luke lower his arms to look at Reid.

“You’re okay with it??” Luke asked.

“Well, I don’t usually let just any guy bang me up against my bedroom wall. “ Reid shrugged, “But then again, you’re not just any guy.”

Reid’s eyes held a strong emotion Luke was almost afraid to name. Luke sat up in the bed.
Reid stood there squarely, proudly naked.

Even though they’d just had crazy, wild sex, the sight of him still made Luke ‘s heart skip. Luke’s gaze devoured him.

“So,” Luke said softly, “ How about the rest? Are you sorry you know I love you?”

There was a beat of silence.

Reid frowned. “I need some water.”

“Reid.”

He headed for the kitchen. Luke got up, also still naked, and followed him, dogging his heels.

“Feel free to tell me how you feel,” Luke said. He wanted his voice to be light, but it came out strained instead.

“Want some water?” Reid got out two glasses.

“Thanks.” Luke said politely. Luke waited while Reid poured the water in. “But back to the banging thing-“

“ Just- it was nothing,” Reid busied himself with his glass.

“So you have nothing to say?” Luke felt his heart drop. He took the glass out of his hands.
Had he misjudged it all? Had he gambled on love and it was about to blow up in his face? But looking into Reid’s eyes, Luke just couldn’t regret it. Not loving him. Not for a second.

Luke felt his eyes grow misty.

“I’m thirsty,” Reid said, gazing at him. He drank the water down.

“It’s okay, “ Luke told him, almost gently.

“No,” Reid shook his head, “it’s not.” Reid refilled his glass of water.

“I can accept it if you don’t- “

“That’s not it,” Reid said quickly.

Luke stared at him. He smiled suddenly and flashed his dimples. ‘It’s not?”

Reid grunted.

“I’d never hurt you. “ Luke persisted. “I don’t think you’d hurt me?”

“No,” Reid said, ”I wouldn’t hurt you.”

Luke set the water on the counter. Reid set his water down too.

He took Luke by the shoulders.

“It’s just - if I say it- I mean it, Luke. And I’ll want it all from you. I won’t get all wishy-washy or go back and forth. It will be for good. Understand?”

Luke nodded vigorously. He squeezed Reid’s hand with encouragement. A feverish hope started inside of him.

“You don’t know how perfect that sounds to me,” Luke said.

They examined each other.

“Okay,” Reid rolled his eyes. “In that case,“ Reid drew in a sharp breath, “I love you,
too. “ He reached out and took back his water off the counter. “And blah, blah, blah,” he added.

He took a long swallow.

Joy made Luke dizzy. He felt like he might levitate.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Reid went on, shaking his head. “I don’t fall in love. Not ever. I’m the last person anybody would think would fall in love. And we don’t fit at all. We shouldn’t work. And yet,” Reid turned to Luke, “I find my formerly sensible and rational self here with you and I’m gone, absolutely ridiculously utterly gone and fallen in love with you anyhow.” Reid shot Luke a look, “And I’m not too happy about it.”

“Well,” Luke replied slowly. “First of all, you’re babbling again.”

Reid lowered his eyes and nodded. “It seems I’ve been doing that all day.”

“Second of all, “ Luke continued, “I’m not so happy either. I just finally pulled myself out of an abusive, humiliating, ass-kicking mess of a first love and I have spent the last two years recovering. I swore I’d never allow myself to feel anything like love again but here I am- and loving you is ten times bigger, more frightening, and more immense than anything I ever had before.”

Reid placed a warm hand on Luke’s arm.

They stood in the kitchen together, both naked and silent.

“So,” Reid nodded, “we’re in love.”

“Looks like it,” Luke agreed.

“It’s better than the alternative,” Reid said with a shrug.

“Loneliness?”

“Celibacy.”

“Ahh,” Luke couldn’t help laughing at that.

Reid smiled slowly in return.

***

“So when did you know you first loved me?” Luke asked happily.

Reid ignored him over the shower water. He carefully squirted out some shampoo on his hands.

“We need to get ready to meet your father.”

“When did you first know it was love? “ Luke persisted.

“Tip your head back,” Reid said and began to shampoo Luke’s hair.

“I think I loved you from the moment I saw you rocking those babies,” Luke told him, closing his eyes and enjoying the feeling of Reid’s fingers.

“Yeah, well, I’m not knocking you up.”

Reid continued to massage his scalp lightly, lathering the shampoo.

“And the first time I saw you – when you opened the door - “ Luke sighed. “How about you? Were you attracted right away to me?”

“Can’t we go back to blah, blah, blah?” Reid asked. He ran his hands down the nape of Luke’s neck.

“Oh God! I can’t believe I even said that!”

“Pretty slick, Mr. PR, “ Reid agreed.

Luke opened his eyes. “That was temporary insanity or something. I’m a word guy. I like words. I like talk.”

Reid washed the shampoo out of Luke’s hair.

“Reid?”

“Luke.”

“Tell me one thing, just one thing you’re thinking.”

Reid sighed. “I’m thinking you have a very grabbable ass.”

“Be serious.”

Reid grunted. He let the water pour over him a moment.

“I’m thinking I don’t really know how to do this.” He said morosely.

“You know how.” Luke’s voice was bright with affection.

Luke took the shampoo and began to rub Reid’s head.

Reid gave a soft sound of pleasure as Luke began to wash the shampoo in his hair.

“Don’t give me any ‘I don’t do relationships well’ crap,” Luke told him cheerfully. “I know you better now.”

Reid smiled suddenly, “If you know me so well, then we don’t need to talk anymore, right?”

“I guess,” Luke agreed letting his hands trail down Reid’s back and rest on his hips. “You’re off the hook.”

Reid suddenly faced him. He kissed him hard, his mouth insistent on Luke’s own, and his slick body pulling him close.

Reid kept on kissing him, until Luke lost track of anything else. Luke clung to him, returning the kiss for all he was worth.

Reid released him.

Luke felt starry-eyed . He put a hand to his chest and rested against the shower wall.

“Maybe I don’t want to be...” Reid said, his eyes soft.

“Be what?” Luke asked stupidly, still recovering.

“Off the hook,“ Reid answered simply. He moved to Luke and put both hands beside him on the
wall. He began to kiss him again, his mouth lingering.

Luke groaned. “We have to meet my father soon.”

Reid didn’t reply. He flipped Luke abruptly around, so that he was now facing the wall.

“What’re you doing?” Luke protested.

“I think you know.”

Reid was pressing his erection at Luke now. “You had me at the wall before. Isn’t reciprocity what a good relationship’s built on?”

“See? You do get it,” Luke laughed.

Then he flailed around as Reid’s wet, capable fingers slid between his cheeks.

Luke moaned deeply. He opened his legs wider. He was going to have to call Damian and explain to his father why he was about to be very late to dinner. Then Luke gasped. His body writhed in pleasure. Reid’s fingers were forcefully and rhythmically inside of him now. All coherent thoughts left his mind.

Pushing him firmly against the wall of the shower, with the water pounding all around them, Reid began to love him one more time.
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Without Borders 10
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: Angst and Sexually explicit
Rating: PG- NC-17
First of all, a big shout of thanks to the amazing rhiannonhero! Thanks also to traciamc


A/n: This part has angst (sorry) and sexual content and humor – a bit of a long chapter with a lot going on! This is the last, big painful Noah flashback -I promise


Chapter Ten

In the shower, Luke let the water cascade down his shoulders. He washed his hair slowly. It felt comfortable to be here now. Right. Maybe he could drive with Reid down the Intercoastal Waterway to a marina later. They could take a boat ride and look out at the sea. That would be a good place to explain all about the foundation. Smiling, Luke finished his shower. He almost hummed as he grabbed a towel. Last night had felt significant to him; he felt like something had shifted between him and Reid.

As he dried off, Luke could hear his phone.

“Can you grab that?” He shouted to Reid, absently toweling off.

“Sure.”

A few minutes later, Luke opened up the bathroom door. Reid was sitting on his bed, Luke’s cell phone in his hand.

“You had a text , “ he said flatly.

“Oh?” Luke wrapped his towel more firmly at his waist. He studied Reid’s cool expression.

“It was from your father.” Reid said slowly, “I know I shouldn’t have read it, but,” he
shrugged, unapologetic, “I did.”

“What was it about?”

Reid’s eyes narrowed at him, ”I think you know.”

Luke gulped hard. He came closer to Reid.

“I was going to tell you.“ Luke said, licking his lips. “I was trying to find the right time.
My father - I don’t know why he wants to freeze the money. “ Luke blew out a nervous breath.

“You told me you had the control over the foundation?” Reid’s voice was neutral sounding, but Luke heard accusation in it anyway.

“Well, I normally do have control,” Luke snapped defensively. “I wasn’t trying to lie.”

“I didn’t say that-“ Reid shook his head and gave him a confused frown.

“If you want me to leave,” Luke said, moving around the room suddenly, throwing his clothes into a pile. He moved in a frenzy of activity, gathering up his things. Despite being in only a towel, he felt hot. Sweat was dripping down his back. “I can.”

“Leave? What?” Reid pinched the bridge of his nose. ”Okay, okay. Let’s back this up a moment. The real question is why did you keep this from me in the first place? “

Luke flinched. Here it came: the accusations, the fighting...

Luke crossed his arms protectively over his chest. He could see it in his mind –the venomous look, the look that would destroy him.

Luke turned away from Reid, not wanting to see it in his eyes. He was sorry he’d started this relationship. When would he learn he was only in for heartbreak? Luke’s body felt suddenly heavy, his limbs leaden. He couldn’t talk anymore. Memories of another time clouded his mind.

“If you don’t trust me,” Reid was saying softly, “then what are we doing here?”

Luke turned then. Reid was still speaking. Luke blankly watched his lips moving as all the oxygen was sucked out of the room. His mind was hurtling backwards into the memory that Luke had been trying so desperately to outrun.

***

“How can I trust you now?” Noah demands, shaking his head. He holds the bottle of Sky vodka.

“I just needed one, just one. You’ve been gone all the time or so distant.”

“So this is my fault?”

“No! My fault. I know. I’m sorry!”

Noah hurls the bottle down. Vodka soaks the rug by his feet.

“Have you been drinking all this time, right here behind my back?”

“No!”

“Well, how would I know?,” Noah snaps. “I’m blind, right? Good thing I can still smell that you reek of this, or I’d never have known.”

“Noah, “ Luke says, “I haven’t been tricking you or drinking before. I – just tonight. I –I don’t know why.”

“So that’s it, Luke? You don’t know why you do what you do? “

“I’m confused. I –“

“And because you don’t know why, then I just should forgive poor you?”

“Noah! I know I’m wrong. But we’ve been together for a long time. We’ve been through so much“

“That doesn’t give you a moral out,” Noah exclaims.

Noah begins to walk to the door, using his cane to find his way.

“We don’t have to be together as boyfriends,” Luke pleads, “we are barely that anyhow. But don’t leave.“

“So now we come back to sex, right? “

Luke sniffs and wipes his eyes. He tries to smile, even though Noah can’t see it. “I don’t care about any of that. I just want to be with you, any way you want. Please. Please, Noah.”

He grabs at him like an animal, twisting and groping for his hand. Noah shoves him away.
Luke comes back to him.

Noah grasps him by his shoulders, his fingers digging into Luke’s skin. He holds Luke away from him.

Noah’s stare is somehow penetrating - his eyes unfocused and yet full of pure hate.

“ You did this.” Noah accuses. “ I tried to stay with you. I tried to forgive you for that day-“

“It was an accident”, Luke screams. Tears pour down his face.

Noah drops his hands like Luke will burn him. He ignores Luke’s tears and steps around him slowly.

"I tried, Luke.” Noah’s tone is resigned. “But this? Your drinking?” His face fills with contempt. “And you told me you weren’t ever going to drink again?

“I didn’t lie! I didn’t plan to. “ Luke speaks quickly, his words only slightly slurred. “Noah, let’s start over. Tonight. No more drinking for me. And we can – “ Luke drops to his knees. “None of the past is important anymore. All that matters is where we go from here- together.”

Noah says nothing. He wrenches the door open and begins to leave.
Luke is holding his legs, trying to stop him from walking out the door. He is dragging Luke across the welcome mat, and attempting to lift his legs free of him.


***

“Luke? What’s wrong with you?”

Luke heard Reid’s question from a great distance and didn’t reply. His lungs clutched for air. He felt a horrible squeezing in his chest.

Luke felt slightly dizzy. He opened his mouth to try and speak, but he couldn’t.
Reid was coming to him now, walking determinedly over. His hand out –

Luke ducked away. He fell to the floor and rolled into a small ball.

“What’s wrong with you?” Reid demanded again. He sounded even angrier now.

Luke could feel his whole body shaking. He curled his head to his legs, and rocked back and forth. The air felt too fragile to breathe.

Reid’s voice broke off and Luke could feel him take a small step away.

Nothing happened . The dead silence went on and on. After a long while, Luke felt reality coming back to him. He sucked in air. He stopped rocking so much. Luke slowly glanced up at Reid.

“Sorry,” Luke whispered. He blinked a few times, like somebody first waking.

“I wasn’t going to hit you,” Reid said.

Luke didn’t answer. His lips felt swollen, a dirty taste in his mouth.

They looked deeply into each other’s eyes. Reid’s held a warmth that stunned Luke.
As for his own face, well, Luke had no idea how he must appear to Reid. He only knew how he felt inside: wrecked, broken, exhausted.

Luke was frozen. Not yet ready to get up.

Reid slowly crouched down to his level.

“But he did, right? That asshole you dated? He hit you.”

“No!” Luke took a deep breath. He shook his head vigorously.

“Luke.”

Their eyes met again. Luke swallowed hard. He attempted to shrug.

“Why are you protecting him?”

“I’m not.”

“Then tell me-“

“It was just once,” Luke said. “Only one time.”

Reid stared at him. “Once is too many times,” Reid told him.

Luke just nodded, shame-faced. Reid was right. Once was too many times. Once could damage you for life.

“I’m sorry,” he told Reid. He couldn’t say anything more for a moment. He began to cry, attempting to hide his hot face with his hands. “I’m sorry. I’m such a mess. “

Luke could sense just how close Reid was to his body. Reid was holding out an open hand, as if Luke were a frightened animal who needed to smell him first. And Luke did feel wary still.

“I was a mess last night, “ Reid said. Reid made contact with Luke’s hand and gently helped him.

They both stood up. Luke could feel his legs almost give way.

Luke half-laughed and half-sobbed. “Hardly the same.”

He looked down at their linked hands. He could feel his lip trembling and tried to control it. He knew he was with Reid and he knew the rest was long ago. Yet here it was between them- ruining everything.

Luke waited for Reid to tell him it was over and ask him to leave.

“I don’t normally do this,” Reid’s voice sounded pained.

“What?” Luke asked almost numbly.

“This,” Reid said. He opened his arms widely. Luke’s breath caught and then Reid was embracing him, his fingers holding Luke’s waist. Luke made an incoherent sound and buried his face in Reid’s neck. They swayed together for a moment. Luke was conscious of his own trembling and of Reid’s soothing hands. He leaned into Reid with his eyes shut.

“I should’ve told you right away about the funds,” Luke said thickly, “but I was so happy just being with you.”

Reid just nodded. He wiped away one of Luke’s tears.

Reid looked at him steadily his gaze like a compass, while Luke fumbled to get his bearings.

“I didn’t want you to be disappointed,” Luke added hoarsely.

Reid was nodding his head again. “I get it.”

Luke said nothing else. He stared at Reid with a terrible yearning.

“Listen,” Reid said. His voice was urgent as if he needed Luke to hear every syllable. Luke stood perfectly still, waiting.

“I don’t know what to say about all this,” Reid shook his head. “I tell you to listen to me and I don’t…” he closed his mouth tightly. “Do you want to talk about him?” Reid asked.

“No,” Luke answered shortly.

Relief swept across Reid’s features. But then he frowned slightly. “What do you want?” He gazed at Luke, troubled.

Luke looked back. This time Luke opened his arms up. “Another one of these might be good.”

Reid took Luke into his arms again.

Luke didn’t flinch away. He breathed in Reid’s scent, inhaling him. He felt himself calming down. He allowed his arms to tighten around Reid’s body.

Reid ‘s mouth turned and began to lick at his cheek, tasting the saltiness of his tears. The Reid began to kiss Luke. The physical contact was Luke’s undoing. Luke grabbed at Reid wanting him so much, craving the contact of his warm body. He needed him so badly. He was so empty.

Reid seemed to sense his longing. He pulled off Luke’s towel and was soon touching him everywhere.

Luke’s own hand moved to undress Reid. He pulled at his clothes. Finally they were both naked. They embraced again, their chests touching, a heat building between them.
Luke kissed Reid’s mouth frantically, needing his tongue pressed inside, needing his taste.

His fingers shifted and moved down over Reid’s sculpted torso, then settled at his hard bulge.

“We don’t have to do this,” Reid panted out. His voice sounded grave, as if acknowledging the depths of Luke’s want.

Luke held Reid in his hand firmly. He locked his eyes with Reid’s. He could see desire in Reid’s gaze but also something more. Luke closed his own eyes and opened his mouth. His face strained.

He felt Reid touch his lips, lightly running his finger over them. Then he felt Reid’s breath near his skin. Luke opened his mouth even wider, his eyes still closed.
Reid’s lips were gentle at first, barely touching his own, sweet and healing.
Luke wrapped his arms around Reid’s neck and pulled him in. He was the one who thrust his tongue inside of Reid, exploring his sensual mouth. Luke skimmed the top of Reid’s upper lip, then the lower one, then back inside. Reid moaned and deepened the kiss.
Reid gently touched Luke’s lower back, still kissing him, and then held Luke at the curve of his ass. Luke did the same to Reid.

He stopped the kiss a second and looked into Luke’s eyes again.

“You really still want me?” Luke whispered, amazed.

Reid ignored him. He pulled off his briefs and then dropped to his knees. Luke saw his own cock pointed at Reid, as Reid grasped it with his fingertips.

Reid caressed it. Luke thrust his hips forward and groaned. He was throbbing now.
Luke sank to the floor. Reid sucked harder and Luke whimpered out some low cries of pleasure. He stopped Reid a moment and drew some air.

“I want to do that to you, too,” Luke begged. Reid released him and turned.

Each of them had the other in his mouth.

Luke marveled at Reid’s length. He took it slowly inside, and ran his tongue along the ridges. He gave a long, sweet suck. Luke sighed with something close to relief.

Reid, meanwhile, licked at his pre-cum.

An aching pressure was building in Luke’s body. Just before they both were about to explode, Reid pulled away and motioned to his bed.

“Inside you now,” he told Luke, “now.”

Reid grabbed the condoms and lube. “Put it on me,” he told Luke.

Luke fumblingly rolled a condom up Reid. He began to straddle him, but Reid changed position.

“Not yet,” Reid murmured. He got on his knees and pulled Luke over his thighs. He had Luke face down over his lap and opened him up. Reid’s tongue rimmed him, thrusting deeply into him. Luke struggled against Reid’s lap a moment, jerking his body left and right. Reid followed his movements, keeping his tongue on him. Luke shuddered from the wet pressure. He moaned.

Reid flipped onto his back and pulled Luke on top. He fingered him a moment with the lube, pushing two fingers into Luke and hooking them up. Luke almost came right then. Reid felt it and withdrew his hand.

“Not till I’m inside you,” he said.

Luke eagerly agreed and this time straddled Reid successfully. He lowered himself down hard on Reid’s cock. He hurried Reid all the way inside of him.

He grabbed the headboard for support and bucked his hips forward. He could hear Reid’s groans. His erection banged against Reid’s stomach.

“So good,” Reid said, and his words of pleasure sent Luke over the edge. Luke moved up and down on Reid, his hands tightened on the headboard so much, his fingers were white. He parted his lips and shouted Reid’s name.

Reid began to come, the orgasm ripping through his body.

Luke came too, hard and long.

“I love you!” Luke shouted. “I love you!”

Spasms of pleasure racked his body. He felt Reid’s hands at his ass, holding him.

Pulling off of him, Luke collapsed against the side of the bed. They breathed in ragged gulps for air.

The words had snuck out of him, like a thief escaping out the back window and stealing his most precious possession. Now he could think of nothing else.

“I didn’t mean-“ Luke began.

“ -- I know” Reid quickly interrupted. “People say things they don’t mean during sex all the time.”

Luke glanced at him, then away.

Luke forced his eyes to close and he tried to sleep. He didn’t want to speak again. He could hear Reid getting up, going into the bathroom, then going to the kitchen.

Why had he told Reid that he loved him? Why couldn’t he just leave it all alone?

Luke took advantage of Reid’s being in another room and quickly washed up. He threw on his clothes. He was practically out Reid’s door, when Reid came in with two coffee mugs.

“No thanks, “ Luke forced a smile. “ I need to meet my father soon. “

“Oh,” Reid said.

“I’m going to get him to release the funds.” Luke rubbed the nape of his neck.

“I believe you,” Reid replied. He put the coffee down and walked closer.

Luke looked at him then quizzically. ”Why?”

“Because you’re tenacious.” Reid leaned forward, clasping his hands around Luke’s waist, and dragging him closer to him. “And because you promised me, right?”

Luke’s heart fluttered wildly in his chest at the trust on Reid’s face.

“Right.”

Reid released him with a nod. “Just next time – you can talk to me, okay?”

A flush crept up Luke’s neck. “Okay.”

Luke occupied himself with his wallet and keys. Clumsily, he dropped them and his keys clanged onto the floor.

They both bent for them at the same time, their foreheads nearly touching.

“Here,” Reid handed them to him.

“Thanks,” Luke said.

“Guess you’d better go.”

“Yeah.”

So many unspoken words just hovered in the air between them. There was a long pause.

Luke gave Reid another smile, a real one. Reid’s mouth hitched up slightly in return.
Then Luke opened the door. He was determined to confront Damian soon and make the situation right.

***

At his hotel, Luke went through his things and did some research on the WMB. He wanted all his facts clear before he met with his father. He wanted to pitch WMB to him convincingly. Although, Luke suspected it wasn’t WMB he must pitch. He knew Damian. He knew it was Reid he must sell to his father.

Luke tried to not open the journal, but it called to him. He chewed his lip and paced the room several times. But then he gave in. he opened up to that page. That day that changed his whole life forever. The day that had just made him act unglued with Reid. He skimmed down the entry, and then read the last part of it.



Noah turns to leave me.

I plead more - gently , earnestly. I beg.

His face set like a rock. His fingers in fists by his sides.

He is pushing me away, and I’m clawing desperately at him.

“Don’t just go! Don’t go!”

I feel the full force of Noah’s weight behind the punch. It makes a cracking sound like thunder. The sting of it barely registers to me as I fly across the room. There’s a thudding sound as I fall against the bookshelf and books come down on my head like bowling pins. I land in a crumpled heap of them.

Dazed, I stare up at Noah.

“Why are you like this,” Noah says. He gives me a withering look. ”Why do you make me like this too? “

I lick at a trace of blood at the corner of my mouth. I hear a high-pitched broken sound coming from my own mouth.

Noah takes a step back to the door. “Don’t follow me,” he says in a remote voice.

The message is clear: I can hurt you again if I want.


***


Luke stared at the entry, brushing away some tears. As he closed the journal, a bright blue smear of ink came off on Luke’s hands. He got to his feet and went to the bathroom. Luke scrubbed them hard. He scrubbed until his skin felt raw. But he watched with satisfaction as the drops of ink went down the drain.

Luke didn’t even know why he kept that journal. He should throw it out, rip it up, burn it. He wondered if other people tormented themselves over their past, if other people let their self-loathing turn hot and cold inside of them? Luke felt something deep within him twist.

Why would Reid want to hear words of love from him?

But then an image of Reid making love to him entered his mind. The way Reid had kissed him - it had been beyond physical. Luke clutched at his heart. Reid’s lovemaking struck him today like an unstoppable force. He couldn’t deny it, not to himself. He did love him. He loved Reid’s immense passion and he loved his unexpected tenderness. What he had shouted out had been the truth. He couldn’t let Reid slip through his fingers. He had to try to not run away from love. He had to try and push past all these doubts and fears. When he was with Noah, how many times had Luke let him reject him as a lover and even as a friend? Even now, he was letting Noah hurt him.

Luke’s face was suddenly burning. He spat into the sink. He was done with Noah.

No more.

***

“Luciano!”

Luke hurried toward the airport doors. Father and son hugged each other and Damian kissed Luke’s cheeks.

Damian surveyed Luke up and down. “You look good - got some color,” Damian said.

“I feel good,” Luke answered. “But we need to discuss…”

“No, no. Not yet, “ Damian laughed. “No business yet. “ He hooked an arm around Luke’s shoulders. “First, I just want to enjoy my son.”

“Okay,” Luke smiled. He’d missed Damian too.

“Good. We talk business later. Now for important matters –what are you driving? “

Luke laughed and felt at ease.

“Er- it was a Lamborghini,” Luke shrugged. “I just traded it in. “ He wasn’t going to get
into the unfortunate vomit incident with Reid.

“For?”

Luke grinned, “Why? Want to race with me?”

“No matter what you drive, I will always be the master driver.”

“I know of a speedway not too far?” Luke grinned.

“Well, I haven’t even checked into the hotel yet.”

“I understand, “ Luke nodded. “Afraid I’ll beat you?” He dangled the keys in front of
Damian’s face.

“Ha!” Damian accepted the challenge. He took the keys in his hand.

The Homestead-Miami Speedway let people race their own cars down the track. Damian and Luke suited up, put on their helmets, and took off. Luke had replaced the Lamborghini with a Ferrari, and Damian had just rented a Maserati. Luke hit the gas. He loved the sensation of rushing that a fast car gave him. Since learning how Reid’s parents had died, he’d been trying to curb his heavy foot. But now, with his own father in the car next to him, he soared down the track.

Despite Luke’s excellent driving, Damian edged him out at the last turn. The cars screeched to a halt. Luke swung open Damian’s door and poked at him.

“I can’t believe that last move, old man.” Luke made a noise of disappointment,“I had you up until then.”

“You drove too fast too early,“ Damian laughed. “You need to learn to plan and pace it out.”

Luke only smiled.

When everybody else in Oakdale had blamed him for Noah’s leaving and seen only that Luke was drinking again, Damian had reached out and tossed him a lifeline. He alone rescued Luke, refused to judge him, and had been with him through his painful journey back to sobriety.

“So,“ Damian was saying, “ now I guess we must talk about the money.”

Luke shook his head.

“What?” Damian asked.

“I know you. “ Luke told him. “You’re using the money and freezing the funds as an excuse.”

Damian gave him a blank stare. “To do what?”

“Plan and pace it out, right? You’re using the funds as an excuse to come here and check up on me. “

Luke put an arm around Damian’s shoulders as they walked off the race track. “You don’t have to worry, Dad. I’m doing well here.”

Damian stopped walking and turned Luke to face him. He searched Luke’s eyes.

“Are you in love with this man?”

Luke pursed his lips together and flushed. Then he glanced at Damian and gave a small nod.

“And how does he feel?”

Luke hedged, “That’s between me and Reid.”

“Luciano, “ Damian sighed, “the man is getting millions from the foundation, and trust me here- people aren’t always what they seem.”

“Reid and I had a deal about the foundation and the neurology wing before we started dating,” Luke said hotly.

Damian shook his head. Then he shrugged and just ruffled Luke’s hair .

“I could really use a swim . Let’s stop at the beach and then the hotel, okay?”

“Sure.” Luke sighed. It would take more than words to fully convince him.

A little bit later, they pulled up to the beach. Damian opened up his suitcase and pulled out two bathing suits.

Luke wrinkled up his nose, “I’m not wearing that.”

“What?”

“That. The world’s smallest bathing suit.”

“Luciano,” Damian complained as he put back one of his Speedos, “Sometimes, you are so American.”

Luke just shrugged. “You swim. I’ll just relax on the beach.”

He waited as Damian changed in the men’s room. A few moments later, Damian emerged in his tight suit. It left nothing to the imagination.

Luke tapped at his father’s stomach playfully. “Getting a little old for this outfit, aren’t you?”

“Other men would kill for this body,” Damian scoffed. “Be glad you have my genes.”

Luke laughed and followed him down to the ocean. The water was as calm as bathwater.

“I bet Holden’s stomach is not half this firm,” Damian added, as he adjusted his swimming goggles.

Luke shook his head, “I am so not having this conversation with you.”

Damian just grinned at him. “What? I’m just saying Holden was always a little…soft.” With that, Damian headed off for a quick swim. Watching him, Luke had to admit he could still turn lots of heads.

After his swim, Damian took the towel from Luke and they headed back to the cars.

“Now,” Damian said, drying off his back and draping the towel around his shoulders, “About your doctor.”

“Not again,” Luke said. “He isn’t playing me, “ he said firmly.

“Then I want to meet him. “

“Yeah, I’m not sure –“

“Does he have something to hide?” Damian asked with a raised eyebrow.

“No!” Luke studied the ground. “But I don’t think Reid would like being …interrogated by you.”

Chewing his lip, Luke looked at Damian. “Please promise me you won’t do that.”

Damian gave him a big smile. “I will be my charming self.”

Luke half-groaned.

“Just don’t expect Reid to charm you back.”

“Why not?” Damian asked curiously.

“Reid’s incapable of charm,” Luke laughed, “he’s way too honest for that.” As the words left his mouth, he realized they were true. Reid was honest. Luke’s step faltered a moment. It was Reid’s very directness that was his charm, and that was so powerfully attractive.

“Tonight.” Damian ordered. “ Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant. Meet you both there at nine.”

Damian checked his Rolex a moment, and then turned back to Luke. “Oh and bring that lovely Jessica Griffin too,” Damian grinned again, “I haven’t seen her in years.”

Luke nodded. “I’ll call her.”

“Bellismo! Now I need to sleep off my jet lag. Let’s go the hotel.”

Luke knew that Reid was in for some probing questions from his father. Just like Jessica would be in for some heavy flirting tonight. In both ways, Damian never changed.
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Without Borders 6
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 Six

The doorman at Liquid let them through with ease. He gave an approving glance at Luke. They stepped into the nightclub. It was early for the South Beach crowd, Washington Avenue had been quiet still, and they had little problem getting a table. The place was dark. Techno music blared from the sound system. A group of people were dancing on the dance floor. There were also several small cages with a few brave people strutting their stuff. Neon lights flashed every few minutes, allowing a moment of light into the room. Whenever the lights flashed, a siren sounded too.

“It’s like a big video game,” Luke laughed as they sat down on oversized chairs.

“Pretty much. Drink?” Reid asked.

Luke shook his head, still taking in the scene. “I don’t drink.”

“Okay,” Reid shrugged, “ Virgin Bloody Mary?”

“Fine.” Luke thought Reid’s voice had a teasing lilt on the word virgin that he ignored pointedly.

“This place is wild.” Luke’s eyes were getting accustomed to the darkness now. He could make out some big Drag Queens on the dance floor, some Jennifer Lopez wannabe’s too, and a whole lot of people just drinking and moving. It really did feel like the whole place was swaying –almost like being a ship. There was an elevated dance platform, and high above that- some swings for the Liquid dancers.

“It’s okay,” Reid answered studying the drink and food menu. “But what the hell? Lettuce Wraps? Baby Carrots and Hummus? What are we hamsters?”

Luke snorted out a laugh. “Well, we could dance. I don’t think most people come here to eat.”

The music changed to a blend of pop and disco now, mixing Mr. 305 and Lady Gaga and Usher in some odd combination that actually worked. A bunch of young girls were squealing and pounding jello shots. A couple on the dance floor started to salsa. Near them, one young guy was taking off his partner’s shirt and swinging it around like a lasso. The lights went dim again, and people moved like shadows against the wall. A girl danced badly around and around in circles. There was the faint sound of stomps and cries just below the roar of club music. It was clearly a place where anything goes.

“I don’t dance,” Reid reminded him grumpily.

Luke frowned at him. “Your loss.” He stood up and went to the dance floor alone. He immediately got swallowed up in the crowd. It was that type of club. You could dance solo and be just fine. Luke shook his hips to the techno beat. He did a little bit of a Mambo that Damian had once taught him. It was really fun. Soon, Luke found himself sandwiched between two girls. They all raised their hands up, grinded their hips, and sweated to the music.

He saw Reid watching him intensely and waved. Reid didn’t wave back. Luke turned and got into the music again. Okay, to be honest, he was aware that he was giving Reid a little bit of a show. Luke made sure he gyrated his hips. He and the girls bumped asses. Then he swung them around a little. After a moment, he lost them in the thickening crowd. Luke watched a few men up high in one of the special cages. They were throwing some kind of confetti at the crowd. In another cage, a girl was acting like she was at a strip club. The bouncers soon took her out. Luke kept on dancing, enjoying the energy flowing through the crowd. They moved together like a wave. Luke danced closer again to his table. He saw Reid again. Luke decided to go back. He could feel the sweat on his face and sticking to his shirt. You could see his skin through it now. He gave Reid a lopsided smile as he sat down.

“That was great!”

“What?” Reid cupped his ear.

Luke leaned into Reid, “I said, that was fun!” He shouted.

Suddenly, Luke became aware of Reid’s body pressed near. His own skin was still hot from dancing. He felt Reid’s arm brushing his. He could feel a tangible connection between them once again.

“You’re not a totally bad dancer,” Reid whispered into his ear, his voice being so close sent shivers down Luke’s back.

Luke was about to respond, when a scream interrupted him. It was a loud enough scream to be heard over the music. Luke looked up at the cage. Two girls were drunkenly cat fighting over the space, tearing each other’s skimpy clothes off, pulling each other’s hair. The crowd encouraged them, turning ugly in an instant. The girls started trading punches. The smell of cheap booze filled Luke’s lungs. He remembered now why he hardly ever went to night clubs- the drinking, the easy violence. He watched the cage a second longer and then turned to Reid.

“I think I’ve had enough,” Luke grimaced. “It was fun to dance, but maybe this isn’t really my scene.”

“Fine by me,” Reid said. “There’s no food anyhow.”

Walking out, Luke moved near to Reid. He took a giant breath.

“It’s still early. By Miami time anyhow,” Luke gave a nervous laugh. He’d been trying to find a way to ask Reid this since their kiss on the beach. He inhaled again and told himself not to be such a wimp.

“We could go to your place,” Luke said quickly, not looking at Reid. “It would be good, you know, to learn more about you for our upcoming interviews.” Luke felt his cheeks heating up. He slid a fast glance at Reid. Their eyes met briefly, and then they both looked away.

“Yeah, why not,” Reid answered casually.

***

They picked up “real food” for Reid – cheeseburgers and doughnuts – and headed to his condo.

Reid’s condo was bigger than Luke imagined, but pretty much empty of furniture. Reid claimed he had no time to decorate and shrugged. The furniture he did have was nice though, sleek and modern. Luke looked around at the place curiously.

Then he glanced own at himself. “Ugh- still sweaty from that club,” he said to Reid. He pulled at his shirt.

“Want some water? Or a shower,” Reid offered slowly. “You could clean up.”

“You don’t mind? I don’t want to…”

“No, it’s fine. I can give you one of my shirts and a pair of jeans?”

Luke eyed Reid’s lean body. “I don’t think I’ll fit into your jeans.”

“Part of you is a bit rounder,” Reid agreed with an appreciative glance at Luke’s ass. “I
have lots of extra scrubs; they’re like sweats almost. “

“Okay.”

Reid led him to the small bathroom. He took a towel from the rack and handed it to Luke.

“Soap and shampoo are in there- take your time.”

“Thanks,” Luke looked away. He glanced at the door as Reid closed it.

Inside Reid’s shower, Luke began to scrub his body clean. He held the soap to his nose a second. The scent of it was so like Reid’s smell. Luke felt weak-kneed from it. He braced a hand against the shower wall. Then he rubbed the soap all over. He was suddenly extremely glad to be washing up. He wanted to be ready, well, just in case Reid was interested… Maybe he was getting his signals wrong? Reid wasn’t exactly jumping on him or anything. Luke shampooed his hair. Then he turned off the water and dressed quickly.

The dark blue scrubs felt intimate to him. He tugged at the outfit a little.

At the door to Reid’s living room, Luke posed and said, “What do you think? Calling Dr. Snyder?”

He tried to look like a serious surgeon might.

Reid laughed.

“What? You don’t think I’m doctor material?”

“You look like a Ken Doll dressed in scrubs.”

Reid had turned on some music and poured him a glass of juice.

“Thanks a lot,” Luke said.

Reid shrugged. “Feel better?”

He nodded. “This is a nice place.”

“Yeah? I wanted to be on the ocean, I love water, but “ Reid shrugged, “this is close to the hospital and affordable- “ He broke off, “Jesus, I’m babbling.” Reid shook his head.

Luke came up to him and smiled gently. Reid watched him approach. Then he reached out and stroked the side of Luke’s face. Wordlessly, Reid began to kiss him. Luke parted his lips, welcoming Reid’s tongue inside. The kiss was so perfect, that when it ended, Luke felt like he was floating.

“I could kiss you for a long time,” Reid told him in a hot whisper.

“Really?” Luke whispered back, his entire body aching with need and hope. He had never had a man say that to him before. He had never had a man kiss him quite as passionately either.

Reid just looked at him.

Luke lifted a finger to his own lips a moment, and then he smiled again. He smiled for Reid.

Reid gave him a slow smile back.

Luke opened his mouth. Their lips met in a hurry.

Reid steered him into his bedroom. They sat down on the edge of the bed and kissed some more. Reid was a thorough kisser. He explored Luke’s lower lip with his tongue and then nibbled at it a little, before locking their lips together again. Reid had his hand under Luke’s scrub top, still keeping his lips on Luke’s the entire time.

Groaning, Luke felt Reid’s lean fingers slide over his nipples and down to his belly. His body shuddered. Luke pressed his mouth again to Reid’s, seeking its warmth.
Reid’s hands were at his waist now. Luke drew back a moment.

“What?” Reid asked hoarsely.

Luke shook his head. He stood up a moment, pacing Reid’s room. “I’m sorry, I don’t want to stop. I’m not teasing you or anything.”

“Then come back here,” Reid said softly and patted the space next to him.

“It’s been a long time- “Luke started to say.

“You told me that already,” Reid said impatiently and rolled his eyes.

Luke made a face at him, “And I’m trying to tell you that- I haven’t – I don’t.” He folded his arms protectively over his chest. “My ex made it clear to me that I wasn’t very good or something – we didn’t do a lot of things – I ,” he rocked back self-consciously on his heels, “It ended badly . I don’t know why I’m telling you all this,” Luke said shame-faced.

Reid walked over to him. He took Luke by the shoulders.

“I’ll probably disappoint you too,” Luke whispered.

Reid’s grip tightened. “Whoever he was and whatever he did to make you think that,” Reid said finally, “I’d like to track him down and give him a lobotomy.”

Luke let out a shaky laugh.

Reid smiled. “Don’t worry,” he told Luke. “It will be good, for both of us. I promise, okay?”

Luke peered up at him. He was torn a moment. It took so much effort to believe. But he wanted Reid. God, he wanted him so badly. He wanted this night. Luke took a huge breath.

He hungrily began to kiss Reid again. They fell back onto the bed.

“What do you like?” Reid said. “Tell me.”

Luke just shrugged awkwardly and felt a blush on his face.

Reid reached back into Luke’s scrub top. Then he helped Luke lift it off. Reid’s ran his palms over Luke’s bare chest.

“Are you sensitive here?” Reid asked, tasting one of Luke’s pink nipples. Luke jerked in reaction.

“I see you are.” Reid kissed him there again.

Luke let out a moan of pleasure, twisting his body.

Reid continued to gently caress him with his lips and hands. He made his way to the scrub pants. He hooked his thumbs into the waistband, intent on pulling them off. Inhaling sharply, Luke grabbed at Reid’s hands and stopped him. Reid paused and stared deeply into Luke’s eyes. Luke stared back. Then Luke shuddered. He released Reid’s hands. Reid continued to undress him.

Removing the scrub bottoms, Luke shivered as Reid put his hand inside. He squeezed gently through Luke’s underwear. Luke arched his body toward the hand.

“So responsive.” Reid gave a tiny smile. He quickly had Luke out of his briefs.

Reid kissed his stomach, the muscles jumping wherever his lips were. Then he saw Luke’s scars. Luke froze a second. He saw that Reid must recognize the kidney operation scars. It had always repulsed Noah, he used it as an excuse to never go there or any lower. Luke held his breath a second.

Reid ran a finger lightly over one scar. Then he lowered his mouth to it and trailed kisses over it. Luke yelped from surprise. The skin there was extra sensitive. He reached out and touched the back of Reid’s head in a silent thank you. Reid looked up at him a moment. Then he returned to kissing his body, moving down Luke’s frame some more.

Luke was flat on the bed now. Reid climbed on top of him and was circling his cock with his palm.

“Do you want more?” Reid said. “Do you want my tongue there? Would you like that?”

Luke was whimpering, unable to answer, his entire body shaking with need.

“Shh,” Reid told him comfortingly. “I know,” Reid murmured. Then he found Luke with his mouth.

Nobody had ever touched him so intimately before this. Luke raised his hips up instinctively. He felt Reid’s hands kneading his buttocks. The mouth on his cock was hot as fire. Luke could hear low guttural cries coming out of his own lips- cries he had never made in his life- as the pressure of Reid’s mouth intensified. Reid’s tongue sought Luke’s hardness, teased it, and took it even deeper down inside of his mouth.

Then he was exploding. Luke tried to pull away, but Reid clasped his hands firmly around his hips and held him captive. Luke could do nothing but surrender to his bursting release. He could hear Reid sucking him hard, tasting and swallowing him.

Panting, Luke collapsed. Reid made his way up his body and then began to softly kiss his lips again. Luke could taste his own essence. He moaned and met the kiss with growing confidence. He could feel Reid’s arousal against him. It filled Luke with happiness.

As the kiss ended, Luke smiled up at Reid, and his immense joy must have been visible on his face because Reid inhaled a sharp breath. He touched the corners of Luke’s mouth.

They kissed again deeply, their bodies rotating against one another. Luke’s mouth felt swollen. He kissed Reid again. He could kiss him forever.

But he wanted to do more.

Luke sat up a little. He met Reid’s eyes shyly. “Let me do something for you now,” he asked him. “If it’s okay , I want to – “

"Yes!” Reid laughed a little, “whatever you want – yes!” His gaze was steady and open.

Luke laughed too. He felt all of the tension that he carried around just leave him. He felt light and free.

He turned Reid onto his stomach and began to kiss the nape of his neck, his shoulders, his lower back. Reid’s skin was smooth and firm. It was delicious on his tongue. Luke squeezed the shape of Reid’s ass. It was high and rounded. It was perfect and he wanted to taste there too. He’d always wondered about a man’s taste there. Fantasized.

With Reid, Luke felt like he really could do anything to him. Reid seemed to trust him, to want him, and that was the most intoxicating part of all. Now Luke just wanted to touch him back, to hear Reid cry out now.

Luke palmed his buttocks and rubbed Reid’s ass a moment. Then he took a deep breath and spread it open. For a moment, he just looked at the hole, the center of Reid, and admired it.

He flicked his tongue there in a quick lick. Reid shifted a little. He raised his ass up to Luke more in a silent invitation. Luke licked again, already loving the texture of the skin, the earthy scent there. He licked harder, his tongue beginning to thrust inside of Reid a little.

Luke heard Reid make an indecipherable noise and then groan. It was sweet as music to his ears. He began to enthusiastically rim him now. Licking the hole back and forth, thrusting in more and more as he gained confidence. Luke held Reid’s thighs and pushed him apart. He wanted, no he needed to get his tongue all the way into Reid.

“Jesus!” Reid shouted out as Luke plunged into him. Reid’s clear pleasure made Luke go a little crazy. He bit the edges of Reid’s open ass, then gave him more tongue. Then attempted a finger and a tongue together. Luke was rock hard again from excitement. He listened to
Reid’s animal grunts of satisfaction as the rimming continued.

Finally, Reid came with a loud cry. Luke kept his tongue in him and felt Reid’s body clenching and convulsing. It made Luke come too.

Slowly Luke made his way up to Reid and kissed his neck and ear and hair reverently. He beamed at him, offering a big grin.

“That was- thank you. I always wondered, “ Luke flushed. “It was amazing. You’re wonderful, I –“ Luke stopped, glancing at Reid. Noah always hated it when he gushed. Not that sex with Noah ever made him feel like this.

Reid said nothing, but when he looked up, Luke could see that Reid was pleased. A small smile was on his mouth and his eyes were bright.

Luke took Reid’s hand and just held it.

Reid propped himself up on one elbow and looked at Luke. He took in his naked body. Luke felt embarrassed under his scrutiny and started to reach for a cover.

“No,” Reid knocked his hand away, “ let me look.” He gave Luke a true smile, one that quickly lit up Reid’s face. “You don’t know how beautiful you are,” Reid said simply.

Luke trembled at his words.

Incredibly he felt his cock twitch in response. Reid must have felt it move, cause he laughed. “Beautiful and responsive as hell.” He shook his head. “That ex of yours doesn’t need a lobotomy after all.”

“Why?” Luke asked, puzzled.

Reid began to stroke his cock slowly. “He must already be brain dead not to have wanted you over and over. “

The sex continued long into the night, stopping only for some sleep here and there.
Reid took Luke, but not from behind as Noah had always done. He said he wanted to see Luke’s face, his eyes. Then Reid took him with their faces pressed near each other, still exchanging hot kisses. Reid warmed the lube patiently in his palm, as he rolled on a condom, and then he used his fingers for a long time. Luke had kept his eyes open as long as possible, as he’d felt Reid’s shaft thrusting inside of him. He put Luke’s legs high above his shoulders, and it made the sex explosive as Reid hit his sweet spot over and over. Reid rode him in smooth strokes that gave Luke nothing but endless pleasure. The most intense orgasm of his life rocketed through Luke’s body. His feet flexed. His mouth opened. His flesh hummed. His heart bucked wildly in his chest.

***

“Tell me what else you want?” Reid said to him.

Luke threaded his fingers in Reid’s hair and just smiled.

“What else?” Reid nudged him. His leg was wrapped around Luke’s. He was playing with a few of Luke’s chest hairs.

Luke flushed. “Well, one- one thing-“ Luke stammered. He whispered it in Reid’s ear.

Reid drew back and looked at him. “Yeah,” his eyes gleamed. “I thought that you might want that.”

“Only if you do,” Luke said hurriedly. He covered his eyes with his hands in embarrassment.

“Luke,” Reid said patiently, he removed Luke’s hands and then was softly cupping his face, "Why wouldn’t I?”

***

Luke fucked Reid. He had never fucked anybody before.”Oh!” Luke said as their bodies started to join, making Reid smile down at him. He smiled back bashfully. Then Reid pushed himself down a little further and Luke could only groan. He loved the feeling of being inside of Reid’s body. Luke trembled helplessly a moment and he was glad that Reid was in control of it, holding Luke’s hips, and lowering himself down fully now on Luke’s aching shaft. Reaching up, Luke stroked Reid’s torso. Reid’s body felt warm under Luke’s hands. His eyes widened with pleasure as he felt Reid squeeze his ass muscles around him. Reid set a fierce pace as he helped Luke learn what he liked. Luke readily matched the rhythm Reid set and then thrust up harder and harder. Reid’s cock was on his stomach, swinging back and forth. Luke grabbed at it and ran his fingers over it worshipfully as he thrust more. Reid called out, making Luke only want to give it to him deeper and longer. He pushed in and out, his breath heavy, his body sweaty and moving. There was nothing better than knowing he was inside of Reid, giving him pleasure. There was nothing better than hearing Reid’s intense moan as spilled his seed all over Luke’s hand. Luke came at the same exact moment inside of him.

Kissing Reid one last time with a tender mouth, Luke collapsed his head back on the pillow.

For awhile, they just held each other, murmuring soft words. Reid traced a gentle line from Luke’s knees to the curve of his shoulder. Luke closed his eyes in wonder at it all, as if he still couldn’t quite believe what had just happened to him.

Then they showered off together. Reid teased him about how many showers he could possibly take in 24 hours. Luke teased him back about how many times Reid wanted to screw in 24 hours. It was so easy to be with him, so different.

It was so very good.
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Without Borders 4
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.

Chapter Four

They sat outside the restaurant for some time on a nearby bench under a Mango tree discussing their backgrounds and planning more strategy. All around them were tropical plants and flowers, filling the air with an earthy-pungent scent, the sun strong in the late-afternoon heat. At last, it was time to meet Mick and Molly, and they picked up the car and cruised down the road.

“Where are we going?” Reid asked, ready to punch in the GPS.

“Hmm, a restaurant and club type of place. Molly said it’s really popular.”

“What’s it called?”

“Bed,” Luke answered. “Have you heard of it?”

“Nope. Don’t get much free time, remember?” Reid said.

After a quick car ride, they soon reached their destination. When they entered the place, they both stopped short.

Inside Miami’s Bed, there were no tables at all. The entire place had couples in bed – lots of beds. The restaurant was surrounded by clear glass and had a great view of the city. Each bed was large –enough for multiple parties to share – and had pillows everywhere. Bed actually stood for B.E.D –Beverage, Entertainment, and Dining. The waiters were serving people sweet smelling foods and huge martinis. Latin music was blaring. All around them, couples kissed and ate and laughed –in bed.

Luke’s mouth fell open a little.

“So you do expect me to hit the sheets with you on my first date?” Reid asked mockingly.

“I-I- no, “ Luke stammered and saw Reid was amused at his embarrassment.

Molly and Mick saved him by taking that moment to rush up with their cameras.

“Great!” Molly chirped, “You made it to Bed.”

“Hope so,” Reid said in a low voice that only Luke could hear.

“Right here, boys,” Mick gestured to a VIP bed in the center of the room.

Luke and Reid walked over. Luke made himself hold Reid’s hand. His skin was warm. Luke felt the now familiar tingling hit the pit of his stomach. The waiter rushed over and pulled back the sheets at the head of the big, purple bed.

Reid held up his hand at the waiter, “Wait a minute. Just what are your sanitizing methods for this,” he pointed at the bed, “exactly?”

“Reid,” Luke commanded. “Just get in bed!”

Reid rolled his eyes. He looked at Mick and Molly. “He’s always telling me that.”

Reid asked the waiter a few more questions about how they laundered the sheets. When at last he seemed satisfied, Luke and Reid climbed in together.

“Isn’t this just so cute?” gushed Molly, “I just love this place. “

Luke was having trouble finding his voice. Reid’s body was pressed right against him.

Mick nodded at the photographer, who snapped their picture. Then Mick and Molly joined them at the foot of the bed.

“Mind if we get in?” She joked.

“Luke and I are strictly monogamous,” Reid replied smartly.

“Oh you!” Molly wagged a finger at Reid. She and Mick got into the other side of the bed.

The waiter came back and handed out menus.

“So this time, we just want an interview on paper. A few pictures to reveal on our show tomorrow. Then if we get a lot of buzz, we will have you both back again live.”

“Sounds good,” Luke managed, aware that Reid was rubbing his leg up and down his thigh. Every hair on Luke’s body stood up. He tried to clamp a firm hand down on Reid’s leg to stop the movement.

Reid grinned at him innocently.

“Okay,” Mick said, taking a sip of his martini. “First question. How did you two lovebirds meet?”

Luke answered on auto-pilot. They had gone over this carefully. “We met at an WMB fundraiser in Rome. Reid was there and I was so impressed by all of his devotion to WMB. You know, Without Medical Borders is such a dedicated organization, “ Luke reminded them, working on the PR angle. “They truly help people all over the world. The doctors are the best.”

Molly and Mick nodded, and drank some.

“And you Reid? Do you remember what you first said to Luke at that fundraiser?”

Reid shrugged.

Luke jabbed his knee at Reid’s leg from underneath the sheets. “He was really thoughtful. He asked lots of pertinent questions about the foundation. Remember, honey?”

The endearment hung in the air between them like a gauntlet.

“Right.” Reid paused. “Doll face -baby-lambkins.” His lips twisted sardonically.

Luke gave an awkward laugh and looked at Mick and Molly. “He has so many pet names for me. He can never settle on just one.”

“I’m a romantic,” Reid agreed. Then his lips lifted up in a real smile. “Hey, the food is here.”

The waiter brought over an appetizer of fried calamari. He placed it in the center of the bed on a beautiful tray. Reid began to eat once again. Luke was amazed at his appetite. Luke was only sipping a ginger ale and picking at a small piece of cake. Despite having eaten with Luke not long ago, Reid was devouring everything Mick and Molly ordered.

Luke tried not to dwell on the way Reid’s body was giving off heat. He tried to ignore the brush of Reid’s arm near his as he picked up his fork. He tried to look away from Reid’s tongue licking his lips at the taste of his food. If he didn’t focus on work soon, Luke was worried Molly and Mick might get an eyeful from down below.

“Let me tell you some more about why I was so impressed with Reid’s job, “ Luke said in a rush. Then he rattled off a few statistics about WMB, and made certain they wrote it down.

“Reid,” Molly said turning to him, “Tell me…what about Luke first spoke to your heart?”

Luke turned to him and gave him a pained smile. Luke’s lips were beginning to hurt from faking it. Reid played with the sheets a moment. He glanced back at Molly.

“His generosity,” Reid answered promptly, and Luke knew he was probably thinking about all the money promised for the neuro wing.

“And you Luke?” Mick asked, munching on the wings the waiter had now put down.

“Oh, Reid’s wit. He has a very big…” Luke gave Reid what he hoped was a sexy look, “sense of humor.”

“Anything else?” Molly pursued sweetly.

Luke paused. “Um, we just support each other.” Luke gave Reid’s hand a mock squeeze. “I always want Reid to come out on top.” He gave them an earnest look.

“And I usually am on top,” Reid said smoothly. “But Luke gets there from time to time.”

Luke felt his face burning. He suddenly realized how this all sounded. He caught his lip and glanced at Mick and then at Molly. They appeared to be oblivious.

Reid, of course, was smirking at him.

“Well, a toast,” Molly was saying, “to love.”

They all clinked glasses across the bed.

“And to a great cause – Without Medical Borders,” Luke added quickly.

“Right,“ Mick said, sounding bored. He gestured to the photographer nearby. “Okay guys, how about a kiss for your growing fans?”

“Well ah,” Luke started to say, not looking in Reid’s direction. They’d briefly touched on
practicing all that, but somehow the day had passed without it.

“Sure,” Reid said. He turned Luke’s face to him, holding him on both sides of his cheeks, and then, as the light bulbs from the cameras flashed, Reid gave Luke a firm kiss on his lips.

Molly squealed in delight.

Reid released Luke abruptly and looked back at his food.

Realizing that his mouth was still open, Luke closed it. He busied himself with his ginger ale. He tried to ignore the way his whole body had suddenly come to life and was screaming Yes, Yes, Yes.

***

They didn’t say much on the drive home. Luke discovered that Reid was not as cautious a driver as he’d imagined, and that pleased him for some odd reason. Reid drove smoothly down Washington Boulevard and then onto AIA. Luke rolled the window down and smelled the night air. He realized he was soon to learn where Reid actually lived. Luke watched him driving a moment. He had such capable hands. The wind was blowing Reid’s hair a little.
Luke sighed deeply. Then he gazed out the window, and soaked up the warm air.

“Hey,” Luke called suddenly, “do you mind pulling over a second?”

“What? Now?”

“Yeah,” Luke motioned to the spot, ” right there.”

Reid obligingly pulled the car to a stop. They were facing the beach.

“I can’t believe I’ve been here for days, “ Luke told him with a huge smile, “and haven’t been to the ocean yet.”

He opened the car door.

“Wait,” Reid called. “You want to swim now?”

“I just want to see it,” Luke beamed at him.

He left the car and walked down to the water. It was dark and the ocean was only a rush of sound, but there was a sliver of moonlight.

Luke hopped out of his shoes and socks and cuffed up his pants. He loved the feeling of the moist sand at his toes.

He saw that Reid was now out of the car and watching him. Luke waved at him, and then laughed as the tide approached, and he kicked up some water.

He bent down and let his hands trail the foamy waves, and scooped some up and then let it fall through his fingers. He could taste the salt. Luke laughed again.

“This is great!” He yelled over to Reid.

Reid approached him, shaking his head at him. “You have seen oceans before, right?”

“Of course,” Luke smiled and playfully flicked some water in Reid’s direction. “But it’s been awhile.”

He buried one foot in the sand. Then he lifted it out and wriggled his toes. Another wave came in and washed the sand off. Luke cuffed his pants a little higher, wading up to his knees. There were a few other people walking or swimming, but they were in the distance. For the most part, the beach was deserted.

“Come in with me,” Luke said to Reid.

He ran in a little circle, letting the water kick up to his thighs, soaking the edge of his pants. It felt good. A warm touch of air blew across his skin.

Luke turned back to call Reid again, only to find him right near him. He jumped back a little. He hadn’t really thought Reid would join him in the surf. Reid smiled and stretched his arms up above his head and gazed up at the moon. He inhaled deeply.

“You like the ocean too?” Luke asked shyly.

“You know,” Reid smiled,” I live only blocks away and yet it’s been months since I did this.”

A bigger wave came at them suddenly, pushing their bodies back a bit. Luke almost stumbled and he grabbed onto Reid’s arm.

Their faces were close together.

Luke stared at Reid, illuminated in the moonlight. He licked his lips nervously and attempted to smile at him.

“You work too much,” Luke said in a faint voice.

“You’re right,” Reid answered and then placed his arms at Luke’s waist.

His lips covered Luke’s in an instant. A melting heat invaded Luke’s whole body as the kiss deepened.

This wasn’t a quick kiss like at the restaurant. This was real.

Reid thrust a tongue into his mouth, parting Luke’s lips. Luke could feel the firm texture of Reid’s lips and taste his mouth. Groaning, Luke met Reid’s tongue with his own. The kiss went on as they explored each other.

They both sank to their knees at the same time. The waves gently lapped at them as they kept on kissing. Luke had never enjoyed a kiss so much. It was as if Reid’s lips were merging with his own. They felt so right. Luke touched the nape of Reid’s neck. He was aware of his own body trembling. Luke opened his mouth more, his need becoming hungry. He sucked hard at Reid’s tongue, delighting in the groan it drew from Reid. Luke sucked again and then ran one hand up and down Reid’s muscled back.

Reid kissed him back urgently, murmuring his name between kisses. Luke gulped in some air and continued the kiss. Reid’s mouth was hot and amazing. Luke let his tongue skim over Reid’s lower lip. He tasted him again. He could feel a pressure, a longing, building up inside of his flesh. Reid’s arms were wrapped around him and the intent in them made Luke gasp. For a moment, the night sky and dark sea rushed together, the world dizzily joined.

Another wave wet them and they moved back to the edge of the sand. Reid pushed Luke gently down and kissed him again. Luke circled his hands across Reid’s back. He tasted Reid’s mouth with astonishment. His lips were straining for more and more. Luke closed his eyes, arching towards him. He felt Reid kiss his throat, the hollow of his neck and then brush over his mouth again. Their chests were pressed tightly together. Reid was half lying on top of Luke now, and Luke could suddenly feel his arousal at his thigh.

Luke broke the kiss off. Reid’s erection had made him panicked. He wanted Reid, badly. It was only fear that had him move away, grabbing for his things. Luke turned and hesitated, he wondered whether he should just pretend nothing was happening at all.

“I- I think we need to go,” Luke mumbled and hurried up to the car, leaving Reid to stand up slowly after him.

Reid came up silently, watching Luke.

Luke rolled his pants down and quickly got into the passenger seat.

“Let me take you home,” Luke said nervously. Reid raised his eyebrows at that and Luke quickly added, “I mean drop you off at home. You can still drive.” Luke sat tensely in the seat and waited.

Reid brushed some sand off and then got into the car. Luke could feel the weight of Reid’s eyes a moment, and then he put the car into drive. The only sound was the humming of the engine.

As they pulled up to Reid’s condo, Reid put the car into park and skimmed his finger lightly on the wheel. Then he and Luke both got out. Luke came around to the driver’s side.

“Nice place,” he gestured at the tall, white high rise.

“It’ll do,” Reid said. “It’s close to work.”

Luke nodded and started to open the car door.

Reid’s hand touched his shoulder.

“I want you to come up,” Reid said into his ear, and then he was looking him in the eye.

“Yes!” Luke said automatically, and then quickly, “I mean no!” He flushed and ran a nervous hand through his hair. Luke shook his head. “I’m sorry.”

He ducked his head down and then peered at Reid through his eyelashes, sure Reid would be angry.

“For what?” Reid asked him simply.

“I - I ‘m a wreck,” Luke admitted. He looked away.

Reid considered that in silence.

“Who isn’t?” He shrugged kindly. He dropped his hand.

Luke looked at him in surprise and released the breath he’d been holding. It was only in that moment that Luke realized he’d been waiting for Reid to scream at him or be coldly furious or something. But Reid was just standing there calmly. Luke felt a different kind of warmth come into his body – one of gratitude.

“We’re still on for the fake date tomorrow, right?” Reid asked him.

Luke gave him a big smile, “Yes, “he said emphatically, “please.”

Their eyes locked.

“Okay then, bye.”

“Bye,” Luke said bashfully. He climbed into the car and looked at Reid through the open window.

“See you soon,” Luke added, almost hopefully.

Reid leaned down and gently touched him on the side of his face. Luke caught his fingers a moment and held them to his face.

“So long,” Luke whispered.

“See you, Luke,” Reid answered, also softly.

Then he straightened up and walked off into his building.

Luke sat in his car a few minutes, rewinding the night in his mind and analyzing it all.

Inside of his chest, Luke’s heart was knocking around. He could barely put on his seatbelt. There was a deep, urgent tugging inside of him. Luke banged his head back. He ran his fingers up and down his legs and tried to concentrate on leaving. He turned the key in the ignition and headed back to his hotel, a big part of him regretting that he’d not gone up to Reid’s condo. The other part of Luke was shocked that he regretted it. He had never been fast and loose with sex, not when he was sober anyhow. He had never felt this kind of attraction. When he kissed Reid it was like he couldn’t think or breathe. His entire body wanted to grab Reid and take him and be inside of him. Luke shuddered. He had never felt that way before either. But he had this desire to possess Reid sexually and it frightened him. He wanted to crawl inside Reid’s skin, open him up, savor him.

Luke put the radio on and rolled down the window some more, trying to relax. But he was aching and throbbing the whole ride back.
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.
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.
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: The Last Doughnut
Author: Marsabi
Summary: Damian disinherits Luke and he’s forced to survive in the real world.
Rating: PG
Warning: None
Thanks traciamc

Part 16 VIVA


Okay, Luke felt a second of panic. Reid was late. That never happened.

Why had he agreed to meet him at the airport? They should’ve come together. Why did Reid insist on going to the hospital one more time, a job he no longer even liked, just to help stupid Chris Hughes with some patient?

Luke chewed his lip and glanced down at all of his luggage. Maybe Reid had gotten stuck at security? Luke could just see him there, arguing with some heavy set, bald headed guard. Reid would definitely argue with anybody who dared to take away his snack foods or question his itinerary.

Luke took out his phone – no messages.

Well, that was to be expected. Reid barely liked talking to people in person, much less on the phone. Luke, on the other hand, had no qualms about leaving long, dirty messages. He liked to text all the sexual things he wanted Reid to do. It was easier than saying them out loud to him. Luke texted one to Reid right then. It involved his pinky finger and a whole lot of tongue. If Reid was out there, surely he’d respond to that?

“Where’s your man?” Lucinda demanded suddenly and a guilty blush spread over Luke’s cheeks.

“He’s just late.” Luke closed his phone.

Lucinda made a disapproving noise. “I have my jet all gassed and just sitting here? “ She glanced at her watch. “Time is money , darling . And I plan to win some money.”

“I know.”

“Reid’s coming,” Vienna assured them all. She didn’t look up from her mirror as she applied a new coat of mascara to her eyes. “I saw him just a few hours before. Grabbing our cookies and stuffing them into his pockets. “

“What does he think, “ Lucinda laughed, “that my private plane has no food?” She gave her boyfriend John a squeeze, “ I stocked it with some of your favorites.”

Casey looked up from the wad of twenties, “What kind of food?”

“Casey?” Maddie shook her head at him, “you’ve stopped counting. “

“Relax,” Casey told her, “we’re going to Vegas, baby. It’s all good.”

Vegas. Luke smiled and looked at his family and friends gathered all around him. Lucinda had asked, no demanded , that Luke have big goodbye celebration. But not in Oakdale. She’d rented out the top floor of the Ventian hotel. At first, it was only his father and his grandmother planning to come. Then John Dixon had signed on. Soon Vienna was asking him about the trip, and of course, Henry could never refuse a free ride to Vegas. After that, Luke just had to ask Casey and Maddie to tag along too. Luke had been thrilled that all of them cared so much about him and wanted to celebrate with him.

Convincing Reid to spend 4 days in Vegas with this group, however, hadn’t been easy.

Holden walked up to him and patted Luke’s shoulder. “You look worried.”

Luke shrugged. “No . Reid’s never late that’s all.”

“I’m sure everything’s fine, “ Holden said.

“Right,“ Luke said with forced brightness. “Anyhow, before he gets here- I just want to thank you , Dad, for being here.”

“You already thanked me, Luke.”

“I want to thank you again, “ Luke said firmly.

Holden smiled. “You’re certain this is what you want? To move to Vegas? You don’t want to stay at the farm here in Oakdale?”

“I’m sure.”

“Reid could stay with me too, “ Holden offered.

Luke smothered a laugh at the thought of Reid at the farm. He could just imagine him mucking out stables or milking the cows. He could just imagine Reid’s level of discomfort at making Luke shout out with pleasure in the night, and Reid would make him shout out, even if they tried to be quiet. God, he really knew how to do that one thing with his mouth – he could just see Reid’s face the first time Holden or Emma flung open their door to see why Luke was screaming.

“This is what we want.”

“I have 200 bucks,” Casey declared suddenly. “Ready to party.”

“We can party,” Maddie ordered , “but no gambling.”

Casey frowned at her.

“Remember why you went to jail?” Maddie drawled. She took his money and stuffed it in her pocketbook. Then she kissed him sweetly.

“We’re all ready to go,” Henry complained as he massaged Vienna’s shoulders, “but where is Oliver? “

Luke swallowed hard and tried to dismiss all the irrational fears building up inside of him. This was Oakdale, after all, where his happiness was usually taken away from him.

He tried to focus on the positive. He was really leaving town. He was really free . He really was leaving with the man he loved. He closed his eyes a moment, just holding on to those thoughts.

When Luke opened his eyes, he finally saw him.

“At last!” Henry yelled out.

Reid strolled up to them, not looking concerned, carrying a small bag and a whole bunch of snacks.

Relief flooded Luke as he watched Reid.

“What?” Reid was frowning at Henry. “Some of us actually have important work. I was needed saving lives.“

“You kept us waiting. Are you always so inconsiderate?” Henry said.

Reid flicked a finger at Henry’s striped purple and pink shirt, “I’ll stop being inconsiderate the day you stop being loud.”

“Did you help Chris?” Casey asked.

“Your uncle seriously must have gotten his medical license from a cereal box,” Reid told him. “But of course, I saved his stupid ass. “ Reid flashed a quick grin.

Sheer joy invaded Luke’s body at the sight of Reid smiling. He felt warm all over. His eyes felt moist.

Lucinda waved at her pilot, “We’re ready! “ She called out. “Viva Las Vegas!”

Reid reached Luke then and handed him the food.

Luke took it and launched himself into Reid’s arms.

“Hey?” Reid laughed. “Have you really been waiting that long?”

Yes, my whole life. To have his hand in mine, to have him with me, to find my partner.

Luke’s flashed his dimples at him.”Nope. Not long at all.” He covered Reid’s face with kisses. “ I’m just happy to see you.”

***

The party started on the plane. Lucinda and Henry argued over who poured the best martini. John offered to be their taste tester. They downed green apples ones and pomegranate ones and lemon drops.

Meanwhile, Luke danced enthusiastically with both Maddie and Vienna, stomping and twirling them around and around. They blasted Lady Gaga’s ‘ I was Born this Way’ and ‘Poker Face’, and enjoyed the space of the private jet, dancing until they were sweating. They collapsed together on the couch, hugging and laughing.

Casey used his i-phone to check out the best places to catch Elvis impersonators.
Reid stuffed his mouth full of junk food and then ate everything Lucinda had on the plane.

“If it’s not nailed down, he’ll eat it,” Luke laughed, watching him affectionately.

“I hope he gets a job quickly, “ Henry said, as he joined them on the couch, “Otherwise your food bills alone will put you in the poor house. “

“Reid says he can get hired at Desert Springs hospital with no problems.”

“He can always become a dealer,” Vienna laughed, “if that falls through.”

“And I can always wait tables again, “Luke said. Then, when Henry and Vienna’s mouths dropped open, Luke burst into laughter.

“Just kidding, “ he told them.

John and Lucinda offered a round of shots, and a Virgin Bloody Mary to Luke.

Having finished off the food, Reid came over to them, licking his fingers.

“When’s dessert,” he asked Lucinda.

Luke patted Reid’s flat stomach, “Amazing.”

“If I ate all that,” Maddie agreed groaning, “I’d be a whale.”

“What’s the secret?” Vienna added.

Reid shrugged, “I’m unique.”

Then he leaned into Luke and whispered, “And somebody has me burning lots of calories off. I just read your text. I think the bathroom is available right now. “

Luke’s face turned red as a tomato.

“What’s wrong?” Holden asked.

“Nothing ,” Luke said quickly, “this Virgin Bloody Mary is spicy.”

He gave Reid the evil eye. He whispered back to him, “That was an idea for when we’re alone.”

“When’s that gonna be?” Reid grumbled. He stood up and started to the large bathroom area in the back of the plane.

Luke watched him. Reid peeked inside the restroom door, and then looked back at him. ‘Room for two’ he mouthed.

Luke glanced around at everybody. Casey was asleep, Maddie and Holden were reading, John and Lucinda were still drinking and flirting with each other, and Henry and Vienna were now watching Casino on the big screen TV.

Luke stood up casually and went to the rear of the plane.

“Make it fast,” he said in Reid’s ear.

Reid licked at Luke’s neck, sending shivers down his spine. “Prepare to join the mile high club. “ He led a laughing Luke into the bathroom, “And I am never being quick with you.”

To his surprise, Luke stopped him from going into the restroom.

Luke beamed at Reid. “Are we really doing this?” he said in wonder.

“About to screw in the airplane’s john with your family only a room away?” Reid said dryly. “Yes, we really are.”

Luke smacked him lightly. “Not that. “ He smiled at him. “Are we really staying in Vegas to live? For good?”

Reid took his hand and squeezed, “For as long as you want. I’ll live anywhere you want.”

They disappeared into the bathroom.

***

A little later, Casey came up to Luke and poked him in the ribs.

“I was just googling the best Vegas sex shops, but I see you and Reid need no extra help .”

Luke flushed, “Oh God. You knew what we were doing back there?” He glanced at Holden and Lucinda. “Does everybody know?”

Casey shook his head, “Naw. Just me,I think. Anyhow, if you’re done,” Casey looked over at his girlfriend, “I think it’s me and Maddie’s turn.”

Luke laughed, “All cleaned up and yours,’ he told him.

Casey grinned wickedly and went to pull a confused Maddie to the back of the plane.

***

Luke watched as Reid and Henry bickered over poker. Reid won again.

Reid felt Luke watching him and patted the seat near him. Joining him on the couch, Luke smiled at Reid. “You really are unique.”

“Why’s that?” Reid asked, shuffling the cards. Henry had walked off to down another martini and have a sulk.

Luke batted his eyes at Reid, “Lucky in cards AND lucky in love.”

Reid considered that and then nodded, “You’re right.” He grabbed Luke’s face and gave his boyfriend a firm kiss. Then he looked at Henry, “Ready to lose again?”, he called out.

Luke sighed. “I’m in for a lifetime of that ego, aren’t I?” He rested his head on Reid’s shoulder and then grinned up at him.

Reid didn’t answer because Henry had come over in that moment. Before long, a sweaty Maddie and beaming Casey came over too. John and Lucinda had discreetly made their way back to that bathroom, and Holden was pretending he hadn’t noticed all the couples disappearing from time to time.

“Let’s go,” Henry demanded. “I’m getting my money back.”

“Deal me in,” said Vienna, “I’m getting our money back.”

“Me too.” Holden came over,” I should at least beat this guy once before he steals my son away.”

“Don’t forget about me,” Luke piped up, “I’m in. If anybody wins over Reid, it should be me.”

“You can all dream,” Reid told them with a smug face. “But you’re all about to lose.”

“Shut up,” they all chorused back at him.

Laughing, Reid dealt the cards.

***

As the plane began its descent into Vegas, it gently bounced over some choppy air. Reid put down the Nevada magazine that he’d been reading through. It had listed lots of possible apartments. He smiled at the thought of living with Luke. Then he glanced down.

Luke was nestled against Reid, sleeping.

Reid reached down and ran his fingers through Luke’s hair. He got more haircuts than anybody Reid knew. Today the hair was cut short and seemed darker. Reid played with the little spikes at the top, and then let his hand rest on Luke’s cheek.

He had been so frightened for Luke. After Holden called him, Reid had sank to his knees, sweat dripping down his back, feeling worried beyond reason. Visions of Damian hurting Luke or kidnapping him or something equally horrible had flashed in his mind over and over again. He had survived his parents’ death. He’d survived a lifetime of loneliness. But he knew in that horrible moment that he could never survive the loss of Luke. Not ever.

How had it happened? How had a nosey, “straight”-acting, barely legal blonde gotten control of his heart and never let it go?

Luke’s lips were slightly parted. At Reid’s touch, he made a sighing sound and then began to lightly snore.

“Idiot,” Reid chastised himself softly. Because looking down at Luke, just listening to him snore for God’s sake, Reid felt hopelessly lost in a rush of love .

A small smile flickered over Reid’s mouth. The truth was he found the snoring adorable. He found everything Luke did adorable and he always would.

As if sensing his thoughts, Luke suddenly woke and opened up his eyes. He gazed at Reid.

“Are we here?” Luke asked, sleepily.

“Yeah,” Reid answered and gently kissed his lips. “We’ve arrived.”


The End

A/n Thanks to all who read and commented! I appreciate it! I’m working on something new (hope to get it done soon) with a very different Luke and Reid, a good Damian, and setting outside of Oakdale.
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: The Last Doughnut
Author: Marsabi
Summary: When Damian disinherits Luke, can he survive in the real world?
Warning: Angst –well you know- the confrontation is here
Rating: PG
Part 14 Day Grief


His father was calling his name.

“Luciano ? Where are you? Luciano?”

Luke knew he must answer and soon. His heart skipped. His breath was caught in his throat. He needed just a second longer.

“Luciano?”

He was at his computer about to press the send button, about to destroy his relationship with his family forever, and he might be about to get caught –

---yet all Luke could think about was that he hates and loves them at the same time.

An hour ago, he finally went to the safe and tried the old combination. Damian had not changed it; his father was shrewd as a fox but so arrogant. It was beyond his imagination to ever think that anybody could outwit the great Damian Grimaldi. Of course, his father had never sat down and spoken to Reid. If he had, he might have been more cautious.

If he had taken the time to really watch Luke with Reid, Damian might have seen that he had underestimated the depths of Luke’s heart too.

Now it was done, except for a push of a button. He would send it to Reid and wait.

Luke rubbed his eyes tiredly and rested his elbows on the table. His finger still hovered about the mouse.

“Luciano! What are you doing? Didn’t you hear me calling you?”

Luke looked at Damian, who was standing in the hallway now. “Sorry.”

“I want you to tell your mother that I have to go out. She’s upstairs resting and I don’t want to disturb her. What are you doing? You look guilty,” Damian added, and started to walk over to him.

Luke tried to be quick with his response. “I was writing- I’m sorry- I know you hate it when I write my stories. “ Luke felt the smile he forced onto his lips turning numb.

Damian’s eyes were on him. He was closing the gulf between them with every step.

I’ll go to Reid. Soon this will be over and I’ll go to him. I’ll tell Reid how blue his eyes are and how sweet his voice is and how our bodies fit together so well . I’ll make love to him as if it were our first time- ----

Luke pressed down on the send button.

I’ll hold him and love him forever.

Luke closed his lap top just as Damian reached him.

“You’re right, I don’t like those stories. Waste of time, “ Damian said.

“So you’ve always told me.” Luke felt his stomach tightening.

“And yet you don’t listen, right?” Damian held a lecturing finger in his face. “ Cause here you are again writing. Those foolish stories. You need to grow up and take your responsibilities more seriously.”

“Do I?”

”Yes. Why not focus on what’s important?”

“And what’s that?” Luke felt the rage boiling inside of him and kept his gaze down.

“That you’re the heir to Grimaldi Shipping.”

“I’m not the heir to anything! “ Luke spat the words out at his father before he could stop himself. He looked up at him, all of Luke’s resentment suddenly visible in his expressive eyes.

Luke pushed away from the computer and stood up slowly, his feet felt like they were in concrete.

He’d done it now. There was no going back.

The information had been sent at least; he’d done that right. Reid would take care of it and he would be safe.

“What the hell is this, Luciano?” Damian hissed out softly. He suddenly grabbed Luke by the shoulders and pulled him close. “What are you talking about?”

Luke flinched. He turned head and tried to pull his arm free.

“I’m not your heir,” Luke said, his voice cracking. “I’m not anything to you.”

Damian released him in surprise, and Luke rubbed at his skin where his father’s fingers had been. Then he hugged himself and rocked back and forth on his heels like a child.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Damian said coolly.

“You’d deny it? I have the letter you sent me.”

“What letter?”

He came at Damian, flinging words at him like weapons: “You stand there and act like you don’t know. You make me sick. Grimaldi heir? Bullshit!”Luke’s rage spewed out of him. “ You disinherited me, remember? Then you went after my boyfriend – his job, his reputation. For what? So I’ll be that perfect son again? Guess what? “ Luke blinked back tears from his eyes. ”He never existed! “

“I didn’t send a letter- “ Damian denied .

Luke laughed hysterically. “You’re such a liar!”

“I didn’t send a letter.” Two spots of red were coloring Damian’s cheeks. His voice had turned razor sharp.

“He didn’t send it. I did.”

Luke and Damian both jumped at the sound of her voice.

Lily stood there at the bottom of the staircase. Her eyes like chips of ice.

“You did?” Luke repeated.

Lily gave a slightly, regal nod. “I did,” she repeated.

Luke felt like his head was about to rocket off of his body.

“Why?” Luke said in a small voice.

“For us! Our family!” Lily came right up to Luke , until they were face to face. “You were destroying us. Ripping us to shreds. Damian spent the whole summer in Malta upset. Your brother and sisters cried over you. And did you care? No. You’re off with that snake of a man.”

Luke stepped back from her twisted face.

“Cara, calm down,” Damian tried to restrain her. She shook him off.

Lily drew in a sharp breath.

“I thought if I fooled you with those papers from Damian’s lawyers and you assumed that we cut you off financially, you’d come back to us.”

“Why didn’t you just have him do it? Why lie and fake the letter?” Luke asked.

Lily glanced at Damian. “You’re his only child- his blood. He’s fond of the others, but…” She shrugged, “ I didn’t think your father would ever need to know. I thought it would be a few days, maybe a week, and you’d return to the house. But you didn’t. All these other people started helping you.”

“Cause they care about me!” Luke’s voice came out high-pitched.

“Care about you?” Lily gave a shrill laugh. “ They let you get beaten up. I care about you. Your father and I care. ”

“Why do you care?” Luke said in a frozen tone.

The simple question rendered Lily speechless.

“You’re my son,” Lily finally stammered out.

They watched each other like children in a staring contest, daring each other to blink.

“ None of this is for me. “ Luke spoke haltingly. “I used to think, when I was a boy that you were a terrific mom. But now I see that you didn’t protect me. You put your own wants ahead of me. Always. You let bad things happen, so that life could be easier for you. “ Luke swallowed back the bitterness nearly choking him. “ That’s how you care for me? What kind of mother did that make you, in the end?”

“Luciano, enough! Stop this. Your mother can’t take any more of the pain that you’re causing her. “

“She committed fraud, “ Luke said to Damian. “She had fake legal documents drawn up to let me believe that you-“ He shook his head. “How can you defend her ?”

“She’s my wife,” Damian said simply. “Her intentions were good.”

Luke sucked in some air painfully . He stared at Damian. “And going after Reid? Using Casey? Was that you or was that Mom?”

“Going after that man? That was a pleasure. ” Damian’s face was a cold mask. “Your mother needed my help .We wanted to save our family. Can you understand that at all? She came to me. So I went after him, yes. I’d do it again. He’s nothing . Garbage. Worse than trash.”

Luke’s breathing was the only audible sound in the room. He felt like his lungs were straining.

“You’re not going to touch him. Or hurt his reputation again.” Luke narrowed his eyes at his father. A small, warning voice inside of his head told him to stop. Not to say any more. He was supposed to wait for Reid. But Luke just couldn’t take it one more moment.

He stepped all the way to Damian, so that there was only a sliver of space between them.

“ Do you know why you won’t ever trouble him again? Cause I went into the safe this morning, copied your files and took your flash drive. I have the crooked books. I have the proof. I have it all,” Luke told Damian rigidly, “And if you ever hurt Reid , I’ll send you to jail.”

The threat hung there in the dead silence.

“Well, “ Damian said crisply, almost proudly. “You are not so different from me after all.
Go ahead. Try. You can’t threaten me and succeed.“

“It’s not just you I’m threatening,” Luke answered back and looked at Lily.

Lily stiffened, her eyes glazed with hurt. “You’re threatening me now?”

“Your forged documents are a crime. “

“I wanted to stop you from ruining your life. Is that a surprise? “ Lily said, focusing on Luke’s face. “Everything I’ve done has been for you. To save you .“

She reached a hand out to him. Luke ducked away.

“I’m saving myself.” Luke whole face hardened.

Lily began to sob. She buried herself in Damian’s shoulder.

“And by the way,” Luke said to Damian, “those stories you hate? With Maddie’s encouragement, I sent one to a little magazine in New York and it’s going to be published. Want to know what it’s about? “ Luke’s mouth trembled a second and then twisted up in grief. “Me. The camp. Being gay. It’s just a small press, but who knows what’s next? Now everybody can read about your queer son.”

“Just go, “Damian said quietly, wrapping a protective arm around Lily. “You’ve done enough damage here, Luciano. “ Damian gestured to the door. “You have your wish. You’re free. Go and don’t ever come back.”

Luke picked up his computer and headed to the door. He could feel their hatred at his back. With trembling fingers, he stepped into the harsh sunlight. He walked a few steps to his car and then halted. He put one hand on his car to steady himself.


Luke closed his eyes, feeling the end of everything now.


***

At the farm, Luke quickly threw the saddle on his horse. He had just come from a talk with Holden. It hadn’t been easy. Holden had been very upset that he’d been kept in the dark. Luke had wanted to be the one he heard it from first. But now he was sorry he’d come. It was more than he could take.

He just wanted a ride. He wanted to gallop into the woods and cry his eyes out. Then he’d go and see Reid. He had sent the information to him just an hour ago, but it felt like an eternity of time.

The barn door creaked open. Luke jerked his head in that direction.

“What the hell is going on?” Reid asked him, his feet planted. “I get the email message and then nothing? Nothing? What the hell? “ Reid came up to Luke and the horse. “If Holden hadn’t called me I’d be on my way to that house.”

Luke rubbed a hand at the nape of his neck. “It’s over. It’s done.”

“What-?” Reid looked at him, his mouth aghast. Then a stream of profanity came out of his lips. “You confronted them without me? Without anybody?”

Luke climbed up on the horse. “I need to ride. “

“No,” Reid tried to grab at him, “We need to talk. How fucking stupid are you?”

“You have no idea what happened there!” Luke shook his head. “Look, just wait for me with Dad. Or go back to Al’s .Whatever. You really don’t want to stop me from riding right now.”

“And you really need to talk to me. “ Reid grabbed at him again. “Right now!”

“You want to talk to me?” Luke said furiously, “Fine. Get on.” He pulled at Reid. “Get on or go away.”

Reid looked at where Luke held him. Then he looked up at Luke.

“Pull me up,” Reid demanded angrily, “There is no way we are putting this off!”

Luke helped Reid up onto the horse. Reid sat awkwardly behind him, and grabbed at Luke’s waist.

Luke made a clicking noise and dug his heels in. The horse took off out of the barn, racing for the woods
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Sex and Chocolate: A Luke and Reid Valentine
Author: rtruffles and marsabi
Summary: A one-shot story with lots of sex and chocolate! Luke and Reid go through some misunderstandings on their way to celebrating their first Valentine’s day.
Rating: NC-17
Warning: None

rtruffles and marsabi
a/n: We wanted to try and write a one-shot story together. Hope you enjoy it! Feedback would be lovely!



“Hey Reid,” Luke greeted him as he came through the door. “Guess what? I signed up for a cooking class with the gift card you gave me for Christmas.” Luke had been a tiny bit peeved that Reid had given him cooking lessons for Christmas. He’d been hoping for something sweet and romantic, but Reid didn’t really do romantic, outside of the bedroom, so Luke had sighed and decided to make the best of it.

Reid walked over and kissed Luke lovingly. “So what kind of cooking class have you signed up for? Italian, you know how much I love lasagna. Or are you taking a Mexican class? I love chili, yum.” Reid asked already starting to salivate over the delicious food that Luke was going to learn how to cook.

Luke frowned at Reid, his earlier excitement tempered by Reid’s questions. This was exactly why he had been disappointed with this particular gift. He had no desire to become Reid’s “wife”, cooking all of their meals to Reid’s specifications.

“I’m taking a truffle making class,” Luke stated, arms crossed in front of his chest, daring Reid to criticize.

“A what? Aren’t truffles some sort of fancy mushroom that pigs dig out of the ground? Why would you want to take a course on those?” Reid asked irritably.

“Not that kind of truffle,” Luke answered, narrowing his eyes. “Chocolate truffles, they just look like the mushrooms. I bought you a box of assorted truffles from Godiva for Christmas, remember? You said that you loved them.”

“Oh,” Reid nodded. “Yeah they were great, kind of small, but really good, nonetheless. So why do you want to learn how to make them, when you already know where to buy them?”

“I already know where to buy lasagna and chili too,” Luke pointed out.

***

One week later, Luke came home with a box full of, what he hoped, were delicious truffles. The class had been really interesting; Luke learned that truffles were all made with the same base of chocolate, cream and butter after that you could add almost any flavoring to it. Luke’s favorite had been the breakfast truffle which had been infused with coffee and then rolled in crushed frosted flakes. It had seemed like an odd combination, but when Luke had tasted one he felt like he’d died and gone to heaven. Luke had made Grand Marnier truffles, which he knew Reid would love even if Luke couldn’t taste those due to the alcohol, and mint truffles that his classmates had raved about. Each flavor of truffle was uniquely finished. The Grand Marnier’s were rolled in cocoa, while the peppermint one’s were dipped in melted chocolate and then rolled in bits of peppermint candy. Luke had been pleasantly surprised to find that truffles were really easy to make. He was feeling very confident that Reid would be impressed by his efforts.


“Hey,” he called out as he entered their apartment.

“Hi,” Reid responded coming over to kiss Luke hello. “Are those for me?” he asked hopefully, eyeing the box.

“Yes,” Luke grinned at him. “Did you have dinner?”

“Not really, I just heated up a frozen dinner in the microwave at work.” Reid replied. “You ate before you went to class, right?”

Luke nodded. “Yeah, I went to the farm and had dinner with Emma.”

A pained expression crossed Reid’s handsome face. “Emma cooked for you, and you didn’t call me? Did you at least bring me some leftovers?”

“Reid!” Luke exclaimed, grinning. “Of course I brought you some food; I dropped it off before I went to my class.”

Truffles immediately forgotten, Reid went to look for Emma’s food in the fridge.

He came back into the living room with an enormous plate of food, and a smile on his face to match.

Luke just stared at Reid, feeling hurt that he had forgotten about the chocolates.

“I guess that I’ll just put these in the fridge for later,” Luke sulked.

“Later,” Reid agreed his mouth full of delicious food. “Thanks for bringing this home for me,” he called out to Luke, but Luke was out of earshot, getting ready for bed.

Reid kissed Luke when he came into the room, but the other man feigned sleep. Reid shrugged, patted his stomach happily, and rolled over. Luke lay there fuming; deeply hurt that Reid hadn’t complimented him on his truffles. Finally around 1 am, Luke fell into a troubled sleep.

When Reid woke up the next morning he reached out for Luke, but he found that the bed was empty and the sheets were cold.

“Luke,” he called out hoping that he was nearby, but there was no response.

Reid got up and pulled on a pair of scrub bottoms and headed out of the bedroom to search for Luke. What he found was a brief note on kitchen table telling him Luke had left early for a meeting at Memorial. Reid frowned in puzzlement, Luke usually kissed him goodbye.


Reid opened up the fridge to grab some of Luke’s truffles, but the box was gone. He sensed Luke was angry then, but Reid couldn’t figure out why. Quickly, Reid picked up the phone.

“I think I screwed up,” he confessed.

“What did you do now,” Katie sighed.

“I’m not sure,” Reid shrugged, still looking at the note and empty fridge.

“Be over in five,” Katie told him.

***

After his meeting Luke went to find Reid. He’d realized that he probably should’ve just talked to Reid. Luke was feeling more confident about things as he walked up to Reid’s office. Unfortunately Reid had taken the day off and Luke had no idea where he was. He tried calling Reid’s cell, but there was no answer.

“What’s up?” Ali asked him, as she and Gretchen found a forlorn Luke standing in front of Reid’s door.

Luke looked at her and found himself soon pouring out the whole story to the two nurses after they sat down in the break room.

“He didn’t even try one,” Luke was whining.

“Wow these are really good,” Ali praised.

“Orgasmic,” Gretchen echoed.

“I’d love it if Casey made me these, “Ali sighed. “Or anything at all really, I’m not picky.”

“Boyfriends suck,” Gretchen nodded, “They act like picking up their dirty underwear off the floor is a huge deal.”

“Casey wants to be patted on the head like a dog whenever he puts down the toilet seat,” Ali agreed.

“I know right? The one time I make something special all he can do is consume my Grandma Emma’s cooking.”

“Reid will be so sorry he missed out on these,” Gretchen said, eating another one.

He watched horrified as they devoured more of his truffles.

“Hey um,” Luke hesitated, “Maybe I should save some of those for Reid?” Now that he’d let off some steam about the incident, Luke was ready to forgive him.

Ali and Gretchen paid him no attention; they were too busy eating the chocolates and moaning with pleasure.

***

Meanwhile, Katie had dragged Reid across town to go Valentine’s Day shopping for Luke.

“Katie, are you really sure this is necessary?”

Reid glanced around the colorful shop and winced.

“Yes,” she nodded firmly. “I’m sure that you really hurt Luke’s feelings when you didn’t even try one of his truffles. Honestly Reid, what were you thinking?”

“What? How was I supposed to know that he would put so much emphasis on that one thing that he did for me? He always does amazing things for me. I was thrilled that he made truffles, but I was equally happy that he brought home Emma’s food.”

“Boys are so stupid,” Katie said with a sigh. “Luke made those especially for you. That’s why he’s upset. You’ve had Emma’s food a million times, when has Luke ever made anything for you before?”

“Well he sometimes makes amazing sandwiches for me, and he’s occasionally made me bacon and eggs for breakfast.”

“Uh huh, and you probably eat those things right away and then have amazing sex with him as a thank you, right?”

“Well, yeah,” Reid admitted.

“And what happened when you didn’t eat his truffles right away?”

“Oh my God, he went to sleep, and then ran away before I even got up,” Reid stated realizing that Luke probably hadn’t gone to sleep out of exhaustion after all. “Why didn’t he just tell me? I’m not clairvoyant for Christ’s sake.”

“I’m guessing that Luke was too hurt to talk to you by that point. Yes, he should’ve just said something and then this whole mess could have been avoided, but he’s human and he’s Luke,”

Reid sighed “Alright please help me find a killer Valentine’s Day present so that I can make it up to him.”

“If I were you,” Katie said as she fingered a see-through red teddy, “I would give it to him early.”

Later that night, Reid decided to follow Katie’s advice. He waited for Luke, and held out the gift for him the moment Luke walked in the door.

“Open it,” Reid smiled.

“What is it?” Luke asked, delighted. He had been feeling badly about their fight all day, and was so happy to see Reid was home and in a good mood.

“An early present for Valentine’s Day,” Reid watched Luke’s mouth drop open in shock. “What? Did you think that I’d forget?”

“No,” Luke assured him hurriedly. In truth, Luke had given himself a firm lecture about not having too many expectations. He really did think Reid might forget all about the upcoming holiday. He certainly had not imagined an early gift.

“I want to make sure that this fits, after all I have a lot plans for us,” Reid said waggling his eyebrows suggestively. “So can you open it now?”

Luke ripped the package open happily. Then a slightly confused expression crossed his face. He pulled out the very small thong. It had a tuxedo bow in the front and nothing but a string for a back.

“I’ve been imagining you in this all day,” Reid grinned, and rubbed his hand over Luke’s shoulders.

“Oh,” Luke held it up and flushed, “it’s a little…skimpy, isn’t it?”

“No, it’s romantic,” Reid said, “Put it on and model it for me.”

Reid walked over to a chair and straddled it. He looked at Luke expectantly.

“Right now?”

“Right now,” Reid agreed. Then he shrugged, “Unless you want to bring out those truffles you made first? I’m looking forward to eating them!” Reid figured Katie would be so proud of him for specifically mentioning the chocolates.

“Oh no,” Luke said quickly, his face looking guilty. Luke’s heart beat rapidly in a sudden panic. ‘Why did Reid want those truffles now?’ How would he explain that he had given them all away?

“I’ll go and put this on.”

Reid just smiled, “I think that I’ll just go and grab one, while you’re getting changed.”
There. He’d said it again. Katie would give him a gold star! Surely this was what Luke wanted to hear?


Luke gulped hard, “No, please just wait for me,” he said and dashed into the bathroom.

Reid sat back and waited, drumming his fingers on the chair.

A few minutes later, the door to the bathroom creaked open.

“Ready?” Reid called out.

“Um, maybe,’ Luke sounded nervous. “I’ve never worn such …Are you sure you want me in this?”

“Oh yeah,” Reid said huskily.

“Um, give me a few more minutes.”

The door shut again.

“Do you need some help?” Reid’s voice called out hopefully.

“Nnnooo,” Luke stammered, he felt really uncomfortable in the skimpy thong and was trying to find the confidence to strut his stuff into the bedroom for Reid.

He stared at himself in the mirror, looking critically at his abs. Reid, of course had perfectly sculpted abs. ‘Maybe he should be the one wearing this thong,’ Luke sighed and sucked in his gut trying to look as attractive as possible.

Outside of the bathroom, Reid picked up his mail and started to sort it. He glared at the door impatiently. ‘What the hell was Luke doing in there? He better not be jacking off in there. I have other plans for him tonight,’ Reid sighed heavily and picked up the medical journal he had been reading before Luke came home.

***

Finally, Luke peeked his head out of the bathroom. He pushed the door open slowly.

Biting his lip, Luke walked out, his whole body tinged slightly pink. The tuxedo thong left nothing to the imagination.

He saw that Reid was looking down at something, a pencil in his hand.

“Reid!” Luke exclaimed, feeling raw and exposed.

“Just a second,” Reid mumbled distracted, taking his time to mark a page in the journal.

“I’ll just go and put my clothes back on. I’m sorry that I’ve disappointed you,” Luke uttered quickly.

He started to run back into the safety of the bathroom.

“Hold the phone?” Reid threw the journal down. “Why the hell would you put your clothes back on? It took you forever to take them off.”

“Well soorrrry for taking so long! I was trying to look good for you in this ridiculous thong and you can’t even be bothered to look up,” Luke huffed. “God, if I have to explain it to you, then what’s the point?”

Luke tried to go into the bathroom and slam the door, but Reid blocked it.

“Look, you know who I am. I like to work. Besides, you really did take a long time and I was just reading a really interesting article about a new scalpel designed by one of my old professors,” he stopped babbling about the article as he saw the hurt look on Luke’s face.

Reid tried to reach out and hold Luke’s face in his hands.

“I’m trying here. Really! Please just tell me what to do,” he pleaded, inwardly kicking himself for screwing up, yet again.

Luke saw Reid’s regret and suddenly melted a little.

Reid shook his head “You know how thickheaded I can be,” he whispered.

“Yeah,” Luke smiled, forgiving him. He ran one hand down his pants, stroking him. “Thick is the right word,” Luke murmured.

Reid smiled in relief. “By the way, did I tell you how hot you look in that tuxedo?” Reid asked clearly admiring Luke. “So beautiful!”

Luke beamed relieved that Reid didn’t think he looked as ridiculous as he felt, as he was practically bursting out of the thong at Reid’s words.

Reid teasingly put his hand at Luke’s backside and played with the string. He flicked it. Then he squeezed Luke, making him moan. Luke grinded his hips at Reid causing him to hiss with pleasure.

“You know what?” Reid smiled. “I think that you would look even hotter without it.”

“Seriously?” Luke asked in a low voice, his body tight with anticipation.

Reid didn’t answer. He was too busy dropping to his knees and tugging the thong down with his teeth.

***

Hours later the two men lay in bed bodies entwined with one another, both happily sated.

“You know what I’d really like right now?” Reid said.

“What,” Luke asked sleepily.

“A chocolate truffle,” Reid replied and was shocked when he felt Luke’s whole body tense.

“Uh… Reid,” Luke began tentatively.

Reid waited, giving Luke his full attention.

“Well, um, this morning when I left I was really pissed at you and so I took the truffles with me so that you wouldn’t just gorge on them for breakfast,” he paused.

“Uh huh,” Reid encouraged.

“After my meeting, I brought them to your office, but you had taken the day off. I tried to call you, but your phone was off.”

“Sorry about that. I called Katie to help me pick out your gift,” he admitted.

“Wait, what? Katie saw the thong?” Luke squeaked out. “How am I ever going to look her in the face again? I bet she’s going to be picturing me in it every time she sees me.”

“Relax there, drama queen. She was too busy trying on her own teddies and thongs. Let’s get back to the truffles Luke.”

“Oh yeah,” Luke blushed. “Well you weren’t at the hospital, but Ali and Gretchen were.”

Reid groaned out loud, sensing where this was going.

“I’m sorry!” Luke said quickly. “I didn’t mean for them to eat all of them. I just wanted them to taste them. I had no idea that two small women could eat that many truffles at once. It was scary, Reid,” Luke shuddered. “It was like they’d never seen chocolate before.”

“Greedy bitches,” Reid acknowledged.

Reid pulled Luke into his chest and held him to show that he forgave him. They kissed each other softly.

“I’ll tell you what,” Luke said dreamily to Reid between the kisses, “I’ll make you another batch for Valentine’s Day.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Reid agreed, before he captured Luke’s mouth once again.


***
On Valentine’s Day, Luke and Reid stayed home. They turned off their pagers and cell phones and the TV. Reid filled up a bath tub. He’d bought Luke’s favorite soap. Reid had washed Luke’s back in gentle circles.

Getting out, they dried each other off teasingly.

Luke had reached for the box near the tub, and fed Reid a dark-chocolate truffle. Reid ate it eagerly and then sucked on Luke’s fingers.

“Can every day be Valentine’s Day?” Reid sighed with pleasure. “Sex with you and chocolate- my favorite things.”

Luke kissed him, tasting the richness of the candy on Reid’s tongue. Then he took another one and smeared a piece of the truffle at Reid’s nipple.

“The only thing better than sex and chocolate,” Luke murmured, “is sex with chocolate.”

Luke pressed his mouth to Reid’s chest and licked.

Reid groaned.

“Bed now!” Reid commanded, and they climbed in together.

Luke wriggled onto Reid’s lap and they kissed even more. Luke pulled at Reid’s damp hair.

A wave of excitement flooded them both.

Luke put a truffle in his mouth and waited for Reid to bite at it. When Reid reached the rich, smooth center, they let the kiss linger on and on.

Panting now, Reid nibbled the naked line of Luke’s shoulder. He tasted the vulnerable curve of Luke’s neck, his lower stomach, the inside of his thighs. He placed a little truffle cream on each delicate spot. Reid nibbled at the chocolate and then sucked at the skin. Luke moaned.

Moments later, Reid’s fingers found Luke hard and ready. He pushed Luke down on the bed, and spread his legs apart.

“One more thing,” Reid said. He grabbed the last truffle from the box, and covered Luke’s throbbing cock with the chocolate.

“I’m going to ravish you,” Reid promised, just as his mouth closed firmly over Luke’s arousal.

Reid licked at Luke’s hard dick. He took him deep down his throat. Luke tasted like chocolate and pre-cum and Reid sucked at him hungrily.

Luke put his hands over his eyes blindly and bucked his body up. Reid palmed Luke’s ass in his hands and pushed him even higher.

Luke exploded, his release making his limbs quake helplessly. Reid held him still, tasting each drop.

Then Reid flipped a boneless Luke onto his stomach and began to lick at his hole. He thrust his tongue in and out, patiently making Luke become hard again. Reid expertly rimmed him. He kept his tongue deep inside of Luke. Meanwhile, Reid’s hands circled around to his cock and began to play with him. He slid a thumb over the slit and at the same time ate at Luke with his hot mouth.

Luke drew up his knees and whimpered as Reid replaced his tongue with his erection, rubbing up and down Luke’s vulnerable center.

“Please now!” Luke yelled, half-command, half-whimper.

Reid pounded into him, babbling to Luke his own love words, as he hammered his body in a rhythm he knew Luke craved.

Soon they both were coming again, climaxing at the same time, shouting each other’s names.

***

Afterwards, they were happy to just stay in bed; their limbs still tangled together, their arms around each other.

Luke gave Reid a deep, satisfied kiss.

“I love you,” he said.

Reid just smiled.

Luke raised his eyebrows, “This is the part where you say you love me too…and will love me forever no matter what,” he instructed.

Reid sat up on one elbow and gazed down at Luke.

“I don’t know," he drawled teasingly, “You’re young and hot now, but in ten years…?”

Luke gave him a playful shove. “Reid!”

He laughed and pulled Luke into his arms, kissing the top of his head.

“I love you always,” he told Luke roughly, “I want it all with you. Everything, I want the whole enchilada.”

“Why does it always come down to food?” Luke complained mockingly, rolling his eyes. “I’m not taking any Mexican cooking classes for you.”

They laughed together, perfectly relaxed. Luke rested his head on Reid’s chest and ran his hands lovingly up and down Reid’s body.

Reid cupped Luke’s face tenderly.

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” Reid said.

“Now and always,” Luke replied.
marsabi1: (Default)
Title: The Last Doughnut
Author: Marsabi
Summary: When Damian disinherits Luke, can he survive in the “real” world? Will he drive Reid crazy in the process?
Disclaimer: Owned by ATWT
Rating: PG- NC-17 (depends on chapter)
Warning: none
A companion to Camp Queer
Thanks traciamc for the read


Part 11 Games

Casey signaled Reid and Luke with a wave of his phone.

“Okay, I made the call. He’s on his way here. With Lily. They’re maybe ten minutes away.”

”Great,” Reid said, glancing at the hospital elevator. “Be out of sight. Damian can’t know you’re around.”

“Got it.”

Casey dashed down the hallway and found a place to watch without being seen.

Reid looked at Luke, “You ready for this?”

“What? The inquisition?” Luke joked, “Bring it on.”

But Luke’s eyes were pools of sadness. His skin seemed pale to Reid, his features pinched.

“If you’ve changed your mind-”

“No,” Luke’s lip jutted out with determination. “I can do it. “ He shot Reid a rueful look, “I’ve been acting for these two for most of my life. “

***

Last night, they’d planned it out carefully. Luke had listened and nodded, laying his arms across Reid’s lap and putting his head on the center of Reid’s chest. Luke looked up at him, his eyes round and wide, like a little boy’s .

“I’m really going to miss you,” he’d said, his tone subdued.

Reid found that he couldn’t speak. He could say nothing at all.

Luckily, a nurse’s aid had flung open the door then to deliver Luke’s meal.

“My last supper,” Luke had joked, opening up some jello.

“What?” he’d asked, seeing Reid’s startled expression.

“Look at you trying to be all clever,” Reid said with teasing approval, “You sound like me.”

“Oh God, no!” Luke laughed. “Not that!” Then he’d inspected his food more, wrinkling up his nose in distaste. “Yuck! I can’t eat this.”

“Hey, I have to eat here daily,” Reid had joked, “and you got my favorite beef surprise served on an orange tray. Let’s just hope the botulism holds off 24 hours.”

Reid had watched as Luke tentatively ate the food. He picked up a pen from his lab coat and his prescription pad and began to absently doodle.

“Earth to Reid,” Luke said impatiently.

“What?” Reid looked up with a bemused expression.

“I was talking to you.” Luke had glanced at his drawing, “What’re you doing ?”

Reid flushed, “Nothing, I sometimes need to keep my hands busy.”

“Are you drawing a brain?” Luke had said, then he poked Reid gently in the rib, “You geek.”

“Drawing brains relaxes me,” Reid had defended himself. “Did you expect me to be drawing hearts and writing you love poems?”

“Nope,” Luke had answered, snatching the pad from him, “nerdy sketches of brains is what I’d expect from you.” He studied it. “Geez, Reid, do you have to everything so well? “ The sketch was like a piece of abstract art with each part of the brain in its complex pattern.

Luke admired it a moment longer. Then Luke had ripped off the page with Reid’s drawing and folded it carefully.

“Why’d you take that?” Reid said.

“I’m keeping it,” Luke had replied, his voice indicating the question was foolish. Reid watched him put the drawing into his wallet.

“Now, whatever else is going on,” Luke had smiled, “you know I have this with me, and I’m thinking of you.” He’d said nothing more, merely gazing up at the ceiling, lost in his thoughts.

“Do you want to back out?” Reid had asked him softly.

Luke took such a long time to answer, that Reid was afraid he was upset. But when Luke finally met his eyes, his expression was clear and calm.

“No, you?” Luke had asked.

“No.”

Luke nodded and gave Reid his hand.

"I haven't been...completetly honest, Reid. All this has been a lot harder to bounce back from then I hoped. But I'm working on it."

"I know."

"You know?"

"Yeah."

Overcome with feeling, they simply touched, their fingers holding on tightly, a warmth radiating between their palms.

***

Now, the elevator light flashed its arrival. Luke’s back was to it, making it look like he was clueless about his parents . Reid wished he could stop what was about to happen. He drank in the sight of Luke’s lovely face, wishing he could trace the line of Luke’s full mouth once more, wishing he could touch all that fresh skin.

Luke titled his head questioningly.

Reid gave him a barely perceptible nod. The time had come.

“Just what is your problem now, Luke? “ Reid asked him, sounding irritated.

“Look at me!” Luke shouted, just as the elevators opened. “My face! Look at what being with you has done! I tell you, it’s over! It’s so over!”

“Are you breaking things off?” Reid’s tone became incredulous. “Going back in the closet?”

“I’m getting my life back!” Luke answered, shoving at him, “the one you stole! “

“Good luck with that, “ Reid replied, in the coldest voice he’d ever spoken to Luke in.

They glared at each other. Then Luke pushed him again.

“I hate you,” Luke cried out,” I really hate you!” He nearly spat the words at Reid.

Reid’s anger was palpable on his face, “I hate you too,” he snarled in a low tone. “You’re nothing but a stupid little boy who –“

The sound of a harsh slap echoed through the hallway. The side of Reid’s face was red.

“Shut up! “ Luke screamed at him. “Just shut up! You did this to me! I was fine before you.”

Luke pushed at Reid, almost knocking him to the floor, “You messed me up!” He yelled .

Luke went at Reid as if to attack him some more. Lily cried out . Damian grabbed his son. “Luciano, it’s alright,” he said, “come with us.”

He had to force Luke away from Reid, as Luke tried to kick out at him with his feet.

“Let me go! Let me fight him. He ruined my life!”

“Oh, baby!” Lily said, her voice thick with emotion,” That’s not true! We’ll take you back.”

“Really?” Luke looked at Lily with his bruised face. “Even though I’ve caused so much trouble?”

She opened her arms. Luke turned and buried his head in his mother’s shoulder.

“I’m so sorry,” Luke said.

“We forgive you,” Lily soothed. “But we will need to set some rules.”

“I understand,” Luke’s voice was muffled against her shirt, and he sniffed loudly.

As she led her son to the elevator, Lily couldn’t help giving Reid a small, victorious smile.

“Go home to mommy, “ Reid sneered at them. “I could care less!”

Lily held the elevator door for Damian. Luke didn’t bother to look up from her shoulder.
“Come on,” Lily called to her husband. She didn’t want to chance another moment between Luke and Reid. She wanted Luke safely home with her.

“In a moment, Cara,” Damian said. He came closer to Reid. His eyes were chilly. “Just make sure you stay away from my son,” he said in a soft, menacing voice.

Reid shrugged insolently, “I have no reason not to,” he answered.

Reid watched as Damian joined his family in the elevator and pressed the down button. The door closed and Luke was gone.

***

Casey came out of his hiding place. He put a comforting hand on Reid’s shoulder.

“That was intense , man,” he whispered. “I don’t envy the conversation that Luke will probably have to suffer though with those two,” he shuddered.

Reid drew in a ragged breath. He pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. An ache for Luke welled up inside of him. He tried to speak to Casey and then just shook his head. For the first time since he had come to Oakdale, Reid felt his aloneness pulsing inside of his body. He had forgotten how isolated he’d always felt from the world – before Luke. Reid used to feel that, aside from his work, he mattered to no one. He could break apart or disappear and no one would grieve for him. He’d felt like a shadow in his own life.

Then he had come to this town. He had met Luke, who was like warmth seeping into his veins. The darkness inside him had just vanished. It had unsettled him at first, Luke’s fierce ability to love. But now he craved it all the time, and Reid was dreading the separation from him.

He drew in a painful breath. Reid reminded himself why they were putting on this charade. This was for Luke. To give Luke a future without his parents keeping him like an animal in a golden cage. How could they be like that? How could they not see that he needed to be free? How could anybody want to cut Luke down into tiny pieces of insecurity and doubt?

God, he wanted to see Luke’s face already, hear his laugh, see his eyes sparkle. How could he miss him already? Reid wanted to hold him, joke with him, comfort him. Reid wanted to know that this person he trusted most in the world was in his arms, where he belonged. He swallowed his own sadness and tried to focus on what he needed to do.

“Let’s just hope Luke convinces Damian to take him back at Grimaldi Shipping, “ He finally said to Casey, “ And we can put an end to this mess quickly. “

***

Two weeks passed. The only one to still see Luke was Casey. Damian trusted him to watch over Luke’s every move. Henry and Vienna had tried to see him. Lucinda had tried too. They were all shut out. During his first week at home, Holden had managed to get a letter to him. Luke kept it in his wallet, next to Reid’s sketch.

The letter read:

Dear Luke,
For the life of me, I don’t know why this is happening again. Maybe breaking up with Reid has made you spiral out of control? I only know that I want your happiness. I see that you left some things here in your old room. I hope that means you might return? Know that your things will be waiting for you. No questions asked.
Love,
Dad


Luke pressed his hands into his suit pocket and felt the comforting presence of the wallet, knowing what was inside. He followed Damian into Memorial. It was the board member’s quarterly meeting. But Luke knew it was also a test. Damian wanted to watch him with Reid.

They stepped into the elevator. They both had on dark, expensive Italian suits. Luke’s hair was slicked away from his face just like Damian’s hair. Neither one smiled as they went to Bob’s office. It wasn’t until they headed for the board room that Luke saw him. His step faltered a minute, before he regained control. His pulse pounded. Luke took one quick look at Reid, feeling a deep shock of recognition flood his entire body, and then looked away. He made sure his face was an inscrutable mask.

He didn’t dare look at Reid again. All the doctors sat on one side of the table and the board members on another. Luke listened to Bob speak and then Damian. He appeared to be listening, but in reality he didn’t hear a word. He could feel Reid. The weight of Reid’s body sitting just across from him was like a magnet pulling at his skin. It was as if there were no others in the room, only them. Luke could sense Reid’s presence, his proximity.

Luke reminded himself that he was doing this for Reid, so that his family could no longer hurt him. If he followed their plan, he would be able to force Damian to leave Reid alone for good. Luke swallowed the bitterness in his mouth.

The meeting ended. Damian was shaking hands and pushing Luke forward. He shook hands and smiled, tasks he could do in his sleep. He knew the second that Reid left, although he did not hesitate or glance at him.

They walked with Bob back to the elevator. Damian was deep in conversation about some new money for Chris Hughes and a pediatric unit. The doors to the elevator opened.

Reid

Damian’s gaze sharpened on Luke. He walked into the elevator and forced himself to turn away from Reid’s blue eyes. Luke clenched his jaw. He jammed his hands in his pockets, feeling for the wallet.

“Damian?” Bob prompted his father back to their conversation. They resumed their talk.

Reid was directly behind him. He could feel Reid’s breath at the nape of his neck.
Luke tilted his head slightly back, wanting to fall toward Reid’s body, but not daring. Luke’s chest tightened. His heart beat so loudly and frantically that he was certain Damian must know. But when Luke looked at Damian, his father appeared indifferent.

They stopped at the floor for neurology. Luke moved to one side and looked blankly at the elevator buttons. When Reid left, it hit him like a physical blow.

The elevator reached the bottom floor. Bob and Damian stepped out. Luke went with them, and they all shook hands again. Then the limo pulled up.

Luke turned to the car and climbed into the darkness.

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December 2011

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