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After the Rattle
Disclaimer: These characters belong to ATWT

Chapter Six: Skin Deep

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<a href="http://marsabi.livejournal.com/10617.html">6</a>

After Luke pulled Reid out of his Chief of Staff party, they rode home in a chilly silence. Reid tried to tell Luke that he was "overreacting."

He did not have to ask why Luke was upset; Reid could see that Luke was jealous. Steam practically rose out of him when he introduced himself to Dr. James Davis  and his brother Alec.

"It was nothing," Reid said now, in the frosty silence, "It was a few casual dates."

"Did you sleep with him," Luke hissed.

Reid opened his mouth to answer and then closed it.

Luke pulled up into Lucinda's driveway and practically leaped out of the car.

Reid sighed. How could he explain to Luke that the sex was just sex. That it had meant nothing. That back then, Reid had been lonely and working as a resident at his first hospital job, and it had been nice but nothing more. No, Luke couldn't undertand that. For Luke, sex meant love. Look how long he had waited to sleep with Reid. Nothing for Luke was causual. And Reid did not want Luke to be any other way.  

As Reid recalled that time in his life,  he and Alec had hooked up out of convience. And yes, Alec had wanted more, but Reid had been incapable of giving it to him. Reid's heart had always been frozen - until a certain black-mailing, breath-stealing blond had come into his life.

Reid went into the pool house and found that Luke had already turned off the light and was curled up in bed. Reid reached out a hand.

Luke flinched away.

"Don't."

Sadness filled Reid's face. He couldn't handle Luke rejectng him; Luke taking back all that love and warmth that fed his hungry soul.

Reid left the room.

Luke turned and looked at Reid as he left. He felt bad, but angry too.  Luke felt all of his old insecurities come rushing back to him. He knew he wasn't Reid's first, but to actually meet a past lover. To see that man looking at Reid. Reid andLuke's love felt so fragile now. Luke felt tears well up in his eyes. He should know from his past with Noah that love can turn on you. 

They both slept poorly that night.

In the morning, Reid went to physical therapy. Luke was long gone.  Reid's friend and fellow doctor, Dr. James Davis , examined his hand and they began to do a series of exercises to strength his hand again. 

"ShouldI use the band nightly?"
"Yes. If the tingling does stop, then I think the hand will recover its full use."

"And if not?"Reid asked  hesitantly.

James just shrugged. "We keep trying." 


A few minutes later, Jame's brother, barged into the room.

"How is the hand, doll?" He grinned and pinched Reid's leg.

James goraned. Reid scowled.

"This is a private physical therapy session," Reid told him flatly.
 

Alec shrugged. He continued to talk and flirt. 

Reid continued to reject him.

When James excused himself for a moment, Alec grabbed Reid .

"Still such a cold fish," he said to Reid. "Still without any emotions inside of you."

"Why do you care, Alec?" Reid shrugged him off. "We were only together a few times."

Reid suspected with Alec it was all about his ego. He was a good looking man, used to getting whatever he wanted. Reid had not been too interested. Alec had most likely never been dumped before, and Reid had dumped him. He had not really known Reid, and certainly had never loved him. This was just ego. Reid was sure of that. "Why do you care?" Reid repeated.

Alec merely smiled and then tried to kiss Reid on the mouth. Their lips made contact and Reid tried to push him off. Just then,  the door swung open and there was Luke.

"I was coming to say sorry. " Luke's mouth turned down at the corner and trembled. "For overreacting, like you said. Obviously, the jokes on me." Luke turned and ran off.

Reid finally shrugged off Alec and ran after Luke.

But Luke was already gone. 



Luke grabbed his things from the poolhouse and fled to the farm. He never wanted to see Reid again!  His lover was in town one day only and he had already caught them in a kiss! He was a fool. He would stay with Holden awhile -away from town. Luke felt humiliated.

After failing to stop Luke, Reid stormed back into the hospital. Alec was still there, standing by his brother. Reid ingored James , and grabbed Alec's arm.

"Don't come near me again," Reid snarled.

Alec merely shrugged. "Why cause of that boy? A pretty child. A decoration. You  know you need a man."


"Come on guys-" James  tried to break the heated  conversation up.  He had always been the better brother, less spoiled and more sensitive than Alec. He had always watched as Alec was coddled by his parents. Alec was a petulant person. He only was angry at Reid because Reid never treated him like royalty. All his other boyfriends had.

Reid gave them both a cold look. "I don't have time for this," he said. Then he turned and left.

"Good move,'  James told his brother.
Alec just ignored him. His eyes were narrowing in anticipation of the chase.



Reid looked for Luke at Java, but all he did was run into Noah. Noah, already back from LA, too scared to cut ties with Oakdale. Noah. Terrific.  The two men exchange nods just as Alec, who had followed Reid, came in.

"Seen Luke?" Reid asked Noah.

"Nope. Whay ask me?"

"He was upset," Reid said, "You seemed like a logical choice to ask."

"If you are not taking good care of Luke," Noah said loudly, " I will deck you again."

"Classy," Reid taunted, " as intelligent and articulate as ever."

Reid rushed of Java , blowing right past Alec.

Alec did not try and follow Reid this time. He examined Noah.

"Not a friend of yours, I'd guess?" he said to Noah.

Noah scowled, "No. That man stole my boyfriend."

"Interesting," Alec smiled and patted Noah's arm. "It seems we have a reason to talk..."



Over at her house, Katie was crying. Chris Hughes had bruised her heart badly. He had been flirting with a nurse, right in front of Katie. He had then told her he needed "time," after his transplant, to "figure it all out."   Katie had dumped him right then and there. She  realized he had been a desperate attempt at love, since her husband Brad's death, Katie had felt desperate. But she did not really love Chris. That was why her heart felt bruised, but not broken. Katie would allow herself this one good cry and then move on with it.

Just then her doorbell rang. Katie opened it. The doctor friend of Reids, Dr. James Davis, stood there.

"Hi, um, I am looking for Reid," he told her, "this is his address on his records at Memorial."

Katie shook her head. "He did live here , a few weeks ago he moved. Come in and I can give you his new address."
 

James took in her tear-streaked face. He couldn't stand to see tears, especially on a cute blond.

"Are you okay?" He asked. Katie met his eyes. She had not noticed that they were a striking green color. A blush stung her cheeks, "Fine."

She did not want to cry on this stranger's shoulders, even if his shoulders were nicely built. 
 
"Okay."

"So you and Reid are friends?" Katie said, handing him the address.

"Well," laughed  ,as much as anybody is allowed to be Reid Oliver's friend."

Katie laughed to. "I kow what you mean, but Luke has really changed him."

"Has he?"

"Oh yes."

"I just hope that Luke is stronger than he seems," Dr.  Davis murmured.

Katie gave him a funny look. "Why do you say that?"

The doctor sighed, "Just take my word for it." He sighed again. He never should of let Alec come to town with him.

He thanked Katie and shook her hand. A flash of chemistry sizzled between them. Katie pulled away and Dr. Davis left.

Whoever didn't treat her right was a big fool, he thought.


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