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Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
1:25 am - All That, and More 1/1
Title: All That, And More
Author: Amber
Rating: NC-17
Summary: An expansion of my 10 for 10 prompt, Fluff. The original: Roses everywhere. Lights dimmed. Marry me, Luke. Yes, Reid. Yes.
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Friday, August 27th, 2010
7:35 pm - A Good Man 1-4/?
Part 1

Reid woke up early to the sound of his beeper. He grabbed it immediately, and grumbled, “Fuck, 911.” He threw his clothes on haphazardly. Between taking care of Chris and his usual shifts in the hospital, he hadn’t seen Luke in days. Every bone in his body ached with fatigue. He felt the absence of his boyfriend like an open wound, but he just didn’t have the time to see him.

Reid fumbled in the darkness for his shoes, coughing loudly. His hands were trembling. Beads of sweat stood out on his face. He pressed a clammy hand to his fevered forehead.

“Have to get to work,” he muttered. After much prodding, Chris had finally agreed to see a cardiologist. Chris had requested (ordered) Reid’s presence. Though Reid hated being bossed around by someone he was keeping alive, he’d been glad to oblige. He figured the next logical step would to be tell Chris’ family, to tell Katie.

Reid shook himself out of his haze and left the apartment. He’d been feeling weak for days, but he just chalked it up to exhaustion. He couldn’t be sick today. Chris needed him. The hospital needed him. He drove to work, coughing the entire time.

Bob took one look at Reid and ordered him to go back home.

“Bob, I’m fine.” Reid said sharply. “It’s just a cold.”

He tried to focus on Bob’s face, but it was blurry and unclear. Reid blinked quickly, and Bob came back into focus.

“Reid, you look like death warmed over,” Bob said firmly. “I won’t have you infecting my patients. Stop by the pharmacy, get some steroids. Then take a paid vacation. “

“Sure, Bob.” Reid said snarkily. He turned away and stumbled down the hallway. He would never make it to the pharmacy. The break room was only a few doors away. He opened the door, and collapsed onto the cot.

His cell phone vibrated in his pocket. He pulled it out, and stared, for a moment, uncomprehending, at the number.

“Ello?” he whispered. “Who’s this?”

“Reid!” came the joyful reply. “Oh my god, how are you? I know you said you were busy, but I’ve been worried. It’s not like you to drop out of touch. Are you okay?”

Reid tried to answer, but a rasping cough was all he could manage.

He wet his lips, and tried again. “Luke,” he wheezed. “I need you. I can’t breathe. I thought it was just a cold, but I can’t –“ he broke off to cough again.

“Jesus,” Luke murmured. “Reid, I’ll be right over. Where are you?”

“The hospital break room,” Reid said softly. “Hurry. Chris has his appointment today.”

Luke was completely confused. “What appoint- never mind. I’ll be right there. Just try and get some rest.”

Reid nodded, even though Luke couldn’t see him. He didn’t bother closing his phone, just let it fall from limp fingers. He closed his eyes and tried to remember days when he hadn’t been sick. Fever assaulted his senses, and he could no longer concentrate. Finally, he surrendered to a restless sleep.

Part 2

Luke’s fear nearly overwhelmed him. He grabbed his keys off his desk and ran downstairs.

Have to get to Reid, he thought. Have to get to Reid.

He made it to Memorial in record time. His heart pumping loudly in his ears, he opened the door to the hospital break room.

“Reid,” he breathed. For a moment, Luke was rooted to the spot, staring at Reid in mute horror.

He quickly walked to Reid’s side. His skin, normally a healthy glow, now was pale and sickly.
Luke gently brushed Reid’s forehead with his fingertips. It burned him to the touch, but he kept his hand there anyway, trying to rouse his boyfriend.

Reid stirred at the touch. His eyelids fluttered open.

“Luke,” he mumbled. “You came.” His sudden smile became a grimace.

Luke tried to be comforting. “Of course I came. I’m gonna get you some help.”

He turned away to do just that, but Reid grabbed his wrist in a surprisingly firm grip.

“Chris,” he said. “Needs to a see a cardiologist today. Heart muscle could be compromised.”

Luke stared at Reid helplessly.

“What are you saying?” he pleaded.

“Been helping Chris during downtime. He’s very sick. Make sure he goes.” His eyes rolled back
into his head, as he fell back to sleep.

Luke had no idea what was going on, but a few pieces were falling into place.

He turned and jogged out of the break room. He flagged down the first nurse he could find.

"Nurse Taylor!" he said urgently. "Reid's sick. He's passed out in the break room, and has a very high fever."

Nurse Taylor blinked at him in a perplexed fashion. She couldn't imagine that Dr. Oliver would ever get sick.

"Well Luke, I'll get someone right away." she said nervously.

Luke sighed loudly. He paced back and forth, scruffing his hair, agitated. Nurse Taylor stared at him. She'd never seen Luke so frantic.

"What the hell is wrong with you, Gretchen?" Luke yelled. "Go do your job!"

Dr. Bob strode down the halls quickly, as he heard the commotion. He spotted Luke yelling at the terrified Nurse Taylor.

"Luke, what is going on?" he said, grabbing the young man's shoulder. "Nurse Taylor?"

"It's Dr. Oliver, sir." Nurse Taylor whispered. "He's sick." She snapped out of her stupor and entered the hospital break room. Dr. Bob followed her.

Nurse Taylor immediately took Reid's pulse, while Dr. Bob placed a tentative hand on his forehead.

"Oh my god," he murmured. Reid had seemed fine half an hour ago. Now he was in desperate need of help.

Dr. Bob left Nurse Taylor to her job, and called for an emergency medical team to come to the hospital break room.

"We need a stretcher down here right away. We'll put him in a private room. I want an ice bath ready. We have to get his temperature down."

They said they'd be there in minutes. Bob nodded, and turned back to his patient.

"Gretchen, you take care of him. I need to make sure the team's on its way."

"Yes, Dr. Hughes."

Bob left the room and passed Luke, who stood outside, staring into space.

"Luke, why don't you sit down, son?" Bob said softly. "We're taking care of him."

"What's wrong with him? What happened?" Luke asked.

"By the sound of his cough, I'm guessing bronchitis or pneumonia. Has he been sneaking extra shifts? That happens sometimes."

Luke sputtered in disbelief. "Shouldn't you know that? I haven't seen him in weeks. He's been working the usual shifts, but he's been helping -" Luke shook his head, and turned away from Bob. "I think I need to sit down."

"Of course, Luke." Bob guided Luke to the chairs against the wall. "I'll let you know the minute we've got him stabilized. We have to get that fever down. Once we do that, I'll order a chest x-ray to confirm the pneumonia. It'll be okay."

Luke nodded to Dr. Bob, because he had no idea what else to do. He put his head in his hands as soon as Dr. Bob walked away. Ice bath. In his mind’s eye, he could hear Reid’s screams as the ice soaked his burning skin.

He felt the tears slide down his cheeks, and didn’t bother wiping them away. His thoughts centered on the man responsible: Chris Hughes. Luke shoved the chair back and stood up, gaze steely and determined.

If Chris had something to do with Reid’s illness, Luke was going to find him and make him pay.

Part 3

Reid jerked awake immediately as the ice touched his skin. His eyes scanned the room, before finally he found Bob leaning over him.

"Just relax," Bob said gently. "It's vitally important we get your temperature down."

"It's f-freezing," Reid mumbled. Bob nodded, reassuring, as he put his hand on Reid's shoulder.
Reid blinked quickly, then tried to find Bob again in the explosion of light.

Instead, it was Chris Hughes who stood in front of him. His gaze was hard and unforgiving.

"You killed me, Reid." he gritted. "You might as well have shot me, and spit on my corpse. You didn't try hard enough. Now it's too late, and I'm dying. Well, that's all right. I'll get my revenge now."

Chris gave a cold smile, and put his hands around Reid's throat. Still smiling, he began to squeeze.

Reid batted him away, but could do nothing.

"Chris, stop." he muttered weakly. "Get off me. I'm sorry. I tried. I'm so sorry."

Bob tried to steady Reid as he thrashed against him. Reid clenched his teeth, and shut his eyes tightly to try and erase the image of Chris.

"We're gonna need some restraints here." he told a nurse. "Can you find Luke Snyder? We need someone to keep him calm."

Part 4

Luke paced back and forth in the waiting room for patients. He'd thought about tracking Chris down, but abandoned the idea immediately. He couldn't go anywhere until Reid was stable.
Bob entered the waiting room, a grave expression on his face.

"Bob, what is it? What's happening?"

"We don't have a diagnosis yet, Luke. We're trying to do the ice bath, but he's panicking. He's hallucinating. I need you. I know you can keep him calm."

"Of course," Luke replied. "I'll do anything to help."

"I know you will. Let's go."

Bob turned away, and Luke followed him to Reid's room.

Luke's stomach rolled when he saw his boyfriend lying in the hospital bed. He was naked from the waist up. Goosebumps pimpled his body, though he was drenched in sweat. His eyes were closed, as he tossed back and forth, mumbling. His hands were bound to the bed. Luke looked at Bob, in askance.

"We had to," Bob said before he could say anything. "He wouldn't stop fighting us. Now keep him calm, and we can start the ice bath again."

Luke stood next to Reid in an instant. He stroked his forehead, and called his name.

"Luke," Reid said through dried lips. "I killed him, Luke. I know I killed him."

Unbidden tears fell down Luke's cheeks. He gave Reid a watery smile and bent to kiss his lips tenderly.

"You didn't kill anyone," he said. You didn't, but I might. "You're an amazing doctor. You do your best every day. It's what I love so much about you."

Reid regarded him for a long moment. Every few seconds, his eyes roamed around the room in confusion before falling back on Luke.

"You're bleeding sentiment, Mr. Snyder." he joked feebly. "It doesn't become you."

Bob stood in the background, and instructed the nurses to resume the ice bath.

"Bob," Luke said quietly. "I want to hold his hand. I think it would help."

"Sure." Bob undid the restraint. He used a washcloth to wipe down Reid's brow.

Luke quickly wrapped Reid's hand in both of his own. Around him, the nurses packed ice on Reid's prone body.

Bob stuck a thermometer and waited a few minutes. Reid squirmed, but didn't protest out loud. He gritted his teeth as he tried to curl away from the ice. He stared up at Luke with a frenzied concentration.

"If anything ever happened to you, Luke." Reid said desperately. "I don't know what I'd do. You changed me. You crawled in and like attached yourself and shit. I just -"

"Reid," Luke interrupted, bending forward so he was only a few inches away. "Shut up. You can tell me all this when you're better. This is not your deathbed. Besides, you changed me. You've made me stronger. You've shown me what it really means to love someone. Okay?"

Reid nodded in response. He stared deeply into Luke's eyes, but felt very tired. He bit his lower lip to contain his screams. Even in his frenzied state, he knew he didn’t want to scream in front of Luke. He didn’t want to see the pained look on Luke’s face.

Shaking slightly, Luke rested his hand on Reid’s cheek.

“Shh,” he said. “Just lie still.”

For what seemed like an eternity, Luke held Reid’s hand with his right hand, while cradling his cheek with his left. His gaze remained steady on Reid’s eyes, while Reid moaned softly.

Luke couldn’t understand why Reid was being so restrained. He scooted closer, and said, “Reid. You can scream, you know. I promise I can take it.”

Reid shook his head ferociously. “Y-yoga,” he said. “E-easier this way.” He swallowed quickly.
"Luke, I -" he whispered.

"Got it!" Bob yelled triumphantly. "It's 99.1. Get him that chest x-ray stat."

"99.1? But that's still -" Luke began.

Bob clapped Luke on the back. "It's out of the danger zone, Luke! You may have saved his life. Thank you!"

The nurses wheeled Reid out of the room. While Bob followed them, he paused in the doorway.
"This will take a few hours, Luke. We need to do the chest x-ray, confirm the illness, and then prescribe a form of treatment. You should get home, get a change of clothes. I'll have the nurse set up a cot for you in his room."

Luke wanted to protest, but he nodded despite himself. "Okay, Bob. I won't be gone long."
Bob nodded, distracted. "I care about him too, Luke. He's not dying on my watch." He quickly left the room.

Luke wandered of out of the hospital room. He knew he should call his family, let them know what was going on. But he couldn't think of anything except Reid's words.

"I killed him, Luke. I know I killed him."

He scrubbed the tears off his face with a fierce determination. He had one more stop to make before he left the hospital. He went to the nurses' station, and asked politely, "Excuse me, ma'am. Can you tell me where Dr. Chris Hughes is?"

The nurse smiled brightly, recognizing Luke as a hospital donor. "Sure, Mr. Snyder. One second."

She pulled up the information with a few clicks. "Looks like he's doing a consult with Dr. Truman. Room 322. I think one of his kids has a heart problem."

Luke thanked her, and turned away, his mouth set in a grim line. I’ll bet he does.

He went upstairs to the third floor, and found the room without trouble. He leaned against the wall, and waited for Chris to come out.

It didn’t take long. Several minutes later, Chris emerged from the room. He shook the doctor’s hand immediately.

“You’ll have the results soon?” Chris asked.

“Of course, Dr. Hughes.” Dr Truman responded. “We should know within 24 hours whether your heart’s been damaged. Until then, get some rest. You shouldn’t be working anymore. Any amount of stress with agitate your disease.”

“Thank you, Dr. Truman.”

Dr. Truman nodded in acknowledgment, and walked away, shaking his head. He didn’t want to tell Dr. Hughes, but based on his initial diagnosis, Chris’ disease had advanced to the point where he needed a heart transplant. He hoped the young man was strong enough to bear the news.

“Luke,” Chris said, confused. “What are you doing here?”

Luke glared at him darkly. “You’ll find out soon enough. We need to talk privately.”

Chris glanced left and right, then shrugged. “Sure, come in.” He went back into the room he’d just exited.

Once the door closed, Luke got into Chris’ personal space.

“So I suppose you’re wondering where Reid is,” he growled.

Chris chuckled nervously. “Actually, yeah I was. He was supposed to be moral support today for the –consult.” He finished lamely.

“Cut the crap, Chris. I know all about it. Or I know enough,” he said acidly. “Reid is currently getting a chest x-ray down in ICU. He has a high fever. He’s exhausted. Every time I try and calm him down so your father can treat him, he just keeps babbling about you, and how you need him. Once, he said something about killing you.” Unable to contain himself, Luke shoved Chris against the wall.

“Now call me crazy. Either you’re in love with my boyfriend, and you’ve been fucking him behind my back. Or you’re keeping some other secret that Reid’s been helping you with. Something to do with your heart?”

Luke jabbed Chris’ shoulder sharply.

“Now unless you’re about to croak right this minute, start talking. What is your perfectly reasonable explanation for getting Reid so exhausted that he develops a severe illness?”

Chris was silent for a long minute, digesting what he’d heard.

He gently removed Luke’s arms from his body, and sat down on a nearby stool.

“It’s a long story,” he began.

Luke locked his arms together, and watched him intently.

“Make it snappy. I need to get back downstairs.”

Chris shrugged, and began talking.

As Luke listened, his anger slowly cooled. When Chris finished, Luke sat on the examination chair, looking pensive.

“So.” He said reluctantly. “You’re really sick, then?”

Chris nodded glumly. “Yeah, I am.”

Luke clenched his jaw, and said sarcastically, “And instead of admitting yourself like a sane person, you tried to treat yourself. Reid found you, and you’ve been forcing him to help you secretly for months.”

Chris winced. “I didn’t force him. He found me drawing my blood, and he just went along with it. He wanted to help me.”

Luke waved his hand dismissively. “With a little bit of blackmail on the side, I imagine.”

Chris shrugged, and refused to meet Luke’s eyes. “I may have told him if he didn’t keep my
secret, I’d tell everyone he coerced me into keeping quiet.” He mumbled.

Luke fought the impulse to scream at the idiotic man in front of him. It was easy to do, because telling the story had taken its toll on Chris. He looked frail and small on the stool.

“You know what, I can’t deal with this. I can’t take care of you, and Reid. Reid’s the only thing that matters. You’ve got plenty of family to help you with your disease. Instead, your selfishness made you choose the one person who would go above and beyond to help you, even though it’s not his specialty. He’s helped you enough, Chris. You stay the hell away from him now.”

Chris nodded sheepishly.

Luke ignored him, and dialed a number he knew by heart. “But you know what, you’ve got someone else in your corner.”

“Hello?” Katie answered.

“Katie, it’s Luke. I’m here at the hospital. Reid had to be admitted.” He listened to her concerned babbling for a moment. “Now Katie, calm down. Dr. Bob assures me he’s gonna be fine. But I do have someone else who needs you.”

He handed the phone to Chris with a smirk. “Good luck, champ. Drop it off at the nurses’ station downstairs when you’re done.”

Luke left the room with a slight swagger to his step. No matter what happened next, at least he’d defended the man he loved.

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Sunday, August 8th, 2010
5:44 pm - Secrets 2/?
Title: Secrets
Author: Amber
Chapter Summary: Luke talks to Katie.

Part 1

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Monday, July 19th, 2010
2:00 am - Need
Author: Amber
Title: Need
Genre/Type: Romance
Rating: R for language
Characters/Pairings: LuRe
Warnings: None
Summary: Lil bit of angst, whole lot of love.
Word Count: 2325


Luke felt like throwing up. He stared at the phone in a daze. Reid wasn't answering. Reid quit his job for Luke. Reid thought Luke and Noah were back together.

Luke wanted off the crazy carousel that had become his life. He couldn't stand the constant push-pull between the two of them. He needed to act. He needed to push back. Shoving his phone into his pocket, Luke stood, and headed to Katie's.

You are going to talk to me, Reid Oliver. You don't have a choice.

Reid gently set Jacob's teddy bear down on the counter. Everything in his life had fallen to shit, but at least he still could fix Jacob's toy.

Jacob. Reid shouldn't dwell on his problems, he was supposed to be babysitting.

He entered the nursery, and sat down.

"Hey, little guy." he said softly. "I quit my job today. So you'll be seeing more of me for a little while. I did it for Luke, to prove to him how much I love -" Reid choked on the word. Luke had chosen another. He did not deserve Reid's love. "how much I care. But my plan totally backfired, and now he's back with his Prince Charming."

Reid paused, and exhaled heavily.

"You know what, kid? Don't ever fall in love. It hurts too much. I can't stick around and watch them play the happy couple. After all, I'm not a masochist."

Reid felt moisture on his cheeks, and didn't bother to wipe it away.

"Damn it, Luke." he whispered hoarsely. "Damn it." Reid felt the pressure rising in him, and he was too tired to tamp it down. He began to sob loudly. Reid refused to cry in front of the kid, so he grabbed the monitor and stumbled to his room.

Reid hated crying. He hated watching people cry, the sound of it, a shuffling river of disgusting emotion. Reid hadn't cried in decades. The last time had been tears of joy when he got into medical school. He had shunned love like the plague, for fear of crying. Then he finally fallen head over heels for someone, and look where it got him.

Reid bit his thumb to muffle the hideous sound, but to no avail. Finally he surrendered, and wept in earnest. He wanted to rewind the last six months, and just be the proficient doctor in Dallas again. He wished he'd never met Luke. The pain of losing him was unbearable. Eventually, he fell into sleep, clutching the baby monitor.

Luke stood in front of Katie's door, and steeled himself for battle. He knocked with purpose. There was no answer. Luke had seen Reid's car outside, he was definitely here.

Luke knocked again, more forcefully. He could hear Jacob begin to cry. Worried now, Luke tried the door, and found it open.

"Reid?" he called.

Luke immediately went to Jacob's room, and found him fussing in his crib. He picked him up, and rocked him gently for a few moments. Soon, the infant drifted back to sleep.

Satisfied that Jacob was asleep, Luke quickly went to Reid's room. He could hear his heart thumping loudly. He had no idea what to expect. The door was ajar. Luke rubbed his palms together nervously and stepped inside.

Reid was dreaming. More accurately, he was having a nightmare. He was back in the broken elevator, but Luke wasn't there to talk him down. Reid could feel the panic begin to bubble up. He tried to concentrate, but without Luke there to encourage him, it was useless.

Reid finally slumped onto the carpet, and put his head in his hands.

I hate tight spaces. I hate Oakhell. Most of all, I hate Luke Snyder.

Suddenly an annoying beeping sound pierced his thoughts.

He bolted upright, gasping for air. He turned to stare at the now silent baby monitor.

Jacob. Shit.

What the hell happened? He couldn't have fallen asleep. Reid would never forgive himself if something had happened to Jacob.

Reid jogged out of his room, head first into Luke.

Luke saw Reid charging towards him, and the next thing he knew, he was flat on his ass, Reid glaring down at him like a pissed off bull.

"Luke," he said, bemused. "What are you doing here?"

Luke stared at Reid, who looked even worse than at Java. His face was red and splotchy. His eyes were bloodshot. He was dripping with sweat. Luke could hardly believe it, but it looked like the clinical Dr. Oliver had been crying his eyes out.

Luke knew he had to use his every ounce of his charm to stop Reid from throwing him out.

He forced a smile, and said, "I came to find you. Uh, can you help me up?"

Confusion ran rampant in Reid's eyes. Luke sensed he was still half-asleep.

His face cleared, and he quickly knelt to help Luke off the floor. Luke missed the touch of his hands, even though the touch was perfunctory.

"Watch where you're going, Luke. I have to check on the kid."

No, you don't.

Luke grabbed Reid's shoulders firmly, and said, "Jacob's fine. I woke him up with my knocking, that's all. I rocked him back to sleep."

Reid blinked quickly, absorbing the news. He felt the fear subside. Jacob was okay. But now Luke was here, surely to gloat about his reunion.

He summoned the cold, crisp tones of Dr. Oliver, but it was like clinging to a slowly sinking life raft. He had no fight left.

"Thank you for your help, Mr. Snyder. Now take your do-gooder butt home, and leave me in peace."

Luke cringed at the remoteness of his voice, but underneath, he could hear the crackle of suppressed emotion.

Reid was barely holding it together. The touch of Luke's hands was like a warning. If he held on any longer, it was going to make him physically sick.

"Luke, let go of me." he said softly. "I'm not going to listen you expound on your great love. Leave me alone." He tried to shrug out of the touch, but it was like superglue. Reid had no idea Luke was so strong.

Luke resisted the urge to roll his eyes. He maintained eye contact, and firmly stated, "I'm not leaving you alone. I'm not leaving you, period. The door was unlocked, you were asleep in here, anything could have happened." Luke began to walk, marching Reid back into the bedroom. He gently shoved him onto the bed. Only then he did remove his hands.

"Don't move," he ordered. "Sit down, shut up, and listen."

Reid's mouth fell open slightly in surprise. He wanted to get up and order Luke out, but instead he sat quietly. His head was swimming with thoughts of what could have happened to Jacob. For the first time, he allowed himself to believe that Luke really was here for him.

"I'm not with Noah." Luke sat down to Reid, and placed his hand on his knee, stroking it reassuringly.

"I'm not ever going to be Noah again. I want you, Dr. Oliver, and only you. I was such an ass to you about the hospital, and I'm so sorry. I should have never got pissed about your plan. You had an impossible choice to make, and you tried to compromise."

Luke swallowed, and tried to gauge the reaction from Reid. But it was like staring at a blank slate. He soldiered on.

"But you can't compromise by yourself, Reid. If you want to be with me, you need to include me in your life, totally. I let Noah completely define me, and I'm never going to do that again.

"Never." he said fiercely.

"Reid, you amaze me. Your fire, your passion, the way you won't settle for anything but excellence in your life.

"I want to be your boyfriend, and your partner. I don't want you to be alone anymore. The last few days have been killing me. It's been agony without you."

Luke exhaled sharply, and waited for a response.

Agony. That's rich.

Reid wanted to give into Luke's words, but it all felt so incredibly hollow. He didn't truly believe that Luke would ever want to be with him, not when Noah was still in the picture. When he'd seen Luke and Noah laughing at the coffee shop, it was like someone had shot him in the heart. He could still feel the bleed, dripping into the rest of his chest cavity. He knew right then that he had given up his mission in life for a immature little boy who would never ever love him. It didn't even matter that they weren't together now, they would be. Reid wouldn't be able to handle the hurt when Luke went back to Noah.

Reid felt the bullet again now, speeding into him without remorse.

It was so fucking useless.

He got up, sliding away from Luke. He turned his back on him, crossed his arms in front of his chest.

Just go away. I can't let you hurt me again.

"Reid?" Luke asked tentatively.

He moved forward, and gingerly put a hand on Reid's shoulder.

Reid reacted like a snake had bit him. He spun around, and aggressively grabbed Luke. He leaned forward and steamrolled him against the wall on the other side of the room.

Luke let himself fall limp, and stared deeply into Reid's eyes, which darted back and forth like a hawk. He didn't even want to breathe.

Reid felt like a coiled spring. His muscles tense, he studied Luke's face intently. The stupid spiky haircut, the chocolate brown eyes. He pinned Luke against the wall, and ran a hand along his groin, teasing. Luke hissed. Reid forced his mouth onto Luke's, his tongue lashing out. Reid nibbled on Luke's bottom lip with a ferocity that drew blood. Finally, he released Luke, whose lips were trembling. Luke tried to kiss Reid, but Reid recoiled, and said sharply, "No."

"You had your say, Luke. Now it's my turn. I don't believe anything you say. I abandoned my whole life to come down and heal your boyfriend, and now I'm completely in love with you. You have managed to, in the span of a few days, completely destroy me. Because of you, I somehow managed to cry -" Reid gritted his teeth, and spat the word like poison. "Cry myself to sleep like a fucking pussy, and leave a six month old to fend for himself. You don't get to march back into my life, and give me some sappy speech, and expect me to just bow down at your feet. I endangered that baby, and it's partly because of you."

Luke tried to speak, but Reid shook him into silence.

"No! If we do this, it's for the long haul. I won't allow you to hurt me again. You can't give me any guarantee that you won't go be with him. You don't even love me, Luke." Reid exhaled harshly. "You don't even -"

I love you, Reid. I love you.

Luke thought the words, but they were stuck on his tongue. Reid was right. He couldn't give him any promises. Any declaration now would just seem like desperation on his part.

So instead, Luke did the next best thing. He forced Reid to let him go, and stepped forward into Reid's arms. Luke wrapped his arms around Reid's shoulders, and drew him close.

He closed his eyes, and felt the tears stain Reid's shirt.

"I love you, Reid." he murmured. "I love you. I want us to be together. I need you, baby." His voice cracked, as he released the tension he'd felt all afternoon. "I need you."

Reid had tried to struggle against the sneak attack hug, but it simply felt too good. He relaxed into Luke's embrace, and let his hands fall naturally to rest on Luke's butt. Reid felt his resistance crumble. Luke had hollowed out his insides, and settled in. Something in Reid broke when he heard the word need. Need, not want. Need. Love, not want. Love. Reid was now at the precipice of giving in.

He let out a trembling sigh, and whispered, "I need you too. I need you."

Luke pulled back slightly and regarded Reid's bloodshot eyes critically. "You also need about twelve hours of sleep, I bet." he said, smirking. He kissed Reid's forehead, in a long lingering motion. Then he moved to kiss underneath Reid's eyes, licking the tears away like a cat. "I love you." he said, after each kiss. "I love you. I love you."

Reid shut his eyes, relishing the sensation of Luke's mouth. He felt himself being led to the bed, and looked at Luke curiously.

"Just sleep, okay." Reid said, chuckling. "I am beat."

Luke giggled, and rolled his eyes. "We've established that, Dr. Oliver. Just sleep, promise."

Luke kicked off his shoes, and pulled back the covers. He got in first. Reid was about to follow, but, "Jacob? I -"

"Jacob is fine, Reid." Luke grabbed the baby monitor, and turned the volume up to maximum. "I've got it under control. He'll probably sleep for hours. But if he doesn't, I'll take care of him." And I'll take care of you.

Reid's mouth quirked into a small smile.

"Okay, Luke. I believe you." He got into the bed. He stroked Luke's cheek, and scooted next to him, so that their legs were touching.

Luke snuggled against Reid, and pulled him closer into a tight embrace.

Reid was amused. "You really love hugs, don't you?"

"It's pretty much my favorite thing. You'll get used to it."

"Yeah, I guess I will." Reid brushed his nose against Luke's, and kissed him tenderly. "I'm sorry about your mouth." He ran his thumb against Luke's bottom lip with a tinge of regret.

Luke grinned. "It's fine. It was actually pretty hot."

Reid yawned in response.

"Good night, Reid." Luke said softly.

"Good night, Luke."

When Reid fell asleep, he was in the broken elevator, this time with Luke. But the dream was different from reality. Luke held Reid closely, as he described the beauty of the brain.

Hugs, huh.

Yes, Reid could get used to that.

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Thursday, July 15th, 2010
9:14 am - Treading Water Ch 6/?
Chapter 6

I was exhausted. I'd gone to the town square. No Luke. To the Snyder pond. No Luke. Now I was finally back home. I pulled into the parking lot, and got out slowly. Luke's pills were a reassuring weight in my pocket. Reaching the porch, I decided to take the stairs to my floor. If I got myself good and tired, I could forget that I'd been chasing a ghost for a whole night.

It was only two flights, actually. It's a small town, remember. I reached my floor, a little sweaty from the exertion. I was lost in thoughts of Luke sneaking past me, sleeping in his room. Untroubled and peaceful. I stared straight ahead, at the blinking red exit sign at the end of the floor. Suddenly I stopped. Stepped back a few steps. Looked down.

Luke.

He leaned against the wall, next to my door. His eyes were closed, but he wasn't fully asleep. His pulse beat strongly against his throat. I leaned forward, and snapped my fingers in front of his face.

It worked the first time. I thought.

Luke bolted awake almost exactly the same as before. He snorted, and stared up at me.

"Reid?" he said softly. He moved to get to his feet, but I pressed my hand on his shoulder, forcing him to stay still. Our mouths were inches apart.

"You know, you are definitely not Sleeping Beauty." I joked.

"But do I get a kiss anyway?" Teasing.

I caressed his shoulder, and found his hand with my own.

"We'll see about that. We'll have to get you a key." With a small grunt, I helped him off the floor.

I tried to release my hand, but he held it tightly. He stepped a little closer to me, leaning forward, breathing me in. His tongue flickered against his teeth. His head inched ever closer, his lips had me in thrall. Slightly pink, soft and firm. My mouth parted of my own accord. Drawn to him, I started to -

"Crap, the chili!" he exclaimed, out of the blue.

Most random non sequitur ever. I thought, irritated.

He released my hand, and bent down to retrieve an here-to-fore unseen bag from Al's.

"A peace offering," he said sheepishly. "I was such a jackass. I had no right to do that to you. I'm so -"

"Stop it," I ordered. "Shut up. I don't accept apologies in hallways. Come inside, and we'll discuss everything." I barreled ahead to keep the kicked puppy look on his face to a minimum. Damn, his sad face was legendary.

I opened the door, and led him inside. The apartment was completely dark. Behind me, he fumbled for the light switch, and restored light to the room. Katie must have taken Jacob to stay with family. I reminded myself to buy her a large bouquet the next day.

Now, I was nervous. It was utterly ridiculous. He was standing behind me, holding surely cold chili and cornbread. I had his pills in my jeans pocket.

"Reid?" He said tremulously. I was so tired of hearing my name spoken in that insecure little voice. Luke was a man, not a little boy.

I turned around, and stepped into his personal space. I put my hands on his face, and stared at him intently.

"I have your pills." My left hand massaged his cheek, with as much care as I gave to my patients.

"Why-"

"Your mom was worried."

"You went to see my mom?"

I exhaled sharply, with a hint of annoyance. "Yes, Luke. I went to see her. She was actually quite - charming. She made it clear that you don't -"

"I don't want to be with Noah." he interjected. "I fucked up, Reid. I got scared. I'm so sorry."

I kissed his forehead tenderly, as his hands fell to rest on my back.

"Shh, baby." I whispered. I wasn't usually one for sappy little nothings, but Luke seriously looked like he was going to pass out. I thought I was supposed to be the wounded party here.

"Let's sit down, okay?"

He nodded. "Okay."

We sat on the couch. The pill bottle jarred my thigh. I pulled it out, and set it on the coffee table.

"Thank you for bringing those." he managed. "I have to take them every night."

"Luke, I know." I replied gruffly. "I am a doctor, remember."

"Of course I remember. You're the greatest doctor of all time. You remind me every day." His hand found its way to my knee, and squeezed.

"Luke," I gasped. Now that we were sitting, and he wasn't weepy, I felt the hot tinge of his fingers on my leg. I was human, after all.

He began to absentmindedly stroke my leg, in slow circles.

"What can I do to make it up to you?" he said. "What do you want me to do?"

I hissed, and removed his hand from my thigh.

"I want you to stop punishing yourself." I said softly. "You're not even letting me be mad, because you're too busy beating yourself up. You screwed up, yes. But you didn't fuck him. You didn't cheat on me, because we hadn't started anything yet. All you did was give into some memory of first love, something that used to make you feel safe, and whole, and warm."

I paused, and scooted closer to him.

His mouth was partially open, while his eyes darted back and forth.

"I get it, Luke." I murmured gently. "I get why you would do anything to hold onto that love."

"You do?" he asked.

I shrugged, knowing I was about to lay all my cards on the table. "Of course I do," I answered, looking down into my lap.

He grabbed my chin, and forced my head up.

"Why, Reid?"

"Cuz that's how I feel about you."

I waited, suspended in time, for him to respond.

He licked his lips, and I could sense the imminent rejection. He wasn't ready for this. He could buy all the chili in Texas, and it still wouldn't erase Noah.

I shut my eyes, and prepared to let him off the hook.

"Luke, I -"

Suddenly, his mouth was on mine. His touch was forceful but tender, and I felt myself being levered back onto the couch. His tongue slipped inside, skirting around my teeth with ease. I answered with my tongue, tasting him freely.

Luke's hands landed in my hair, probing greedily. My hands splayed across the couch, as I fumbled for purchase. As he began to grind against me, I pushed up eagerly. I wanted my hands to press against his chest and stop the assault, but they didn't obey. I trailed along his chest, and began at work at his belt buckle.

My stomach growled loudly.

He released me with a husky sigh. His eyes were dancing.

"Good thing I brought the chili," he said, smirking.

I swallowed, and grinned despite myself. "Yeah, I guess so."

He extracted himself from the couch, dropping a lingering kiss on my lips. My body thrust forward of its own accord, but he was gone before I could do anything.

"I'll just warm this up," he said over his shoulder.

"You do that," I whispered, rubbing my mouth. It's not the only thing you've warmed up.

I sat up, and grabbed the blasted pills off the coffee table.

I went to the kitchen, and sat them on the counter next to him. He stood in front of the microwave, back facing me.

"You still haven't taken them," I chided.

"They're better with food, anyway. They taste disgusting."

I stepped forward, encircling him with my arms. I kissed the back of his neck. He sighed, and leaned against me.

"This feels good," he said.

"Yes, it does." I said. "So, that kiss back there - that was -"

He twisted slightly to look at me.

"It means," he said firmly. "That I want you. I want to spend the next fifty years driving you crazy." He turned completely around, and I dropped my arms. "What I had before was - well, it was good at times, but it also made me feel like nothing I ever did was good enough. I can't go back there, Reid. I'm done with him, for good. I promise you that. I've fallen for you, Reid. You make me feel like -"

"Like what?" I couldn't help but interrupt. He had yet to answer this question.

He blinked, and regarded me seriously. "Like I can do anything. You make me feel like I can take on anyone, as long as you're beside me."

The microwave pinged. He retrieved the chili and cornbread and set it on the kitchen table.

"You've said all this before," I reminded him gently. "What guarantee do I have this time?"

Luke handed me a spoon. "I guess you'll just have to trust me."

We sat down, and the chili smelled even better than I remembered.

I stared down into the bowl, for a long moment. Trust didn't come to me easily. Only Luke and Katie had penetrated my harsh exterior, and Luke had promptly betrayed my trust.

Could I trust him again?

"Okay," I said, looking up. "Here's the deal. We'll see how it goes. Put aside the declarations for now. I just want to be with you."

"Fair enough," he said quickly.

"So let's eat."

I was starving. I devoured the chili. He ate more slowly, watching me. His foot found mine under the table.

I set down my spoon, and began to eat the cornbread.

I couldn't help but laugh.

"Footsie. Seriously?"

He shrugged, sheepishly. "Whatever works."

I rolled my eyes, but obligingly rubbed my foot along his leg.

We ate in companionable silence.

It was weird. But I was starting to feel ... happy.

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Monday, July 5th, 2010
12:25 pm - Treading Water Ch 1-5/?
Treading Water

Chapter 1


I stared into Luke's eyes for a long moment, waiting for some confirmation of his feelings, good or bad. I saw nothing there but confusion. I swallowed slowly, before throwing random bills on the counter. I grabbed my coat, and said softly, "I can't do this."

I turned my back on Luke, and left the bar. I wanted him to follow me, but I knew he wouldn't. He was still in love with his precious Noah. And even if he wasn't, he would stay with him forever out of guilt, or obligation. The man was honor-bound.

It's what I loved most about him.

It's what I hated most about him.

I found my way to my car, and fumbled for my keys.

Damn it.

I couldn't find them.

I felt the jingle in the pocket, but something stopped me from pulling them out and getting into my car.

I felt the salty tang of tears sting my face.

Fuck this.

I wasn't going to cry in a parking lot where anyone could find me. I wasn't that kind of man.

I finally opened my door and found the sanctuary of the front seat.

"Luke," I murmured. "Damn you." My heart clenched in my chest, before the dam finally broke. I wasn't safe to drive like this.

I clutched at the steering wheel with trembling hands, and stared out into the rapidly dimming skyline.

Why had I ever come here?

I shut my eyes, and it was a few moments before I heard the tapping on my window.

I turned, and wasn't really surprised to see Luke standing outside. He looked pensive, and regretful. I rolled my eyes, and rolled down the window.

"What do you want, Mr. Snyder?" I said wearily.

He grinned sheepishly, and, for the first time, I wanted to smack the grin off his face.

"Can I come inside? I feel stupid standing out here."

I grimaced, but nodded my assent. I couldn't help but follow him with my eyes as he came around my car and got into the passenger seat. I drank him in thirstily.

"Why are you looking at me like that?" he asked.

"You should know by now, Luke." I answered, exhaling. "I want you. I want you more than I've ever wanted anything in my life. But I won't play sloppy seconds. It's me or him, Luke. I can't do this anymore."

I chanced a glance in his direction.

Oh no.

His lips were parted slightly. His pink tongue worried at his bottom lip.

I looked down at my hands in my lap. Then changed my mind, and looked out the
windshield.

"Reid," he said softly. "I can't change how I feel about him." I appreciated him not mentioning the name. "He was my first. But it hasn't been good in awhile. I started to feel small and used. Like I was barely treading water."

I looked resolutely out the window, but he grabbed my hand, and held it firmly. I knew all too well about treading water. Before Oakdale, my life had been nothing but work and empty one night stands. Now I could separate it easily: before Luke, and after Luke.

He was still talking. I had to listen. I could tear my eyes away, but couldn't say the same for my ears.

"But I brought you here. I wasn't looking for someone new. But you just shattered me. You reminded me that I'm more than a dutiful boyfriend. You reminded me that I'm also a man who deserves to be treated as an equal. You challenge me, Reid. You make me feel better than myself."

I finally looked at him. His eyes were glimmering, but not with tears. My hand was captive in his, but I didn't care anymore. His words had broken something in me, in their own turn. I could feel my protections begin to crumble. I didn't peg myself for the sappy, romantic type, but crap. Apparently I really was that guy.

"Luke," I whispered.

His free hand grasped my cheek, and held on tight.

"I'm gonna kiss you now." he said softly.

"Okay." I murmured.

At first he was tentative, which surprised me. After a speech like that, I expected fireworks. I grabbed his arm and pulled him closer, no easy feat in the confines of the car. The heat of his mouth pressed against my own, and I growled huskily. My elbow grazed the horn, the loud noise surprising us both.

I chuckled. "I guess we should take this show on the road. My car is not really conducive to prolonged make out sessions."

He laughed as well, and replied, "I guess so. Your place or mine?"

I started to answer, but then thought better of it. I wanted to rip his clothes off, but I needed to be cautious.

"You want to get a pizza? Then I'll drive you home. I have to get up early tomorrow. I have an appointment." With Noah.

He looked a little disappointed, but nodded anyway.

"I think I owe you a pizza." His fingers crept back into mine. His thumb made circles on my palm. His touch burned me like a firebrand.

"Now, you gotta stop that," I chided gently. "Or we'll never leave the car."

Luke smirked. "That would be a tragedy."

With a hiss of regret, I freed my hand, and started the car.

As I turned my head to back out, he asked, "Hey, do you play chess? We have a board at home, and I'd love to challenge the great Dr. Oliver."

I was glad he couldn't see the slow smile spread across my face. "I play a bit."

"You better not hustle me, Reid." he said, teasing.

As I turned in the direction of his house, I couldn't help but laugh.

"I wouldn't dream of it, Luke."

We drove to his home, my mind dancing with all the ways I wanted to, indeed, hustle Luke Snyder. I knew things still weren't settled between us, but I would take nebulous happiness over cruel uncertainty any day of the week. We pulled into his driveway, and he practically bounced out of the car.

"I had no idea you were so excitable." I said as I followed him.

"Well, what can I say, Reid. Something about you just does it for me."

He was first to go inside, and I stood back to regard his lithe body disappear into the darkness.

"You and me both, Mr. Snyder." I said softly.

I let the door close behind me, and stepped forward to claim my future.

Chapter 2

I should have fucking known.

I stood, ramrod straight, regarding the closed door with clinical detachment. Luke's pathetic sniveling wouldn't leave my brain. I wanted to be sick. I wanted to punch the wall. This was what I got for taking a chance on some idealized version of true love.

"I want to be alone with you," I'd moaned back at his home, moments before he'd seen Noah through the window. What a fool I was.

I would never be alone with Luke. Noah would hover over us forever, Luke's first and only love. I swallowed back the bile in my throat. I stumbled away from the door, and fell onto the couch, still clutching the remote control in my hand. I would have lain there forever, but I heard the door open.

"Geez, Reid, you look like someone shot your puppy. What's wrong?" Katie asked, crossing the room to me. I moved my legs, and she sat down beside me.

"Luke," I managed hoarsely. In a rush, I explained the whole story, seeing him at the bar, him following me outside, kissing him the next day after looking for Gabriel.

"I told him the fucking chess story, Katie," I said bitterly. "I hate talking about my past, because the only thing that matters is the present. I opened up to him, and he just stomped all over me."

She rubbed my back tenderly. I felt like Jacob, but it was somehow comforting.

"So he came over here after Noah broke up with him again?"

"Yeah," I said. "What's your point?"

"Well, you're the first person he came to after Noah rejected him again. He obviously has strong feelings for you, Reid. He feels comfortable around you."

"Because he thinks I'd make a great consolation prize." I interjected. "He can have me on the side while he pines for Noah."

"I don't think he's in love with Noah anymore, Reid. He's obsessed with you. I think he's falling for you, and it scares the crap out of him. But he loves Noah, because he was with him for so long. He just needs to figure it out, that's all. Give him some time."

"I've given him time!" I exploded, standing up suddenly. "It's not like I jumped him in the parking lot, for Christ's sake. It surprised me as much as anyone. But now I'm in love with a moronic twenty old boy who can't even respect me. He told me he was still in love with Noah, Katie. Twice! Who does that?"

I exhaled sharply, my entire body shaking. It was becoming clear now.

"I can't stay here," I said softly. "I have to get out of this town."

"Reid," Katie said, grabbing my arm. She made slow circles on my arm, and before I knew it, I was hugging her tightly.

She was warm, and I clung to her, my only lifeline. I refused to cry over him again, so instead I clutched her shoulders fiercely.

"I want to go home, Katie," I murmured. "I can't take this anymore."

"But you are home, Reid. What's in Dallas that's not here? He's not the only thing keeping you here. There's me, and Jacob. You have the neurology wing. You've got roots here now."

"In Dallas, I don't have to hurt like this. I can go back to my old life, and forget all about him."

Katie let me go, and stared into my eyes fiercely.

"You don't run from a fight, Dr. Oliver. You can't let Luke chase you out of Oakdale."

I stared back at her, ready with a snappy retort. Part of me hated this woman, but I knew she was only speaking the truth. It'd been a long time since I'd had someone so strongly in my corner. She's right. I won't be pushed away. I'm not Luke. My mind made up, I nodded quickly.

"You're right, Katie. I am a fighter." I gently released myself from her embrace, and steeled my nerves.

"And I'm going to fight for Luke."

"What do you mean, Reid? You just said Luke trampled all over you. Why the change of heart?"

I felt the calm of my old shell come over me once more. No more of that vulnerability crap. No more begging for scraps from Luke's table.

"Because I love him." I said simply.

Mother fucker. I couldn't believe I had said that out loud. What had he done to me?
"I'm in love with him, Katie. But if you're right, a part of him thinks I'm not good enough, that I can never measure up to the great Noah. Hell, maybe he thinks I just want to get laid. So - " I grabbed my keys off the end table. "I need to set him straight. If he still pulls that 'I'm in love with Noah," crap, then I'm done, Katie. I promise."

She looked worried.

"I'm nobody's punching bag, Katie. I won't be his doormat."

She regarded me for a moment, wide-eyed.

"I guess I can't change your mind, Reid. I still think you should leave him alone for a bit. But if you think you should go after him, I can't change your mind. Just be careful, okay?"

I kissed her forehead briefly.

"I will. Thank you for everything."

I turned and left her place before she could see my face change.

I'd lied to her, of course.

Yes, I loved Luke, but a bigger part of me wanted him to hurt. No one had ever scraped off my shell before. I had never let anyone get that close. In reward, he'd given me nothing but backpedaling, nothing but Noah.

Gritting my teeth, I went off in search of Luke.

To kiss him or kill him? I couldn't tell you.

Chapter 3


Luke Snyder stared morosely at his soda. He'd ruined everything. Reid stormed into his life, and reminded him what it felt like to be truly wanted, and he'd responded by throwing Noah in his face.

Noah. That had been a disaster. Luke frowned as he remembered the keening desperation in his voice.

"I love you, Noah. I want to get back together. I want things to be the way they were before the accident."

Even before he'd started speaking, he knew he was only clinging to a relationship that was already over. Luke was terrified of his attraction towards Reid. He wanted nothing more than to get back with Noah, and forget the last few months had ever happened. It didn't matter that Noah had been pushing him away for months. Luke just wanted to feel safe again, with the one person he thought he'd love forever.

But now that safety net was gone, driven away by his desperate lies and months of encroaching distance.

Luke knew he shouldn't be dwelling on his past with Noah. But he couldn't help it.

The desperation poured out of him, and soon he found himself kissing Reid, then lying to Noah's face. He still loved Noah, but he didn't want to get back together with him, not anymore. Reid throbbed at Luke's core, until one day he woke up on an ordinary day, and didn't think of Noah. Luke had stared into the mirror, and pictured Reid embracing him from behind. Reid's hands stroking his chest.

Luke closed his eyes and swallowed hot tears burning his throat.

I said all the right things in the parking lot. How did I fuck everything up?

He couldn't take anymore. He stood up, and left the bar. Though he was not drunk on alcohol, he stumbled anyway. His emotional state was in a shambles. Luke found a bench in the square and sat down heavily. He stared into the distance, completely in a daze. Finally, he shut his eyes and leaned against the bench. Home was out of the question. Everything in his room reminded him of Noah, the last person he wanted to think about right now.

As Luke sat on the bench, he kept seeing Reid's face in his thoughts. The cold indifference Reid had displayed in his apartment was nothing more than a mask. He knew that he had actually hurt Reid deeply, especially after the confrontation in the parking lot. He'd said all the right things, then within a few days, he'd thrown Noah in Reid's face. It didn't make any sense. Luke wanted Reid. He needed to let go of the dream of Noah, once and for all. He needed to embrace the possibility of Reid Oliver.

Luke sat up, and stared resolutely into the glimmering twilight. He scrubbed the tears off his face roughly, and stood up. He kept his head down, lost in thought as he walked to Katie's. Maybe Reid was still there.

If Luke could only get one more chance, he was going to take it, and not look back.


Chapter 4

For the second time in as many days, I stood outside Luke's mansion. Well, it was really his mother's mansion, but still. On the ride over, I'd calmed down a little. I thought of all the times in my life where I'd been torn between two appealing options. Turkey or ham. Pepperoni or supreme. Harvard or Yale.

Crap, now I was getting worked up again. I am not a delicious foodstuff, or an enticing university. I thought furiously. I am the best damn neurologist in this country, and I don't treat Luke like dirt. I'm a great catch.

Apparently I'd been listening to too much of Katie's pop psychology. I shook my head like I was trying to get water out off of my ears.

Resolute now, I rang the doorbell. I was going to make his choice clear. I was going to kiss him senseless, then leave him, and see how he liked it. I was going to -

Luke's mother answered, looking frazzled.

"Dr. Oliver." Ms. Walsh said breathlessly. "Thank goodness you're here. Have you seen Luke? He was supposed to be home hours ago."

Only supreme control stopped my jaw from falling to the ground. I blinked twice, trying to reign in my feelings. What the hell was supposed to do now? The woman was practically sobbing in my arms. I could sense it, she was about to make the leap. For someone who always looked perpetually on the verge of tears, this was indeed serious.

"No, ma'am, I haven't." I said slowly. "I just came over to look for him. We need -" I cleared my throat and looked away from her penetrating gaze - "to discuss some business for the new neuro wing."

She actually smirked at me. She reached out and rubbed my forearm reassuringly. What is with the Snyders and all the touching?

"Dr. Oliver, you really don't have to lie. Anyone can see you have a thing for my son. He came back from your apartment, totally despondent. Then he went out for a drink at Yo's. He might still be there."

"Um." Brilliant reply, Reid.

I turned to walk back to my car, then thought better of it. I held out my hand, and shook hers gingerly.

"So that Noah thing?" I asked. "He's not still hung up on that guy, is he?" I knew I had to be careful here. If she could, she would have married Noah and had a thousand of his squinty babies.

Lily stared at me for a long moment. "Noah and Luke haven't been happy in months." she finally admitted. "Even before you came into town. But after he brought you here -"

"Kidnapped me, you mean." I couldn't help but clarify.

"Right. That." she rolled her eyes sheepishly. "After you came into town, he's just been glowing, Dr. Oliver. He's just having some trouble letting go of Noah. It was his first serious relationship, you know. But he hasn't really mentioned Noah much since they broke up. It's Reid this, and Reid that." Shrugging her shoulders, she gently let go of my hand. "I may not understand it yet, but you make my son happy."

I took a moment to absorb this news. If anyone knew Luke's feelings, it would be his mother.

"Ms. Walsh, If I'm going to be, you know, around." I stated nervously, feeling again like a high school teenager. "You might as well call me Reid."

Ms. Walsh smiled, and I knew where Luke got his dazzling smile.

"Okay, Reid. You can call me Lily. Let me know when you find him. He needs his medication."

"For the kidney transplant?" I guessed, remembering the scar I'd seen on Luke's stomach in Dallas.

"Yes, how did you know?"

Awkward. "Uh, he - uh - I've seen the scar." Briefly, I saw Luke's naked chest gleaming in my mind's eye. I had to fight to focus on her next words.

Lily fumbled for words. "So you two - you've already -"

"No!" I interjected. "Not yet." I hoped I wasn't blushing.

"All right, then." she hurried on. "I was going to ask if you could take Luke's pills to him. That way, he doesn't have to worry about coming home."

"Yes, of course," I answered. "I'd be happy to." I ignored the implications. I was going to see Luke, and I'd give him the pills when I saw him. Simple. "I'll take care of him - I mean, it."

"Great." she turned around and quickly retrieved the medication from the kitchen.

She gave me a measured glance. "You know, Reid, I told you once to treat my son right, and I can see you're doing that. Thank you."

"You're welcome." I said briskly.

I took the pills and finally headed to my car. As I got in, I realized I hadn't insulted her once.

I really was off my game.

Chapter 5

At last, Luke found himself standing in front of Katie's apartment complex. He searched the parking lot, and realized that Reid wasn't home. Or at least, his car wasn't there. Luke stood staring up at the building, indecisive. Should he text Reid, or leave a message on his voicemail? Should he go up and hang out with Katie until Reid got back?

Luke needed to make a decision. Standing outside made him look like a fool. Or a stalker.

Great, Luke thought. Reid would love that. To come home and see me standing out here. He'd never let me hear the end of it. That is, if he didn't completely ignore me.

Standing outside Reid's building only plunged Luke into self-doubt. He found himself reliving Reid's look of resigned anger over and over. Right before Reid had thrown Luke out, he'd glared at him, as if to say, Of course this would happen. You were never going to want me.

Luke shrugged his shoulders, and began to walk from away from the building. He wasn't ready to face Reid yet. All he had was words. That had worked last time, but this time Luke had to give Reid something more than promises. Luke needed to be solid, and reassuring. He needed Reid to believe in the core of his bones that Luke wanted to be with him.

Luke headed back to the town square, and went to Al's. He ordered two servings of Al's chili with cornbread. He knew he couldn't visit Reid empty-handed; at this point in the game, words simply weren't enough. The hot chili was a reassuring weight in his hand. This time, as he went back to the apartment, he had something tangible to give Reid. But he still needed to come armed with something to say to get Reid to even give him the time of day.

Luke waited outside once again, lost deep in thought. Nothing good enough came to mind. His mind was whirling with images, Reid's anger as he threw him out, the frank desire after their first kiss, the painful lust after their second.

Finally, Reid's face came to the forefront of his brain, the expression naked and honest.

"I know what I did. It had nothing to do with the phone call. I wanted to kiss you. I've been waiting to kiss you for a long time. Luke."

In that moment, Reid had operated on pure instinct. He had turned around, and taken what he wanted. Luke licked his lips slowly, remember the taste of Reid on his mouth. Every kiss after that had been explosive, passionate and painful. Nothing matched the simplicity of their first. A solid smack which was over before it began, but still remained first in Luke's memory.

Luke steeled himself, and marched up to Katie's. He knew exactly what to do. The time for flowery speeches was over. Luke needed to summon his best Dr. Oliver, and just tell the unvarnished truth. Kiss him with a promise.

With bated breath, Luke knocked on the door.

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Saturday, April 9th, 2005
2:09 am
yay! Whitman got facebook! I now have all these random friends who I didn't even know knew me. It's cool though, because if I spam even 3 of their walls, I might actually get to know more peeps on campus! Hooray!

That's all for tonight, because I really need to take a shower and get some sleep!

Oh, Coffeehouse was actuallly really good tonight!!

And me and Barbara and Colin played cards afterwards; they taught me a new game! yay!

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Friday, April 8th, 2005
12:20 am
Yay! Whitman finally got added to facebook, so I spent some of today rediscovering my friends back home. It's wonderful! Then I toured North Hall, and tried to go watch the Religion movie, but it wasn't very successful, since the tape broke. Then I finished off Woolf, and came back to the dorm. Was going to go to GLBTQ, but Barbara came over and we talked forever. Always. Will be a crunch tomorrow to get everything done, but friendships are muy importante. Plus, it's my own damn fault for not time managing.

Oh, I totally slept through Religion today. my prof was cool though; she accepted my proposal anyway. Love her!!

All right, I'm either going to sleep to wake up EARLY tomorrow, or doing some core reading and the worksheet, so the religion essay will look more doable!

Tomorrow I have:
10-11: Religion
11-12: core
1-2: shaping spirit
5-8: work
9-11: work (AKA coffeehouse = covering it for the pio)
11: sleep/ me time?

Here's hoping I can actually either hit Safeway tomorrow and buy some cd envelopes, get my damn phone back in working order, or read the book Barbara recommended, OR find my floor! Any of those things would be great, because they have nothing to do with fucking school!

I still really want to go one day of the poetry party, but I don't want to miss Pinocchio. Argh! I may do Saturday night poetry, regardless - because I NEED to go back to that bookstore. Hmm, have some time to decide.

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Wednesday, April 6th, 2005
7:08 pm
Woot! Ze project proposal is done. Damn, that took forever. Mostly organizing my thoughts in a cogent argument, and then the freaking bibliography! I haven't even found full texts for three of the articles. Yikes, if 1.5 pages took me all day with research crap, I'm gonna have to kick it up a notch if I'm really going to write a paper about this shit.

Did I mention I still have the usual QR reading for tomorrow? Why I'd take a 200 level class again? :-)

First, I should really eat dinner. I guess it's a good thing that I rediscovered my love of learning, etc. etc. because I totally couldn't go eat dinner. See what happens when I go to a library to STUDY? I actually do the work, yo!

Lata!

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3:00 pm
I'm hanging out in the library, not working, and that's okay. I need to just "read like a cow" over my articles and see if I can glean a fucking topic out of them. Bleh. If I can't write a 1 1/2 page proposal, who says I can write a 10 page paper? But HOW could I use all these articles on a creative project? I just don't know!!


Bleh. Joe pulled out on me as a roommate. It's okay, but sucks for me, because now I have to find another roommate, or get a single. Really don't want to get a single, because it costs a more. Not sure how much more, but more.

Okay, I'm going to get back to work now. Or start or something. These articles are so fascinating, really. I just have to sustain that interest and convert it to writing enjoyment.

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Monday, April 4th, 2005
6:11 pm
I'm feeling a lot better. Not that I was feeling bad before, of course. It was just Monday. Oh, damn. It's still Monday? Oh well.

I'm gonna write my pio article right now, jam out to Melissa, and forget about shit for awhile.

Hmmm, wish I could read a book right now. I have 9!! books/films out from the library, most of them summit. Damn. I have to keep track of them - 75 bucks a pop.

I talked to my family today, briefly. The fucking phone kept cutting out.


All right. Pio article. Pio article.

current mood: artistic

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12:06 am
Went to the most amazing poetry reading tonight. In the cutest bookstore, Temple Bookstore, downtown. It wasn't amazing so much for the quality of work, though the poets were all exceptionally sincere and heartfelt. It was amazing for me personally, to have found this community outside the fucking Whitman bubble. Plus they're totally having a three-day Poetry Party this week. I met some awesome artists too, and even got to share some of my favorite pieces. It was so small and so intimate and so wonderful. Think I may become a Temple groupie. :-)

Also, Amy told me about this Indy Women's Choir thing, so I went over to the music building and actually *gasp* sang for an hour. I am soo out of practice, but it was so wonderful to hear voices again. The lady just needs to work on warm-ups and playing the notes correctly, and this could become my new favorite thing. But we need a conductor. And one minute to number the measures. None of this "second page, third system, fourth measure" crap. Did I mention better warm-ups?!

Got most of my shit done, cept the Pio articles and the core journal entries. Have notes for both, and the pio stuff isn't absolutely due till tomorrow at 5. It's embarrassing how lax I've become on deadlines. Read Woolf, DID POETRY!!!

OH!! FUCKING A! I got to watch the first hour of the BBC series Fingersmith, which is an adaption of my favorite Sarah Waters novel ever. Lesbian lit with actual, you know, LITERARY QUALITY. I love it so far; the girls are SO amazing in the characters. I am totally on board for part 2. Even if part 1 did take me two days, it was beyond worth it. Damn, the BBC needs to work out a better way of getting the series to us in the States; I detest WAITING fucking 8 months to then see a queer series chopped to bits.

Oh! Vaguely related, but not really: David Duchovny mentioned Olga in his blog as one of his unknown but "terrific" actors! Yee hah! My girl's gonna be HUGE!

Oh, I have totally been reading Lois and Clark obsessively this weekend. It's been a great trip down memory lane - DAMN, I miss that show. Did anyone watch it back in the day? Teri Hatcher, Dean Cain, on for 4 seasons. GOOD STUFF. So romantic. *sigh*

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Saturday, April 2nd, 2005
12:51 pm
I'm awake. This is good. I don't have a massive headache. This is also good.

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Friday, April 1st, 2005
11:39 pm
Party fun. Dancing good. Life good. Girls pretty. Very tired. Can't believe I'm actually writing this when all drunk-like, but oh well. It's always a beautiful thing to have fun with other queers. Met lots of fun people.

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8:24 pm
Oh my god, tonight's gonna be so fucking fun. Rob, Alex, and Keith are throwing a Queer Margarita Night, which is exactly what you think. I'm going to have a blast.

Also, I finally figured out my general research topic for my paper (or story?) for QR. I just hope Melissa likes it. I'm doing something involving Irene Monroe specifically and African American lesbians and the segregation of the queer and black communities generally. DAMN, I love that class. I have to read books about African American lesbian writing and religious studies with queer African Americans FOR A CLASS. DAMN.

So yeah. Shit's going well tonight. Definitely. Also this weekend I get to start Woolf's To The Lighthouse, who is of course bisexual. I don't think that particular novel has many queer-related issues, but it'll still be a kick to read. I also get to cover a poetry reading at the Temple Bookstore and write a piece on the appropriation of hip hop/rap by the white culture FOR MY JOB. Did I mention how COOL my job and class are right now?

ALSO, I got MORE Ferrick shows, AND!! an early Beth Hart recording. WOOT!

ALSO, I should be getting that Troy recording and 6!!! other discs within the next days.

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9:50 am
I love my life.

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Monday, February 14th, 2005
1:20 am
yay, sleepy time for me! finished the RCC writeup, and i'm gonna go ahead and get an extension on the locke paper. i've gotten an extension for the one-acts too, till at best wed. at 5. that only leaves cal that has to be done tomorrow, and my double entry journal for core, both of which i can wing because i'm a good student that way. i've given myself a little breathing room - next sunday's resolution is not to be up this late again finishing crap i've had ALL weekend to do!

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Sunday, February 13th, 2005
11:50 pm
Fuck, haven't got it all done. I know, where the hell did 12 hours go? I did read ch. 3 of Joyce, Candide, and start the locke paper. Still haven't written the Pio articles, though I've been frantically going the hall and e-mailing peeps to get quotes to pad the stories. Fuck. I am honestly doing too much in my life, I think. I worked tonight just to escape the pile of crap I had to take care of - it's just too much. Such is life, but damn. I'll handle it - always do. Seriously gonna stop procrastinating and do the RCC story. Lucky for me, Meghan told me I could turn the story in at the latest, Wed. at 5. Haven't even told em about the RCC thing - I'll just get that taken care of, so I can have at least 1 in on time.

One bright spot in my day: Melissa Etheridge rocked the house in a passionate performance of Janis Joplin' "Piece of My Heart". Joss Stone was there too, but it was all about Melissa. You go, girl - bald is not only beautiful, but sexy!

-a

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11:14 am
Mmm, I'm awake. Our picnic was a blast yesterday, definitely. Lucky for me, the One-Acts have a matinee at 2, so I can go see them for the Pio. Also for the Pio, I need to do the write-up of the coffeehouse I only stayed for part of. I didn't like the guy, but I was really tired, so that probably has something to do with it. How do I review someone I was lukewarm about while still making it a "this is what happened" news story? Journalism is harder than I thought.

Today I get to read 1-13 of Candide, books 3 and 4 of Joyce, write the Locke paper, do cal, journal for Candide, and something else I'm forgetting. Fun stuff is the play at 2, and Annie Sprinkle at 8. I'll get this all done, yup I sure will!

current mood: awake

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Sunday, February 6th, 2005
10:24 am
Awake. Hungry. LOL, could be a new poem. Been up since 7 for some ungodly reason - haven't done any homework yet. Mostly just been listening to music, and checking the sxsw site to see if Melissa's confirmed an Austin date. Did some postings on my forum (man I love being able to say that), uploaded some pix, watched some Teri Hatcher clips - she is so adorable. I'm so happy she's having success since Lois and Clark. Don't watch DH, no time, but I'm sending her good vibes.

Listening to Will You Be The One - Damn, this song is my life right now. Never thought I'd relate to a Melissa song, but I do. Even with a crush, I do. *shrug*

Hungry. Homework. Ugh. Definitely don't feel like doing that crap today, or any day. But it'll get done. Always does. Wish there was a way I could listen to Melissa and still do my work.

Had an asthma flare-up yesterday; that was fucking fun, as you can imagine. Go months and then bam! Wasn't too bad though; wasn't even wheezing. Just tightness. Good thing was I finally went over to the Health Center, and filled out some paperwork so I can refill my meds here. Still HATE the student health insurance with a fiery passion, but ah what can you do? Unfortunately, it appears I still need my inhaler.

Watched some Sex in the City Season 1 downstairs with Liza and Zoe. That was fun. My laptop's getting quite a workoout lately, with the dvds. I'm so grateful to have it.

I shoulda bought CD-Rs at the Walmart the other day, as apparently I'm going to continue trading and spreading Ferrick shows. The ones they sell at the bookstore don't cut it. Guess I'll finally have to figure out the bus system in Walla Walla to get over to Walmart. Either that, or buy em online - really don't want to do that - I can get a better deal at Walmart.

All right. Shower. Fold clothes. Do homework. Food in an hour. Hello Sunday.

Oh, I talked to Rob last night; basically bemoaned my singleness. But working to do something about it.

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