Disclaimer: All belongs to As the World Turns, not me.
Summary: Sequel to Dad is Not So Bad. After Reid moves to Oakdale to be with Luke, he has trouble adjusting to his new life and relationship.
A/N: Written for lemondrop34, who encouraged the idea for a sequel several times, traciamc because I owe her one (since the other fic didn’t happen), and everyone who read the first fic.
A/N #2: Does not follow all the events in canon.
“What time does your plane land?”
“At five or after five?”
“Five . . . something.”
“Why do you need to know the exact time, Luke? I’ll stop by your place once I get there,” Reid Oliver said as he stood from his chair in the airport waiting area to get in line to board his flight.
“Because I want to pick you up,” Luke Snyder said softly on the other end.
Reid smiled, holding the phone closer to his ear, as he handed his ticket to the airline employee at the gate. No one had ever picked him up at the airport, not even when he’d gone to the top medical conferences and conventions in the country. No limousine or chauffeur waited for him when he arrived. He’d always had to take a taxi or shuttle to his hotel. Even the first time he’d arrived in Luke’s hometown, Reid had taken a taxi to Memorial Hospital on his own. Damian Grimaldi may have willingly provided his private jet, but he didn’t provide a private car or cab fare. Reid hadn’t minded—he had wanted surprise Luke after all.
But now Luke wanted to pick him up. He wanted to greet him when he arrived at his destination. “Luke, you don’t have to.”
“Reid, tell me or I’ll call the airline right now,” Luke said firmly.
Reid chuckled. “Five twenty-five.”
“See, that wasn’t so hard,” Luke teased. “I’ll see you there, then. Have a good flight.”
“I’m glad you’re coming back,” Luke said quietly.
Reid’s smile instantly disappeared. He leaned back in his seat and shut his eyes. He hated how Luke sounded, and he hated it even more that he had been the cause of putting the doubt and fear that he’d heard in Luke’s voice just now. Though Reid was returning to Oakdale after saying his final goodbye to his previous life in Dallas, he almost hadn’t. He almost didn’t, and Luke knew that.
Even with the knowledge of Reid on a plane headed for Oakdale in that very minute, Luke still wanted reassurance that Reid was indeed coming back to Oakdale, coming back to him. Reid opened his eyes and exhaled as he looked down at the boarding pass in his left hand.
Reid pushed aside any doubts he might still be feeling and responded as confidently as he could. “You’re in Oakdale, Luke. How could I not?”
“I can’t wait to see you,” Luke whispered hoarsely.
“You’ll see me around five,” Reid teased.
“Five twenty-five,” Luke confirmed, his voice cheerful once again. “I’ll be waiting to welcome you home.”
After hanging up, Reid looked out the window of the plane, mentally saying a final goodbye to the home he’d known for the past six years and hoping that his second trip to Oakdale—his new home—would be much better than the first.
Reid had first arrived in Oakdale three weeks before, surprising Luke when he’d shown up to interview for the position of director of the neurology wing that Luke was funding. He and Luke had met in Dallas only a month prior, became involved, and parted when Luke returned to Oakdale. Though they agreed to keep in touch and even visit each other someday, that wasn’t enough for Reid.
And that’s when he submitted his resume to Memorial Hospital and called up Damian for a plane ride.
And no more than a day later, he found himself kissing Luke in the hospital corridor.
Luke smiled fondly at Reid and gripped his hand tightly as if he never intended to let go, which suited Reid just fine. “You’ve met the Grimaldis—all two of us,” Luke said with a laugh. “Ready to meet the Snyders?”
“All two hundred of them?” Reid joked, holding up a napkin where he’d written all of Luke’s relatives and friends’ names back when they’d first met.
“Two hundred and one,” Luke joked back.
Reid laughed. “Okay, but can we stop by a hotel first? I’ve got a bag downstairs that I’d like to drop off, and I need to clean up a bit too before heading over to your place.”
“Hotel? No, Reid, you don’t need a room. You can stay in—”
“Your bedroom in Mommy’s house?” Reid interrupted. “Somehow, I don’t think she’ll be as open-minded as Damian was.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right,” Luke said, “but I know she won’t have any problem with you staying at her hotel—free of charge, of course.”
“No arguments, Reid. It’s the least I can do after everything you’ve done for me,” Luke said, squeezing Reid’s hand.
Reid softly touched Luke’s cheek with the back of his hand. “You don’t owe me anything, Luke. I want to be here.”
Luke leaned in to kiss him. “Let’s go, then. Come on.”
On the drive to the Lakeview, Reid asked Luke about his college classes, and Luke asked Reid about his clinic.
“I’m going to have to go back, Luke.”
Luke quickly glanced at Reid before focusing on the road. “To Dallas?”
“I have to inform all my patients and give them my new address. Then I have to reassign my staff to other clinics and hospitals. They worked for the best doctor so I shouldn’t have any trouble getting them transferred elsewhere,” Reid explained. “And I also have to pack up all my things and ship them over here.”
“Do you need help? I could go with you.”
“I’m returning tomorrow, and no, you can’t go; you have a job and school, remember?” Reid said. “But thanks.”
“How long are you going to be over there?” Luke asked.
“Two weeks or so.”
Luke nodded as he looked straight ahead. He was thrilled that Reid was back in his life, something he never thought would happen; therefore, the thought of Reid leaving him again so soon displeased him, especially when he’d already began planning every day and night for them for the next few months.
Reid sensed Luke’s thoughts so he reached over and ruffled Luke’s hair. “It’s only for a short while and then I’ll be back here where I belong—with you.”
Luke relaxed and grinned. “Okay.”
“It’s not exactly the ritzy hotel suite we stayed at in Dallas, but I hope this will do,” Luke said as he stepped into the room at the Lakeview.
Reid pushed the front of his body against the back of Luke’s as he kicked the door shut with his foot. “It’ll do just fine,” he growled in Luke’s ear as he moved Luke toward bed.
“Reid!” Luke hissed, trying to turn around but unable to now that Reid had his arms tightly around Luke’s waist.
“How long has it been?” Reid asked as he nuzzled Luke’s hair.
“Reid, my parents . . .” Luke protested as he tried to pry Reid off him. “We have to go . . .” But he stopped protesting when Reid’s hands made their way to Luke’s crotch. One hand slowly massaged him through his pants while the other deftly unbuckled his belt. “Reid.”
“I want you so bad,” Reid whispered as he lowered Luke’s pants and boxers. He bent Luke forward onto the bed. Luke stood with his pants bunched up at his ankles and held onto the bedspread. Reid reached into his bag to fish out a bottle of lubricant and a condom before pushing down his pants and shorts. He wrapped his left arm around Luke, holding him tightly against him. “Have you been with anyone since me?” he asked hoarsely. His right hand carefully prepared Luke.
Luke groaned as he felt Reid behind him. He quickly shook his head as he pushed back. “Of course not.”
Reid exhaled in relief; he had hoped. He didn’t want to think of anyone else touching Luke.
“Have you?” Luke asked quietly. Unlike him, Reid wasn’t emotionally sensitive when it came to sex. Luke knew Reid would’ve moved on eventually even if he had expressed deep feelings for Luke back in Dallas.
“I couldn’t even if I’d tried,” Reid answered. He hadn’t tried. Once Luke left, Reid had focused on work and the occasional restaurant outing and nothing more.
Luke’s smile transformed into a loud gasp as Reid pushed inside him. They rocked back and forth, Reid holding onto Luke’s shirt and hip and Luke steadying himself with both hands. Eventually, Luke’s arms gave out, and he fell face down on the bed. Reid remained standing and continued thrusting, climaxing after one final push. Then he too fell onto the bed, playfully slapping Luke’s bare ass before quickly cleaning and tucking himself back into his pants.
Luke turned onto his side, carefully avoiding the stain on the bed. Reid, a hint of surprise on his face, stared at it and then at Luke. “I didn’t even touch you.”
Luke blushed. “I know, but it’s been a long time. My body missed you.” He sat up to pull his pants back on and then lay down beside Reid. “I missed you, Reid. I missed you so much.”
Reid touched Luke’s cheek. “I missed you too. After you left, I knew I could live without you . . . but I didn’t want to.”
“I should’ve stayed,” Luke said. “I shouldn’t have listened to my parents. I should’ve stayed with you.”
“Shh, it’s okay, Luke, I’m here now. That’s what matters.”
Luke ran his hand through Reid’s hair. “I still can’t believe you’re here. I never thought I’d see you again.”
“Well, you need me for the neuro wing so . . .” Reid said with a smirk.
“And you need me for you,” Luke added with his own grin.
Reid laughed. “I guess it’s a win-win.”
Luke looked directly into Reid’s eyes. “I love you.”
Reid leaned forward and kissed Luke. “I love you.” He was surprised at how easy it was to declare his love for Luke, something he’d never done before with any man.
“And my family is going to love you too,” Luke said, sitting up and jumping off the bed. “Come on, we have to go.”
“Really? Now? Can’t I meet them when I come back . . . in two or three weeks?” Reid said, groaning loudly. He hadn’t seen Luke in almost a month, and after the following day, he wouldn’t be seeing him for another few weeks. The only thing he wanted to do that day was spend time alone with Luke; the last thing he wanted was to spend time with Luke’s countless relatives.
Luke laughed as he pulled Reid off the bed. “No, now.”
“What have I gotten myself into?” Reid jokingly muttered as he followed Luke out the door.
“My sister, Faith, is part of the homecoming court at school so we’re all gathering tonight for an early celebration before the big event tomorrow,” Luke said as he drove toward the Snyder Farm.
“Faith? She’s the second oldest after you, right?”
Luke grinned proudly at Reid. “That’s right, and you didn’t even have to look at the napkin for that.”
Reid tapped his head. “Photographic memory, remember?”
Luke laughed. “I’m so happy you’re here, Reid. I know I already told you that but—”
Reid reached over and touched Luke’s hand. “I’m happy, too, Luke.”
A few minutes later, Luke parked the car. “Ready?”
“Every Snyder really is here, huh?” Reid asked, noticing the many cars parked around the farm.
“Almost,” Luke said. “Come on, don’t be scared. I’ll be right beside you.”
Reid opened the passenger door. “I’m not . . . yet.”
“Luke, you’re here!” Faith Snyder shrieked as she ran toward Luke and embraced him.
Luke hugged her tightly and then released her, his eyes growing wide at Faith’s short, low-cut emerald dress. “Wow, Faith, you look so grown-up.”
“I thought you might not come since you said you’d be at the hospital all day,” Faith said.
“Yeah, but the interviews ended early after we found our candidate,” Luke said, smiling as he nodded his head toward Reid.
Faith wrinkled her brows. “And you brought him here?”
Luke laughed. “Yeah, but it’s okay. This is Reid Oliver, the guy I told you about.”
Reid smiled at her.
“So . . . you live here now?” Faith asked slowly as she looked Reid up and down.
“Yeah, he’s going to,” Luke answered.
“How old are you?” Faith asked, still staring at Reid.
Reid extended his right hand. “Almost old enough to be your father and tell you that dress is a bit inappropriate for a family event.”
Luke playfully hit Reid’s arm. “Reid, she looks great.”
“Oh, come on, you know you were thinking it as soon as you saw her,” Reid said.
Luke quickly shook his head. “Reid, I wasn’t.” He turned to Faith. “You look good, Faith.”
She smiled sincerely at Luke. “Thanks, Luke.” She then looked at Reid and nodded. “Mr. Oliver.”
“That’s Dr. Oliver, actually.”
“Whatever,” Faith said as she walked toward the door leading out of the kitchen. “Everyone’s in the living room.”
“Reid, don’t say things like that to her—it’s not nice,” Luke whispered.
“Where’d you get the idea I do nice?” Reid whispered back.
“Hi, Luke,” Meg Snyder said, entering the kitchen just as Faith exited.
“Meg, hi. I want you meet Dr. Reid Oliver. He’s the new head of the neurology wing and my, uh, . . .”
“Boyfriend,” Reid finished, extending his hand. “Luke and I are together.”
Meg smiled and shook Reid’s hand. “That’s fantastic. I think I heard Holden talk to Mama about you.”
“Nothing good, I’m sure,” Reid said under his breath.
Reid stared at Meg. “So you’re Luke’s aunt, correct?”
“The one who strings men along?”
Meg’s eyes widened. “What?”
“Reid,” Luke warned.
Reid took out the napkin. “You were seeing three men at once, no? Paul Ryan, Dusty Donovan and Damian Grimaldi—did I get that right?”
Meg glared at Reid. “What’s he talking about, Luke?”
“Nothing. Let’s go meet the others, Reid,” Luke said as he dragged Reid out of the kitchen. “Did you actually write down everything I told you about everyone?”
“How else was I supposed to remember who’s who?”
Luke sighed. “Do me a favor and don’t tell anyone the things I told you.”
“You didn’t say they were secrets,” Reid said.
“They’re not but—”
“Luke, hey,” Jack Snyder said, slapping Luke’s back.
“Jack, hi.” Luke smiled at Carly Snyder, who stood next to Jack. “Carly.”
Reid studied the napkin and then looked up at the couple. “You’re Luke’s adopted dad’s brother and you’re his . . . wife? Or ex? Or girlfriend? Or . . . what is your status at the moment?”
Carly looked confused as she leaned closer toward Reid. “Excuse me?”
“Sorry, I’m just not sure how to address you. You two have been on and off a lot so I don’t know where you currently stand,” Reid explained.
“Who the hell are you?” Carly asked loudly.
“This is—this is Reid.”
Reid looked at Luke. “I just don’t know how to refer to her, okay?”
“Excuse us,” Luke said before dragging Reid away. “Reid, please don’t say anything else.”
Luke stiffened as his parents approached him. “Mom, Dad,” he managed to say. He held on to Reid’s arm.
“You’re the Snyders,” Reid said. He was surprised to see the attractive couple. In his mind, Luke’s parents—the two people who talked Luke out of moving to Dallas to be with Reid—were anything but pleasing.
Lily laughed. “Actually, I’m Walsh.” She pointed at Holden. “And he’s Snyder.”
Reid looked at Luke. “So they’re not—”
Luke shook his head while his eyes begged Reid to remain silent. Reid nodded.
“And you are?” Lily asked.
“This is Dr. Reid Oliver.”
Lily and Holden glanced at one another. “From Dallas?”
“Not from Turkey,” Reid said with a smirk.
“What are you doing here?” Holden asked slowly, moving closer to Luke and Reid.
“Um, Reid’s the head of the neurology wing now. We hired him earlier today,” Luke said, his hand traveling from Reid’s arm to Reid’s hand.
“You hired him? Luke, what’s going on?” Lily asked, her mouth in a tight line as she glanced from Luke and Reid’s joined hands to Reid.
Reid extended his hand, which Lily reluctantly shook. “It’s nice to meet you, Ms. Walsh. I see where Luke gets his good looks and”—Reid glanced at Faith and then at Lily’s form-fitting, V-neck dress—“Faith her fashion sense.”
“Come again,” Lily said, her voice rising as she crossed her arms across her chest.
Luke held up his hand. “Mom, he didn’t mean anything by it.”
“Why don’t you let Dr. Oliver talk, Luke?” Holden broke in. “It seems he’s got some things to say to us.”
“Oh, I do,” Reid said before he could stop himself. He knew he should shut up—for Luke’s sake and his—but he simply couldn’t, as always.
“Judging by the looks on both your faces, it’s obvious you don’t approve of my and Luke’s relationship, as you also made perfectly clear when you discouraged Luke from moving to Dallas so we could be together,” Reid said.
“You two don’t even know each other,” Holden said.
“We got to know each other pretty well, actually. Besides, Luke’s a grown man; he can make decisions on his own,” Reid said.
“Not when he just got out of the most important relationship of his life,” Lily said, her hands now on her hips, “with the love of his life.”
“Ah yes, the perfect relationship with the perfect guy,” Reid responded with a smirk. “You can’t honestly believe in that, especially you two.”
“Dr. Oliver, I don’t appreciate being insulted in my own home,” Holden said.
“Dad, he doesn’t mean it.”
“Luke, I can talk for myself,” Reid said.
Holden inched closer to Reid. “What are you really doing here, Doctor? You want us to believe you moved thousands of miles for, what, love?”
“He did, Dad,” Luke said. “He’s here for me.”
“And the neurological wing, of course,” Lily said. “How convenient that Luke just happens to be funding the ultimate playground for you to play in.”
Reid chuckled. “I’m not going to deny that the wing isn’t a perk, but I am here for Luke. How else do I expect to get laid?”
“Reid, shut up!” Luke yelled.
“What’s going on here?” Emma Snyder asked as she walked up behind Holden. “What’s with the yelling?”
“Grandma,” Luke began.
“This is your grandma?” Reid asked. He smiled at Emma. “Emma, I presume? The pie lady?” He stuck out his right hand. “Nice to meet you, Ms. Emma. Do you have any pie?”
“All right, that’s enough,” Holden said as he moved Emma away from Reid. “Dr. Oliver, I think it’s time for you to go.”
“Dad, no, wait, I invited him here. Please, let’s start all over again. Reid is just like that; he says things he shouldn’t, but he doesn’t mean them,” Luke said.
“Luke, I think you should listen to your father,” Lily said, glaring at Reid.
“Yes, Luke, listen to your father but the other one—you know, the cool one who actually likes me,” Reid said.
Lily and Emma gasped.
Holden exhaled sharply and then pointed to the door. “I’m going to ask you to leave.”
Reid’s cell phone rang at that instant, silencing everyone. Reid looked at the ID. “I have to answer this.” He moved to a corner of the room, and almost every eye was fastened on him.
“Luke, why did you bring him here?” Holden demanded.
“I want you all to get to know him. He’s not that bad, I promise,” Luke said. “He’s just not good with people.”
“And you still find him attractive?” Lily asked.
“Isn’t he a little out of your league, son?” Holden asked, his eyes narrowed as he stared at Reid across the room.
“We’re just looking out for you, sweetie,” Lily said. “Let’s face it: if Damian approves of him, that means there is something wrong with him.”
“I approve of him,” Luke said. “I love him.”
Lily and Holden glanced at one another.
“Luke, I have to go,” Reid said, returning to Luke’s side.
“That was Dr. Bob Hughes; he wants to see me.”
“Yeah,” Reid said. He nodded at Holden and Lily. “You got your wish.” Reid opened the front door and turned around. “Snyders, it was a pleasure.”
Meg, Carly, Emma, Faith, Jack, Holden, and Lily stared back.
Luke followed him outside. “Reid, wait.”
“I really have to go, Luke.”
Luke grabbed Reid’s arm. “What happened in there? Why the hell did you act like that?”
“Who said I was acting?”
“Reid, you didn’t even try.”
“I told you I’m not good at this meet-and-greet stuff,” Reid said.
Luke ran a hand through his hair. He’d expected that it wouldn’t be easy introducing Reid to his family—Reid really was not a social person—but he hoped that he’d be wrong. “I know that but—”
“Can I borrow your car?”
Luke stared at Reid, almost sure that Reid was not so much in a rush to get to the hospital as he was to leave the farm. “I’ll drive you. You don’t know your way around yet,” Luke said, taking the keys out of his pocket.
“I’ll ask for directions. You go back in there and celebrate with your family. They want you there.”
Luke looked at the keys before looking up at Reid. “I want you here.”
Reid cupped Luke’s chin. “I know, but no one else does. I screwed up, I know that. Go inside and make amends.”
I’m just going to the hospital, Luke. I’ll come back to return your car.”
“Of course,” Reid said with a slight smile. “I don’t steal cars.”
Luke chuckled. He handed Reid the keys. He’d let him go . . . for now. “Okay.”
“Dr. Oliver,” Dr. Bob Hughes said as he shook Reid’s hand in the middle of Memorial Hospital’s corridor. “We usually wait a few days to let someone know he’s hired, but since we’re moving fast with the building of the wing, I want to let you know that we’ve selected you as the head supervisor.”
“No surprise there,” Reid said. “Told you the interview was a waste of time.”
Bob grinned and shook his head amusingly. “Why don’t I show you around so you can see what we have so far? Maybe you can offer some suggestions?”
“Oh, I’m sure I can,” Reid said as he followed Bob to the future site of the Snyder Pavilion.
Almost an hour later, Bob and Reid returned to where they’d started.
“Just as I suspected,” Reid said, shaking his head in disappointment. “There’s still a lot of work to be done.”
“Building a new addition to the hospital isn’t easy, Doctor.”
“It is if you have the right people. That’s why I want final say on every decision, from blueprints to construction to equipment purchases. I want total autonomy once we open, including staff, supplies, and budgets. I also want a fund to cover patients who don’t have insurance. And I want a fifty-percent increase on my current salary at the Medical Center in Dallas.”
Bob laughed. “Those are certainly a lot of requests.”
“Be glad I didn’t ask for a title with the word ‘genius’ in it,” Reid said. “But these aren’t requests. If you want the best, you have to pay for it.”
“That I know, but I’m not the only one who has a say in what we can or can’t offer you, Dr. Oliver. The board hired you so the board decides whether we can meet your demands.”
“Talk to the board, then,” Reid said, checking his watch. “Or better yet, talk to Luke.”
“Luke Snyder? He happens to be one of the seven people on the board you’ll have to convince.”
“I already have,” Reid said. “He promised me everything I wanted.”
Bob looked curiously at Reid. “I wasn’t aware you knew Luke.”
“He’s the reason I’m here.”
“Listen, Dr. Oliver, I’m not sure what recruiting tactics Luke used to get you here, but he doesn’t speak for the board. And he certainly can’t promise you something without it being approved by everyone else.”
“Oh, great,” Reid muttered. “I need the board’s approval too.”
Reid rubbed his eyes. “I want to be with Luke, but I need his parents’ approval. I want to build the best neurological center in the country, and I need the board’s approval. I thought everything was a done deal; that’s why I came to this town.” Reid sighed. “Now I don’t know what I’m doing here.” He was seriously starting to question that.
“You and Luke Snyder?”
Reid rolled his eyes. “Don’t tell me you have to give that the A-OK.”
Reid and Bob saw Luke running toward them.
“Luke? I told you I’d return your car,” Reid said.
“I wanted to see if you were done here,” Luke said, smiling at Bob and then facing Reid. “I need to talk to you.”
“Are we done here, Bob?” Reid asked.
“Can I have a word with you?” Bob said, ignoring Reid. He gestured toward an empty room.
“Uh-oh, I’m in trouble,” Reid said with a smirk.
“Sure,” Luke said. He glanced at Reid, who merely shrugged as he leaned against the wall.
“What is it?”
“Are you and Dr. Oliver involved?”
Luke blushed. “We are. We want to be.”
“Did your personal relationship with him affect your decision in the hiring process?”
“No, Bob, of course not. I-I met Reid a while back but we weren’t together, and I didn’t even know he was interviewing for the position until I saw him walk into the conference room,” Luke explained. “Look, I know he’s rude and cold and—”
“And then some,” Bob said with a smile.
“But I voted for him because he’s the most qualified candidate.”
“I couldn’t agree with you more,” Bob said. “And I don’t want to interfere in your private business, but please make sure Dr. Oliver understands that your personal and professional lives are to be kept separate so there are no ethical conflicts in the future.”
“Of course, Bob.”
Bob smiled and patted Luke’s back. “Good luck with him.”
“You’re mad, aren’t you?” Reid asked after a few minutes of Luke driving to the Lakeview in silence.
“No, I’m not.”
“Yes, you are. You’re pouting.”
“I don’t pout.”
“Look in the mirror; you’re pouting.”
Luke smiled as he briefly glanced in the mirror.
“So what happened, Reid? Why were you being a jerk today?”
“I’m always a jerk, Luke,” Reid said, looking out the window at the scenery. Oakdale was definitely the smallest city he would ever live in.
“No, you’re not, Reid. Don’t lie to me. Do you not like it here?” Luke asked. He glanced at Reid.
“I don’t know this place.”
“It’s not so bad.”
“Your parents don’t like me,” Reid added.
“That’s because they don’t know you yet, but they will,” Luke said. “We’re going to talk tomorrow.”
“As if that will do any good.”
“Why do you say that?”
Reid looked straight ahead.
“Good, we’re here,” Reid said, getting out of the car and slamming the door before Luke could say anymore.
Luke followed Reid into the elevator. “What is it? There’s something you’re not telling me.”
Reid rubbed his forehead. “Talk to your parents, Luke. Do what you have to do.”
Luke reached out and took Reid’s hand in his. “Reid, please.”
Reid sighed. “You know your parents better than I do. Even better than Damian does.”
“Damian? What does he have to do with this?”
The elevator opened, and Reid and Luke walked out. Once inside Reid’s room, Reid removed his jacket and stood beside the bed, crossing his arms over his chest. “He told me what they said about me back when you were thinking about moving to Dallas.”
“What?” Luke asked, moving closer to Reid.
“He told me not to tell you so I didn’t. Again, I don’t know your parents like you do and maybe they will give me a chance but I just don’t know. They don’t want me anywhere near you, Luke. They figured you’d forget about me and that’s why they weren’t too happy to see me. You saw how your mom looked at me.” He exhaled. “And I guess that’s why I acted like I did. But if she would’ve given me a chance . . .”
Luke shook his head as he approached Reid. “It doesn’t matter what they think. I know you and I intend to be with you.”
“See, that’s why I didn’t want to say anything. I don’t want you to have to choose between me and your parents. They mean a lot to you.”
“You mean a lot to me too.”
Reid smiled lightly.
Luke took both of Reid’s hands in his. “I love you.”
“I love you.”
Luke squeezed Reid’s hands. “I’ll talk to them. But whatever happens . . . I want you to stay here, with me.” Luke pulled Reid close and kissed him. He then released Reid’s hands and started unbuttoning Reid’s shirt.
Reid immediately stopped him. “Luke, no. Go home. I don’t want your parents wondering where you are.”
“They know where I am.”
“Exactly. Let’s not make it worse.”
Luke only kissed him harder. And Reid pushed him away again.
“Luke, remember, I have to get up early tomorrow. My flight leaves at eight.”
“I’ll give you time to rest,” Luke said with a chuckle as he kissed Reid.
“Luke, stop,” Reid said, holding Luke by his shoulders.
“Why are you pushing me away?”
“I’m not,” Reid said, quickly pulling Luke into an embrace and holding him tightly. “Like I said, I don’t want to get you into any more trouble with your parents.”
“And like you also said,” Luke said, his voice muffled against Reid’s shoulder, “I’m a grown man; I can make my own decisions.”
Reid looked at Luke and nodded. “Yes, you can.”
Luke kissed Reid, pushing him onto the bed and straddling him as he undressed him. As soon as his shirt and pants were removed, Reid pulled Luke under him. He caressed Luke’s face and stared into his eyes without saying anything. He didn’t want to doubt anything, and he certainly didn’t want to regret what he’d done, even if things weren’t working out the way he’d expected.
“You love me, right?”
Luke nodded. “So much.”
Reid smiled down at Luke and kissed him. That was enough.
The following morning, Luke, clad only in boxers and one of Reid’s shirts, followed Reid around as he prepared to leave.
“Why won’t you let me drive you?”
“You know I’m shit at goodbyes,” Reid answered. “It’s better this way.”
“Whatever,” Luke muttered, crossing his arms and staring at the floor.
Reid zipped his bag and approached Luke, pinching his chin. “Hey, I’ll be back before you know it.”
Luke held onto Reid’s hand. “You will, right?”
Reid hesitated for one second too long.
“Reid?” Luke asked quickly.
Reid gently kissed Luke. “You’re here. Where else would I want to be?” And with that, Reid left Luke, Oakdale and the past twenty-four hours, desperately trying to ignore the feeling of relief as the plane took him back to Dallas, if only temporarily.
The pilot landed the plane, and Reid looked out the window, not sure exactly how he felt now that he was back in Oakdale for good. He tried not to think about what had happened weeks before with Luke’s family, with Dr. Hughes, and with Luke. He exited the plane at precisely five thirty-five and looked around the small airport until he saw him.
Welcome home, Reid. Luke held up the homemade sign as he grinned at him.
Reid smiled. Luke. Home. He could do this.
Luke ran to him and hugged him tightly, the sign falling to the ground along the way.
“I’m so glad you’re back, Reid. I missed you so much,” Luke whispered against Reid’s ear.
“I’m glad to be back too.”
Luke pulled back, his eyes full of questions. “Are you, Reid?” He had to ask.
Reid touched Luke’s cheek. “Of course I am. You’re here. Where else would I be?”
That’s all Luke needed to hear. He grabbed Reid’s hand and pulled him along. “Let’s go get your bags.”