Rating: R (for language)
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.
Previous: Part 1, Part 2/Part 3
“Luke can stay over, you know.”
Reid paused midway between his bedroom and the kitchen. Without looking over at Katie, who was sitting on the couch and rocking a sleeping Jacob, Reid nodded. “I know.” He continued to the kitchen.
“He doesn’t have to leave just because I’m here,” Katie continued. Reid opened the refrigerator door. “I’m going grocery shopping tomorrow so be sure to give me a list of what you want.”
I want Luke. Can you get him for me? Reid reached all the way to the back of the refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of beer. It wasn’t his favorite brand—one he also couldn’t remember ever drinking—but he opened it anyway, throwing the bottle cap into the trash can. He took a long sip and slammed the refrigerator door shut.
“Shh,” Katie whispered loudly.
Reid ignored her as he walked back to his bedroom.
“I’m sorry about interrupting you guys, and if that’s why he left so abruptly—”
Reid stopped at his bedroom door and glanced back at Katie over his shoulder. “It’s not.”
Katie lay Jacob on the couch next to her and leaned against the armrest. “Want to talk about it?”
Reid snorted. “I’m not in the mood for a girl talk right now.” It sounded harsher than he’d intended. He looked at Katie with an apologetic smile. “You should get some sleep. That kid of yours has been a handful today.”
Katie gazed at Jacob with a smile of her own. “But he’s worth it. It might be a lot of work sometimes, but in the end, it’s all worth it. They always are.” She winked at Reid. “Good night, roomie.”
Reid held up the bottle. “Good night, merry-woman-who-invites-strangers-into-h
Reid sat against the headboard and stretched his legs on the bed, drinking his beer. Though he didn’t enjoy every aspect of Katie’s bubbly attitude, Reid liked Katie enough. He was grateful to her for his new home, and having another Oakie (Reid did not care for the term Oakdalian) on his side could prove to be a good thing, especially since he was sticking around Oakdale. That’s why Reid wasn’t going to blame Katie for what had happened earlier that evening between him and Luke. Reid and Luke weren’t having the gay old time that they’d had in Dallas, and Reid knew Katie was the last person to fault for that.
Reid held the tip of the bottle against his lips. He hated that his and Luke’s relationship wasn’t progressing as smoothly as they’d both hoped and that he couldn’t figure out why. Though he was a genius at most everything else, when it came to matters of the heart, Reid declared himself a dunce. He really was new at this relationship thing—as he’d told Luke—but he was a fast learner and maybe sooner rather than later, he and Luke could, would, be good again.
But what Reid did know was that the rocky start wasn’t entirely his fault. Reid was trying his best, but that just didn’t seem to be good enough for this version of Luke—‘Oakdale Luke,’ as Reid had mentally been referring to him. Oakdale Luke expected too much of him and, for only the second or third time in his life, Reid didn’t know if he could meet those expectations. It was especially hard for Reid when he realized Luke didn’t want Reid as he was; he wanted an Oakdale version of Reid, someone Reid was not entirely sure he would ever be.
Nevertheless, Reid missed Luke—any version of him. Maybe if he tried harder at this relationship thing, he could get back the Luke he missed the most. And maybe Luke could learn to be satisfied with the Reid he’d loved in Dallas. Reid placed the empty bottle on the nightstand and grabbed his phone.
I didn’t move 903 miles to this place for nothing, Reid thought as he touched the keypad. And that was true. Reid never wanted to feel like he was back in Dallas, back before he ever met Luke, when he was lonely. Lonely and alone. And he never wanted to feel like he did after Luke left Dallas—lonely and alone again. But earlier that night, right after Luke had left, that’s exactly how Reid began feeling. Actually, if he was completely honest with himself, he’d admit that that’s how it had been since returning to Oakdale, even with Luke around. That would explain his receptiveness to Katie’s invitation. Reid was connecting with someone in Oakdale, someone he didn’t completely dislike; he just wished it was Luke.
Reid lightly touched the front of his jeans with his left hand. Sexually, he and Luke were connecting perfectly. That seemed to be the only positive thing about their relationship—well, at least it had been until earlier when Luke left without helping Reid finish what they’d started. For a second, Reid debated between watching porn on his phone to jerk off and calling Luke. But then he realized that if he and Luke were good again—and the sooner he talked to Luke, the sooner it could happen—he’d have Luke and there’d be no need to jerk off alone. Reid held the phone to his ear.
“You weren’t sleeping, were you?”
“No,” Luke said before yawning loudly. “I’m studying.”
“Need my help?” Reid asked.
“It’s not my biology class, Reid.”
“You know, I did read other stuff at Harvard beside medical books. Let me help you.”
“It’s a novel, actually. I’m simply re-reading and highlighting the parts that might be on the test tomorrow.”
“Oh.” Reid wasn’t sure if Luke was telling the truth. During Reid’s most recent time in Dallas, he’d help Luke with his biology assignments over the phone. And often, as a thank you, Luke would treat Reid to amazing phone-sex sessions before they hung up. Reid could definitely get in the mood for that. Unfortunately, Luke still seemed upset over the evening’s events.
Here goes nothing. Reid exhaled sharply as he held the phone closer to his ear. “Katie didn’t have to like me.”
“She wasn’t on your list so she wasn’t expected to like me.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The people I’ve met so far are those you introduced me to, people whom you wanted and expected to like me, just like you do,” Reid continued. “And they’re people you want me to like just because you like them too.”
“They’re my family, Reid,” Luke said.
“I know that, Luke, but you can’t force people to instantaneously like one another, especially not after having just met,” Reid said. “Remember me and you?”
“Damian thought we’d get along just because we were both gay, but that didn’t happen, did it?”
“Not right away.”
“Exactly. We got to know each other first and, lucky for me, you ended up liking me,” Reid said.
“Lucky for me, you liked me too,” Luke said.
Reid smiled before continuing. “And maybe my meeting your parents and family didn’t go well because of the expectations you had of all of us being one big happy family right away. You keep saying they’re going to love me but they don’t know me, Luke. I don’t know them either and that’s going to take some time. And that’s okay because we have to like each other willingly and not just for your sake.”
After a few seconds of silence, Luke asked, “Did you talk to Katie?”
Reid laughed. “Why, was it that good?”
Luke also laughed.
Reid lay on the bed, two fluffy pillows elevating his head. “That’s why I moved in with her, Luke. She didn’t know who I was and she didn’t have to like me, but she did and when she offered the spare room, I guess you could say I was surprised she didn’t hate me like everyone else, considering I wasn’t at my nicest when she met me.”
“Nah, really?” Luke teased.
“I know how important it is for you that I fit in here and I know I’m not a people person, but hey, I’m trying.”
“And now I have another friend besides you—two, actually. Katie and Hank. Aren’t you proud?” Reid said.
Luke laughed. “I don’t think Henry would like you calling him a friend.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right.”
Silence filled the air.
“Luke? Don’t think that I’m living with Katie because I don’t want to live with you or want to spend time alone with you. Like I told you earlier, you are the reason I’m here and I want to live with you one day and have you around all the time but we shouldn’t rush anything ...”
“Until you’re more settled?” Luke asked, though both Luke and Reid knew what he was really asking: Until we also get to know each other better? Because that’s what it seemed like lately. Reid didn’t know all about Oakdale Luke yet while Luke didn’t remember everything about Dallas Reid.
“Yeah,” Reid said. “And I really just needed to get out of the hotel. You know how I felt about living there.” Luke didn’t respond so Reid continued. “Do you believe me, Luke? That me living with Katie has nothing to do with how I feel about you?”
That’s a relief.
“Maybe I did overreact,” Luke said quietly.
“Not maybe, definitely,” Reid said with a laugh. “Don’t worry, I’m getting used to it.”
After a few seconds, Reid asked, “So, are you bored?”
“Take a break.”
“You owe me. You left me stiff and alone,” Reid said, touching himself through his jeans.
“Hey, you walked out first, remember?”
“And you couldn’t wait one measly minute while I checked Jacob’s ears?”
“I had to come home to study,” Luke said.
“Oh, really? You certainly weren’t in a rush when I had my dick up your—“
“All right, I have to hang up now.”
“I miss you, Luke,” Reid said, his voice low and hoarse. “And RJ misses you too.”
“Who the hell is RJ?”
“Hint: your mouth and ass are good acquaintances of his.”
Luke burst out laughing. “No way! Don’t tell me you named your penis. Seriously, Reid?”
“Don’t pretend you don’t have a name for yours, Snyder.”
Luke was silent.
“Ha, I knew it! So what’s his name? Luciano? Little Luke? The Snyder Soldier?”
Luke was laughing uncontrollably. “It—it’s Little G. As in-as in Little Grimaldi.”
Reid laughed too. “I like it. Now how about Little G comes over and makes Reid Senior and Reid Junior very happy?”
“No can do,” Luke responded as his laughter died down. “If Big G doesn’t pass this test, both Big G and Little G aren’t gonna be up for anything.”
“I gotta go, Reid.”
“If you do pass the test, can RJ and LG have some fun tomorrow night, then?” Reid asked.
“And if you get through the board meeting and dinner with my parents without insulting anyone . . . much, sure.”
“Hey, Reid, um, thanks for calling,” Luke said.
“Thanks for answering,” Reid said.
“Good night, Reid.”
“Good night, Luke.”
Reid exhaled in relief. That had gone better than he expected. And he had enjoyed it more than he thought he would. For a few minutes, it had felt as if he and Luke were back in Dallas—or chatting on the phone like they had those three weeks when Reid had returned to Dallas—talking about silly things while getting to know each other. Now, if they could do more of the same here in Oakdale, he and Luke would be all right.
Reid stroked RJ while he looked though his phone, stopping when Luke’s picture appeared on his screen. He would be all right tonight, too. He didn’t need porn. He still had Luke.
“Leave some for the rest of us,” Luke whispered in Reid’s ear as he approached Reid, who was hovering over the buffet table in the hospital conference room.
Reid, his mouth full of coffee cake, turned around and kissed Luke briefly. He swallowed and smiled. “There is enough for everyone. Big G makes sure of it.”
“Shh,” Luke said, a light blush appearing on his face.
“What? Nobody’s here yet,” Reid said, indicating the empty room where that morning’s board meeting was being held. “Come here.” He put his hands on Luke’s waist and pulled him against him. His lips covered Luke’s. They broke apart after a minute. “So, we’re okay?”
Luke nodded and gave him a wide smile. “We’re okay.”
Reid smiled. He was proud of himself for getting better at this relationship thing. He knew he’d learn the ropes quickly, and he had. Things definitely looked good for him and Luke, and he liked not having to fear feeling lonely and alone anytime soon.
“Good. And I promise to try harder to play nice with the staff here and your parents tonight.” He put his mouth against Luke’s ear. “Even though I really only wanna play nice with you.”
“Tonight, Reid, tonight,” Luke whispered before pulling Reid’s face to his and kissing him hard.
They broke apart when they heard the cough. Bob Hughes and the six members of Memorial Hospital’s board stood at the door, staring in surprise at Luke and Reid. Reid quickly dropped his hands and moved away. Luke smiled and greeted them as he walked to the table and took a seat next to Reid. The board members, stealing glances at Luke and Reid, sat down too.
Luke clasped Reid’s hand under the table, and Reid turned and flashed him a smile.
“Dr. Oliver? Would you mind sitting over here next to me?” Bob asked from where he sat at the head of the table.
All eyes stared at Reid.
Reid glanced at Luke before turning back to Bob. “I’m fine here, Dr. Hughes.”
“Dr. Oliver, please sit over here,” Bob said firmly.
Luke looked confusedly at Reid as they released hands. With all eyes on him, Reid stood and walked two chairs down to sit next to Bob. Bob smiled at him before turning his attention to everyone.
“Good morning,” Bob began. “I know you’ve all met Dr. Reid Oliver, our new neurosurgeon who’s going to serve as the supervisor of the neurosurgery wing that is being constructed. Dr. Oliver comes to us from Dallas with a stellar reputation, an excellent record, and many groundbreaking ideas to make the wing the best facility at Memorial.” The board members clapped. “Dr. Oliver, the floor is yours.”
“No, it’s not!”
All eyes turned to the front of the room as Henry walked in and pointed at Reid.
Reid smirked. Luke groaned. Bob stood.
“This man will not own the floor or the roof or-or the windows of the neuro wing, not if I have anything to say about it.”
“Henry, please,” Bob started.
“No, Bob, you and everyone else in here need to know what kind of ‘doctor’ this man really is,” Henry said. “He’s done things—bad things that will jeopardize the wing and this entire institution if he’s allowed to use my money—”
“—and mine,” Luke interrupted.
“—to-to build his surgery palace here at Memorial.”
“What are you talking about, Henry? What are these ‘bad things’ you’re referring to?” Bob asked.
“Dr. Hughes, please excuse Henry. He doesn’t know what he’s saying,” Reid said, shaking his head at Henry.
“Oh, but I do,” Henry said, holding up his index finger in the air. “Dallas? Does that ring a bell?”
“Yes, I lived there up until a few days ago,” Reid said matter-of-factly.
“Uh huh, uh huh, and do you recall what you did there?”
“I was a neurosurgeon.”
A few board members laughed, including Luke.
“Henry, if you have something to share about Dr. Oliver, please tell us,” Bob said, trying hard not to smile. He was used to Henry Coleman’s antics and dramatics, but he was still curious about Henry’s attitude toward Reid.
Henry looked at Bob and then at everyone in the room. His face reddened. “Well, I-I-I don’t know the specifics.”
“Really?” Reid asked, looking bored. More laughter erupted.
“Yet!” Henry yelled. “But I will.” He pointed a finger at Reid. “I know you’re hiding something. I have a source in Dallas, and when I find out, you are done. Done!”
“Okay, Henry, that’s enough,” Bob said as he walked Henry to the door.
“Bob, be careful,” Henry continued. “He’s not only after our money but our women too—your son’s woman, in fact. He moved in with Katie, did you know that? Tell Chris to watch him.”
“Goodbye, Henry,” Bob said as he closed the door. He faced the board. “Now, where were we?”
“Reid, can I talk to you for a minute?” Bob asked as the board members left the room an hour later.
“Bob, if this is about Henry—” Luke said.
“Actually,” Bob interrupted, “I need to talk to you too, Luke.” He waited until only he, Reid, and Luke remained. “And no, it’s not about Henry.”
Reid and Luke looked curiously at Bob.
“It’s about your relationship,” Bob said.
Luke crossed his arms over his chest. “What about it?”
“I’ve talked to you about this before, Luke. You two need to keep your professional and personal lives separate,” Bob said.
“Meaning?” Reid asked.
“When we walked in this morning—”
“We were just kissing, Bob,” Luke said defensively.
“When we walked in this morning, the board members saw one of their own being intimate with a doctor, a staff member, the head of the wing who’s being supervised by the board.”
“And?” Luke asked.
“Do you have to ask? They’re going to assume that you’re going to favor Reid in any decision or proposal that comes before the board regarding the wing. That’s the impression I got when you agreed with and praised everything Reid said this morning.”
“I’m not. I won’t.”
“Then don’t give them a reason to think that,” Bob said.
“And we do that by not flaunting our relationship in public, is that what you’re saying?” Reid asked.
“There are ethics and policies, and while I personally don’t have a problem with this relationship, I don’t want to be forced, or given a reason, to consider it one.”
“And if we don’t comply with your request?” Luke said.
“It’s not a request, Luke,” Bob replied. “You and Reid have great ideas for the wing. I want to be sure you’re both around to carry them out. Are we clear?”
Luke glared at Bob. Bob looked at Reid, who stood behind Luke, not saying anything. “Dr. Oliver?”
Reid nodded and looked down. Bob looked at Luke once more before walking out. Luke shook his head. “Is he kidding? Who is he to say who we can or cannot be involved with? Am I right?” He turned around to look at Reid, who was looking at the ground and touching the stethoscope around his neck. “Reid?”
Reid looked up.
“Reid, don’t worry about Henry. I know he hates you for shacking up with Katie but we’ll talk to him so he doesn’t interfere with you or the wing anymore.” Luke laughed. “He’s quite a character, nothing like his sister.”
“Forget about Henry.” Though that had been a distracting—but highly—entertaining scene, that’s not what Reid was thinking about. Bob Hughes was threatening to take his job from him. Could he do that? Would he do that? “What Bob said.”
“Oh, you also don’t have to worry about him, Reid,” Luke said. “I think I’m going to talk to his son, Tom, to see if Bob can order us like that.” Reid looked questioningly at him. “He’s a lawyer.”
“Luke, we should do what he wants. It’s his hospital,” Reid said, his voice barely a whisper. Now that his and Luke’s relationship was secure, Reid needed to make sure his job was too. That’s also what I’m here for, right? And if that included acting less like a couple around the hospital, then that’s what he and Luke would do. They’d already overcome several obstacles in their relationship; they could surely overcome this too.
But one look at Luke, eyes narrowed and nostrils flaring, told Reid that they might not.