Characters: Reid/Luke, Holden, Lily, Chris
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/Part 4
“What did you say?”
Reid rubbed his forehead, avoiding Luke’s glare. “It’s—it’s not an outrageous request, Luke.”
“It’s an appalling demand, Reid,” Luke said, his voice loud and angry. He walked closer to Reid. “He wants us to hide our relationship.”
“He merely wants us to keep it private,” Reid said, finally looking at Luke. “What’s wrong with that?”
Luke narrowed his eyes. “What’s wrong? What’s wrong? What the hell do you think, Reid? He doesn’t want anyone to know we’re in a relationship.”
“Not ‘anyone,’ just the board members and maybe the hospital staff,” Reid said, trying to restrain himself from becoming too defensive. “Outside of Memorial, we’re still together.”
“How convenient for you.”
“Not just for me,” Reid said, “but for your board seat, the hospital, the wing.”
“So the wing is more important to you than our relationship?”
“How dare you,” Reid said, his voice louder than Luke’s. “I moved 903 miles for—”
“—me. So you keep saying,” Luke muttered, looking away.
“I gave up my life in Dallas for you, Luke.”
Luke looked back at Reid. “So what, I owe you now? Is that how this works? You do something for me so I have to do something for you?”
“Damnit, Luke, this is for us. You heard Bob; he wants both of us involved with the wing.”
“As long as we’re not involved with each other,” Luke said.
“As long we don’t look like we’re involved with each other,” Reid corrected. “They already know there’s something between us. We just need to keep them from thinking and seeing that there’s more to what they saw. Why is that so hard for you?”
Luke bit his lip and looked down. “For me?”
Reid sighed as he walked closer to Luke. He reached out to touch Luke’s chin. Luke tried to pull away, but Reid held on. He lifted Luke’s face to his. “It’ll be hard for me too, Luke, I’m not going to deny that, but keep in mind why we’ll be doing it. We’re building this wing to help other people, to save lives. Because that’s what’s at stake here—if we don’t do as Bob asks, we might lose our ability to do that. And I don’t want that and I know you don’t either.”
Luke stared at Reid as he tried to push away the déjà vu he was suddenly experiencing. He didn’t feel like sharing it with Reid, though. He didn’t even feel like being in the same room with Reid any longer. “Fine. We’ll do what Bob wants, but I don’t like it, Reid.” He walked toward the door.
Reid followed Luke. “It’s not going to be forever, Luke, just until I get settled in and they get to know me and the wing’s a success. After that, I can assure you that no one’ s going to care who’s involved with whom around here.”
“If you say so,” Luke whispered as he held onto the doorknob.
“Hey, I could say, ‘Fuck you’ to Bob and the board but then I wouldn’t be trying to fit in like you want me to, right?” Reid asked with a small smirk.
“I gotta go study,” Luke said, opening the door.
“Luke, we’re okay, yes?” Reid asked, touching Luke’s arm.
Luke slowly nodded.
“And we’re still meeting your parents tonight?”
“I might be a bit late, depends on how soon I finish my exam, but yeah, I’ll see you then.” He looked down at Reid’s hand. “Better let go of me. The board might be watching,” Luke said before walking out.
Reid followed him out of the room, staring at Luke’s back as he walked off. Reid sighed. Back to square one.
“Ah, the great Reid Oliver in the flesh.”
Reid looked at the approaching doctor. “That’s me. Would you like an autograph or a picture?”
“You don’t remember me, do you?”
“Chris Hughes. We went to med school together.”
“Along with six hundred other slightly competent and very hopeless wannabes,” Reid said. “Wait, did you say ‘Hughes’?”
“Yeah, you do remember me,” Chris said smugly.
“No, I just realized you’ve got the same name as my boss. Any relation to Bob Hughes?”
“He’s my dad.”
“Of course he is,” Reid said. “Guess the Snyder family tree isn’t the only big one around here.” He looked Chris up and down. “What can I do for you, Craig?”
“That’s Chris, and I don’t need anything from you. But I will be watching you, Oliver, to make sure you behave yourself around here.” Chris shook his head. “Can’t believe my dad actually hired you,” Chris muttered.
“Hey, despite his age, he’s alert enough to know a great doctor when he sees one.”
Chris snorted. “The only reason you’re here is because Luke Snyder wanted his new lover to move to Oakdale, and what better way to bribe him than with a brand-new, state-of-the-art medical facility where he can rule as dictator.”
“Despite his age, Luke also knows the best when he sees it.”
“Too bad they don’t know the real you—the conniving cheat who will do anything to get what he wants, so you better watch yourself, Oliver, especially around Katie.”
“Katie? What does she have to do with—oh, you’re him.”
Chris crossed his arms over his chest. “Yup, I’m Katie’s boyfriend.”
“Boyfriend? Are you sure about that?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Maybe you should find out where you stand with her before you go around labeling yourself something you might not be yet . . . or ever,” Reid said, grinning at Chris.
“Go to hell,” Chris said.
“Actually, I’m getting back to work before I go home to Katie,” Reid said, smiling widely.
Chris glared at Reid. “It’s a good thing you’re gay or you wouldn’t have a ‘home’ to go to, at least not with Katie.”
“It’s a good thing I’m gay or you wouldn’t be calling yourself anything of Katie’s, especially not her boyfriend,” Reid said. He patted Chris’s shoulder. “See you around, Craig.”
Reid walked into the Lakeview hours later, surprised to see Lily and Holden laughing like two lovesick teenagers at the bar. Luke had told him they were currently separated, but Reid wouldn’t have been able to tell by the way their bodies were joined in almost every way.
Reid coughed, and Lily and Holden whirled around, quickly creating space between them. Lily ran a hand through her hair, a slight blush covering her cheeks. “Reid, hello.”
Holden glanced at his watch. “You’re early.”
Reid shrugged. “I didn’t want to be late. Good impression and all that.”
“You surprised us, that’s all,” Lily explained. “We got Luke’s text that he’ll be here later so we figured you would be too.”
“Text?” Reid asked, quickly scanning his phone for the same message but seeing nothing from Luke. “He didn’t tell me.” Yup, he’s still pissed.
“Well, no matter. This gives us a chance to talk, just the three of us,” Holden said, leading the way to a table.
Reid tugged on his tie, which suddenly felt too tight. “Or we could, you know, wait for Luke.”
“Nonsense, have a seat,” Holden said as he and Lily sat next to one another.
You won over Grimaldi Sr. You can do the same with these two. Watch your mouth, watch your mouth, Reid mentally advised himself. After that morning’s spat with Luke, Reid needed to make sure this dinner went well. It’d be easier if Luke was seated next to him, but since he wasn’t, it was all up to Reid to charm the parents.
“So . . .” Holden began.
“So . . .” Reid said.
“How are things with the neuro wing?” Lily asked.
You can do this. “Good so far. Luke has a lot of great ideas. He really knows what he’s doing.”
Holden cleared his throat. “About what we said to you earlier—about you moving to Oakdale solely for the wing, um, we didn’t mean it to sound like, well, like it did.”
“What Holden’s trying to say is that we might’ve prejudged you. We did, actually,” Lily said. “We didn’t know you. The only thing we did know is that Damian introduced you to Luke and we don’t trust Damian.”
“Not one bit,” Holden added.
“So naturally, we were curious as to why Damian was playing matchmaker in Dallas when Luke and the wing are here.”
“We were concerned that he might have . . . ulterior motives.”
“Like what?” Reid asked.
“We weren’t sure,” Holden said. “Out of the blue, he says he’s taking Luke along on a business trip to Dallas and then several days later, we get calls from him and Luke telling us that Luke has fallen in love and wants to move to Dallas permanently. When that doesn’t happen, you show up a month later professing your devotion to Luke and telling us you’ve moved hundreds of miles to run the new facility.”
“It all sounds a little too –”
“—planned,” Holden said, “as if all this time he had his eye on you to run the wing and used Luke to get you to come here.”
Reid sipped his water. He couldn’t blame them for thinking that. There had been times when Reid had thought that himself—even accusing Damian once of intentionally setting up Reid and Luke’s relationship for his benefit.
“And since we don’t trust Damian, we didn’t trust you,” Lily said.
“Everything happened so fast too. Luke’s not one to leave his family and home for someone no one but Damian has met,” Holden said. “So yes, we had our suspicions.”
“And then we met you and you were not . . . you were, um—“
“Not Noah?” Reid interrupted.
Lily smiled. “You were not nice.”
Reid smiled back. “That’s part of my charm. Didn’t Luke tell you?”
Lily chuckled. “Luke told us a lot of things about you, but he forgot to mention that one.”
“Your attitude certainly didn’t help your case,” Holden said with a small smile of his own. “It seemed like you didn’t care what we thought of you that day so we figured you weren’t really interested in Luke, only the wing.”
“We love our son. We’re not perfect parents, as we’re sure Luke has told you, but we care about our children. We won’t stand for anyone playing with his feelings, which is why we don’t trust Damian. He’s put Luke through so much, as we hope Luke has told you, so we’re always cautious and concerned when he interferes in Luke’s life,” Lily said.
“You don’t think Damian cares about Luke?” Reid asked. Damian might not be a perfect parent either, but Reid could tell he cared about Luke. There was a good chance Reid might not be living in Oakdale were it not for Damian.
“No, he does,” Lily said. “Luke’s his only son. However, Damian has a different definition of love. His heart is in the right place most of the time, but his mind is almost always . . . elsewhere. He tries to be good for Luke, though, and that’s why we allow Luke to see him.”
“We don’t always like it, but that’s how it is,” Holden said. He finished his drink and looked at Reid. “Anyway, we wanted to tell you that so you know where we’re coming from and why we didn’t approve of your relationship with Luke before.”
“Before?” Reid asked. “You do now?”
“Well, we’re open to getting to know you and to see if everything Luke says about you is true,” Lily said. She leaned forward. “You really moved hundreds of miles just for him?”
“I’m here,” Reid said with a grin.
“You really love our son.”
“Who wouldn’t?” Reid said.
“Oh, that wasn’t a question. It’s an observation,” Lily said. “We haven’t seen Luke this happy since—”
“Noah?” Reid asked.
Lily and Holden exchanged a look.
“It’s okay, Mr. Snyder, Ms. Walsh. I know all about that fairy-tale romance. I know I can’t compete with it. I’m not Noah Mayer,” Reid said.
“We don’t want you to be Noah,” Holden said. “And please, call me Holden.”
“And you may call me Lily,” Lily said. “Holden’s right, though, about Noah. We love Noah, loved him like our son even, but we hope you’re not like him.”
Reid beckoned the waiter over and ordered a drink. He then turned his attention back to Holden and Lily. “Can you say that again? Why don’t you want me to be Noah?”
“Because Noah wasn’t who we thought he was, or who Luke wanted him to be,” Lily answered. “I’m sure Luke has talked about their less-than-stellar relationship.”
Actually, Luke hadn’t delved too much into his past with Noah other than outline the major ordeals he’d gone through with him. He’d never mentioned specific details, and Reid had never asked. The less he knew about Noah, the better. “He’s told me some, but I assumed you all were immune to Noah’s many faults given how long that union lasted without anyone stopping it,” Reid said.
“Relationships aren’t easy, but they’re especially difficult in Oakdale, as anyone can attest to,” Lily said, glancing briefly at Holden before focusing on Reid.
Reid almost sighed in relief. Maybe his and Luke’s relationship wasn’t as bad as he feared.
“We figured Luke and Noah were simply dealing with the same issues as the rest of us. Of course, here in Oakdale, those issues are magnified when you incorporate blackmail, evil siblings and parents, kidnappings, people returning from the dead, paternity mysteries, and baby switches,” Lily continued.
Reid drank half of his whiskey.
“Not that Luke and Noah experienced all that,” Holden said quickly. “What they did go through, however, wasn’t easy on them, especially Luke.”
“We don’t single out Luke just because he’s our son. We just feel that Noah was never as invested in the relationship as he should’ve been, as Luke definitely was,” Lily said sadly. She took a sip of her wine. “Luke gave his entire heart to Noah. He gave everything of himself, as Luke always does with those he loves, and when Noah didn’t do the same—time and time again—well, Luke got hurt, and we didn’t do anything to help him.” Lily rubbed her eyes.
Holden massaged Lily’s shoulder.
“It was only after they broke up the last time, after Noah went blind and pushed Luke away again, and after we stupidly tried everything to get them to reunite that Luke finally told us everything that had been wrong with the relationship.” Lily covered her face with her hands. “How did we not see any of it?”
Holden gripped Lily’s shoulder. “From the very beginning, we should’ve been there for Luke, as soon as it started.”
And for the next twenty minutes, Reid learned all the specifics about Noah that almost made Reid wished he’d never given the guy his sight back:
Noah kissing Luke and then returning to Maddie. That jerk.
Noah staying away from Luke right after Colonel Mayer shot and paralyzed Luke. Asshole. Like father, like son.
Noah breaking up with Luke after blaming him for the Colonel’s death. Fucker.
Noah turning in Luke after the election fiasco. Un-fucking-believable.
And Reid also learned some things that made him better understand ‘Oakdale Luke':
Noah leaving Luke to join the army. Reid finished the last of his whiskey. Fuck. Luke is scared I might leave him. No wonder he kept asking if I was coming back to Oakdale.
Noah putting his student film before his and Luke’s relationship. Is that what he thinks I’m doing with the neuro wing? Does he actually think I care about it more than him?
Noah not wanting to be with Luke yet moving in with Maddie and then Allison. Shit. That’s why he doesn’t like the idea of me living with Katie.
Noah marrying Ameera and forcing Luke to keep their relationship a secret so the ICE wouldn’t discover the truth.
Reid sat back in his chair and rubbed his eyes as he recalled his and Luke’s conversation that morning.
“He merely wants us to keep it private. What’s wrong with that?”
“He doesn’t want anyone to know we’re in a relationship.”
“They already know there’s something between us. We just need to keep them from thinking and seeing that there’s more to what they saw. Why is that so hard for you?”
“Fuck,” Reid whispered as he stared at the empty glass in front of him.
“Reid? Are you okay?”
Reid looked up at Holden and Lily’s concerned faces. He nodded.
“Judging from the shocked expressions on your face throughout our talk, I’m guessing that Luke never really told you everything about Noah and him, am I right?”
Reid shook his head and ordered another drink.
“Anyway, we hope you don’t think that Noah’s a bad guy,” Lily said. “He was never abusive or . . . he’s a good guy, he can be, but he’s just not the right guy for Luke.”
“Noah and Damian were—are—two of the most important men in Luke’s life, and neither has treated Luke like he deserves; we’ll let Luke fill you in on Damian’s past. But that’s why we’re a bit nervous now that you’re in the picture,” Holden said. “We want to be sure you’re not them.”
“Or at least a bit better than them,” Lily said. “From the way Luke talks about you, we know he’s already in this relationship one-hundred percent. What we want to know is, are you?”
Reid stared at Holden and Lily.
“Mom! Dad! Sorry I’m late,” Luke said, running up to the table and sitting next to Reid. He cocked an eyebrow as he noticed Reid. “You’re here.”
“I told you I would be,” Reid answered. “But I didn’t know you’d be late since you didn’t text me.”
Luke took a sip of water. “I thought there’d be some emergency and you wouldn’t make it.”
“I’m here, Luke.”
Luke nodded and looked at his parents. “So, what’d I miss? Have you held off killing Reid until I got here?”
Holden and Lily laughed.
“Ha ha,” Reid said.
“We’ve actually had a really good talk with Reid,” Holden said.
“Uh oh,” Luke said. “Did that include showing him naked baby pictures of me?”
Reid leaned forward. “What, there are naked pictures of you?”
Luke elbowed him in the side.
“No, no baby pictures,” Lily said, smiling at Reid. “Not yet.”
“How was the test?” Holden asked.
“Good except for the last part, the essays. The questions were harder than I thought,” Luke said.
“Well, if you need help, my offer to tutor you still stands,” Reid said.
“Tutoring?” Holden asked.
Luke laughed. “Reid thinks he knows everything because he went to Harvard.”
“No, I went to Harvard because I know everything,” Reid corrected.
“Harvard, huh?” Holden asked, looking impressed. “Well, Oakdale U is not Harvard, but we’re still glad Luke’s back in school. A college education is very important, as I keep telling him.”
“It is,” Reid said. “But it doesn’t matter where you study, as long as you make something of yourself with what you learn.” He smiled at Luke, and to Reid’s relief, Luke smiled back.
“That’s true,” Holden said, nodding in agreement.
“Well, shall we order?” Lily asked.
“Yes, let’s. I’m starving,” Reid said.
“Reid, please remember your table manners,” Luke said. “My parents like you already. Don’t give them a reason to change their mind.”
An hour later, Reid, Luke, Holden and Lily stood outside the Lakeview.
“I’m glad we agreed to do this,” Lily said. “We all got off on the wrong foot the first time we met so this was a nice way to correct that.”
Holden nodded as he extended his hand to Reid. “I agree. Reid, welcome to Oakdale. We hope you stick around.”
Reid shook Holden’s hand and nodded. “Thanks, and I hope to.”
Lily embraced Luke. “I’m happy you’re happy, sweetie. Make sure he treats you well,” she whispered in his ear.
Luke nodded as he looked at Reid.
Lily shook Reid’s hand. “Don’t be a stranger, Reid. We hope you’ll come by the house sometime.”
“I have yet to meet the rest of your brood so count on it,” Reid said.
“Same goes for the farm, Reid,” Holden said. “I’d like Mama and Meg to meet you all over again.”
Reid laughed. “Sure.”
Lily and Holden walked off towards Holden’s car, their heads close to each other as they talked.
“Are you parents getting back together?” Reid asked.
Luke shrugged. “Who knows? It’s hard to tell with them.” Luke turned to Reid. “So, did you slip something in their drinks? They love you.”
Reid laughed. “Absolutely not. You said yourself that they’d love me once they got to know me; why are you surprised that they do?”
Luke slipped his hands into his pant pockets. “Thought it’d take more than one dinner for that to happen but I’m glad it did. Thanks for being here, Reid. Thanks for trying.”
Reid smiled, grateful that things were good between them again. “You’re welcome,” he said, leaning in to kiss Luke.
Luke turned his head before Reid’s lips touched his. “Careful,” Luke said, glancing around the parking lot. “Someone from the board might be watching.” Luke tried to sound sarcastic but all Reid heard was the sadness in his voice.
“Yeah, about that, we need to talk,” Reid said, holding out his hand to Luke. “Let me drive you home.”
Luke stared at Reid’s hand for a few seconds before taking it in his. Reid led them towards his car, intent on making sure he said everything he needed to say.
So sorry for the delay in updating! I've been sick for the past 2 weeks and am only just now getting better. Will try to update sooner, I promise. I have a few more days off work so that should help. Thanks for sticking around!