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/Part 5
Reid held the passenger door open for Luke before walking around to the driver’s side and getting into the car. He closed his door and looked at Luke. “I’m going to talk to Bob in the morning. I’m going to let him know how unfair his request is.”
Luke looked at Reid in surprise. Had he heard right?
“I should’ve told him so this morning.”
“It is unfair, Reid, but I thought we agreed to do as he asked for the sake of the wing,” Luke said.
“No, I said that and you only agreed with it because—why did you agree to it?”
“Because you said we had to do it for the patients; it’s all for them, remember? Saving lives is what’s important and you’re . . . you’re right,” Luke said.
“No, I’m not, Luke. I mean, yes, it’s crucial that you and I work on this project but to me, this”—Reid pointed at himself and Luke—“is more important. I know it is to you too, and I’m not going to let Bob tell us otherwise.”
Luke stared at Reid. “What changed your mind?”
Reid ran a hand through his hair. “I don’t want to be him, Luke. I don’t want to be Noah. I don’t want you to feel like you did when he married that woman and forced you to watch from the sidelines as he pretended that you two were nothing more than friends.”
Luke sighed. He’d mentioned the Noah-Ameera marriage to Reid but hadn’t gone into detail, especially not about how he’d felt miserable watching his boyfriend and a strange woman play house. “Katie told you?”
Reid shook his head. “Your parents.”
“Why didn’t you tell me, Luke? About the marriage? About how he completely neglected your relationship during his film project? Or about how he moved in with his girlfriends but didn’t want to live with you? I’m not ignoring you, Luke, when I talk about the wing or-or when I moved in with Katie or when I didn’t want to live with you, I’m not,” Reid said loudly and firmly. “I’m not him.”
Luke looked away and shook his head. “My parents shouldn’t have told you. Now you’re upset and—”
Luke looked back at Reid. “Yes, you are! You think I’m unhappy with you and-and that’s not true. I don’t think you’re Noah. I know you’re not him.”
“So you’re not unhappy with me?” Reid asked, his voice much lower.
“No, of course not. I’m thrilled that you’re here in Oakdale, that you’re here with me. Yes, I’ll admit that we’ve had problems but every relationship does and some of the things you’ve done have reminded me of Noah but that doesn’t mean I see you as him. I don’t, Reid, honest.”
“But why haven’t you told me how I make you feel?”
“I have. I did but—”
“—I didn’t listen,” Reid interrupted as he thought about Luke’s outburst earlier that morning. Luke had been making his feelings clear to Reid, but Reid had attributed them to a different version of Luke so as not to, what, deal with them? All this time, though, it had been Luke—his Luke— stating how he felt about everything that happened between them.
“I know you’re new to relationships so I need to learn to give you time and space to adjust,” Luke said.
“Even if it makes you feel like shit?”
Luke shrugged and looked down at his hands. “It’ll get better.”
“Is that what you told yourself all that time you were with him?”
Luke looked up. “What do you want me to say, Reid?”
“That you won’t always side with me or agree with everything I say because you’re giving me ‘time’ or ‘space.’ Stand up to me, tell me I’m wrong,” Reid said.
Luke laughed. “I’m not always going to be right, Reid, even when I think I am.”
“I know, but talk to me anyway, and I’ll change, Luke. I want to be different for you.”
“See, this is why I didn’t discuss every single thing of my past with Noah. I don’t want you to compare yourself with Noah in everything you do. That’s not fair to you. And I didn’t want to whine and cry about it because maybe you’d think that I was telling you how not to be. But I don’t want you to change or to become someone totally different just because you’re scared of acting like him. I want you to be you. I want you to act like you. Don’t tiptoe around me or keep your mouth shut because you don’t want to offend me or hurt me. I want you to be the same honest, rude and obnoxious guy I fell in love with.”
“But I don’t want to hurt you, Luke.”
“I know,” Luke said as he reached for Reid’s hand and grasped it in his. “But you’re not perfect, I’m not perfect, and we’re not gonna have a perfect relationship. We’re going to hurt each other sometimes but we just have to make sure we realize it and fix it quickly like we’re doing right now. But we don’t have to change who we are in order to do that.”
“But I still hurt you,” Reid said. “This thing with Bob—I should’ve told him off right away.”
“You’re looking out for your patients, Reid. I get that.”
Reid pulled his hand away from Luke and looked at the windshield, slowly shaking his head. “I’m looking out for me.”
“What do you mean?” Luke asked.
“There’s a reason for why I’ve been acting like I have since I got here,” Reid said.
Luke said nothing as he stared at Reid.
“I, I have this . . . fear, uh, a concern in the back of my mind that you and I—that we might not last.”
Luke touched Reid’s arm. “Why would you think that?”
“Since I arrived, I haven’t met your expectations.”
Luke frowned. “What expectations?”
“Of being who you want me to be.”
“Reid, I just said—”
“I know, I know. You explained that you want me to be me, but before tonight, I thought you wanted me to be someone else,” Reid said. “The way you kept trying to force me into your family and the way you reacted after I met them for the first time—you were disappointed that we didn’t all get along immediately.”
“I just wanted you to fit in, Reid.”
Reid nodded. “And that’s what I’m trying to do, Luke. You have no idea how much and not just for your sake but for mine as well.” When Luke looked questioningly at him, Reid continued. “Because of my mindset, I figured I should try to fit in as much as I could in things that weren’t . . . Luke-related.”
Luke was confused. “I don’t follow.”
“I told you why I befriended Katie. I also did it so I would know someone else in Oakdale in case you and I . . .” Reid exhaled. “And in the same way, I was quick to conform to Bob’s request to ensure that I at least still had my job even if I didn’t have you.”
“So you’re saying you’d stay in Oakdale even if we weren’t together?”
Reid laughed. “The neuro facility is very nice, Luke.” When Luke didn’t smile, Reid stopped laughing and reached out and covered Luke’s hand with his. “Not that I want that over you, Luke, never. When I say that I moved here for you, I mean it.”
“You moved 900 miles for us to be together and you still think we could break up?” Luke asked, his face full of worry. “Why?”
Reid pulled away and sat back in his seat. “You didn’t stay in Dallas. You weren’t planning on returning.” Reid held up a hand to prevent Luke from talking until he admitted everything he wished he didn’t have to say out loud. “I get it. I mean, you couldn’t just leave your life here for me, I know that. But you living here in Oakdale made me realize that you were going to move on without me; you were going to live a life that I wasn’t going to be a part of. If I didn’t move here, you were going to find someone else, maybe that Trevor guy you met in Dallas, and fall in love and, and if I’m being completely honest, I feel like that can still happen. “
“You’re young, Luke,” Reid said, looking at Luke. “You might one day wonder what you’re doing with a grumpy old man with a thing for college guys.”
Luke laughed softly. He leaned closer toward Reid. “Reid, I love you. I am in love with you. And I want to be with you for—for however long we can be.” Luke touched Reid’s face and then started laughing again.
Reid narrowed his eyes. “Which part at you laughing at, exactly?”
Luke shook his head, his face still very amused. “All this time, you were thinking of ways to stay in Oakdale, I was worried that you were thinking of ways to go.”
“That’s why I wanted you to fit in so much, Reid. I wanted you to have it all: a great place to live and a family to be a part of and the best hospital to work at. I know I didn’t make things easy for you when I acted the way I did with you and Katie and then today with Bob, but I do want you to be happy here, Reid. I want you to be the happiest guy in Oakdale.”
Reid laughed. “Yeah, I don’t think that’s possible.”
“If you let me, it can be,” Luke whispered before kissing Reid.
“Mm, maybe it can,” Reid said as he kissed Luke back. They kissed for a full minute before Reid broke the kiss and looked directly into Luke’s eyes. He held Luke’s chin in one hand. “So you’re really okay with how I am?”
Luke nodded and smiled. “That’s who you are.”
“Relationships are complicated.”
“They are, they can be, but it will get better,” Luke said. He squeezed Reid’s hand. “We will be better.”
Reid smiled and squeezed back before letting go.
“So, Oakdale’s growing on you, huh?” Luke asked with a grin. He rubbed his arms to keep warm.
“Hush,” Reid said as he started the car and turned on the heater.
“Hey, you’re the one who said you’d stick around even if . . . you know.”
Reid shrugged. “It’s not so bad. Besides, even if we weren’t together, you’d still be here and, well, where else would I be?”
“Reid, I’m not going anywhere,” Luke said, his voice thick with emotion.
“Me neither.” He kissed Luke again, playfully pulling on the hair at the nape of Luke’s neck after ending the kiss. “Except home. It’s getting late and cold.”
“Let me go home with you,” Luke said.
“No, you have to go to your home.”
“Reid, please. I want to be alone with you.”
“Luke, I don’t want your parents to wonder where you are and what you’re doing,” Reid said.
“Reid, they’ll know where I am and what I’m doing,” Luke said.
“But I don’t want them to, Luke, not after the success that was the dinner,” Reid said. “Go on home like a good boy and let your mother tuck in you in.”
Luke laughed. “Aww, you not only like my parents, but you respect them too.”
Reid grinned, blushing slightly. “Hey, they like me, and they certainly don’t have a problem with me being fifteen years older than their precious son.” He held up his palm in front of Luke. “That’s three for three.”
Luke laughed and slapped Reid’s palm in a high-five gesture. “Do you really like them? You can tell me.”
“They’re not that bad,” Reid replied before shifting in his seat and putting on his seatbelt. “Now go on. I’ll call you later.”
Luke pretended to pout as he opened the passenger door. “I thought I was going to get to say hi to RJ.”
“You will tomorrow night,” Reid said. “You and Little G.”
“We can’t wait,” Luke said, laughing. “Good night, Reid.”
“Good night, Luke.”
Reid rested his chin on the steering wheel as he watched Luke get into his car. He remembered how hiding his feelings for Luke back in Dallas had almost cost him Luke, and Reid didn’t want to go through anything like that again. So he’d told Luke everything he was feeling. And now that he and Luke were good again, Reid was glad he had. Little by little, he was learning more about relationships, and after everything he and Luke had learned about each other tonight, Reid was confident that their relationship could be as great as it’d been in Dallas.
Reid removed his jacket as he arrived home a few minutes later. He walked toward Katie’s bedroom to let her know he’d gotten home—something Katie insisted that Reid did so she’d be aware of his presence.
“Why? If you hear someone in the house that’s not you or the kid, it’s going to be me.”
“You never know,” Katie had said. “It could be an intruder . . . or a ghost.”
Reid had laughed. “What?”
But Katie didn’t answer. She simply lifted Jacob from the high chair and walked to her bedroom.
Reid was about to knock on Katie’s door when he heard her. She was singing a lullaby to Jacob as she did almost every night. Reid smiled as he stood and listened. He was still surprised at how much he liked Katie. She was the first friend he’d had in a long time, one who didn’t work in a hospital and was more of a colleague than a friend. Reid had to admit it: Oakdale wasn’t so bad.
The doorbell interrupted Reid’s thoughts. He walked over and opened the door to reveal Luke, blushing and smiling shyly. “We couldn’t wait.”
Reid grabbed the front of Luke’s shirt and pulled him inside.
“Is Katie home?” Luke asked as he and Reid rushed by Katie’s door.
“She won’t bother us,” Reid said, pulling Luke into his bedroom and shutting the door.
“Your ass alone is worth staying in Oakdale for,” Reid said, falling onto his back on the bed.
Luke laughed as he stretched his legs. “You’re so romantic.”
Reid, panting loudly, laughed. “I try.”
“Do you have tissues or something?” Luke asked, avoiding touching his sticky stomach. “I don’t want to stain the sheets.”
Reid stood and walked off, returning seconds later with damp paper towels. “Don’t worry; Katie will wash them.”
Luke raised his eyebrows in surprise. “She does your laundry?”
“Yeah,” Reid said, sitting on the bed and gently wiping Luke’s chest and stomach. He leaned down and kissed Luke’s stomach before throwing the crumbled towels in the trashcan.
“Let’s see how long that lasts,” Luke said with a grin as he shifted to the right so Reid could lie next to him.
“You’re staying over?” Reid asked as he lay on his side to face Luke.
“Can I?” Luke asked.
“Of course but be warned: there might be a request for more sex during the night.”
Luke laughed as he snuggled closer to Reid. They lay in silence for a few minutes before Luke spoke up. “Reid? Remember what we talked about in the car?”
Reid groaned as he lay back and threw an arm over his eyes. “How could I forget? I’ve never talked so much in my life.”
Luke jabbed a finger into Reid’s side. “Reid, be serious.”
“I am. Seriously, you’re not going to get me to talk like that again for a long while. I’ve exceeded my limit for the next two years at least.”
“I’m talking about Bob’s request. You said you were going to talk to him in the morning but don’t, okay?”
“No, it’s not okay. We shouldn’t have to hide. You were right,” Reid said.
“But I don’t want to create problems for you. What if you lose your job because of it? It’ll be my fault,” Luke said.
Reid was confused. “How exactly?”
“Because you moved here for me and I helped you get this job but because of me, you’ll lose it and then you’ll have—”
Reid touched Luke’s face. “You. I’ll have you, Luke.”
“Only me. Is that enough?”
Luke sat up. “Reid, you moved 903 miles for me! You gave up your life in Dallas for me! You moved to a town you don’t know. You’re willing to live in a town you don’t like just to be around me. You-you’ve done so much for me and I repay you by making you lose your dream job? That’s not fair, Reid.”
Reid sat up too. “I’m not asking you for any type of payment, Luke, just like I told you this morning. I’m here because I want to be, you know that. I don’t expect you to do anything except . . . be with me.”
“But I want you to be happy, Reid.”
“I need you to be happy.”
Reid stared curiously at Luke. “What does that mean?”
Luke shook his head and looked down, his shoulders slumped. “What you told me earlier, in the car, I feel like that too sometimes—like we might not last.”
“Because maybe I’m not good enough for you or I’m not as fun as I was in Dallas or I’m too whiny and needy and pushy or whatever,” Luke said. He looked up at Reid and sighed. “You came here for me—I believe that—but now that you’re here, you might realize you don’t need me. You’ve got the wing and Katie and Jacob and you can probably consider my parents your friends. Hell, you even have someone to do your laundry.” He crossed his arms over his chest as he stared at Reid. “You’re fitting in fine without me.”
“Luke, do you want to do my laundry?”
Luke had to laugh. “Reid.”
Reid tugged on a strand of Luke’s hair. “You’re an idiot.”
“Now’s not the time to charm me, Reid.”
“Okay, we’re both idiots.”
“We’ve been wrong all along. All this time, we’ve been thinking the same things—you about me, me about you. We’re exactly alike and yet we both think we might not be right for each other but—“
“—we are,” Luke finished.
“I was scared you’d hate Oakdale and then you’d hate me,” Luke said.
“And I didn’t want to think that you might love Oakdale more than the hottest neurosurgeon ever,” Reid said.
Luke laughed. “I don’t.”
“Good,” Reid said as pulled Luke towards him and kissed the side of his head. “I’m not him, Luke.” He had his nose buried in Luke’s hair. “I might forget your birthday, work over the holidays and periodically insult your family, but just know that I’m here because I want to be here, Luke, in Oakdale, with you, and I’m going to always make sure you know that.”
“What if I scare you off?”
“What if you don’t?” Reid shot back. “Damian Grimaldi didn’t so why would you?”
“All right, that’s enough chitchat,” Reid said as he lay back down. “You’ve gotten a lot out of me tonight, Snyder. Now you gotta make it up to me with sex. Lots and lots of sex.”
Luke lifted himself onto Reid, straddling him. “It’s the least I can do, I guess.”
“You bet your ass it is,” Reid said, slapping Luke ‘s behind and pulling him down.
“Reid, don’t talk to Bob, okay?” Luke said as he followed Reid out of the bedroom the next morning. “Let’s just do what he says.”
“Luke, I told you already. I don’t want you to think—”
“Thought you two weren’t ever making it out of there,” Katie interrupted as she sipped her orange juice and winked at Luke and Reid.
Chris, sitting next to Katie at the kitchen table, smirked. “So, Oliver, what did you work for in there? A bigger waiting area? More office space? Wider doors for your big head to fit through?”
“Chris, be nice,” Katie scolded.
Reid looked at Katie and pointed his thumb in Chris’s direction. “What is that doing here this early? You two didn’t . . . ?”
“Of course not!” Katie said quickly.
“That’s none of your business,” Chris said, glaring at Reid. “But believe me, if we’d done it, you’d know.”
“Whatever you say, Chrissy.” Reid patted Chris’s head before Chris slapped it away.
“Bye, guys,” Luke said, leading a laughing Reid toward the front door.
“I’ll see you later at the meeting, right?”
Luke nodded. “Behave yourself, here and with Bob. Don’t say anything.”
Luke chuckled. “I meant Bob. Don’t say anything about you know what.”
“You heard Chris just now.”
“Chris is an idiot,” Reid said.
“I heard that!” Chris yelled from the kitchen.
“Can we talk about it later?” Luke asked, lowering his voice.
Reid nodded. “Sure.”
Reid watched Luke leave. Reid knew Luke was still bothered by the issue with Bob, so he needed to talk to Bob and make sure there was no issue to bother Luke at all. The previous night, he’d told Luke all about how he felt; now he intended to show him.
Later that morning, Reid approached Bob’s office.
“Dr. Hughes, can I talk to you?”