Britin ([info]_alicesprings) wrote on August 27th, 2011 at 07:44 am
A Stable Heart, Chapter 6
Title: A Stable Heart
Written By: [info]_alicesprings
Rating: NC-17
Summary: AU. When Luke has to hide out from the Grimaldi family, taking a job as a stable hand in Dallas seems like the perfect solution. It’s too bad Luke’s new “boss” Dr. Reid Oliver is such a jerk.
Author’s Notes: This was written for the wonderful and very patient [info]peggin for her generous donation in the auction to help Japan. I hope it’s everything you wanted! This is my first multi-chaptered fic, and given how difficult it was for me to write, probably my last! I hope you guys enjoy it. :) The fic is complete and I’ll be posting a chapter a day for the next week or so.

Massive amounts of beta love to the incredible [info]rhiannonhero and [info]cindergal!

Previous chapters: 1|2|3|4|5

Luke’s cell phone alarm beeps the next morning at 6:30 as usual. Luke’s arm shoots out, searching for it in its usual place beside the bed, but doesn’t find it. He opens his eyes, and takes in the surroundings. Oh.

“Turn it off,” Reid groans pitifully from behind him.

“Sorry,” Luke mumbles, and slips out of bed, rifling through the pockets of his jeans until he finds his phone, and switches off the alarm.

“What times’it?” Reid mumbles sleepily.

“Early,” Luke says. “Go back to sleep, it’s your day off.”

“Come back to bed,” Reid says.

“Can’t,” Luke says. “I have to feed Sonny and Storm.”

“No,” Reid pouts, his eyes still closed.

Luke laughs. “Yes,” he says. “They’re your horses, I have to feed them.”

“You’re not even a real stable boy.”

Luke smiles and drops a kiss on Reid’s forehead. “Be that as it may, they still need to be fed, and there’s no one else here to do it.”

Reid moans pitifully, and Luke kisses him again. “Go to sleep,” he says, doing up the final button of his shirt and heading out to the barn.

A few minutes later, he’s just finished measuring out their feed when Reid shows up, two coffee mugs in his hands.

“Hey!” Luke says, surprised. “What are you doing, you should have gone back to sleep.”

Reid shrugs, and holds out the mugs. “I don’t know how you take it, so one has lots of sugar and one only has a little.”

Luke smiles. “I just take a little,” he says.

“Oh good,” Reid says, handing it over. “Because I like it sweet.”

Luke takes a sip of coffee, moaning appreciatively. “You’re sweet, Dr. Oliver,” he says, and Reid rolls his eyes.

“Whatever. Feed my horses, Mr. Snyder.”

Luke bites back a smile and takes another sip before handing the mug back to Reid and getting Sonny and Storm their grain feed and fresh water.

He sits next to Reid on a hay bale, and takes back his mug, leaning sleepily against Reid’s side. They sit there while the horses eat, sipping their coffee in companionable, sleepy silence.

When the horses have finished eating, Luke leads them outside then starts mucking out their stalls while Reid watches.

“Enjoying the view?” Luke asks.

“Mmhmm,” Reid drawls lazily.

“You could help, you know,” Luke huffs.

Reid snorts. “My hands are not meant to perform manual labour,” he says. “These are surgeon’s hands.”

“And these are businessman’s hands,” Luke says. “But I’m not afraid to get a little dirty.”

Reid smirks. “Oh, we can get a little dirty,” he says. “Just you wait.”

Luke chuckles, and finishes his chores, and then he and Reid walk back to the house, and Luke lets Reid drag him into the shower for a quick clean-up before falling back into bed together, Luke tucked back under Reid’s arm.


They wake up a couple hours later and eat a lazy breakfast while reading the newspaper, which is delivered to Reid’s door like clockwork every morning.

It’s oddly domestic, since they’ve only been together for one day, but it’s comfortable, too. Luke could get used to this.

“So,” Luke says as he hands over the sports pages. “What do you usually do on a Sunday?”

“Work,” Reid answers, without looking up from the paper.

“No you don’t,” Luke says. “You don’t go to the hospital on Sundays.”

“I work from home, genius,” Reid says. “I read patient files, I work on journal articles...”

“Fine, fine,” Luke says, cutting him off. “But not today, Dr. Oliver. Today, we’re going to have fun.”


“You’ve heard of fun, right? There has to be some part of your brain that handles that.”

“Yeah, see, a lot of people think that, that there’s a single pleasure center in the brain when in actuality there are several that can be activated by chemicals, electrodes, even rapidly moving images—”

Luke presses his mouth hard against Reid’s, stopping any more doctor babble.

“Stop talking,” he says when he pulls back.

“Okay,” Reid agrees amiably, and dives back in for a deeper kiss.

Luke grins when he pulls back. “Take me out,” he says. “I’ve been stuck here for weeks. I want to see Dallas.”

Reid pulls a face, his displeasure for the idea obvious. “Luke—”

“Nope,” Luke says. “No complaining. We’re going out.”

“I already told you, I have no idea what there is to do in this town.”

“I Googled some stuff,” Luke says. “Leave it to me.”

“I don’t know, Luke,” Reid still looks skeptical. “I have a lot of work...”

“We can go have barbecue, Reid,” Luke says. “Barbecue.”

Reid tilts his head. “Yeah, okay, you got me there. Go get dressed, meet me back here in ten minutes.”

Luke grins, and heads back to his quarters to get changed.

They end up Downtown, and spend a few hours walking around. Reid even agrees to visit the art museum, and surprises Luke by showing a keen interest in the classical European paintings.

“You like this kind of stuff?” Luke asks curiously. He’s more of a Van Gogh fan himself.

Reid shrugs. “It’s pretty amazing,” he says, his eyes sparkling. “What the human brain is capable of producing. I mean, the Sistine Chapel?”

“Have you been?”

Reid shakes his head. “Just seen the pictures.”

“It would be pretty amazing to see for real,” Luke says.

Reid looks at him, and smiles crookedly. “It would,” he agrees. “Maybe someday.”

After the museum, they take a walk along Stone Street Gardens, checking out the various restaurants. They decide to duck into a country and western type bar for a drink, and as soon as they walk in, Luke spots a guy in a black Stetson swinging on top of a mechanical bull.

“Look,” he tells Reid, his eyes lighting up.

Reid snorts. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he says.

“Yippie Ki Yay.”

Reid snorts again, but when Luke takes a seat at the bar, he gets a little twitchy. “This isn’t really my kind of place,” he says.

“You don’t really have a kind of place, remember,” Luke says. “Just relax, we’re just gonna have a couple of drinks and listen to some music.”

Reid sighs, but orders them a couple of sodas. While he’s busy paying, Luke heads over to the other side of the bar and mounts the mechanical bull.

“Start it up!” Luke says.

Across the bar, Reid’s looking at him with a what the hell are you doing? expression, and Luke grins. The bull starts moving and Luke holds on with one hand while raising his other arm in the air, getting into the swing of the ride.

He grins at Reid from across the room, and when it ends, he jumps down and walks back over to Reid. “And that’s how it’s done,” he says smugly.

Reid rolls his eyes. “Talk about a worthless skill.”

“You couldn’t do it,” Luke mocks.

“I wouldn’t want to do that,” Reid scoffs.

“Whatever makes you feel better,” Luke says, taking a gulp of soda.

“You think I’m scared of that?”

“Those who can, do,” Luke says. “Those who won’t...” Luke clucks like a chicken.

“Okay, I’ll have you know there are specific hand injuries associated with mechanical bull riding, including fracture of the second metacarpal as well as the index finger phalanges due to the extreme torque forces applied to the extremities during the gyrations.”

“Yeah I get it,” Luke concedes. “A hand injury, and you’re a surgeon, I get it.”

“On the other hand,” Reid says, standing up and taking off his jacket. “Pun intended. A man’s got to do what a man’s gotta do.”

Luke smiles. “Wait, Reid. You don’t have to do that.”

“How hard can it be,” Reid says. “You did it. You just get on and ride, right?”

Reid walks over to the bull and swings a leg over it, and suddenly this doesn’t seem silly anymore, it seems kind of crazy smoking hot. Luke can clearly see the wiry muscles in Reid’s thighs through his tight jeans, and as the bull picks up speed, Luke watches Reid’s hips move with the bucking beast, sliding backwards and forwards as he rides, and Luke swallows, his mouth suddenly dry.

Reid’s really getting into it, swinging his arm in the air, with a grin on his face, and when he jumps off and stalks back over to the bar, he’s laughing happily.

“That was fun,” Reid says. “Let’s go again, double or nothing I can beat your time.”

Luke clears his throat.


“Ah,” Luke swallows. “Let’s go,” he says.


Luke steps close and speaks into Reid’s ear. “Because if I watch you do that again, I’m going to develop a... situation,” Luke says, nodding south.

Reid’s shit-eating grin is huge, and Luke grumbles as Reid chuckles and leads him out of the bar.

They amble down the street and decide on a steakhouse for lunch, and Luke finally gets a taste of authentic Texan barbecue. They walk around afterwards, too full to do much else. It’s nice, both the city, and hanging out with Reid. There are farmer’s markets nearby that look interesting, and Luke makes a note to come back there with Reid some other time.

“What time do you need to be back?” Reid asks. “To feed the horses, or whatever.”

“They’re okay for the afternoon,” Luke says. “They’re out in the pasture. I’ll bring them in for the night around five.”

Reid nods. “Do you... If you want, I can hire someone else to look after them.”

Luke frowns. “No,” he says. “Of course not. I’m perfectly capable of doing the job.”

“Yeah, but it’s not really your job, is it? You’re no more a stable boy than I am.”

“It’s fine,” Luke dismisses him. “I really don’t mind. And besides, how would we explain that to Juan and Victoria?”

“Yeah, that would be tricky.”

“It’s okay,” Luke reiterates. “Really. I love horses. My dad breeds them for a living, and I’ve been helping muck out stalls and stuff since I was a kid.”

“What about your own work?” Reid asks. “You must be bored though, spending your days shoveling horse crap instead of doing your regular job. I can’t even imagine what I’d do without my work. I don’t really have anything else...” Reid looks away, clearly embarrassed.

“I do miss my work,” Luke agrees, squeezing Reid’s hand briefly before letting go. “But it’s good to take a break. And I’m writing again, which is nice.”

“You’re a writer?” Reid’s surprised.

Luke shrugs. “Nah, it’s just a hobby.”

“What kind of stuff do you write?”

Lukas moaned and clawed at the ground, dirt getting under his fingernails as he held on for dear life while Jude pounded into him from behind, his knees digging into the earth as they rutted like animals.

Luke’s face heats up, and he clears his throat. “A few different things,” he says. “I wrote a screenplay once. I thought Noah could use it. He’s a film major.”

“Ahh, the ex-boyfriend.” Reid’s face is impassive. “That’s a pretty big deal,” he says carefully. “It got made into a film?”

Luke snorts and shakes his head no “Noah’s supervisor didn’t like the script. He thought it sucked,” Luke says. “I kinda think he sucks, actually.”

Reid cocks his head.

“Long story,” Luke says, shaking his head.

Reid shrugs, not pressing any further. “What are you working on now?”

“Nothing important,” Luke says, trying to steer the subject away from his erotic gay romance. “Just getting back into the swing of writing again. We have some really exciting projects in the works with my Foundation though. I can’t wait to get back to those.”

“Well,” Reid says coldly. “With any luck, your... situation will be cleared up soon, and you can go back to your old life.”

Luke frowns, but Reid’s already three steps ahead of him, hurrying back to where they parked the car.


When they get back home, Luke flops tiredly onto the couch.

“You wanna watch the game?” Luke asks, nodding at the television.

“I should do some work,” Reid says. “I’ve already wasted most of the day.”

Luke’s eyebrows shoot up. Wasted most of the day?

“Um, okay,” Luke says, standing up. “I’ll leave you to it.”

Reid nods.

Luke stuffs his hands into his pockets, hesitating, but Reid says nothing, just goes over to his desk and start rummaging through a stack of papers.

“Seeya later,” Luke says tightly, and heads for the back door. Back in his own quarters, Luke slumps down at his own desk, wondering just what the hell went wrong. They’d been having a great time, or so Luke thought.


Lukas had just returned from his daily meeting with Jude when Noah appeared as if from nowhere and grabbed his arm, dragging him away from the stable block.

“What are you doing?” Lukas cried. “Let go of me!”

It was only when they were out of earshot from the other men did Noah release him. Lukas rubbed his arm, sore from Noah’s manhandling.

“I saw you!” Noah hissed, his eyes narrowed fury. “I saw you with Mr. Lovell!”

Lukas’s heart hammered in his chest, but he attempted to appear calm, and not give Noah further ammunition. “What do you think you saw, Noah?”

“I know what I saw!” Noah spat. “I saw you and him... rutting together, like a pair of dogs. It was disgusting!”

“Lower your voice!” Lukas hissed.

“Why?” Noah sneered. “Scared the others’ll hear what you been up to?”

Lukas took a deep breath. “How did you even see us, Noah? Were you following me?”

“I had to, didn’t I,” Noah said. “You been walking around here for weeks now with that silly smile on your face, disappearin’ every day. You thought no one noticed, didn’t ya, but I did.”

“Have you been spying on me?” Lukas hissed, his anger rising.

Noah said nothing, and Lukas knew his silence was an admission of guilt.

“You’re married now, Noah. Married! What I do and who I do it with is none of your concern, do you hear me?”

Noah squinted furiously. “I bet there’s others who’d find this bit of news interestin’. Like Winston, for one. You know how he feels about your kind.”

Lukas’s eyes widened in fear. One of Mr. Winston’s favorite tales to tell after a few ales was of the time he and a mob of other men had beaten a man almost to death outside a molly house in London. They’d gone there looking for trouble, and made sure they found it. His feelings on the subject of buggers was well known, and caused Lukas to cringe just thinking about it.

“Or maybe I won’t tell Winston about you two,” Noah said, changing tactics. “Maybe I’ll tell the master about his son, eh. I’m sure Mr. Lovell would like to know what sort of filth his son gets up to with the servants. I’ll bet he’ll have him sent away quick sticks.”

“No!” Lukas cried. “Please, Noah. Why can’t you just leave us be. You have Madeleine, you have your own family now, just like you wanted. Why do you want to destroy what Jude and I have?”

“Oh it’s Jude is it,” Noah scoffed. “Bleedin’ Nancy boy.”

“Why are you doing this, Noah?” Luke asked. “What do you want from me?”

Noah’s face softened then, and took on a more kindly appearance.

“Lukas, I don’t mean to cause you pain,” Noah said. “Truly I don’t. It’s just that... he’s not right for you, Lukas, he doesn’t care for you like I do.”

“What?” Lukas asked, flabbergasted. “You don’t care for me, Noah, not anymore. I truly don’t know if you ever did.”

“Of course I did,” Noah said. “I still do! I care for you a great deal.”

“You’re married, Noah.”

“But I miss you, Lukas. I miss your... touch. I miss our times together. They were so special to me. And to you. You told me you loved me, Lukas. Were you lying?”

“How dare you question my love, Noah!” Lukas was furious. “And why wait until now? Why wait until I’ve found happiness with someone else. You didn’t want me, and now that I’ve found someone who does, you’re trying to ruin this for me!”

“It doesn’t have to be this way, Lukas,” Noah pleaded. “Just say it’s not too late for us, that we can be together again, and I won’t breathe a word about you and Jude to anyone, I swear!”

Lukas’s head was spinning. He did not know what to think, or what to say to Noah. He had to protect Jude, that much was certain, but he also knew he could never return to Noah. His heart belonged to Jude.

“Just... just give me some time to think, Noah,” Lukas said. “Please, just a few days, and promise me you won’t say anything to anyone. Please, Noah.”

Noah sighed, then nodded. “Two days, Lukas, then you must give me your decision.”

Lukas nodded, grateful that he had been able to buy some time. He needed to speak to Jude, but he would have no opportunity to do so until the following morning. With a heavy heart, he returned to work, and did not get a wink of sleep that night, his mind turning over the impossible situation he was now in.


Victoria and Juan arrive at work together on Monday, around mid-morning. Luke goes out to the driveway to greet them.

“Hey,” he says. “How’s Annie doing? Reid told me he admitted her to hospital.”

Victoria smiles tiredly, and pats his cheek. “She’s okay, mijo,” Victoria says. “We just saw her. No change yet. They’re going to increase her radiation treatments.”

Luke nods. “Let me know if I can do anything to help,” he says.

Victoria smiles again, and heads inside as Juan gets started on trimming the bushes lining the driveway.

They look sad, and tired, and Luke feels a pang of sympathy for them both.


When Reid arrives home that night, Luke hesitates, wondering if he should go over to the house or not. After yesterday, he’s not sure what Reid’s thinking, but he’s gotten more than a little angry as they day has gone on, wondering why Reid dismissed him like that last night, and wondering why the hell he didn’t give Victoria and Juan the day off. Their only grandchild is in hospital and apparently all he cares about is making sure his house and garden are being looked after.

Luke knocks loudly on the back door, and after a few minutes, Reid opens up, rubbing a hand tiredly across his face. He holds the door open, and Luke slips past him, following the light to the kitchen.

“How’s Annie?”

“No change.”

Luke nods. “What the hell’s going on, Reid?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean,” he says. “What’s with the attitude? We were having a great time yesterday and then you kicked me out. And then today, poor Juan and Victoria are here doing your laundry and cleaning your house and looking after your stupid garden that you don’t even care about because you never even go out there. You could have given them the week off, their granddaughter’s in hospital but heaven forbid you don’t have your stupid pantry organized properly! Because God knows, Reid, that if your cans are out of place, it’s the end of the world!” Luke’s breathing hard, kind of horrified at what’s poured out of him, but too pissed to care right now.

“Are you done?” Red asks calmly, which only serves to piss Luke off more.

“Yeah, I’m done,” Luke spits. “Do you have anything to say for yourself?”

“Yes, I do,” Reid says. “First of all, I offered Juan and Victoria some time off. They declined, they said they’d rather stick to their regular routine for now, but if Annie starts to deteriorate, they’ll take time off then.”

“Oh,” Luke says, his sails deflating a little. “I didn’t know that.”

“No you didn’t,” Reid says. “But you jumped to conclusions anyway.”

“Well, what am I supposed to think, Reid? You clearly don’t care about this house, or the gardens, yet you have two people on your payroll just to what? Give you an excuse to throw your money around? Play Lord of the manor? I don’t understand you, Reid.”

“Not that it’s any of your business, Mr. Walsh, oops, I mean Mr. Snyder, but I never wanted any servants on my payroll. They came with the house, okay. I was going to fire them when I moved in but it soon became clear to me that I’d be affecting their livelihood, as well as the livelihood of Victoria’s mother, who is still in Mexico by the way, and who Victoria sends money to every month, if I fired them. So yeah, I keep them on my payroll, even though, as you pointed out, I really don’t give a damn about whether the hedges are trimmed or not, but Juan needs something to do, right? Or am I supposed to make him feel like a charity case, too? And yeah, there’s hardly any furniture in here, and I’m not exactly house proud, but Victoria needs something to do, so I have her cook for me and do my laundry, and sometimes I have a bad day at work and I come home and I take it out on her, but you know what? She doesn’t mind. She understands me, even if you don’t, Mr. Snyder.”

Reid’s eyes are hard as flint, and his lips are pressed into a thin line. He’s angry, and Luke can’t really blame him. Hell, Luke’s angry at himself. He let himself get worked up all day and then took it out on Reid when he came home. The irony’s not lost on him. He basically just accused Reid of treating Victoria the same way.

“I’m sorry,” Luke says. “You’re right, I jumped to conclusions, and I had no right to say those things to you. I am sorry.”

“Let’s just forget it,” Reid says, and opens the fridge, staring at the shelves but not taking anything out.

Luke sighs. “I’m sorry, Reid. I just, I guess I was angry about yesterday, and then today I let myself stew. I overreacted.”

Reid’s still staring into the open fridge, and Luke sighs. “I guess I’ll go.”

“Why were you angry?” Reid asks. “About yesterday?”

Luke frowns. “Uh, because you basically told me you’d wasted your time by hanging out with me, then kicked me out when we got back.”

Reid closes the fridge and turns back to face Luke. “You’re the one who can’t wait to get back to your old life,” he says. “I just didn’t see the point in getting... closer, if you’re just going to leave again soon anyway.”

“I never said I couldn’t wait to get back— wait, what are you talking about?”

“Yesterday,” Reid says. “You said you couldn’t wait to get back to your Foundation.”

“Well, yeah,” Luke says slowly. “We do a lot of good work, and I want to pick up my projects again, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not enjoying the time we spend together, or that I want it to end.”

“You don’t?”

“No!” Luke says. “Of course not. Look, you don’t know me that well, but I uh, I don’t exactly jump into bed with guys I don’t like. A lot.”

“You don’t?”

Luke shakes his head. “Before you, I’d never been with anyone except Noah.”

Reid’s eyes widen. “Oh,” he says.

“Look,” Luke says. “I like you. Or at least, I like you when you’re not trying so hard to be a jerk.”

“Who says I have to try?”

Reid,” he scolds.

“Yeah, okay,” Reid says, rubbing his eyes. “I guess I overreacted too.”

“You were being obnoxious!” Luke laughs.

Reid smiles briefly. “I’m good at that.”

“So,” Luke says. “Am I forgiven?”

Reid nods, and holds out his hand. Relieved, Luke takes it and lets Reid pull him close. They kiss chastely, and Luke smiles against Reid’s mouth.

“I had a great time with you yesterday,” he says.

Reid flashes one of his quick smiles. “I did too,” he says. “It uh, kind of scared me how much, actually. Which is probably why I overreacted.”

“Really?” Luke grins.

Reid rolls his eyes. “It was one of the best days I think I’ve ever had,” he says. “Which is pathetic, to use your word, I know.”

Luke smiles again. “It’s not pathetic,” he says softly.

Reid’s eyes go soft. “You wanna stay for dinner?”

Luke nods, and Reid presses a kiss to his forehead before reaching for the phone.

“Pizza?” Reid asks. “And I Tivo-ed the game, we can watch it, if you want.”

Luke nods, and as Reid places the order, he can’t help but be grateful the fight’s over, almost as soon as it began.

The next week or so passes without any drama. Luke does his thing during the day, feeding, riding and grooming the boys, and getting a little writing done, and Reid makes it home in time for dinner every night.

Annie’s latest scans are done on Friday, and the news is good. When Reid gets home he tells Luke that he’s hopeful he can operate in a couple weeks, provided they keep shrinking at the current rate. Reid’s giddy at the news, and his enthusiasm is infectious. Luke hugs him and laughs happily, sharing his good mood.

“We should go out and celebrate!” Luke says.

“It’s a little early to celebrate,” Reid says. “I haven’t operated yet.”

“Oh come on Reid,” Luke chides. “Life is short, have some fun!”

A second later, Reid’s mouth is pressing firmly against his own, his palms warm against Luke’s cheeks. Almost as soon as it began, the kiss ends, and then Reid’s staring at him with those soft eyes, and Luke’s insides do a little flip.

“All right,” Reid says, thumbing the cleft in Luke’s chin. “Let’s celebrate. What did you have in mind?”

Luke’s suddenly torn between his desire to go out, and his desire to just throw Reid down on the couch and indulge in more of the crazy good sex they’ve been having all week. He shakes his head. There will be time for that later. Luke wracks his brain, trying to decide where they should go, and then it hits him.

“It’s a surprise, Dr. Oliver,” he grins. “Give me five minutes, I just need to get some directions off the internet, then we can go.”


“You have got to be kidding me,” Reid grumbles when they pull up at I Can’t Believe It’s Not Gutter. “Bowling?”

Luke grins. “It’ll be fun!”

“Unlikely,” Reid mutters under his breath as they head inside. When Reid realizes he has to put his feet into hired shoes, he pitches a fit, and Luke has to promise they can go straight home and shower afterwards, as well as agree to perform a sexual favor of Reid’s choice just to get him to stay. But when they finally get started, Reid turns out to be a natural, bowling strike after strike, much to Luke’s mounting annoyance.

“Is there a game you’re not good at?” Luke grumbles. “Chess, bowling... do you play golf? I bet you’re great at golf!”

Reid grins. “I’ve never played, I’m usually a little too busy performing life-saving brain surgery. I leave golf to the pediatricians and dermatologists.”

Luke rolls his eyes and takes his turn, bowling into the gutter as Reid cackles behind him.

“You suck,” he says gleefully.

“You’re throwing me off,” Luke says. “Your competitiveness is really unattractive, Dr. Oliver.”

Reid sidles up to him, looking ridiculously proud of himself. “As long as I don’t turn you off, Mr. Snyder,” he says, wrapping his arms around Luke’s waist. “It’s all good.”

Reid slaps his ass, then releases him, and goes for his next ball. Luke looks around, wondering if anyone saw them. Sure, Luke and Noah had kissed in public, but that was in Oakdale, where everyone knew them. Dallas is a pretty liberal city, but it’s still Texas, and Luke’s not sure how well PDA between two guys goes down here.

No one seems to be paying them any attention though, and Luke watches as Reid bowls another strike, and crows about his victory. Luke just shakes his head and smiles, too happy that Reid’s having fun to be truly annoyed. They eat greasy pizza for dinner and Reid drinks beer from a paper cup, and when they walk back to the car afterwards, Reid throws an arm around Luke’s shoulders and pulls him close. Luke can’t keep the grin off his face.
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