28 August 2011 @ 04:18 pm
A Stable Heart, Chapter 7  
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|6

When Luke’s alarm beeps the next morning, he slaps a hand out to the bedside table and switches it off.

Reid mumbles something and shifts behind him, pressing his morning hard-on against Luke’s ass. Luke turns over under the arm draped over him, and faces Reid.

“Morning,” Luke says.

Reid’s eyes blink open, then close again. “Morning.”

“You going to the hospital today?”

Reid had mentioned something about it last night.

Reid exhales, then opens his eyes, forcing himself awake. “Yeah, I’ll go in this morning, then we can do something together later.”

Luke smiles. “Cool,” he says. “Can I come with you though? I want to visit Annie.”

Reid rubs his cheek against the pillow. “Sure,” he says. “She’d probably like that.”

“K,” Luke says, dropping a kiss on Reid’s cheek. “I’ll go do my thing and meet you back here in a little bit.”

Reid nods, and closes his eyes again as Luke pulls on his clothes and heads to the barn.

They get to the hospital just after nine, and Luke pauses by the gift shop in the lobby. “Wait, I want to get her something,” he says.

Reid rolls his eyes. “Make it snappy,” he says impatiently. “I have rounds.” But when Luke's at the stuffed animal section, hesitating between a pink teddy bear and brown one, it’s Reid who reaches to the shelf above and plucks down a horse instead. “This is better,” he says.

The horse is brown and has white markings on its nose, just like Storm, and Luke grins. “It’s perfect,” he says, and heads for the cashier.

Reid takes him up to the fifth floor where pediatrics is located. Annie’s in room 511, and when they walk in, she’s sitting up in bed, a breakfast tray in front of her. Laura and Victoria are sitting on a couple of chairs by her bed.

“Luke!” Annie says when she sees them. “What are you doing here?”

“I came to see you!” Luke says. “And I had this little guy here who needed a home. You interested?”

Luke holds out the stuffed horse, and Annie’s eyes light up. “It looks like Storm!”

Luke nods. “Since you can’t come out and see the horses right now, I thought he could keep you company until you’re better.”

“Thanks, Luke!” Annie says, then turns to Laura. “Look, Mommy! Look what Luke brought me!”

Laura smiles, and stands up, brushing a hand across Annie’s head. “I see it, baby,” she says. “It’s great. Thank you, Luke.”

Luke grins. “You’re welcome,” he says, then can’t resist adding, “Dr. Reid picked it out.”

Luke can practically feel Reid scowling behind him, and his grin widens.

“Thank you, Dr. Reid!” Annie cries, and Luke sees Laura and Victoria exchange amused glances.

“You’re welcome, Annie,” Reid says, and his tone of voice tells Luke that he’ll be paying for that later.

Luke grins again. He can’t wait.

“I have to check on my patient,” Reid says. “Why don’t you step out for a minute, Luke.”

Luke nods, and goes to wait in the hallway while Reid performs the examination. A few minutes later Reid walks out and closes the door behind him.

“You couldn’t keep your mouth shut, could you,” Reid mock glares.

Luke grins, then looks up coyly through his eyelashes. “I thought you liked my big mouth,” he says.

Reid groans, and shifts the clipboard he’s holding in front of his groin.

Luke laughs. “Oh give up, Dr. Oliver. Everyone in that room knows you’re a softie underneath it all.”

Reid glares at him in what Luke supposes is meant to be a threatening manner, then smacks a kiss on his mouth and lightly slaps Luke’s cheek.

Luke can’t hold back his smile, and his insides flutter.

“Give me 45 minutes or so,” Reid says. “I’ll come back and get you.”

Luke nods, and watches Reid saunter down the hall. He’d stopped in at a locker room on their way up to Annie’s room and had come out wearing a lab coat, with a stethoscope around his neck, and Luke’s gotta admit, he looks damn good in it. Doctorly. Important. Commanding. His mind starts wandering toward a scenario where they play doctor, then he shakes himself out of it. Now’s not the time. He’s pretty sure Reid would be amenable to the idea though, and he tucks it away for later.

When he opens the door to Annie’s room, Victoria gives him a knowing smile, and Luke ducks his head, focusing on Annie instead. She doesn’t look great, Luke’s sad to realize. Her skin’s got a gray pallor, and the increased doses of radiation have made her hair start to thin and fall out in sections, but she has a pink and purple Hannah Montana bandanna wrapped around what’s left of it, and she’s got a smile on her face, and is clutching tightly to the horse.

“Sonny and Storm miss you!” Luke tells her as he sits on the side of the bed.

She sighs dramatically. “I miss them too,” she says. “I wish Dr. Reid would hurry up and get these stupid tumors out of my brain so I can visit them again!”

Luke smothers his smile. She sounds like she’s channeling Reid, and it’s pretty damn adorable.

“It’s so boring in here!” Annie says, a pout on her face.

“Hmm,” Luke thinks. “Got some paper and a pen?”

Annie nods, and says, “Mommy?” Laura rummages around in a bag by Annie’s bed, and pulls out a notepad and a few crayons.

“Want to play tic-tac-toe?” Luke asks.

“Yes!” Annie says, a huge smile on her face.

Luke draws up a few grid lines and they play for a while. Luke makes sure he wins the occasional game, so Annie doesn’t suspect him of losing on purpose, but she’s pretty quick, and actually gets the best of him a couple times anyway.

“I’m so bad at games!” Luke says, shaking his head despondently. “Dr. Reid always beats me at chess, and last night he beat me at bowling, and now you’re beating me at tic-tac-toe. It’s not fair!”

Annie giggles. “Dr. Reid’s good at everything!”

Luke nods sadly. “You guys are just too smart for me,” he says.

Annie giggles again, but then she loses her smile, and starts to shift uncomfortably on the bed.

“Breakfast coming back up, baby?” Laura asks quietly. Annie nods, and Laura grabs a stainless steel medical tray from beside the bed. “You might want to wait outside for a few minutes, Luke,” she says, and Luke stands up, hovering by the bed.

“Come on, mijo,” Victoria says, and takes Luke’s arm, letting him lead her out. They close the door behind them. “It’s the radiation,” Victoria says, nodding at the closed door. “Whatever she eats comes straight back up.”

Luke wrinkles his nose. “Poor thing,” he says. “But Reid said he might be ready to operate soon. That’s good news, right?”

Victoria smiles and pats his cheek. “Very good news,” she agrees. “So, you and Dr. Oliver, huh?”

Luke blushes, strangely embarrassed for some reason.

“No no, it’s good, mijo,” she says. “You took him bowling?”

“Yeah,” Luke laughs. “You should have seen him freaking out about the rental shoes.”

Victoria laughs. “I can just imagine!”

Luke grins. “You were right,” he tells her. “About Reid. He is a good man underneath it all.”

Victoria nods. “I think you two will be good for each other,” she says.

Luke shrugs, thinking about Oakdale, and his life there, and all the things Victoria doesn’t know about him. “We’ll see,” he says. “I like him, but things are complicated.”

“Only if you make them complicated, mijo,” Victoria says, then opens the door and sticks her head in the room. “All done?”

“Yeah, come in,” Laura calls out, and they take up their former positions, Victoria in an easy chair and Luke sitting on the edge of Annie’s bed. She’s a little shaky, and her mouth is wet from a quick post-vomit clean-up, but she’s still smiling, and when she says she wants to play another game of tic-tac-toe, Luke’s powerless to say no.


“I have to take Sonny out for some exercise,” Luke says later that afternoon, back at the house.

“Have fun with that.”

“You could come with me?” Luke asks hopefully.

“And do what? Watch?”

“You could ride Storm.” Luke’s been thinking about it ever since Reid rode that mechanical bull. Remembering how Reid had held on tightly with his thighs, the way his hips had circled around and around, the way he’d bucked up and down...

Reid laughs, but when Luke doesn’t join in, he stops. “Are you actually serious?”

“Yes,” Luke says, annoyed. “Why not?”

“Why not?” Reid says incredulously. “Do you know how dangerous that is? I can’t risk damaging my hands.”

“You won’t damage them unless you fall off.”

“Oh, why didn’t you say that earlier. I had no idea. Sure, saddle me up.”

“You don’t have to be a jerk about it.”

“Sure I do,” Reid says. “It’s who I am.”

“Fine. Stay here.”

“Will do,” Reid says cheerfully.

Luke scowls as he heads to the barn. “I forgot he could be such a jerk,” Luke tells Sonny as he begins saddling him up. “I don’t know how I could forget that, but I guess I just got a little carried away because this week’s been so great, you know?”

Sonny blows gently.

Luke sighs. “I can’t really blame him for not wanting to go riding, I guess. He does have to look after his hands.”

Luke mounts Sonny and they walk toward the open gate of the pasture. Luke had been picturing them riding side by side, the wind in their hair and the sun on their faces. Luke rolls his eyes. His gay romance story is warping his brain.

They trot for a while, then Luke shifts Sonny up to a gallop, and they tear around the pasture for the last few minutes. When they get back to the barn, Reid’s there, waiting, with a cold bottle of water for Luke.

“Thanks,” Luke says cautiously, and Reid nods.

Luke takes Sonny into the barn and starts removing the saddle while Reid watches. “I have to groom him,” Luke says.

Reid just nods again, and watches as Luke puts away the saddle and gets out the brushes.

“Show me how,” Reid says.


Reid shrugs. “I can’t hurt myself brushing him can I.” He pauses. “Wait, Can I?”

Luke snorts and hands him a curry comb. “Just do what I do,” he says.

They groom Sonny in silence for a few minutes, and Reid even starts to look as though he’s enjoying it.

“Nice horse I’ve got here,” he says.

“He’s a beautiful boy,” Luke says. “Aren’t you, boy?”

Sonny whinnies in response, and they both laugh.

“Storm is too,” Luke says. “They’re great animals.”

They keep brushing, and after a few minutes Luke says. “It was a generous thing you did, Reid. Buying the horses for Annie like that. Most people wouldn’t care that much, or go to the expense.”

Reid shrugs. “I have plenty of money,” he says. “What else am I going to spend it on.”

“It was a good thing anyway,” Luke says. “You don’t even like horses.”

“I might be coming around,” Reid says.

Luke catches Reid’s eye and he shrugs one shoulder and gives Luke a crooked smile.

As they walk back to the house after, Reid reaches for his hand, and Luke lets him take it.


The rest of the weekend is nothing but food and sex. By Sunday night Luke’s feeling a little saddle sore, and not from horse riding.

“Oh God,” Luke mutters as Reid comes up behind him at the stove where he’s making eggs and starts nuzzling his neck. “No more. Go away.”

Reid chuckles and grips Luke’s hips in his hands. He starts placing kisses along Luke’s neck, just below his jawline, and then trailing them down his throat. Luke’s dick is starting to fatten up, despite his body screaming out that it needs a break.

“Stop it,” Luke says, tilting his head to give Reid better access. Reid chuckles again, and starts sucking at a patch of skin, and Luke moans quietly, reaching one hand back to grip Reid’s hair and hold him in place.

He pulls back after a moment and makes a pleased sound, no doubt admiring the hickey he’s just made. Luke exhales shakily. He’s hard, and he can feel that Reid’s hard too, and when Reid slides his hand into the waistband of Luke’s boxer shorts and grips his dick, it takes every bit of Luke’s willpower to push him away.

“I can’t,” he says regretfully. “My ass is too sore.”

Reid shrugs, and slips his hand back down Luke’s pants. “There’s nothing wrong with my ass.”

Luke blinks.

Reid turns the burner off under the frying pan and spins Luke around, pulling him close and nuzzling at his neck again.

Luke slides his hands around to Reid’s ass, resting a palm on each cheek. His heart is kick-hammering in his chest, and his insides are feeling a little fluttery. He hasn’t thought about this even once, but now, with Reid’s hard-on rubbing against his own, and Reid’s gorgeous, firm ass under his hands, he can picture it, and it makes his dick leak a little in excitement.

“Ride me,” Luke says, and his voice is so low and husky he doesn’t even recognize it.

Reid pulls his mouth away from where it’s latched against Luke’s throat, and meets Luke’s eyes.

“I want you to ride me,” Luke says again.

Reid smirks. “Unusual, but sure, whatever you want, Cowboy. Giddy up!”

It should be cheesy, hell, Reid meant for it to be cheesy, but Luke can’t stop picturing how Reid rode that mechanical bull, and how badly he’d wanted Reid to go horse riding with him, when he should have been picturing this instead. This is way, way better.

Luke lunges at Reid’s mouth, shoving his tongue inside and kissing him hard. Reid grunts, and kisses him back, then pulls away long enough to suck Luke’s lower lip into his mouth, and bite it just hard enough to make Luke’s dick twitch.

“Bedroom,” Reid says. The couch is closer, and they’ve done it on there enough times in the past week that they’ve started to leave lube and condoms in the drawer of the coffee table, but they won’t really have room for the position Luke wants there, so Luke lets Reid lead him to the bedroom, then tug down his pants while Luke pulls his own t-shirt over his head.

Luke stretches out on the bed, and his dick is so hard it’s almost touching his stomach.

Reid smirks and starts taking off his own clothes, and Luke licks his lips almost subconsciously.

When he’s naked, Reid crawls on top of the bed and straddles Luke’s thighs, sitting back and waiting, letting Luke make the first move.

Luke’s not sure where to start. He’s topped Noah in the past, but never in this position, and besides, having sex with Noah’s the last thing Luke wants to be thinking about right now.

Luke reaches a hand up and rests it against Reid’s chest, feeling the strong beat of his heart. He smiles, and trails a fingertip around Reid’s pecs, then down his sternum until he reaches Reid’s bellybutton, then pauses.

Reid seems to sense Luke’s uncertainty, and he takes charge. He reaches for the lube and unscrews the cap, squeezing a little onto his fingers and then reaching behind himself.

Luke’s eyes widen. He studies Reid’s face as he works his own fingers into his ass, grunting at the initial intrusion, and then moaning a little as he stretches himself open.

Luke watches every flicker of Reid’s eyes, the way he bites his lip, and the muscles in his arm work as he fingers himself, and it’s one of the hottest things Luke’s ever seen.

When he’s done, he wipes his fingers off on the sheet and tosses Luke a condom.

Luke’s hands are shaking so much he can barely get the packet open. When he finally does, and rolls it onto himself, Reid doesn’t waste any time. He lines himself up, and rubs the head of Luke’s cock against his hole a few times, smearing the slick of lube before sinking down slowly, until the head breeches his sphincter, and then he keeps sliding down, inch by inch until he’s sitting down. It feels incredible, tight and hot, and the look of awe on Reid’s face just adds to the experience.

Luke’s thighs are trembling, and he’s so excited he feels like he’s coming out of his skin. Reid’s abs are quivering, and his breaths are coming in quick pants. Luke wonders how often he bottoms, and if this is uncomfortable for him, but he quickly puts the thought out of his mind, deciding he doesn’t really want to think about Reid having sex with other men.

“You okay?” Luke whispers.

Reid nods, his hands resting on Luke’s pecs. He starts to run his fingers through Luke’s chest hair, tugging it a little and rubbing Luke’s nipples into hard little peaks. His hands are soft, and they make Luke’s skin tingle. It feels good, and Luke moans, his hips rolling up automatically. Reid grunts above him, and Luke freezes, apologizing, but Reid circles his own hips and settles into a slow grind on Luke’s lap. He’s ridiculously tight on Luke’s dick, and the heat of him, the sight of him on top like this, has made Luke’s mouth go dry.

After a few moments, Reid leans forward and grips Luke’s shoulders, then he starts to rise off Luke’s dick just as slowly as he slid down it. When just the head of Luke’s dick is still inside, he slides back down. Then he does it again, and again.

Luke squeezes his eyes closed, concentrating on how tight and how good Reid feels, and then Reid makes a low, growling sound in his throat and Luke’s eyes shoot open. He doesn’t want to miss any of this. Reid’s face is a picture of concentration. He’s gritting his teeth together, and he has that look of fierce determination on his face that Luke’s only ever seen when he’s talking about medicine, or planning his next chess move.

Reid picks up speed, and starts riding Luke in earnest, his cock bouncing with the movement, as tiny strings of pre-come drip from the tip.

Luke runs his hands up Reid’s thighs, feeling the muscles work as he rides. It’s incredibly hot, and Luke’s glad he just has to lie here and let Reid do all the work, because he’s not sure he has any higher brain capacity right now other than, Reid. Sexy. Riding. Good.

Reid shifts a little on the next stroke, and then again, and when he grunts a moment later, and his thighs quiver under Luke’s hands, Luke knows his cock just found Reid’s prostate, and that it must be pretty intense for him at an angle this deep.

“Come on, Reid,” Luke urges, and Reid bends down to kiss him, slipping his tongue inside Luke’s mouth.

Reid rests his sweaty forehead against Luke’s and his harsh breaths hit Luke’s lips as Reid keeps rising and falling. Luke takes hold of Reid’s erection and starts to jerk him off, the sweat and pre-come giving him just enough lube for really good friction. Reid squeezes his eyes closed a second later, and then grunts, pulsing warm come all over Luke’s fist. Hiss ass tightens up even more on Luke’s dick, clamping down, and Luke cries out as his own orgasm slams into him like a ton of bricks.

Luke’s boneless against the mattress, and he’s only vaguely aware of Reid climbing off him and getting rid of the condom. When he starts wiping at the pool of come on Luke’s stomach with the towel they’ve taken to keeping by the bed, Luke snaps out of his stupor long enough to take it from him, and clean himself up, letting Reid flop tiredly down onto the bed.

Luke tosses the towel on the floor when he’s done, and slides into his usual place against Reid’s chest.

Reid presses a kiss into the sweaty hair at the back of Luke’s neck, and is asleep in seconds. Luke follows soon after, a huge smile on his face.


Another week passes, and things with Reid are good. Better than good. They spend every night together, and the sex just gets better and better. They even get around to having that cooking lesson, and Luke’s sure the chili would have turned out great if they hadn’t gotten carried away and left it on the stove to go have a quickie on the couch. Luke took the badly burned pot back to his quarters to soak, not wanting Victoria to see it and ask questions. Reid had just laughed at him.

Luke goes into the hospital with Reid again on Friday morning to visit Annie, and then rides back to the house with Victoria afterwards.

“Dr. Oliver says he can operate next week,” she tells him. “The tumors are small enough now.”

“That’s great!”

Victoria nods. “We’re very relieved, mijo,” she says. “She’s scheduled for surgery first thing Monday morning.”

“She’s going to be fine,” Luke tells her. “Reid’s the best.”

Victoria nods again, and smiles. “Things are going good between you two?”

Luke blushes, and he can’t keep the grin off his face.

“That good, huh?” Victoria chuckles. “I believe Dr. Oliver feels the same way.”

“What makes you say that?” Luke asks.

“I do clean the house, mijo. I notice things.”

Luke tilts his head, wondering what she means, and then it hits him. She’s seen their stash of lube and condoms in the coffee table. Luke’s face goes red, and he stares out of the passenger-side window. “Sorry about that,” Luke says.

“Pssh,” Victoria waves a hand dismissively. “You’re grown men.”

“I— I guess you’re used to seeing stuff like that though,” Luke says cautiously. “You’ve worked for Reid for a couple years now.”

“Are you loco, mijo?” Victoria asks incredulously. “If Dr. Oliver brought any men home, I never saw any evidence.”

“Really?” Luke can’t help but smile.

“I’m not saying there was no one, mijo,” she says. “Because I don’t know. But there was no one regular. No one he liked, not the way he likes you.”

Luke grins.

“And besides,” Victoria goes on. “It's good. I don’t have to cook so much anymore, I noticed the freezer was still full.”

“Oh!” Luke says. “Sorry, Victoria. I’ve been cooking for us, I like to, but I can stop...”

Victoria laughs. “It’s okay, mijo,” she says, taking one hand off the wheel to pat his leg. “He’s coming home in time for dinner these days. That’s good for him, and for you.”

“You really think he likes me that much?” Luke grins.

“He’s loco about you,” Victoria says so matter of factly that Luke can’t keep the pleased grin off his face the rest of the way back home.


Luke and Reid go to the farmer’s market on Sunday morning to buy fresh fruit and bread for brunch. There are flower vendors next door, and Luke decides to get a few bunches. His mom always has fresh flowers at home, and Luke likes the way they cheer the place up.

Reid rolls his eyes as Luke spends a few minutes trying to decide between the daisies and the irises, then just grabs them both from him and hands over a twenty, steering them back towards where the car is parked.

“We were gonna be there all day at that rate,” he mumbles. “Why can’t you ever just make a quick decision?”

“It’s not in my nature,” Luke says easily. “You just bought me flowers, Dr. Oliver.” Luke’s grin is enormous, and it only gets bigger as Reid mutters something unintelligible under his breath, but takes Luke’s hand anyway as they walk to the car.


Luke’s in his bathroom later that afternoon, having a quick shower after mucking out the stalls and taking Sonny out for a ride, when his cell phone rings.

Luke jumps, dropping the tube of gel he was about to open and work through his hair.


“Hello, son,” Holden says. “It’s so good to hear your voice!”

“You too,” Luke says. “What’s going on? You said we shouldn’t call each other.”

“You can come home, Luke,” he says. “Everything’s been taken care of! Isn’t that great?”

Luke swallows around the sudden lump in his throat. “That is great,” he says. “How? What happened?”

“I hate to say this, and you know I’ve never been one of his fans, but Damian actually came through for us.”

“He did?” Luke had cut all ties with Damian after this latest drama started going down. He’d given him so many chances, and every time Luke thought he’d changed, he’d been proven wrong, and disappointed, time and again.

“The guy who was after you is now in a Maltese jail. We don’t have to worry about him, or anyone else in the Grimaldi family coming after you, according to Damian.”

“And you actually believe him?” Luke says skeptically. They’ve heard assurances like that from Damian in the past too.

“Your mother and I do,” he says. “Damian seemed very positive in a way I didn’t want to ask too many questions about, if you catch my meaning.”

Luke swallows. “Yeah, I do.”

“So,” Holden says. “Do you want me to send your grandmother’s jet to come and get you? When can you be ready?”

Annie’s surgery is tomorrow, and there’s no way Luke’s gonna break this news tonight. He doesn’t want to throw Reid’s focus off. And besides, he doesn’t want to leave until he knows Annie’s pulled through and is out of danger.

“Listen, Dad,” Luke says. “I can’t leave right away. I need to give Re— Dr. Oliver time to hire a new stable hand. I can’t just leave the horses.”

“Of course,” Holden says. “You’re right. I wasn’t thinking. You’re mother and I are just so excited about having you home!”

Luke closes his eyes. “I want to see you guys, too,” he says. “I’ve missed you all so much.”

“We miss you too, son, but do what you have to do. Let us know when you’re ready and we’ll send the jet.”

“Okay, Dad,” Luke says. “I love you.”

“Love you too.”

Luke hangs up the phone and stares at himself in the mirror, wondering why he’s not happier to be going home.


Luke’s quiet when he goes back to the main house, lost in thought.

“What’s up with you?” Reid finally asks after dinner, when Luke’s barely said two words.

Luke shakes his head, and smiles. “Nothing,” he says. “Just tired.”

“Let’s have an early night,” Reid says. “I need to rest up for tomorrow anyway.”

“Do you want me to go?” Luke asks. “I can sleep in my own bed tonight.”

Reid just rolls his eyes and pushes him towards the bedroom. They brush their teeth and pull off their clothes, settling into bed in just their underwear.

“Are you nervous about tomorrow?” Luke asks.

“Of course not,” Reid scoffs.

“Yes you are,” Luke says.

Reid shrugs one shoulder. “Maybe a little.”

“You’re gonna be great,” Luke says, placing a soft kiss on Reid’s mouth.

Reid smiles, and kisses him back, sighing a little when Luke pulls away. “You’re tired,” he says, and slaps Luke’s cheek lightly. “Go to sleep, we’ll celebrate tomorrow after surgery.”

Reid flicks off the lamp and spoons up behind Luke, falling asleep within seconds with that freaky doctor’s body clock of his.

Luke lies awake for hours though, thinking about the last few weeks, and the life he’s been living here.

He thinks about how much he’s enjoyed writing again, and spending time with the horses. He thinks about all the things he and Reid have done together, all the sex they’ve had, which is so incredibly good Luke spends most of his days in a post-orgasmic high of endorphins.

He thinks about Reid loosening up and letting himself have fun, and what a kick that is. He thinks about going bowling, and shopping, and watching movies with Reid.

Luke likes Reid, so much, but he doesn't know if they can sustain whatever this thing is outside of the bubble they’re in.

Luke thinks about the other day when they’d been lying on the couch together watching TV. Reid had his hand under Luke’s t-shirt and was stroking his skin softly, his fingertips skimming Luke’s transplant scar over and over. Luke had rolled over onto his back and looked up at Reid, silently asking a question: Do you want to know?

Reid had shrugged and smiled gently, and Luke had told him everything; about how he’d started drinking when he was just a kid, about the kidney transplant, and hating himself and wishing he was dead. He told Reid what it’s like to be a drunk and needing to drink just to feel normal. He told Reid about how he’d screwed up so many times in the past, with his family, and with Noah.

And Reid had just listened. He took it all in with no judgment and then he’d kissed Luke so softly afterwards. He’d laid a trail of kisses across Luke’s scar and then made love to him slow and tender, until Luke had fallen apart in his arms, aching from the sweet release of it all.

It had been one of the most intimate things Luke’s ever done, and now he’s confused. There’s more to this thing than just a fling. Maybe a lot more, but will he still feel the same way once he's back in Oakdale? He wishes he knew the answer.

Luke sighs, shifting his head on the pillow and willing his body to relax into sleep. It’s a long time coming.


Luke rides in to the hospital with Reid in the morning. “Are you sure Laura won’t mind if I sit with them while you’re in surgery?”

“Victoria’s practically adopted you as a grandson, and Annie loves you, I don’t think they’ll mind if you want to be there with them.”

When they get to Annie’s room, Victoria and Juan are there, as well as Laura and a tall man Luke’s never seen before.

“Mr. Judd,” Reid says, his voice icy. “Nice of you to join us today.”

“Dr. Oliver,” he says, then glances at Luke. “Who’s he?”

“That’s Luke, Dennis,” Laura says. “He looks after Dr. Oliver’s horses, I’ve told you about him.”

“What’s he doing here?”

“Uh, I can go, if you prefer,” Luke says. “But I wanted to be here for Annie. I wasn’t sure if you’d mind...”

“Of course we don’t mind, mijo,” Victoria says and comes over to embrace him. Luke bends low to return her hug. “Thanks for coming,” she says.

Luke smiles, and goes over to shake Juan’s hand. “Good boy,” he says, his eyes crinkled in a smile, and claps Luke on the shoulder.

Dennis Judd is glaring at him, but Annie’s holding her arms up for a hug, so Luke just ignores him and gives Annie the hug she wants. She’s holding Sonny under one arm, and she’s beaming her usual smile. “Dr. Reid’s going to fix me today!”

Luke grins, and sits on the edge of her bed. “I know!” Luke says. “Are you excited?”

Annie nods. “I can’t wait to come out and see you and the horsies again!”

Luke swallows around the lump in his throat. “They can’t wait to see you either,” Luke says, then shifts off the bed so Reid can give them the pre-surgery spiel. Luke steps outside to wait, and a few moments later, the door opens and Annie’s being wheeled away to the OR. Reid tells them all to wait in the surgical waiting area.

“Good luck,” Luke whispers to Reid as he passes by.

“Don’t need it,” he says, then leans in for a quick kiss. “But thanks anyway, Luke.”

Luke shakes his head, and smiles, and Reid saunters down the hallway, looking supremely confident. Luke’s heart is practically bursting with pride.

Dennis Judd is still glaring at him, but Victoria takes Luke’s arm, her other one wrapped around Laura’s, and the three of them head to the waiting area, with Juan and Mr. Judd following.


The surgery is expected to take at least eight or nine hours, and they settle in for a long wait. A nurse comes out to give them periodic updates, but time seems to drag on incredibly slowly.

Mr. Judd doesn’t sit still, and his pacing is driving Luke a little nuts. Victoria glares at him, so it must be annoying her too, but if he gets the hint, he ignores it anyway. He leaves around 11:00, muttering something about needing fresh air.

He’s still not back by lunchtime, and Luke heads to the cafeteria, returning with sandwiches and drinks for everyone.

Victoria smiles and pats his cheek, and Laura finally lets go of Victoria’s arm long enough to pick up her sandwich and take a few bites. “Thanks, Luke,” she says. “It’s good that you came.”

Luke nods, and returns her smile. “I wouldn’t be anywhere else.”

Dennis Judd finally comes back around 2:00, and resumes his pacing. Everyone ignores him. The doors from the OR burst open around 3:00, and Luke doesn’t even have to ask how it went, because Reid’s got a huge smile on his face as he pulls down his surgical mask.

“Oh!” Luke hears Laura’s cry of relief, and she and Victoria pull each other close in a hug.

Reid nods. “It went perfectly,” he says. “No hitches, tumors all gone. She’ll be awake in a few hours.”

“Thank you,” Laura says, and hugs him. “Thank you so much!”

Reid awkwardly pats her back, and then she releases him, turning to hug Juan.

Dennis Judd doesn’t say anything, just skulks at the back of the room, and everyone seems perfectly happy to keep ignoring him.

Juan shakes Reid’s hand and claps him on the shoulder so many times he’s probably leaving a bruise. “Thank you!” Juan keeps saying. “Thank you! Thank you!”

Luke can’t stop smiling, and when Reid finally manages to get away from Juan, he saunters up to Luke.

“Pretty impressive, huh?” Reid says, waggling his eyebrows.

Luke laughs. “Very impressive, Dr. Oliver,” Luke says, and steps in close for a quick kiss.

Reid slaps his cheek lightly, and then turns back to the family. He waits for them to settle down and stop hugging each other and says, “Annie will be in isolation for a couple hours. Once she’s moved back to her room, you guys can go in. She should be awake around dinner time.”

They all thank Reid again, and then Reid indicates with his head that Luke should follow him out to the hallway.

“Her post-op scans are good,” Reid says. “There’s not too much else I can do here until she wakes up. I’ll drive you home and then come back later.”

“Sure,” Luke says. “Sounds good.”

“Give me 15 minutes to shower and change,” he says. “I’ll meet you back here.”

Luke nods, and Reid disappears down the hallway.