Disclaimer: I own nothing, but my words and the order in which I put them. Don't sue, cause I don't want to give you my cat.
Characters/Pairings: Luke/Noah, Luke/Reid
Word Count: 21 500 for all 8 parts
Warnings: Angst, Adultery, Alison (she's not really a warning, I just like alliteration)
Spoilers: None unless you haven't watched in the last few months. No future spoilers.
Summary: Following the events of the past six months this is the story of how three men Luke Snyder, Noah Mayer and Reid Oliver found themselves at the mercy of love, friendship and betrayal.
A couple of days later, Noah and Luke meet for coffee at Java. In the spirit of taking it slow they both agreed that a public place was probably their best bet. As Luke arrives, Noah is already sitting at a table, two steaming cups in front of him. Luke can't help but take a moment to stare at the man that he watched grow from a shy and scared boy into someone he can now picture sharing a life with. It's really remarkable to him how lucky he is. And what's even more remarkable is the fact that he is willing to risk it every single time he sees Reid.
Hell, Reid is even the reason they're meeting at Java. In a move that pissed Luke off immensely, Reid left a few marks in a few places, and Luke does not want to run the risk of getting carried away with Noah and having him find them, or having to explain why they still can't get too carried away.
When Luke saw the marks he immediately freaked out, accused Reid of trying to get him in trouble. And since Reid's excuse that it was no big deal because Noah hadn't fully regained his sight didn't sit to well with him, Luke made him promise not to do it again. He really should have just broken it off then and there, but then Reid started apologizing. Telling Luke how he didn't want to mess this up, but he's afraid he will cause he wants Luke so bad. And Luke melted. It's like Reid is able to tap into every single weakness of his. Any defense Luke builds up to do the right thing, Reid somehow knows to tear down. And Luke just keeps letting it happen.
He sits down in front of Noah and is greeted with a smile that could melt the farthest coldest reaches of the world. And it's all for him.
"Hey Luke." Noah beams as he in leans across the table for a kiss. Luke leans in and they meet lips for what could be seen as a bit longer that socially acceptable, but they don't seem to notice or to care.
"I've missed you," Luke replies, and he really has. Since he and Noah have gotten back together, the happiest he ever is, is right by his side.
"Missed you too. But get this, I actually think I made a new friend in the past few days. Weird huh?" Noah looks so genuinely happy a piece of Luke's heart breaks for the fact that Noah didn't have a lot of friends as a kid. Whoever this person is that has got his boyfriend smiling like that has got a be a winner.
"Not weird at all. You're a pretty amazing guy. I wouldn't be here if you weren't. So who is your new BFF? A girl or a guy? Do I get to be jealous?" Luke says with a snicker. He trust Noah completely. Noah would never cheat on him. Luke really should remember that more often.
"Actually," Noah starts. "It's Dr. Oli-I mean Reid. We actually went out for a couple of drinks and we really hit it off. Did you know he was gay? Not that it matters, since I only have eyes for one man in this town." Noah waggles his eyebrows in a mock seductive manner. But he must notice that Luke's demeanor has suddenly changed. His face goes still and he leans forward grabbing Luke's hand.
"Luke, are you okay? Your pulse is racing, and from what I can see you look kind of pale." Noah's concern is enough to bring Luke back to his senses though his heart is beating like a jackhammer.
"Do you need some water?" Noah continues, just as Luke finally speaks.
"No, no I'm fine. I just spaced out for a moment. I'm listening, I swear."
Noah doesn't look particularly convinced so he makes his way over to the counter to get Luke some water. And it's in that moment that Luke takes the time to mentally freak out over all the terrible possibilities that come with a burgeoning friendship between his boyfriend and the guy he is fucking. Oh shit, what have I done? Luke sees Noah heading back to the table slowly and he takes a deep breath. He doesn't know anything. He's happy, he can't possibly know. God, Luke is going to be sick. But that will have to wait till he gets home. Right now he has to focus.
"Here, drink this." Noah offers the water, with a look of concern etched on his face that makes it very hard for Luke to not feel nauseous. He doesn't deserve this kind of concern and he knows it.
"Noah, really, I'm fine. I just, I don't know. I don't think I had enough to eat this morning is all. I'm fine. I promise. You were saying?"
"I was? Oh yeah, so Reid and I went out and had a pretty good time. He's nothing like I expected him to be. I think you might even like him if you got to know him."
Luke can't help but wince at his comment. How can he keep playing Noah for a fool?
"That's great, Noah. But right now I don't want to talk about Dr. Oliver. I want to talk about us."
And with that Luke effectively changed the topic of discussion, which even though it felt like a relief for the time being, will give him no reprieve in the long run.
Noah arrives at the hospital for a follow up exam, which pleases Reid. Not just to see Noah, but also the progress of his returning eyesight.
"Are you going to tell Luke about your vision improving?" he asks. He hates talking about Luke, but it would be weird if he never mentioned the guy.
"Actually," Noah replies cheerfully. "I'm going to wait a bit, cause I would love to surprise him. I mean, I think it would mean a lot to him if one day I just told him that I can see, don't you think?" He gets quiet for a moment, a look that seems like doubt flashing across his face. "And I also don't want to get him hopes up, you know? Like if this is this best it will be, I want to be able to deal with that and I need him to be able to as well. So I'm just going to keep it to myself a little longer."
Sometimes Reid really feels like an asshole for what he's doing with Luke. And this is definitely one of those times. How can he be so fucking selfish when it's obvious that Noah loves Luke more that anything? But once again he rationalizes that it's not his place to tell Noah anything. While they are friends, it's all still really new. Luke is the one that owes Noah the truth. Luke is the one that is cheating on the man he claims to love. Sure, Reid isn't making the situation any better, he's obviously aware that he is the one making it worse. But he just wants so much, his relationship with Luke AND his friendship with Noah. And if it's all going to blow up in his face eventually, he may as well enjoy it while it lasts.
"Uh, Reid? You okay?" Noah's voice shakes him from his distracted thoughts and brings him back to the present. "You seem a little spacey, is everything okay?"
"Uh, yeah," he replies clearing his throat. "I'm good, just have some stuff on my mind. Sorry about that."
"Well, how about we go grab a coffee after you finish up here? I mean, if you're not busy. I've been talking your ear off about Luke, so I owe you a turn."
Reid smiles at Noah's concern, taking him up on the offer. He knows full well that he won't tell Noah about what's troubling him. There's no way he can. But it just really feels good to have someone who seems to genuinely care, so there's no way he's passing that up.
"Sure thing," he says. "Sounds like fun."
For the first time since they've started sleeping together, Luke calls Reid. If Reid were to say he wasn't surprised he'd be lying. Since whatever this thing is with Luke began, he has been the aggressor, the pursuer. And the thought of being pursued makes him break out into a huge dorky smile. A smile he didn't even think he was capable of. The only other things in Reid's life that make him even close to that happy are his work, his home with Katie and Jacob, and believe it or not, his friendship with Noah. What he and Luke have is, well it's not really a friendship exactly, and the fact that he's been able to hang out and talk with another guy (another gay guy no less) has made things pretty okay. However, it's also made things really damn hard.
Reid is smart enough to know that this thing that he's doing with Luke won't last forever. That eventually it will come out. What he tries not to admit is the fact that he hopes the truth comes out by way of Luke choosing him. And that somehow (he hasn't figured this part out yet) he and Noah can find a way to remain friends. Yes, his idea is far-fetched, but it's been so long since Reid's had a boyfriend and even longer since he's had a best friend and he just really wants them both. As crazy as it sounds he wants to keep both Luke and Noah in his life. Yeah, that's pretty crazy all right.
As he answers Luke's call he feels a pool of warmth blossoming in his stomach. He always feels that way before he sees Luke. At first it was an irritating annoyance, but Reid's growing to like it. Maybe even love it.
"Hey Luke," he answers with a smile that can no doubt be heard down the phone. "What can I do for you? Or what can I do to you?" God did I really say that? What is happening to me?
Luke remains silent for a moment and after clearing his throat he starts. "Um, Reid. We need to talk."
It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know that those are the four words you never want to hear, and he is a brain surgeon so it takes him no time at all to begin to worry.
"Sure thing, what about?" he asks, his voice shaky. Get it together Oliver, you're not a fucking 14 year old girl.
"I'm on my way over right now," Luke replies shortly, and just as quickly the line goes quiet.
Reid starts to worry. Seriously, how could he not? Luke is on his way over to dump him and he can't think of one good reason, one thing to say that might make him stay. Well there is...never mind. That is something he never needs to say. So he paces his living room too stressed to even eat and he waits. Waits for Luke to come and end things. Waits for the best thing that ever happened to him to fall apart.
Reid opens the door on the first knock, Luke pushing past him to stand by the couch.
"What exactly are you trying to pull here?" Luke is angry, like really angry. And that is nothing short of confusing.
"What am I trying to pull where, and hello to you too."
"Noah. I'm talking about Noah. So what, you guys are friends now or something?"
Ahh, that. Reid thinks to himself. He really has dug himself into a quite spectacular hole.
"And that's a problem?" Reid asks. "If you're worried I'm trying to steal your boyfriend, don't be. You are everything that I want."
As Reid inches closer Luke backs away, his anger not wavering for a moment.
"What are you-no, I don't think you're trying to steal my boyfriend. I think you're trying to sabotage my relationship with him. And as fucked up as this situation between us is I never thought you would stoop so low. I can understand you wanting to hurt me. But Noah is a really amazing guy, and he doesn't deserve this." Suddenly Luke's voice drops to a nearly inaudible level as he says, "He doesn't deserve any of this."
As hard as it is for Reid to hear Luke sing Noah's praises, he knows every word of it is true. Noah is a really great guy, but so it Luke, and so is he. They aren't bad people, they're just in a bad situation.
"Luke," Reid starts. "This may be hard for you to believe, but I don't want to hurt Noah or you. Especially you." At that he can see Luke's demeanor soften, his shoulders slumped, he looks so defeated and sad, which Reid never wanted. He slowly approaches Luke. Putting one hand on his shoulder, with the other he raises Luke's chin so he can look him in the eye.
"Honestly, I like Noah. I really do. I didn't mean for us to hit it off, but I guess I can say the same for you and I, can't I?" The corners of Luke's mouth turn up oh so slightly to form the faintest of smiles.
"I guess at the end of the day I'm just selfish. It's been so long since I've had anything outside of work that mattered to me, and in a matter of months I found a home with Katie and Jacob and a friend in Noah and most importantly, you."
Luke smiles at that, but the look of happiness doesn't reach his eyes. It's okay, Reid thinks. One day he'll look at me the way I look at him.
"I just don't know what to do anymore, Reid. I have never been so confused. I don't want to hurt him and I don't want to lose him. But," Luke says earnestly, "I can't let you go either. So I guess we're both selfish. Noah deserves so much better than the both of us."
"I know," Reid agrees. "But for now, I don't want to talk about Noah anymore." And he leads Luke off to his bedroom.
It's been a few weeks since Noah and Luke got back together, and Noah's starting to notice things. Little things that normally wouldn't seem like such a big deal, but he's been so worried about screwing things up again he can't take any chances.
For starters Luke isn't where he often says he'll be. Like he claimed to be at the foundation working late one night, but when Noah called the office he found out that Luke hadn't been in all day. When Noah asked him about it later, he claimed that he was working off-site. A simple question, with a simple answer, right? But what Luke is unaware of is that Noah's eyesight has vastly improved in the past few days, making it plain to see that Luke is being less than forthcoming.
He thinks about talking to Reid about it, but therein lies the next problem. Anytime he mentions Reid's name to Luke or vice-versa, both men start acting strangely. Be it awkward and evasive (Reid) or just plain hostile (Luke). He's been wanting to spend time with both of them together lately. Maybe ease the remaining tension between them, but he's had no such luck. It's just been a strange few weeks is all.
But some nights Noah can't help but wonder if something really is wrong. And apparently he's not going to get any sleep until he gets some of his worries of his chest. So he heads out to the living room, puts on TCM and waits for Ali to get home from the hospital. Halfway through Road to Rio he can hear Ali's keys as she jiggles the sticking lock of their front door. He can tell she's really trying to be quiet to not wake him and as unnecessary as it is, he absolutely loves her for it.
"Hey Al," he's says quietly, not wanting to startle her.
"Hey you, what are you doing up so late?"
He pats the couch cushion next to where he is sitting and she makes her way over
"Waiting up for you, actually."
"Me? Is something wrong? Are you okay? Is Luke? Is Casey?"
Noah smiles as she sits next to him, her face full of concern.
"No, we're all fine. Well, I think we are. That's actually why I wanted to talk to you."
Ali tucks her foot under her leg getting comfortable, looking so tired. But here she is, eager to listen.
"Are you and Luke having problems? I mean, it's to be expected that it might not be smooth sailing right away. You both went through so much."
Noah sighs heavily, not longer able to contain his concern.
"I guess things just still feel weird you know? Like there's this distance between us that I can't seem to fill. And while we are getting closer on some levels, there are other ways in which we're kinda stalled." Noah looks away sheepishly, his face burning red. He's not really used to talking about the most intimate details of Luke and him with someone who isn't, well, Luke.
"Ahh, I see," Ali responds thoughtfully. "And you think there is a reason for that beyond just wanting to take things slowly?
"That's the thing, Luke's never really been a fan of slow. Not ever. And now he always wants to meet at his folks' place or at Java. When I suggest he comes over here, the next thing I know we're having a movie night with you and Case, which, as fun as it was, wasn't really what I had hoped for that night."
"Is there anything else that is causing you to worry, 'cause from what I'm hearing it could be Luke wanting things to be right for the both of you this time around. Without the added pressure of sex."
Noah looks Ali in the eyes, man he's really missed looking at her. "Well, there have been a couple times when he's told me he'd be some place, but then it turns out he isn't there. I know I'm probably making a whole lot out of nothing, but I can't help but think that something is off."
"Noah," Ali says delicately, taking Noah's hand in her own. "Luke would never cheat on you if that's what you're thinking. He loves you. Actually, he loves you to a really gross degree."
Noah cracks a smile that it all but vanishes as he says, "But you loved Casey, didn't you?"
He can see she's taken aback by his comment. And he feels just terrible. He didn't mean to throw that in her face, he just knows that love doesn't necessarily ensure fidelity.
"You have a point. I did love Casey. Still do, probably always will. But I also have a history of self sabotage in my relationships that is a tale as old as time."
"You're really quoting Beauty and the Beast to me?" Noah chuckles.
"Well, no," Ali replies "Well, technically yes, but what I'm saying is that Luke is not me. You saw how hard it was for us to reconnect after I hurt his brother. And even beyond what happened with me and Aaron, you know how much his parents' infidelities have affected him. He would never want that for himself, and he would never do that to you."
"Thanks, Ali," Noah says softly, bringing the conversation to an end. "I'm probably getting all worked up over nothing. I'll just talk to Luke and clear the air. You're the best, you know?"
"I know," Ali replies with a cheeky grin. "So what are we watching?" she asks as they sink deeper into the couch, shoulder to shoulder, settling in to watch the rest of the movie.
Part 5: la-fours.livejournal.com/4548.html#cutid