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Lure BB: The Road Home: Chapters One and Two

Title: The Road Home
Author: Marsabi
Summary: AU. Reid and Luke have been happily married for years, but they are currently separated. A past tragedy has ripped them apart, but can a wedding in Vegas and a forced road trip bring them back together?
Warning: This has some definite triggers for sensitive readers. Due to plot spoilers, I do not want to state exactly the nature of these triggers, but if you have specific questions, please feel free to PM me on it. Thanks!
Rating: NC-17

Author’s note: Well, this story truly took a village! I wanted to thank my LRO friends for encouraging me and giving me some of the ideas for the road. I tried to use as many as possible. To my friends at LJ, thanks for the fun polls over there that kept me inspired. More specifically, I wanted to thank nancygrew, my humor-beta, and cindergal for her early help with this fic. A huge shout out of thanks to writergirl and traciamc, too! I was loosely inspired by Kristan Higgen’s book My One and Only. It made me want to write a Lure road trip story. Last but not least, for the fantastic art, I sincerely thank sripley!

For so many reasons, this one is for traciamc

Chapter One

Standing in front of an open suitcase, his tuxedo in his hand, Reid could barely breathe. He was actually breaking out in to a cold sweat. Here he was, a world class neurosurgeon, used to life and death trauma, a pro at grace under pressure, and his heart was hammering like a jackrabbit, his palms all clammy, and a wild pulse beating in his neck. Ridiculous. Even if he did see Luke there, what would it change? Packing the last few items, Reid shut the luggage with a vicious snap. He needed to get to work. He wasn’t officially on his trip yet, and if he stayed here any longer he’d need to call the Deerbrook Institution to haul him away.

Heading into the shower, he hung up his robe and turned the water on, memories assaulting him. They’d usually showered together before work. How many times had they given each other quick, soapy hand jobs? Or sloppy hot kisses? He shut his eyes, recalling Luke’s hand brushing at his stubble, cradling his jaw, his teeth nipping at Reid’s lower lip playfully right before they’d kissed. With the water cascading down around them, their bodies, slick and wet, they’d rock together, Luke’s frame trembling right against his own.

Reid banged his head against the shower wall. “Dumbass.” This was what love had done to him. Turning his face into the shower spray, he let the water run cold. Luke was gone. He wasn’t coming back.

Quickly, Reid dressed and left the house. He buttoned up his coat and headed to his car, winding a long red scarf around his neck. A cold rain had started, and drops blew across his face, pelting his eyes and forehead. When he arrived at the hospital, he happily found out he had back-to-back surgeries waiting. It was just what he needed, to stay busy, to operate, to let the rest of the damn world fade far away.

Reid scrubbed up, snapped on his gloves, and opened up the door to his OR.

Oh hell.

“It’s not you, it’s me.” Chris Hughes said, not noticing Reid had entered the room. Here in front of Reid was the only argument against organ donation. Why did Reid always have to be so punctual? Another five minutes, ten tops, and Chris would have been long gone.

“You’re great,” Chris continued. “But I need to be honest. I just can’t handle a relationship right now.” He gave the nurse his practiced I’m-a-good-guy smile. “I just have a lot going on in my life. You know? I’m going through some changes.”

Reid snorted. The only thing that had changed with Chris over the years was his receding hairline.

The nurse, a new one, he couldn’t recall her name, heard his snort and spun around.

“Oh! Excuse me, Chief,” she said, unable to flee the OR fast enough.

Chris frowned over at Reid.

“Eavesdropping on us, Oliver? Guess you have nothing better to do…?”

“Oh, I have something better to do,” Reid replied. “ It’s called working. Medicine. Saving lives?”

“Hey, I do my job.”

“You spend more time with the nurses than your patients.”

“My patients are fine. My father might have made you Chief for some crazy reason, to spite me I think, just for not listening to him prattle on and on, but I’m a Hughes. There has always been a Hughes at Memorial, and there always will be. You should remember that.”

“How can I forget it when you constantly remind me?”

“It’s why the board picked me to fill your shoes as Chief while you’re on vacation. Aren’t you supposed to be leaving already? You really do look like you could use the rest, Oliver. Old age slowing you down?”

Reid smiled. “Want to hear about my trip, Doogie?”

Chris didn’t reply. The smug look faded from his face.

“I’ll share with you anyhow. I’m off to Katie’s wedding in Vegas. She called me last night all excited about it. She went on and on about how much she loves him. I’m not much for all that sappiness, but Katie warrants it after all she’s been through in the past. Oh… wait…this isn’t upsetting you, is it? Hearing about Katie finally finding the right guy?”

“Not at all,” Chris said, though his eyes went cold. “I want her to be happy. My marriage to Katie is ancient history.”

“Yeah,” Reid said, “that’s what she always says about it, too.”


“You’ve really taken the adage ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ to heart, isn’t that right? Katie Peretti Frasier Coleman Kasnoff Snyder Snyder Hughes?”
“There’s only one Snyder in there,” Katie said indignantly. “Jack and I had our marriage annulled.”

“Annulled? Are you even Catholic? Isn’t there some papal bull involved before you marry again?”

“Will you shut up and come give me a hug, Matron of Honor.”

“Bride’s best man,” corrected Reid, but he walked toward her. “Matron makes me sound like I’m wearing a girdle.”

Throwing her arms around him, Katie ignored that, and squeezed Reid tightly.

“Let me know when you’re done.”

“Oh, you’re impossible.” But Katie released him. “Don’t be such a big baby - I missed you! I haven’t seen you in months. Haven’t you missed me, too?”

“I don’t have a lot of time to miss anybody. Running Memorial is closer to running a kindergarten than it is to a real hospital.” He glanced at her. “Maybe I missed you some,” Reid said.

He glanced around the hotel suite. It was massive. There was a buffet spread, several vases bursting with colorful flowers, and a deck overlooking the city.

“What are you looking for?”

“The fiancée.” Reid went over to the coffee table and scooped up some cheese, salami and crackers. “Where is he?” Reid chewed. “Out hiring Fat Elvis to sing?”

“You already know that my mom’s singing.”

“I do?”

“I told you in my texts like a billion times! It’s one of the main reasons we picked Vegas. She’s a professional singer here in one of the casinos.”

“I’ve heard you caterwauling in the shower, so it’s clear that her talent must have skipped a generation.”

“We can’t all be potential band boy material.” Katie grinned. “Jacob misses your ‘N Sync sing-alongs.”

“I have no idea what you’re referring to.”

“Of course you don’t.”

“And those songs are classics,” Reid popped an olive into his mouth. “But don’t go changing the subject. I still want to know what kind of material your fiancée is. I haven’t met him, and I’ve heard some things.”

“Since when do you lower yourself to listen to Oakdale gossip?”

“Since I walked in on your last husband with his pants at his ankles, and Allison Stewart was on her knees.”

“Gee, thanks for the lovely reminder of Chris.”

“It can’t hurt to be sure, that’s all. You deserve the best.”

“I am sure. I am! What exactly do you want to know? Fire away, I’ve nothing to hide.”

“Is he dependable?”

“He is.”

“And you trust him?”


“Because I heard about him and a certain lady.”

“If you mean Lily, that was ages ago.”

“What?” Reid sputtered. “What? I was talking about Vienna.”

“We have both made mistakes in the past with love. But we are committed to making it work and that’s what matters. Can you go on to another topic now?”

“Fine. I assume he’s good with Jacob?”

“He’s great with Jacob.”

“Alright…let’s see. Is he well-educated?”

“Would you like me to have his grades copied for you? I don’t need a Spanish Inquisition here. I know what I’m doing. It’s so different this time.”

“You told me to fire away. I’m firing. Is he financially secure?”

“He is.”

“And he made his money how?”

“This and that. Investments. Um, I’m not sure about all the details.”

“But what’s he actually do?”

Katie groaned. “Enough, enough. I’m sorry I told you to fire away. I forgot how you can be. Stop being so serious, will you? I’m getting married!”

“Right. Why would marriage ever be a serious topic?” Reid grumbled, but he relented at Katie’s crestfallen face. “One more question.”


Reid raised his eyebrows up. “Is he hung?”

“Now we’re talking!” Katie squealed. “And for the record, he is hung. Simon’s hung like a horse. Good job, Reid. I’m proud of you. Almost as good as being with Henry.”

“Where is Hank?”

“It’s Vegas. I’m sure he’s somewhere in the casino, a pool of saliva in his mouth as he stares at the slot machines, or he’s winning for Barbara, while she blows on his dice. Or maybe he’s losing all her money.” Katie shrugged. “Who knows? But don’t worry, you’ll see him.”

“Great,” Reid plastered a fake smile on his face. He could only imagine what bonding activities Katie had picked out for the three of them, an image of them in some swanky salon, getting their nails done, filled Reid’s mind with dread. Hank, no doubt, would just revel in being pampered. Reid pictured green goo on his face and his feet soaking in something murky and smelling vaguely of flowers. Hank would be chatting amiably with the woman buffing his nails about how difficult it was to get comfortable undergarments for women of a certain size.

Reid shuddered.

“But he agreed to stand up with Simon, so I guess they might be hanging out together, too.”

“Simon must be a good guy to tolerate all Henry’s issues.”

“He is a good guy.”

She poured them two glasses of fizzy champagne and handed one to him. “And he loves me, Reid. He really does. I can feel it whenever we are together. We’re soul mates.”

When Reid fell silent, Katie clasped his arm.

“My turn. How are you doing? Really?”

“I’m fine,” Reid lied. “It’s been nearly ten months. I got on with things. Don’t worry about me. I can’t even remember when I last had enough time to even think about Luke.” As Katie said nothing, Reid added, “I’m so busy. Really, very--”

“Busy. Yeah, you’ve told me.”

“Well, I am.” He put his plate of food down, his appetite suddenly gone.

“You know I invited Luke to the wedding, right? And that he said yes? I had to,” Katie said. “It wasn’t only you there for me all these years when I was raising Jacob alone and had Chris stomp all over my heart. It was you and Luke.”

“It’s fine. We’re both grownups.” He already knew this information, but he wasn’t going to tell Katie about his pathetic spying all over Oakdale.

“I get it’s going to be hard for you, but… It’s not like you don’t run into him back home.”

“Actually, no, I don’t. I haven’t…”


“He was away a lot.”

“I heard that, and I’m so sorry. He’s better now, yeah?” She didn’t wait for a reply. “Geez. You really haven’t seen each other since he left? I figured you’d run and hide away at Memorial--”

“I don’t hide.”

“—But I thought Luke would show up there. For the board meetings? For the new pediatric wing his foundation is building? To see you? Are you honestly telling me you guys haven’t even talked?”

“He does his voting by proxy, or he has Lucinda stand in.”

Katie shook her head. “You’re both so stupid. How can you keep avoiding each other? It’s not like when Chris cheated on me. You and Luke love each other. I know you do. Of course he wants to see you! Yes, you guys went through hell, but I refuse to believe you can’t find your way back to each other. You must miss him so much.”

Reid shrugged. A trickle of sweat ran down his back and between his shoulder blades. Miss him? Reid knew amputees could live without their lost limbs, missing their legs, their arms but finding a way to adapt. But missing Luke? It was like having an amputated heart. He was saved from answering, thank God, by the door of the suite crashing open.

“Look who’s here!” Margo called.

“Hey,” Katie beamed at her son.

But Jacob only had eyes for Reid.

He came running overt to him dressed in a superhero tank top and shorts, his skinny arms covered with fake tattoos. His hair looked like it had yet to be brushed; with several cowlicks standing up in the back, and his front tooth was missing still.

“Reid!” Jacob wrapped his arms around Reid and tried immediately to pick him up, and Reid grunted loudly, jumping up, pretending Jacob was lifting him.

“Have you been working out again, muscle man?”

Jacob giggled.

“Just remember to use your brain, too.”

“I am. I beat mommy in chess three times.”

“Great,” Reid said. He could only hope Katie’s picking of husbands had improved more than her chess. Katie’s chess game was like her romantic history. Her moves were seemingly random and there were usually tears involved. Well, okay, tears were only involved once with the chess, but Reid still didn’t know how she had managed to beat him that one time.

“I have the dress in the closet,” Katie said to Margo. “Come and see it!”

They disappeared into the bedroom.

“How’s Australia, kid?”

“It is the home of The Wiggles. And Koala bears. And they got baseball there just like in America.”

“Sounds perfect.”

“Yeah…,” Jacob frowned. “except…”


Jacob looked down and picked at a small bug bite near his ankle.

“Simon treating you okay?” Reid asked carefully.

“Sure. He’s super fun. Only, I really miss you, Reid.”

“Oh.” Reid blinked. He wanted to say all the right things, but Reid would rather navigate his way through a brain than do this. He did far less damage with brains.

“Hey,” Reid nudged him. “I have a new joke for you.”

“Really? What is it?”

“Why did the cookie go to the doctor?”


“Because he was feeling crummy.”

Jacob laughed, and Reid flashed him a relieved smile.

“See? I can send you tons of doctor jokes. Just because I’m far away, it doesn’t mean we can’t stay friends. You and I will miss each other, but we will never lose each other. I promise.”

“I guess.” Jacob gave it some thought. “Mommy says you do need all the friends you can get.”

Reid grunted.“I’m, particular, that’s all.”

“I used to wish and wish you’d marry my mommy.”

“I know. I remember.” He pulled Jacob close and ruffled his hair.

“But you can’t ‘cause you married Luke.”

“That’s right.”

“And you love Luke like mommy loves Simon.”

“I do. He’s my husband.” He twisted the ring, still on his finger, back and forth.


They’d been married, nearly three years ago now, in September, a simple ceremony held over at the Snyder pond. Everyone assumed Luke had pressured him to marry since they’d been dating for years by then, but that wasn’t the case. Reid had proposed on his own. By the time he had finally done it, they’d been living together already and Reid figured he knew exactly what to expect. He knew Luke inside and out. He knew Luke loved ridiculously expensive shampoos, abused the snooze alarm, and would tear up at old Little House on the Prairie reruns. He liked to leave Reid cheery post-it notes on their fridge, often instructing him on their shared household chores, but always adding smiley faces and hearts, and he made him giant sandwiches full of several types of lunch meats and condiments just because it made Reid happy. Luke didn’t put up with Reid’s bull, but he secretly got a kick out of Reid’s nicknames for everyone in town, especially when Reid started calling Lucinda ‘The Grand Ninja Master’. Luke loved to spend rainy days curled up on their couch reading mystery novels, attempting to guess at the endings. He believed that people were trustworthy and opened his heart too easily. And Luke smiled; even when something troubled him, which usually was his crazy family causing him pain. Sometimes they fought, too, but Luke was always as eager as Reid to have vigorous make-up sex, quickly abandoning their fight and using every position possible to make the other moan, scream, gasp. Best of all, Reid knew that he’d wake up each morning with his head securely pillowed on Luke’s chest and their limbs tangled.

Once the state of Illinois recognized their right to wed, Reid began to think marriage might not be a mistake. They could protect each other legally and medically. God knows, Reid didn’t trust Lily and Holden. With his logic sealing the deal, Reid’s mind accepted what his heart already understood, and one day, Reid had simply surprised Luke with a ring.

“You really want to? Seriously?” Luke had said, his grin spreading like wildfire. His bright gaze had searched Reid’s, his expression openly happy, a little shy, and something more.

“I want this,” Reid confirmed, sliding the gold engagement band onto Luke’s finger, and he did. Marrying Luke had seemed like the most natural thing in the world.


“Mommy! You look like a princess,” Jacob declared, his voice interrupting Reid’s thoughts. He scooted away from Reid and ran over to her.

“Thanks, buddy.” Katie bent down and let Jacob feel the lace on her dress.

“Let the fairytale begin,” Reid said.

Chapter Two

This was a huge mistake.

Luke ducked into the bathroom, only glimpsing at the chapel with an Elvis quote across the front entrance that read: “You only pass through this life once; you don’t need to come back for an encore.”

Unzipping his tuxedo pants, he tried not to think, not to think about what a colossal, gigantic, enormous mistake coming here was. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Honestly, he’d been an idiot to say he’d come, an idiot to think he could handle it, and idiot to think his heart wouldn’t hammer right at his guts and-----

“Hey are you taking a Guinness Book of Records length piss, or what?”

Luke turned away from the urinal to see Casey had come in and was grinning at him.

“No. I had a lot of water on the plane.”

He zipped up and went to wash his hands. Casey embraced him in a bear hug.

“It’s good to see you.”

“You, too.”

“Maddie’s sorry she couldn’t make it. She can’t fly in this month of her pregnancy. But you know Maddie, she insisted she’s fine at home and that I go.”

“Tell her I said hello.”

“You could tell her. Come to Chicago after the wedding. Visit us. We’d both love it.”

“I would, but the foundation really needs me. We have this major project going on. I’m not even planning to stay past the reception.”

“But you have to stay! It’s Vegas! Come on, we could play some slots, catch up…?”

“It sounds good. Really. And I’d love to spend time with you. See everybody. But I committed to this big meeting already.…”

“Oh.” Casey studied him. “Have you talked with Reid yet?”

“No.” Luke threw the paper towel in the trash, glancing quickly at the bathroom door.

“Why not?”

Luke shrugged.

“I know I don’t live in Oakdale anymore, but I’m here for you. Okay? Always.”

“Thanks, I know that. And same here.”

“So tell me? Straight out. Do you still love him?”

Biting at his lip, Luke nodded.

“Then why haven’t you talked with him?”

“Because I’m not sure what to say.”

Casey started to reply when the door swung open.

“Hiya fellas,” said Simon.

“Hi,” Luke said.

“Hey. Nervous yet? There’s a back door to the place,” Casey teased.

“Nope. Not me. Katie’s the one. I’m a lucky guy,” Simon fixed his tie in the mirror and slicked back his dark hair. “And she’s lucky too, eh?” He grinned.

“Well, we sure are going to miss having her in Oakdale,” Luke said. “Any chance you’ll decide to settle there?”

“No. After our honeymoon, it’s Sydney for us. After Brad’s death and Chris and all of that heartache, Katie felt it was a good decision. We’ll visit Oakdale, for sure, but...”

“I understand,” Luke smiled tightly. “Sometimes you need a new start.”

“Listen,” Simon turned to him. “Will you stand up there with me today? I know it’s short notice. I’ve got Casey here as my main man, but Henry had to step down, and Katie wants the wedding party even and all.”

“Is Henry all right?”

“Oh sure. Or he will be in 24 hours. Too much gambling and too many martinis. He’s totally pissed. Katie and Reid both tried to wake the little bastard, but he just mumbled ‘Bubbles, the room is spinning’ and then he spewed everywhere. So can you do it?”

Luke hesitated. He didn’t want to say yes. It meant standing right across from Reid. He nodded slowly. “Sure. If you need me.”

“Cheers! You’re a good mate. All you have to do is just stand with me up there and maybe do some dancing at the reception.”

Luke nodded. He didn’t want to remember dancing at his own wedding, but the memory slammed into him. Reid had declared a groom/groom first dance ridiculous, and had adamantly told him there would be no dancing. But at their wedding, Reid, donning a cowboy hat, had taken his hand and led him into a Texas Two-Step, a dance that he’d practiced secretly with Katie for weeks , and Luke had laughed so hard he had to gasp for air, even as Reid twirled him around and around, while everybody else whistled, clapped, and stomped their feet.

The bathroom door swung open again.

“Hey Kiwi, time to go. The bride’s ready and waiting. She sent me to get you out here.”

“Kiwis are New Zealanders.”

“Sorry, do you prefer Crocodile Dundee? Because I can always--” His words broke off and he skidded to a halt.

“Hi, Reid,” Luke said.

He didn’t reply. He stared at Luke, a muscle in his jaw working. His blue eyes seemed more vivid, more piercing than ever.

He opened his mouth, and then shut it. Their eyes met and held. Reid’s tuxedo fit him well, his lean frame and trim waist so elegant. Luke knew he did it effortlessly, too. His hair was shorter, freshly cut, and Luke’s fingers itched to touch it. He used to touch every part of Reid for hours, just toying with him in bed, exploring. He wanted that now. He wanted to run his palms down Reid’s chest.

Casey looked from Luke to Reid and back again. He let out a soundless whistle.

He could smell Reid’s cologne and Luke breathed it in and out. A heavy, stabbing ache moved through his body. His hands were trembling and he jammed them into his pockets. He’d bought Reid that brand of aftershave on their second anniversary. Luke heard Simon murmur something to Casey, but he couldn’t break his gaze off of Reid.

“How are you?” he asked softly.

“I’m good.” Luke’s voice was suddenly low. The blood rushed to his cheeks. He was hot and cold all over.

Simon cleared his throat. “Well…I guess we should get a move on, huh? Katie’s waiting on us.”



They didn’t move.

Luke’s vision blurred and he fought back for control, blinking rapidly. He strained to find his voice, to make idle conversation, something he’d been good at all his life, but his throat had too big a lump in it to speak again.

“What’s taking you boys so long?!” Margo knocked loudly on the door. “It’s the bride who usually gets extra beauty time.”

“Coming,” Simon answered.

“We’ll be right behind you,” Casey told him, casting a worried glance at Luke. “You guys can go ahead of us.”

“Okay.” Simon tugged at Reid’s arm. “Let’s go, mate.”

With a last look at Luke, Reid turned and followed Simon out of sight.

Luke expelled the breath he’d been holding and grabbed at the sink for support.

Watching him, Casey frowned. “I gotta tell you, you’re being a major bonehead.” When Luke remained silent, Casey added, “I’m just saying you’re in pain, he’s in pain. It’s obvious.”

Luke shook his head. “But I hurt him. That’s the difference.”

“Yeah? And you had your reasons for it. A lot of bad, unfair shit went down. Reid understands that.”

“Maybe, but…”

“But nothing, don’t be so hard on yourself. After what you went through? Look, when the unimaginable happens --”

Don’t. Casey, please. I can’t talk about that.”

“Alright, I’ll shut up.”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I know you’re just trying to help.”

“I am.”

“I know. But it’s too much for me.”

Taking a deep drag of air, Luke fingered the sobriety chip in his pocket. Five months.

“No, I’m sorry, man. It just kills me to see you like this. I can tell how much you still love him. Where’s the Luke Snyder who determinedly goes after what he wants?”

“That Luke Snyder isn’t here at the moment.”

Casey clasped Luke’s shoulder. “Well, maybe it’s time you found him again. Or better yet, how about finding Luke Snyder-Oliver?”

Luke Snyder-Oliver. As they left the bathroom and headed to take their places at the wedding, Luke recalled like yesterday the day he and Reid had debated last names.

“Nothing against the last name of Snyder,” Reid had said, “but I’ve worked too long and too hard to stop being Dr. Oliver.”

“I could give up mine?” Luke had turned to face him. They were sprawled out together on their couch, brochures for florists and caterers all around them.

“You sound unsure.”


“Luke, it’s fine if you don’t want to be an Oliver.”

“That’s not it. I would be proud to share your name.”

“Then what?”

“It’s just…” Luke had hesitated, taking Reid’s hand and linking their fingers together. “I guess I always had a vision of having my kids be Snyders, too. If I have any, I mean. Maybe it’s because of my other dad and all that Grimaldi stuff, but having the last name of Snyder was always important to me.”

“Okay, that’s settled.”

“It is?”

Reid nodded. “We both just keep our last names.”

“And you’d be fine with that?”

“Sure. Besides, I might like being Mr. Snyder and Dr. Oliver together, even when were old and grey.”

Luke grinned.“Me, too.”

They’d kissed, soon forgetting all about the name question as their mouths latched on to each other’s. Reid’s body covered his own, cocks hard, balls tight, breaths coming out in strong pants.

But a few days before the ceremony, he’d changed his mind. Reid had been standing there shaving, and leaning against the doorjamb watching him, Luke just knew. He’d decided to hyphenate his name and join it with Reid’s own right then.

“What changed your mind?” Reid had asked.

“I want everybody to know that I belong to you, and you belong to me, that our marriage is as real as anybody else in town, starting with our name.”

“Damn right.” Reid gave him a fast smile, putting down the razor to hug him. “We’re forever.”

Remembering it all, Luke felt slightly sick as he took his place beside Simon. He stared down at his shoes, but he could sense Reid’s eyes on him and, after a while, Luke couldn’t resist looking up. His love for Reid was like the pull of a compass, the center of everything.

Those lips. Reid was smiling at him. Luke knew just how warm his mouth was to kiss, how touching Reid made him want to scream with joy, Reid’s fingers skimming Luke’s skin, his body moving above him, inside him. Luke went to bed thinking about it. And here Reid was, so close.

He could almost hear Reid saying his vows on their wedding day, that wonderful rich tenor of his voice, so sure and firm, saying he wanted Luke and no one else for the rest of his life.

Reid was staring at him now like Luke might shatter or run away. God knew, he’d already done both. Maybe Casey was right, and he needed to face it all, face Reid. But how? Luke dropped his eyes. He listened to Katie and Simon exchanging vows and rings. He wished he could just shout out what was in his heart.

So many terrible things had gone wrong this past year. Could they really start over? Katie let out a happy laugh and Simon was dipping her, kissing her.

There was no time to act. Reid was already following them into the reception hall.

They’d spent the next few hours separated by too many people, and Luke lost sight of Reid more than once as others came up to talk and dance with him. He ate some sticky white wedding cake that sat heavily in his stomach; he did the Chicken Dance with Casey, both of them flapping their arms around hopping wildly. He played some with Jacob and some of his little friends, all sugared up on Shirley Temples, letting them climb on him and he spun them around in circles until they shrieked for more. He congratulated a beaming Katie and Simon, who had barely heard him, they were so busy making moony eyes at each other—and the entire time Luke’s heart was pounding any time that Reid came near. But they didn’t speak to each other.

Reid tried once. He came up to him on the dance floor.



God almighty, Reid looked amazing. He fought an urge to brush his hand at the collar of Reid’s shirt.


“Attention,” Katie’s mom interrupted, tapping the microphone. “Time for some toasts.”

Cursing, Reid backed up a step. “That’s me.” He frowned, looking at Lila beckoning him.

“You’d better get up there.” Luke managed a smile.

Grab me. Kiss me. Tell me you still love me.

“Right.” He straightened his tie and turned away.

Luke watched as Reid took the stage, holding a glass of champagne in his hand and raising it up. Katie and Simon came to the front of the dance floor.

“To Katie and Simon…,” Reid paused, almost like his mind went blank.

The crowd tittered. Reid looked over at him, and Luke nodded, willing Reid to get through it. He knew Reid hated public sentiment. He had no problem being affectionate, even passionate, in public, but standing up and speaking about his feelings? Well, that was another matter.

Reid’s eyes bore into Luke’s, and for a moment, all the air in Luke’s chest constricted.

“To Katie and Simon,” Reid pulled his eyes off of Luke and glanced down at them, “who have reunited at last. I’ve been told they are soul mates, and after seeing them together tonight, it seems true. Katie , you are…,” Reid swallowed. “You deserve this. I hope you find years of joy and happiness together,” Reid toasted them. It was simple, direct, perfect. Reid gave a little smile, his eyes warm, his long throat tipped back as he sipped his champagne, exposing his Adam’s apple and skin, hitting Luke right in his solar plexus. Would it be completely inappropriate to grab his estranged husband and bite into his neck?

Katie was wiping tears away and hugging Reid. Luke drank his root beer in one hard gulp, turning blindly away. After that, Reid was lost in a flurry of wedding photos and Luke, exhausted, left quietly.

It wasn’t until the next morning, when Luke was outside of their mutual hotel, the Monte Carlo, bag at his feet, talking on his phone, that he saw Reid walk out and knew that it was getting ridiculous that they still hadn’t really spoken.

At first, as he spotted him, Reid stiffened, but then he gave a glimmer of a smile. The Vegas sun was intense, and Reid took out a handkerchief and mopped at his brow, but as he continued to stare at him, Luke wondered if it was just the heat making Reid sweat. Lost in thought, he barely concentrated on his end of the phone conversation with his grandmother. He offered Reid a bright smile back, and their eyes held. As he finished his call, Luke watched as Reid handed a valet his car keys and soon his Honda pulled up.

“You drove all the way here?” Luke asked, moving to join Reid by the curb.

“I wanted to see the country, enjoy the open road.”

Luke gave him a speculative glance. Really, he should have guessed that Reid had driven. When he’d flown with Reid back and forth to Texas, he’d noticed how quiet Reid had been on both flights, his hands gripping the seat. At the time, on their way to Dallas, Luke had thought he was moody because of the upcoming trial, and he’s assumed their kiss had been the catalyst to Reid’s silence on the flight back. It wasn’t until their honeymoon to Italy that he’d understood Reid’s fear of flying. Reid talked about how he had been living the life in Luke’s private “tin can”, but soon as takeoff started, he was clutching Luke’s shoulder and babbling. Luke grinned as he remembered. He’d found a way to take Reid’s mind off it. Every time they had flown since their honeymoon, they had participated in the mile high club.

Getting closer, Luke summoned up all his courage before he spoke again.“Well, you’re lucky. I was just talking with grandmother back home. Apparently, Illinois is due for a major snowstorm tonight.” God, he hoped like hell his voice sounded causal. There was some snow coming to Oakdale, but his grandmother had assured him it was only a slight chance that the airport would close. “She thinks the airport will shut down in a few hours.”

“Yeah, Oakdale airport shuts down when it rains, much less snows.”


There was an awkward pause. Reid stood there, his hands clenching his car keys.

Luke took a huge breath. Here goes nothing.

“I’m kind of in a bind about it. I’m supposed to fly home tonight. Everybody else is staying in Vegas for the week, but I have a meeting.” He cocked his head to one side. “But you’re headed home, too? Not staying on here with the gang?”

“Have I ever struck you as the ‘staying with the gang’ type?” Reid made a face. “Besides, I’ve had enough of Hank hurling his guts out and Katie’s girlfriends wanting to bond with me.” He took a step closer to Luke. “But why not just order your pilot to land in Chicago and drive from there? You pay the bills. It’s your family’s jet.”

“Normally, yes. But I flew commercial, with a round trip ticket from Oakdale.”

Reid raised his eyebrows. “Is the trust fund empty? The shipping company not shipping?”

“Katie and Simon wanted to fly all the way to Tahiti for their honeymoon. They have some kind of island history together and this was their dream vacation. But tickets to Tahiti aren’t cheap, so--”

“So you offered.” Reid nodded.

“Is this where you tease me about interfering?”

“No, this is where I say good thinking.” He smiled, making Luke’s heart pound. “Well, since your flight is delayed for who knows how long and I’m headed back to Oakdale anyhow, what do you say? Want a lift?”

“I don’t know…”

While Luke pretended to think it over, Reid walked to the driver’s side and got in. He rolled down the window. “Afraid?”

“Hardly. I just have my doubts that you can be civil.”

“Wise of you,” Reid smiled again.

Luke grinned back, the tightness in his chest loosening for the first time.

Reid reached over and pushed the passenger door open, and Luke picked up his suitcase and climbed inside. He fought off another grin, one that threatened to spread over his entire face. Casey would be proud of him. The old Luke was making a comeback after all.

“Buckle up,” Reid said.

And they left.


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Thanks so much!

Yeah, it is pretty sad and traumatic

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