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Lure BB: The Road Home Chapters 6 and 7
marsabi


Chapter Six

The receptionist at the pound was having a difficult time working her computer. She fumbled through the list of names, an apology in her eyes. Luke had taken out his credit card, ready to pay for Smooch’s two hour stay at the no-kill shelter and head to their hotel---only they couldn’t locate the dog. There was a record of the police report and all the information on Reid and Luke, but there was no Smooch.

“He must be here somewhere. We can just start looking.”

“Well, I’m sure he is here.” The receptionist pushed her glasses up higher on her nose. “We take good care of our dogs and cats.”

“Except for the ones you lose.”

“Reid--”

“No, no, He’s right. I’m sure you both miss and love your dog and are worried.”

Well, Reid wouldn’t take it that far. He started to say as much, when the look of concern on Luke’s face stopped him.

“Alright, well…why don’t you just take us back and we will start searching the cages ourselves?”

“This has never happened to us before.” She gestured for them to follow her back. They entered the back door and the sound of barking dogs was deafening. Dogs of all shapes and sizes pressed their faces up to the cages. A tiny one yipped helplessly at them. Luke shot it a warm smile, but he walked on. His eyes scanned the cages for Smooch.

“He isn’t here.”

“Are you sure?”

“We’d recognize our own dog,” Reid said. He put a hand on Luke’s arm. “There was probably just a mix-up as to where to put him. We’ll find him in another shelter.”

“This is the official shelter that the police use,” the receptionist said. Reid shot her a look and she shut up.

“I don’t understand it. We filled out all the papers. Smooch has a collar.” He reached into his pocket and glanced at his cell phone, frowning.

"Look, give us the list of pounds in the area. This is a waste of time.”

She nodded, avoiding Reid’s eyes, and hurried out.

Luke was chewing his lip. Reid looked at the cages once more. How could a place just lose a 95 pound dog? They must have all graduated from Oakdale High. Reid strode toward the reception desk and grabbed the printed list from her.

“Good luck,” she said.

“Thank you. We appreciate that.” Luke, ever polite, smiled at her. He turned to Reid. “I’m sure we’ll find Smooch at the very next one,” he added.


They didn’t. Searching shelter after shelter, their clothes smelling like dog, fur clinging to their clothes, they had no luck. There were so many animals, too: giant dogs with big eyes staring at them, their tails all wagging with pitiful hope—take me home, take me home. Some of them were too big for their cages, and they looked cramped and uncomfortable. The tiny ones, on the other hand, looked even smaller against the metal bars. There were no jubilant puppies here, those got adopted right away. No, these were all older dogs, worn down by life, abused or neglected by their owners. As they made their way down the list, the facilities became worse.

The first ones looked clean, the dogs seemed well-fed. But this last one was like being inside of an executioner’s block, which was exactly its true function. The dogs were bigger here, marked as dangerous. Reid could see the ribs poking out in several of them. Their coats didn’t look very clean. Some of them barked as Luke and Reid walked past, but unlike the other shelters, few of these dogs bothered to get up. Meeting the eyes of an old greyhound, probably abandoned after his racing days were done, Reid suddenly wished he was wearing a surgical mask. Masks gave a protection against the world. Reid couldn’t avoid seeing the suffering in here, it made him want to cover up.

“He isn’t here. Is he?” Luke’s voice was hoarse from calling out Smooch’s name. He rested against one of the cages and looked heavenward.

“We have a few more aisles to go.”

When Luke didn’t answer, Reid touched the side of his face. He waited until Luke looked at him to speak.

“We’ll find him.”

“How can you be sure?”

“’Cause I’m sure.”

Luke half-smiled at that. He pushed off the wall, nodding. “Let’s keep looking.”

They circled a few more aisles, calling out, stopping at each cage. Some of them had multiple dogs locked together, one bowl of food in sight. These dogs had one day, perhaps two, before they would be put to their deaths.

“Smooch! Smooch!” Luke’s back was rigid, like he was going into battle. He looked right and left, high and low. “Smooch!” Luke marched on. Reid walked after him, pausing at a crowded cage, his nose wrinkling up at the smell.

A few dogs were curled up, making it harder to see them.

“Smooch.”

Luke turned, his face hopeful as Reid called out.

He raced over as the dog uncurled itself and looked at them.

Not Smooch.

Luke grimaced. He turned, and began calling again. They had one aisle left. It was getting late. The shelter was closing for the night soon.

“Maybe we should just start up again in the morning?” Reid asked quietly.

“No,” Luke pursed his lips tightly together. “No, he’s got to be here. We tried all the other places. He has to be here. I’m not leaving him in this place. What if they make another mistake and inject him? Or what if--”

“Hey, hey.” Reid massaged his shoulders. “Okay.”

They kept on looking. Finally, at the second-to-last cage, there was a loud barking. Reid and Luke looked at each other.

“Smooch!”

They ran to the cage, and there he was. His black nose pressed at the bars, his crooked teeth smiling in welcome, his tail thumping harder than a whip.

“Smooch! Oh, boy! Smooch!” Luke dropped to his knees, sticking his fingers between the bars, petting him. Smooch licked his hand.


They took him to Pet Smart for a bath, not leaving the store until he was done. Then, at last, they headed to the hotel. It was as nice as Luke had promised. It had a giant bed, too. But Luke seemed still tense, and they were both filthy, so Reid merely set their suitcases down on it. He palmed the mattress, feeling its spring, but said nothing.

Smooch, after circling three times around, collapsed into a ball, resting his big head on his butt.

“He’s as exhausted as we are,” Luke said. Something was wrong. Although Luke had been relieved at the pound, he’d been weirdly silent on the ride to the hotel, his posture stiff, his hands jammed into his pockets. Reid could guess what it was, of course he could, but he wasn’t sure what to do about it.

He’d made too many mistakes before, trying to fumble his way, so he was equally quiet. Luke opened the bathroom and turned on the shower. He stripped, getting into the stall. Once Reid heard the blast of the water, he looked at the dog.

“What the hell. Do I say something? Keep my dumb mouth shut?”

Smooch barked.

“Yeah, you’re right,” Reid nodded curtly, “I’m being a ridiculous wimp. Even if he pushes me away.…” With a deep breath, Reid straightened up and followed Luke into the shower. He picked up Luke’s scattered clothes and hung them with his own.

“God,” Reid muttered, feeling his stomach drop.

Then he opened the shower door and went inside. Luke had his eyes closed, his head tipped back under the spray.

“The dog’s okay,” Reid said.

He reached out, tentatively stroking Luke’s shoulder. Luke struggled away, holding his hands over his eyes. He faced the shower wall.

“Luke…” Reid tried again. He slowly rubbed Luke’s spine up and down.

“I thought we’d lost him,” Luke said in a whisper. “I thought--”

“I know. But Smooch is fine.”

A harsh sound escaped Luke’s lips. He abruptly pushed away from the wall and spun around to Reid. His face was wet, but Reid didn’t know if it was the shower or tears or both.

“I thought he was gone and…everything just came back to me in a rush. I miss her.” Luke choked. “I miss her so much. Every day I miss our Charlie. I miss our baby!”

Reid shook his head and moved closer, trying to control his own ragged breaths. He tried to talk, to tell Luke again that it was going to be all right, but nothing came out. He stared at Luke, his own horror no doubt reflected in his eyes. He wanted to touch him, but he’d done that once before, and it had backfired. He wanted to say the right words, but there were no right words for this. All Reid could do was to not hide away from it. Luke stared at him, seeming to read his mind, and grabbed him, pulling Reid against his own body, hugging him tight.

“I miss her, too,” Reid managed.

Luke’s face crumpled and Reid felt a stinging behind his eyes, too. He nuzzled his face into Luke’s neck. Their slick bodies touched, chest to chest, cock-to cock, heart-to heart. Time sped up. Frantically, they kissed and stroked each other. The water pounded them, but neither cared. Reid dug his fingers in Luke’s ass. He bit his shoulder. They writhed together, panting.

Luke’s hand buried at his hair, yanking his head back, kissing him deeply. Reid emptied his mind of anything but this: Luke’s touch, Luke’s taste. He lifted him up and went to take him right against the hard, shower wall. Luke’s cried out, his eyes glittering. He planted his feet at the opposite wall, spreading wide open. Reid stretched him quickly with one finger and then positioned himself. He looked at Luke.

“Do it,” Luke commanded.

Reid lowered his mouth back down to kiss him, his body thrusting forward. Their mouths were hot and urgent, their fingers finding each other and holding on as Reid was breaking down, everything inside shattering. He thrust again, past all barriers, into Luke’s body, into home. His vision blurred. Luke’s hands gripped his own, and he pinned them high above their heads. Pushing in and out in a punishing rhythm, Reid gave a low growl of need. Luke’s own cries turned guttural. He jerked his hips forward, even as Reid slammed back into him. Luke murmured softly to him as Reid thrust one last time.

They became one.

***

When Charlotte was three hours old, they took her home. Her parents were two frightened, teenagers who were more than ready to hand her over. Luke promised to send them pictures, lots of them, but they hadn’t wanted any connection with the baby, and Reid breathed easier for it. The night before she was born, they’d finally decided on her name.

“I just don’t want your family involved in picking it out,” Reid said.

“Why not?”

“Cricket? Sage? Lily?”

Wrapping an arm around him, Luke nibbled the side of his ear. “I never heard you complaining about Luciano.”

“I thank Bad Dad for that.”

“Well, how about a literary name. Like Jane or Emily?”

“Eh. I don’t know. How about Marie? Like Marie Currie.”

Luke flipped through the name book. “Oh, look. Charlotte, my all-time favorite character.”

At Reid’s blank look, he rolled his eyes. “The talking spider? Boy, you really have some serious gaps in your childhood, don’t you?”

“Hmm… Whose parents have had affairs more times than I can count?”

“Shut up. Tell me what you think about Charlotte.”

“Charlotte?” Reid paused. “I like it.”

Charlotte’s birth was normal. She weighed 7 pounds and 2 ounces, and she was wrinkled and red-faced and beautiful. Her tiny hands were curled up into fists, and a small hat was perched on her head. Reid could see the blue veins in her eyelids.

“I think she looks more like a Charlie,” Luke said.

Charlie had super-fine, stubborn black hair that always stood up in the front, no matter how long Luke tried to comb it or slick it down with a tiny clip, and giant blue eyes. Luke stayed home with her, covering foundation business from there, as he decorated her room with pictures of elephants eating ice cream and monkeys giggling from trees. When Reid came home every night, he’d let Luke go and shower or rest, as he cuddled Charlie and told her all about his amazing surgeries and the less competent, idiot doctors that he had to tolerate, and Charlie would gurgle at him in perfect understanding. He rocked her in a white wicker chair, explaining cerebral hemorrhages or inoperable tumors to her, waiting for Luke to join them. They would eat dinner as a family, Charlie nursing on her bottle in greedy, loud gulps.

“What an eater!” Reid bragged.

“Look at her go!”

Later, as she grew, she’d grab the spoonful of baby food out of Luke’s hand and proudly smear banana all over her head.

“Maybe she’ll grow up to be a chemist,” Reid mused. “She’s clearly brilliant.”

“And she knows she’s beautiful, too,” Luke laughed, as Charlie, who had recently discovered her reflection in the mirror, gave a gummy smile.

Reid found himself acting out of character. Rather than staying late, he’d rush home as early from Memorial as possible, hoping to catch Luke with Charlie still awake. One time, he’d found Luke, having put Charlie on a blanket, crawling ahead of the baby on his knees and encouraging her to follow him, even though she was way too young to crawl. But even on those days when Reid had a long and difficult operation and came in late, his heart would still jolt at the sight that greeted him of the two of them both sound asleep, Charlie splayed out across Luke’s bare chest, her tiny hands holding onto him, both of them breathing deeply.

Their baby, their baby. She was worth every crying jag, where they’d walk her endlessly up and down the hall, trying not to tear their hair out as Charlie screamed, her feet kicking out with colic pain. They would carefully transfer her back and forth, her soft weight almost surprising, as they took turns singing to her, which failed to calm her down, or ran the vacuum cleaner nearby, which usually did the trick. Waking up to her each day---it was worth being so worried and happy and exhausted.

“She so lovely and she’s ours,” Luke would say in wonder as they watched as Charlie lounging in her playpen, discovering her toes.

Other than her short bout of colic, Charlie was not sick. She was pink and healthy-looking and full of energy. She’d turn her head at the sound of Reid’s voice, tracking him with her eyes. She was a happy baby, happy like Luke. Reid had set up her college fund. Luke had bought her every type of clothing imaginable from frilly dresses to overalls. Her favorite blankie was a red and white striped one that they’d bought her on the Fourth of July, and she loved her baby gym, where the three of them would lay down under it and play for hours. Reid or Luke would bat at the swinging unicorns or squeeze the crinkly, toy sun, and they’d laugh along with Charlie in delight at the at the tinny, electronic lullaby that played along. Right before bed, they would bathe her, Charlie’s sweet scent filling the room as she splashed in the little tub. After that, one of them would read to her and she’d gum the cover, and finally, they would settle her gently into her crib, kissing her forehead.

Then, one awful morning, there simply was no crying. Luke had rolled over into Reid, his hand on Reid’s leg, warm and heavy, and mumbled, “What time is it?”

“Umm....Seven.”

He rubbed his eyes. “Seven? And Charlie didn’t wake up yet?”

“Well, she’s getting bigger. Maybe she will finally sleep through the night?”

“She went to bed fine, but still…”

“You worry too much, Mother Hen. Come back to bed. Let’s take advantage of this moment.” Their sex life since the baby had been quick and hurried. It was worth it, but why not take advantage of their first quiet morning since becoming fathers?

“Just a second. Be right back.”

“Luke---”

“I promise,” Luke gave him an absent kiss, and climbed out their bed, going to check on her.

A scream followed. Reid struggled up out of bed, the covers knotting around his legs, and flew into Charlie’s nursery.

“Call 911!”

Luke dashed for his cell phone. Charlie was absolutely still. Shaking, Reid picked her up, and blew air into her rosebud mouth, his hands on her tiny chest. Nothing. He tried again, opening her lips wider, pushing harder and harder.

“They’re on their way.” Luke came back in. He watched, wide-eyed as Reid pounded at Charlie’s tiny frame, and Luke covered a hand over his mouth. Reid did CPR again, and then for a third time.

“Reid…? Is she okay? Reid?”

“Come on-come on----come on!!”

Reid worked furiously, sweat dripping down his forehead. Charlie didn’t respond.

“Oh, our baby! Oh, God!” Luke dropped to his knees, the cell phone still in his hand. “Oh please, God!”

The paramedics had to pull Reid off. He didn’t want them to take her. He knew more than these morons. He would save her. He would! Frantically, he pushed his mouth down on Charlie’s again. The two men fought him, as gently as they could, to let her go.


The rest was a horrible blur---the hospital, the morgue.


Luke had somehow planned a funeral. Reid had no idea where he found the strength. Reid himself could barely get out of bed. He attended the funeral but spoke to nobody. He closed his eyes when they lowered Charlie’s small casket into the cold, hard ground.
That night, he’d reached for Luke, needing to hold him, be with him.

“How can you think of sex right now?” he snapped.

Hurt clouded Reid’s eyes. His hands fell away. He was too shocked to even try and explain. After that, he decided to give Luke some distance. He buried himself in work. It was the only place he wasn’t a raw, open wound. Charlotte’s inexplicable death cracked the ground under their lives, like a seismic pulse, and they had fallen into places they never could have predicted. For the first time in their marriage, they couldn’t talk to each other.

It took Reid a week or two to realize that Luke was drinking. At first, he thought Luke’s red-rimmed eyes and unusual swift anger was grief, but then he smelled the booze. Reid fought him, hard, and Luke defended himself viciously. Reid didn’t care. He pushed him more, trying desperately to get Luke into a rehab program. He couldn’t lose Luke, too, he couldn’t.
But in the end, Reid lost him anyway. One day when he came home from the hospital, all of Luke’s stuff was no longer there. He was out somewhere, no doubt drinking, and would not be coming home. Reid had stood in his bedroom, frozen. Then he’d gone in to the nursery, put his head down on the bars of the empty crib, and wept.




Chapter Seven

Stumbling out of the bathroom, they both collapsed onto the hotel bed. Luke shuddered, taking deep breaths. Reid got up on one elbow, watching him, his eyes intent.

“Are you alright? It got…I was a little rough in there.”

“Sometimes it has to be like that.” Luke shrugged. When Reid continued to frown, he added, “I needed it that way, too.” He reached up and pulled Reid to him, his hand threading in his curly hair. “I didn’t want sweet or slow, not right then, I wanted---”

“Quick and dirty?”

“Yeah.”

They exchanged smiles.

“So what now?” Reid asked softly.

“Now…?”

“With us.” Reid voice was cracking slightly.

“We’re gonna be okay.” Luke cupped the side of his face.

“Luke….About the day of Charlie’s funeral---”

“No, don’t. You don’t have to say it--”

“---But I do –I---”

“No, really. I understand. You were just trying to comfort me, weren’t you? I get that now, Reid. At the time, I didn’t see it like that, but I know you were trying to reach me in the best way you knew how, in a way that usually worked for us.” Luke shifted uneasily in the bed. “I don’t even know…I didn’t expect to fall to pieces like that. I mean…I’ve had kidney failure and been kidnapped and so many things, and I’ve always managed to pick myself up again. But this.…”

He lowered his eyes.

“Hey.” Reid tucked his hand under Luke’s chin and lifted it up. “Because this wasn’t you. This was your baby, and that’s different, really different, to deal with.”

“Our baby,” Luke corrected gently.

“Our baby.”

Luke broke away, digging in his suitcase to find his cell phone.

“What’re you doing?”

“I want to show you something. I worked on it at rehab, and…well, I look at it sometimes when I can’t sleep. They’re pictures. Of Charlie. I found this scrapbooking program on Shutterfly and…. Will you please look?” Luke bit his lip.

Reid nodded curtly, his whole body stiff.

“If you don’t want to…”

“I do.” He held open an arm in welcome.

Smiling, Luke climbed back into the bed and rested on Reid’s shoulder. Their heads touching, Luke scrolled through his phone.

“There she is coming with us from the hospital.”

“That car seat was a bitch to install.”

“You just didn’t read the simple directions.”

“Simple? I’ve read medical articles on aneurysms that were simpler!”

“Look at this one! She’s holding her baba with one hand.”

“Like a gunslinger.”

“Not to mention a great burper.”

“A champ.”

“Here. This one is funny. Look.”

“The world’s smallest bikini,” Reid smiled.

“Yeah,” Luke grinned back, “a teensy weenie one. You doubted I could find it, remember?” Charlie was on Luke’s lap, a binky in her mouth, the yellow polka dot bikini Luke had found on her, her round tummy poking out, her feet bare.

“She loved water.”

It was suddenly too much, and Luke turned, burying his head at Reid’s chest. “There were so many things I wanted her to have--- a swim in the pond, a taste of chocolate, a first Christmas. I was waiting for December. I wanted Charlie to see the tree and the lights and let my family spoil her with presents. She never got those. There was so much she never had.”

He felt Reid’s hand caressing him, heard him murmur something.

“What?” Luke asked, sniffing loudly, wiping his eyes.

“I said that Charlie had you. And me. And our love. Nothing can take that away.”

Luke shuddered. “Why weren’t we able to talk like this then? Why didn’t we turn to each other? I don’t understand that, because we always, always turned to each other before.”

Reid gazed steadily into his eyes. “I …I don’t know.”

“It just hurt so much. I made a lot of mistakes.”

“We both did.”

“I started drinking the same week she died,” Luke continued, unable to stop the tumble of raw, painful words. “I’d gotten so confident in my ability to stay sober for so long, I reasoned that I could handle one drink.”

“Was it because….” Reid interrupted, and then shook his head.

“What?”

Reid hesitated. “Were you blaming yourself for what happened?”

“For her SIDS? No. I mean I read everything about it later, in rehab, but I wasn’t even thinking about it then. I just wanted to get through the day, the hour.”

“I wanted answers,” Reid said quietly. “I know SIDS by definition offers none, but I wanted to know. Maybe there was an answer in Charlie’s case?”

“So, while I was drinking, you were at the hospital…?”

“Going over and over the autopsy results,” Reid admitted, “but I never found anything.”

“It wouldn’t have brought Charlie back to us.”

“Yeah, but I thought---” With a frustrated sound, Reid ran a hand through his hair. “Hell, I don’t know what I thought.”

“Neither of us was thinking clearly, Reid, we were just surviving.” When Reid remained quiet next to him, his mouth grim and tight, Luke began to rub his back. “I don’t know why Charlie had to die or why this happened to us. I wish I could give you those answers. All I can say is for sure is that… I love you.” Luke’s voice broke. “You---you know that, right? I lost my way for a while, but that never changed. You’re the absolute love of my life. And I don’t want to spend any more time away from you, not ever again.”

“Me, either. I love you, too, Luke. I never stopped.”

They reached for each other at the same time. Luke shut his eyes, savoring the taste of Reid, as they kissed slowly. He felt Reid’s body relaxing against his, and he cradled the side of Reid’s face, putting all his emotions into his kiss. The kiss became deeper, wetter, and there wasn’t an inch of space between their bodies. They clung to each other, the kisses unbearably long and sweet, their mouths licking, teeth clanking, breaths turning into louder and louder pants.

“I love you,” Luke said, needing to say it over and over.

With a moan, Reid nibbled the side of his lip, nuzzled his neck. “I love you. And,” Reid added, tonguing the side of Luke’s ear, “I’m really, really glad we gave up condoms so many years ago.”

Luke laughed. He grabbed Reid to him, stroking his bare chest, his nipples. His body felt loose and ready, desire easier between them this time. Luke made a little sound at the graze of Reid’s lips. His arousal strained up at Reid’s thigh. His hand closed over the nape of Reid’s neck, and he twisted his hips up to let his hardness connect with Reid’s. He gave Reid a harder, searching kiss, and ground their cocks together. Pleasure made Luke’s entire body flush.

“Let’s do it slowly this time.” Reid thumbed his lip. “I have some lube in my suitcase.” Reid actually stumbled as he got out of bed, and Luke grinned, lying back on the pillows, waiting. He let his eyes travel over the length of Reid’s body, lingering on his firm ass. He wanted to bite it and lick it and do …well, everything.

“I hope you have some food packed in that suitcase, too,” he laughed.

“Why’s that?”

“I may not let you out of here for a long, long time, and I know how you need to eat on a regular basis.”

Reid climbed into the bed, setting the bottle of lube down on the nightstand.

“I do have a healthy appetite,” he agreed, his eyes on Luke’s cock.

Something cut free inside of Luke then, and he yanked Reid down, pushing his shoulders.

“Okay, okay,” Reid smiled up at him, “I guess I’m not the only hungry one. All you had to do was ask, Snyder.”

His own smile spreading from ear to ear, Luke guided the top of Reid’s head straight down.
Then he gasped. Reid took a long sucking drag of his cock. A shot of desire raced through him. Luke slid his hands over Reid’s hair and down to his shoulders. Reid licked at his slit, tasting Luke, and sucked again.

“Oh!” Luke half-gasped and half-laughed. He tilted his head back, closed his eyes, and gave his body over to Reid’s mouth. Digging his heels into the bed, Luke arched up, screaming Reid’s name, his orgasm roaring through him, until his cum hit the back of Reid’s throat. He felt Reid’s lips clamping down, holding him there as Reid swallowed loudly; sounding like Luke’s cum was the most delicious thing in the entire world.

When he was done, Reid moved easily up Luke’s body, and kissed him fully on the mouth, letting Luke taste himself on Reid’s tongue.

“Do you know what’s so great about being with you?” Luke murmured. He paused to give Reid another kiss.

“That I’m the best you’ve ever had in the sack?”

“That,” Luke chuckled, scooting downwards, “and how always let me reciprocate.” Grasping Reid’s thighs, he yanked them apart and tongued his erection. Peeking up at Reid, Luke gave him a long, sweet smile.

“Fair is my middle name,” Reid agreed, smiling back, his entire face lit up in a way that never failed to make Luke’s heart hitch in his chest. Reid stared at him with those vivid blue eyes, his mouth still curving happily, his gaze trusting, and Luke’s breath quickened. He nudged Reid’s legs further apart, covering Reid’s dick inch-by-inch with his mouth, his lips pressed tightly down, creating a strong suction.

“God!” Reid bucked up. “Your mouth.”

“Like that?” Luke whispered, breaking the contact for a second, his breath fanning out. Reid’s cock jumped, making Luke laugh. “I’m guessing yes.”


Reid shook his head, squeezing his eyes closed. “I’m pretty certain if you stop I’m going to explode.”

“Hmm…Well, I do want you to explode,” Luke teased, running his finger lightly up and down Reid’s erection and then cupping his balls, “but only when you’re in my mouth.” Luke lowered his head back down, beginning a faster rhythm, savoring Reid’s every groan. He dug his fingers into Reid’s hips, increasing the pressure with his mouth, pulling at the length of him until he came and spasms rocked his body.

Giving him a shove, Luke flipped Reid over onto his stomach. He was still shaking as Luke reached for the lube. “Just remember, Dr. Oliver, I’m the best you’ve ever had in the sack, too,” Luke told him with a grin.

“Only because I taught you…”

“Shut up.” Luke slapped his rear. He bent his head and licked at the spot he’d slapped. “I happen to be a natural.”

“A fast learner, I’ll give you that much,” Reid conceded. He grunted as Luke nibbled his ass cheek. He let his tongue glide over Reid’s puckered hole and dip inside.

“Luke!” Reid nearly shot up off the bed.

Holding him down with a firm hand, Luke explored, flicking his tongue this way and that, using his teeth on his sensitive flesh, loving how it made Reid squirm. He rubbed his face back and forth, letting spit dribble down Reid’s skin. He delved his tongue inside again. At last, Luke pulled away to grab the lube.

Feeling Reid’s eyes on him, Luke raised up his head to smile at him. Reid’s own face had grown serious.

“I love you,” Reid said. “I was worried it was over,” he added simply, his heart in his eyes.

“We were never over,” Luke reassured him in a low voice. His hand reached out and caressed the rigid line of Reid’s jaw. He pulled Reid into his arms, gathering him near, feeling the hard thumping of his heart. He leaned in closer, so their foreheads touched. “We’ll never be over.”

They kissed slowly, searchingly. When he drew back, Reid’s eyes were sparkling once more; his arms tightened around Luke a moment and it made Luke sigh. It felt so good, so right.
Gripping his hand, Reid kissed his fingers, and then he turned his body, head down, ass up, in a beautiful offering.

The years had taught Luke not to be foolish. He moved quickly, so quickly that he had to laugh at himself, and Reid laughed, too.

Luke slicked his cock up with the lube, planting kisses down Reid’s spine. He hoisted Reid’s body nearer. He felt Reid’s muscle taut under him, and then he plunged forward, pleasure filling him. Reid gasped, but he knocked his ass back at Luke for more. Mouthing his neck, his shoulders, Luke thrust harder, setting a rhythm, feeling Reid open for him, welcoming him, belonging to him. His hand wrapped around Reid’s front and he began to stroke his cock in a matching pumping motion.

His pleasure spiking, Luke’s pace began to falter, and he surged one more time into Reid until he came, harder and longer than he’d done before, making Reid stiffen beneath him and follow him over the edge.

They nestled together, sticky and sated, and Luke had no urge to pull out. He cradled Reid to him, smelling his hair, stroking his arm and chest, never wanting this moment to end. And because Reid knew him so well and loved him so much, he simply allowed Luke to hold him like that and didn’t move. As far as Luke was concerned, he could stay like this for hours. Years.

For the rest of his life.

Smooch, unfortunately, had other ideas. He jumped on the bed, pawing at Luke, nudging him with his big, wet nose.

“I guess he needs a walk,” Luke said.

“His timing stinks.”

“Yeah. Then again, it could have been worse. He could have jumped into bed with us ten minutes earlier.” Reid grunted at that. Smooch whined.

“Okay, okay. Relax boy.”

“Are you talking to me or him?”

“Well, you’re both so well trained,” Luke laughed as Reid shoved his elbow at him. “Don’t get out of bed, all right? I’ll make it a fast walk.”

“Wasn’t planning on it.”

With a big grin, Luke withdrew from Reid gently, and got up, grabbing some underwear and pants. He hooked Smooch’s leash on and hurried out the door.

***

When he returned, Reid was still in bed as promised, but looking agitated.

“What’s wrong?” Luke asked.

Reid shrugged.

Slowly, Luke filled up Smooch’s food and water bowl. Smooch raced over to it, his tail thumping against Luke’s leg. He gave Smooch a couple pats on the top of his head.

“Sure is good to have him back safe and sound.” Luke walked back over to the bed. Reid was just staring at him, his face grim, brilliant blue eyes full of worry. “What is it?” Luke started to stroke Reid’s face, but Reid caught his hand.

“I don’t know if I can do it again. If we have any hope of staying together, I have to be honest with you. And I don’t think that I can do it…”

“Do what?” Luke asked, frowning with concern. There wasn’t just worry in Reid’s eyes, there was real fear.

“I loved Charlie and loved being her father,” Reid fell silent, holding the edge of the pillow in a death-grip, “but….”

“But you’re not sure you can be a father again?”

He nodded jerkily, a muscle leaping in his jaw. “The thought of bringing home some helpless baby, and this time knowing how vulnerable it is—I want to promise you everything. I want to give you anything you ask me for, but I don’t think I can do that again. Not now and maybe not ever.”

Luke was silent. “I understand,” he said at last, “and it’s not like I feel ready for that, either. Charlie…she was the best baby in the whole world. I can’t imagine wanting another one.”
Reid gave him a hard look. “But you will. There will come a day when you’ll want to be a dad again.”

“How can you know that?”

Reid’s face softened. He leaned in and kissed Luke gently. “Because, you were meant for it, for love and family. Hell, Luke, you can’t even leave an overgrown mutt on the side of the road.”

“And what is it that you do want?”

“I want you,” Reid answered swiftly, “with me. Forever. But if it’s not enough--”

“It is enough.” Reid started to argue and Luke cut him off. “It is. Look, whatever the future holds, we’ll figure it out together.” Luke scooted closer. He took Reid’s hand in his, running his finger over Reid’s wedding band. “I want you forever, too. The only way I want a family is with you.”

“And…if I never want to adopt another baby?” Reid cupped the side of Luke’s cheek, searching his eyes intently. “What then?”

“Then we’ll have a different life together, a different family of some kind. Or I’ll find a way to make do with all my nieces and nephews and be the coolest uncle who ever lived.” Luke smiled. He gathered Reid to him. “Trust in us, Reid, in the life we’ll make together. Okay? Let time take care of the rest.”

“All right. I’ll try.” Reid looked up and made a comical face. “I was never much good at giving things over to fate.”

“Not fate,” Luke admonished, “faith. And I have enough in us to share.”


http://marsabi.livejournal.com/48519.html



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I am so relieved they found Smooch!

It was so heartbreaking about Charlie. I can understand how such a tragedy could tear them apart for a while, but I am glad their enduring love for one another has brought them back together.

I was spilling tears when I read this two days ago and I just reread it and am crying again. In just a few sentences, you managed to write everything that was great about Luke and Reid's life with Charlie. I'm not the biggest LuRe-with-kids fan but I adored the life they had together, all 3 of them. I can feel how happy the guys were to have her in their lives.

And then in few more sentences, you expertly showed just how darn much it hurt them both to lose her like that. Just in a moment, she was gone. My heart breaks . . .

But yes, I can understand and believe that a huge loss like this could've torn them apart. Oh, guys. *weeps*

“I love you,” Reid said. “I was worried it was over,” he added simply, his heart in his eyes.

“We were never over,” Luke reassured him in a low voice. His hand reached out and caressed the rigid line of Reid’s jaw. He pulled Reid into his arms, gathering him near, feeling the hard thumping of his heart. He leaned in closer, so their foreheads touched. “We’ll never be over.”


I LOVE THIS.

Wow! I'm crying at this beautiful comment, Sleeper! Thanks so much!

Wow!!! I didn't see that coming and now I completely understand the how and why they were apart. I've never suffered a loss like that and I can't imagine how it feels and I can see how Reid would do what he did and why Luke did what he did, everyone has different coping mechanisms and as in scotianova's Farouche...they forgot to communicate and tell each other how they felt rather than pulling away from one another.

As always your scenes of intimacy (not just sex with these two) are hot and sexy. I'm happy to see they are communicating better and realizing that they may never want to adopt a child again....maybe dog's would better.

Thank you so much I'll finish it tomorrow:))

Thanks! I am delighted that you felt their actions/motives were IC and made sense now...I wanted it to be revealed slowly and was hoping it would work for people reading it...Awesome!

Your feedback made me very happy!

I really love your Luke and Reid. I couldn't think off a reason for them to seperate. But i understand how there grief would affect them. I'm so glad that they are on the road to recovery together now.

I love how Luke is taking care of Reid. And Reid really opening up to Luke.
I really wanted to stop and comment on your great story but now i'm quickley going on reading.

Luke was chewing his lip. Reid looked at the cages once more. How could a place just lose a 95 pound dog? They must have all graduated from Oakdale High.

I just freakin' adore how you work in little stabs at Oakdale. It IS such a f**king cah-razy town and I think it would always surprise (and intrigue, hopefully) Reid with it's constant nuttiness, lol.

“Smooch!”
They ran to the cage, and there he was. His black nose pressed at the bars, his crooked teeth smiling in welcome, his tail thumping harder than a whip.
“Smooch! Oh, boy! Smooch!” Luke dropped to his knees, sticking his fingers between the bars, petting him. Smooch licked his hand.
They took him to Pet Smart for a bath, not leaving the store until he was done.


First, I'm so v. happy they found him! Second, a bath? IT'S ABOUT TIME - *dies laughing* Srsly, they shouldda done that on day one, lol.

Feeling Reid’s eyes on him, Luke raised up his head to smile at him. Reid’s own face had grown serious.
“I love you,” Reid said. “I was worried it was over,” he added simply, his heart in his eyes.


Why do I always melt when Reid says ILY? Guuuuuuuuhhh...I know it's probably because Reid means everything he says so when he says it, it's like a vow or something...

“I started drinking the same week she died,” Luke continued, unable to stop the tumble of raw, painful words. “I’d gotten so confident in my ability to stay sober for so long, I reasoned that I could handle one drink.”
“Was it because….” Reid interrupted, and then shook his head.
“What?”
Reid hesitated. “Were you blaming yourself for what happened?”
“For her SIDS? No. I mean I read everything about it later, in rehab, but I wasn’t even thinking about it then. I just wanted to get through the day, the hour.”
“I wanted answers,” Reid said quietly. “I know SIDS by definition offers none, but I wanted to know. Maybe there was an answer in Charlie’s case?”


*is teary*

So this is what happened? Everything makes so much sense now! This, this I can believe would drive them apart. I've read that losing a child can place an enormous amount of stress on a couple. I'm so sorry our lovely men lost their baby...




The rest of my comment wouldn't fit so here it is:

He nodded jerkily, a muscle leaping in his jaw. “The thought of bringing home some helpless baby, and this time knowing how vulnerable it is—I want to promise you everything. I want to give you anything you ask me for, but I don’t think I can do that again. Not now and maybe not ever.”
Luke was silent. “I understand,” he said at last, “and it’s not like I feel ready for that, either. Charlie…she was the best baby in the whole world. I can’t imagine wanting another one.”
Reid gave him a hard look. “But you will. There will come a day when you’ll want to be a dad again.”
“How can you know that?”
Reid’s face softened. He leaned in and kissed Luke gently. “Because, you were meant for it, for love and family. Hell, Luke, you can’t even leave an overgrown mutt on the side of the road.”
“And what is it that you do want?”
“I want you,” Reid answered swiftly, “with me. Forever. But if it’s not enough--”
“It is enough.” Reid started to argue and Luke cut him off. “It is. Look, whatever the future holds, we’ll figure it out together.” Luke scooted closer. He took Reid’s hand in his, running his finger over Reid’s wedding band. “I want you forever, too. The only way I want a family is with you.”
“And…if I never want to adopt another baby?” Reid cupped the side of Luke’s cheek, searching his eyes intently. “What then?”
“Then we’ll have a different life together, a different family of some kind. Or I’ll find a way to make do with all my nieces and nephews and be the coolest uncle who ever lived.” Luke smiled. He gathered Reid to him. “Trust in us, Reid, in the life we’ll make together. Okay? Let time take care of the rest.”


As much as I love it when they bicker and banter, I love it when they have these kinds of deeper, moving conversations. I think you captured their voices here particularly well.

And what a thing for them to survive! I'm so v.v.v. glad they finally made it back together. Luke made a poor choice to resume drinking, but considering his chasm of grief and his inability to understand that Reid was suffering just as much, I completely get it. Obviously, Reid forgave him a long time ago so that makes it easier for me to forgive him too...

This was a very moving chapter and you should know you handled showing their individual reactions to a horrific loss v.v. well!

I know you didn't want to give the reason for your warning at the beginning, but maybe a hanky count would be good.

Sorry! I know it is hard this way...but, I really felt that they would need time to get to the point that they could talk. I knew that I did not want it to be talked about in chapter one and then resolved; rather, I wanted it to linger between them, coming out in small doses. I hope, despite the hankies, this worked for you!

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