267 Elevator exposure

They managed to keep their eyes open on sheer willpower and Reid felt the love for his kids warming his whole body. They looked so small in those huge beds. His kids. Their kids. Reid watched how Luke was playing with Zoë’s curls, while the little girl looked all dreamy.

“…and the dress was soooooooo beautiful…”

“I know,” Luke agreed, smiling at her. “Molly looked like an angel.”

“I really like weddings,” a soft voice next to Reid said and it pulled his attention to the little boy in the bed.

“I could tell,” Reid grinned. “You’ve been smiling all day…”

Danny wasn’t done yet. His smile was still very present.

“I have. It was wonderful.” Then the small face showed a frown and Reid knew what was coming.

“I really wish…”

“I know,” Reid interrupted, lovingly caressing the boy’s cheek. “and I understand. But just focus on the fun you had, not on what you don’t have.”

Danny gave him a quick smile.

“I had a lot of fun. And the food was good too, wasn’t it, Daddy?”

Reid returned the smile and nodded.

“It sure was. It was heavenly.”

They both chuckled.

“And you danced with Daddy,” Danny’s voice was softer now and the closed eyes announced the coming departure of the Dream Express.

“I did,” Reid leaned over to kiss the boy on his forehead. “It was a good wedding.”

Danny smiled.

“It was,” he whispered and then his breathing told the father his son was asleep and he focused on the girl in the other bed. Her light was out too and for a moment Reid and Luke exchanged a smile. Their family.

“Lydia offered to keep an eye on them,” Luke whispered, walking back to their own bedroom, “so if you want, we could check out the casino…”

Reid ruffled his own hair and hesitated. He felt pretty worn out and he wasn’t really the gambling type, but maybe the change of scenery could snap him out of this blue funk he was in.

His “Yeah, let’s do that” didn’t sound too enthusiastic and although Luke noticed, he didn’t address it. He’d been here before. Reid drifting off into his own world, where Luke was not allowed. He’d been here before and this time it didn’t catapult him into a panic attack. He’d been here before and he knew this was Reid’s way to come to grips with everything that happened. Luke had explained his reaction and Reid had understood. It had been very clear by the way Reid had smiled at him. He understood. But Luke also knew that getting your heart and brain aligned was a whole different story and it took time.

So Luke gave Reid a smile and took his hand.

“Let’s win a ridiculous amount of money.”

“Or lose…”

Luke faked outrage.

“We can’t lose.”

The hidden meaning in the remark didn’t go unnoticed, but Reid’s smile didn’t reach his eyes.

“I admire your determination.”

“It’s not just that. It’s faith,” Luke pulled himself close and put an arm around Reid’s shoulder. “As long as we’re together, we can’t lose.”

He kissed Reid on the temple, stepped away to pushed the elevator button and returned to Reid’s body again.

“You know how much I love you, right?”

That made Reid smile. A real one, this time.

“I do.”

“Good. Just never doubt that and we’ll never lose.”

Was it that simple? Before he could ask the question out loud, the elevator doors opened and they joined an older couple after a polite “Good evening.”

Obviously they had stepped into an existing argument that continued when the doors closed.

“Of course I don’t trust you. You’ve shown me over and over that you can’t be trusted,” the woman said with pent-up rage.

“That’s ancient history,” the man sighed annoyed, “but you love to throw that in my face, don’t you?”

“No, I don’t,” the woman hissed. “It only reminds me of what a mistake it was to marry you.”

“You and me both,” the man said, rolling his eyes at Luke and Reid. “That one moment of insanity when I thought asking you to marry me was the right thing to do, has ruined my whole life. I was caught up in some romantic moment and made the mistake of my life.”

Luke and Reid tried not to get involved, but the man obviously needed some support and was clearly hoping for some male loyalty.

“So take some advice from this old man…don’t let any woman get their hooks into you…”

“Sounds like good advice to me,” Reid said calmly, making Luke chuckle. Their hands found each other, but the man didn’t notice.

“It is,” the man continued, feeling empowered by Reid’s remark. “Marriage sucks the fun right out of you.”

“As if you made the world a better place,” the woman snorted. The soft ping caused relief and without a word they left the elevator and stepped into a world of flashing lights, all kinds of bells and jingling and an excited buzz.

When Reid stopped in his tracks, Luke looked up at him and noticed the bafflement in the blue eyes.

“Casino virgin?”

It took a few minutes before Reid snapped out of his trance and focused on Luke.

“I am.”

“It’s pretty overwhelming, but let’s just dive in and find out what kind of gambling you like.”

“Not sure gambling is my thing,” Reid muttered.

“I was a gamble,” Luke teased and Reid softly pinched Luke’s neck.

“True. In a way you still are.”

Luke’s smile disappeared.

“I happen to think I’m a sure deal.”

Reid shrugged. “No one is. Look at that couple just now. I’m pretty sure they thought they were a safe bet.”

“We are nothing like that,” Luke frowned.

“Hope not,” Reid gave him a quick smile, “but every relationship is a gamble.”

When Reid noticed Luke’s worried look, he quickly kissed Luke’s temple.

“But I’d still put all my money on it.”

That worked. The radiant smile was back and Luke took Reid’s hand again and started walking over to poker table, when he heard his name and recognizing the voice immediately, he smiled. He could have known…