The way Damian looked at the laptop under his arm and then motioned to one of the bedrooms was clear and after a quick nod, Luke asked Lydia to keep an eye on the kids, took Reid’s hand and followed his father into the room.
As always, Reid felt uncomfortable. He could easily list many, many better ways to spend his time than watching his lover’s ex rehashing the past. He had to admit, the abbot knew what he was doing. It was basically the only reason he joined this session again. Reality TV at his best.
Noah looked good, Reid had to admit. He watched Luke from the corner of his eye and frowned. Luke was really absorbing the images and the brown eyes showed a familiar soft glow. Reid loved that soft glow, but only when it was directed at him.
Luke’s whispered “He looks at peace” didn’t help matters much either. What the…
Reid tried to focus on the sound. Noah was saying something that made Luke smile. What was happening?
‘Would you mind?’ Reid heard the abbot ask and he concentrated on the screen. He noticed the headline on the laptop screen. ‘Vegas wedding eclipsed by kidnapping’. Why was there a picture of him and Luke? Nice picture. Reid smiled. He liked Luke wearing glasses. He looked hot and…
“Noah thinks we got married,” Luke whispered, as if he knew Reid was struggling to understand what was going on.
Reid just nodded. Now he understood the abbot’s question and he found himself waiting for Noah’s answer. The calmness surprised Reid.
‘…I know he had this fantasy about a wedding at the Snyder pond…’
Reid’s frown deepened, while he watched how Luke was nodding with a loving smile. All focus on Noah.
Reid’s discomfort grew. Luke never shared that fantasy with him. At the Snyder pond? That was Luke’s version of romance? Pledging your eternal love next to a smelly pool of water, filled with all kind of germs and swimming and crawling creatures? He actually shivered, thinking about it.
He forced himself to listen again, trying real hard not to look at Luke’s soft demeanor.
‘A marriage is a logical step for them, I guess…’
Reid almost groaned out loud. Not that subject! Not again!
The only good thing about that remark, was that Luke didn’t smile lovingly anymore. But Reid noticed more. There now was a frown on Luke’s face. The glow had left his brown eyes and his blonde was biting his lip. Luke looked absolutely sad and Reid felt an awkward contraction in his heart. He hated it when Luke looked sad.
Not quite sure what to do, he put his hand on Luke’s back and softly caressed it. Without looking up from the screen, Luke’s hand made his way to Reid’s upper leg.
It didn’t happen very often, but Reid wasn’t sure about the message of that gesture. Reassurance? I’m okay.
Soothing? Don’t worry.
Reid noticed Noah’s facial expression. That was genuine concern for Natalie. And sure enough, Luke was back to the loving smile.
‘They have this implicit solidarity. In whatever crisis life put them, they are always there for each other.’
Noah’s comment made Luke tear up and when Reid’s hand rubbed Luke’s back again, he nestled himself against Reid’s side. Some of Reid’s anxiety melted, as he pulled Luke in closer.
“He got that right,” he whispered and Luke nodded, giving him a quick smile.
“He sounds like the old Noah again,” Luke whispered and again something stirred in Reid’s chest. The old Noah. The Noah Luke fell in love with. The anxiety rushed back and had brought some reinforcement.
“I assume that’s a good thing?” He tried to sound teasing, but he wasn’t sure he did. When he saw Luke’s eyes, he knew he didn’t.
“You do know I would never go back to him, right?”
When Reid didn’t answer, Luke signaled to Damian to pause the video and then turned to his man.
The stilled screen seemed to snap Reid out of some sort of trance and he watched Luke confusingly. Then Luke’s question came back to mind and he shrugged.
“Watching you almost crawl into that screen…” again his teasing failed miserably.
“You can’t be serious,” Luke’s disbelief was very convincing and even Damian shook his head. When Reid didn’t respond, Luke pointed at the screen where, unfortunately, Noah looked very handsome.
“You of all people should know that I’m done with him,” there was hurt in Luke’s voice, but Reid didn’t want to hear it. His own hurt was speaking louder.
“But now he’s the old Noah again…” Reid took a deep breath, “the Noah you fell in love with…”
“True,” Luke took Reid’s chin between his fingers, forcing Reid to look at him. “And you know I will always love Noah. But I’m not in love with him. He’s part of my past, Reid. You know that.”
“My brain does,” Reid muttered.
“Silly man,” Luke kissed his cheek and playfully pinched his side.
“Very silly man,” Damian added with a telling grin. “If you really think Noah could be any sort of competition, you’re delusional.”
“Alright, alright, Grimaldis. Back off. Let’s get this over with,” Reid pointed at the laptop and as Luke snuggled up to Reid again, Damian activated the video.
They watched the conversation between Noah and the abbot in silence. Reid forced himself to let Noah’s voice enter his ears. He had to admit…this was a Noah he hadn’t seen before. For the very first time, Reid understood the attraction Luke had felt. This guy on the screen was very nice. Taking responsibility for his actions – who knew he had that in him! – talking about his passion…
‘Somehow Luke still feels like my best friend and the thought of him getting married without me present… it makes me sad.’
With Luke’s head against his chest, Reid wasn’t able to determine if it made Luke sad too, so he just ruffled the blond hair just in case. He could hear Luke chuckle.
“I’m okay, Reid. It is sad. To me too. But Noah doesn’t feel like my best friend anymore. That’s the big difference. He’s a good memory and I will always love him. But I don’t want him back in my life. I wish him the best, but I don’t want him near me, you or the kids. Ever.”
Reid couldn’t help but smile.
‘If you would never be able to fall down, you’d never know what it feels like to stand up.’
Oh yes. He had been stumbling, but he could feel himself on his feet again. He kissed the blond hair.
“Then you should let him go,” he whispered in the locks and felt how Luke was nodding.
“My thoughts exactly,” Luke looked up at his father. “I think he’s ready to leave.”
“I agree,” Damian smiled, shutting off the laptop. “I’ll make it happen.”
“Good. This chapter is officially over. The bill has been settled.”
Damian nodded. “Again, I agree, Luciano. Noah is not a problem anymore.”
When Luke looked at Reid, the doctor managed to grin. The question in the brown eyes was clear and he gave Luke a quick kiss.
“Noah is not a problem anymore,” he repeated and it made Luke grin too.
“Good. He’s just a building block.”
“Maybe I am too.”
“You? You are not just a block. You’re a whole building. You are my home.”
They didn’t even noticed Damian leaving the room.