His “What about us?” sounded as frightened as he was and his lungs produced a deep sigh when Reid took a seat next to him and put his hand over Luke’s.
“Don’t panic. We’re okay.”
Luke clearly didn’t believe that reassurance. With his head lowered he looked like a sad child, awaiting some sort of punishment. So Reid squeezed Luke’s hand and repeated his statement.
“We don’t feel okay,” Luke whispered. “How can we be okay if you’re not okay?”
“You know my way of processing by now, Looker.”
“I do,” Luke nodded, smiling about the pet name he loved so much, but serious again the next minute. “And I respect that. I really do. But it also scares the shit out of me.”
“I know,” Reid squeezed Luke’s hand again. “Hence my reassurance.”
“I never intended to hurt you,” Luke was still whispering.
“But I did.”
“You’re not responsible for my emotions, Luke.”
“Okay, let me rephrase that…but you’re hurt.”
“It shook up some old insecurity,” Reid shrugged with his eyes on the table, not noticing Luke’s expression.
“Insecure about what?”
That made Reid look up.
“You. Or, to be more specific…your commitment to me.”
Luke frowned. What?
“After Dallas, we had several encounters where you had to make a choice and didn’t choose me,” Reid’s voice was soft and sad, “and I realize that’s all water under the bridge, but this whole proposal disaster stirred it all up, I guess.”
“That’s why you reacted on that video of Noah the way you did,” this time Luke was the one squeezing Reid’s hand.
“Yeah, I guess,” Reid shrugged again. He hadn’t really analyzed it all to the bone, but that sounded logical enough.
Luke struggled to find some words, but his thoughts were racing and he couldn’t find a coherent sentence in all that pulp.
After a few silent minutes, Reid leaned back in his chair and suddenly felt something warm and wet on his arm. He smiled when he looked down on a dog’s head and without really thinking about it, he petted the brown skin.
“Isn’t it amazing how animals can sense your energy and react on it? Gaia clearly came out to support you.”
Reid managed to prevent his eyes from rolling. Luke watched way too much TV. He started to sound like that dog whisperer guy. Cesar something. Although he had to admit that the dog’s head on his arm did give him a feel of support. Well, he was ready to admit that to himself, that is. Gaia snorting at that very moment was just a coincidence. He was sure of it.
“I know I was indecisive for a long time,” Luke sounded firm now, “and I understand how frustrating that must have been. But doesn’t my commitment of the last few months count for anything?”
“Of course it does,” Reid frowned, “this isn’t something you have to solve.”
“It sure feels that way,” Luke muttered and looked annoyed when Reid chuckled.
“There’s the famous Snyder pout. It’s been a while.”
It triggered the smallest of smiles Reid ever saw on Luke’s face and he grabbed Luke’s hand again.
“Look…this sharing stuff is not gonna work if you dive into the guilt. You want me to tell you how I feel and I just did. Give me some credit. I can figure this out without you feeling all ashamed.”
It took a few moments, but then Luke nodded.
He even chuckled when he saw Reid’s ‘I’m-always-right’-face and slapped him on the arm.
“But tell me…do you really think it’s a possibility I would leave all this and go back to a life with Noah?”
“Not leaving all this,” Reid gave a quick smile, “but kicking me out…”
Luke’s bewilderment felt like a warm blanket to him, so Reid continued: “So it all boils down to that familiar fear of losing it all.”
“And you’re feeding that fear by recalling the situations I rejected you…”
“Unfortunately I’ve given you plenty of feed…”
“I’ll deal with it,” Reid focused on Gaia to avoid Luke’s obvious sadness.
“You’ll have to,” Luke grinned without any amusement, “I can’t change the past.”
“Nope, you can’t. The fact that you chose Noah over me was quite a blow to my ego and I guess it’s still not fully recovered.”
“Poor you,” there was some teasing now, “On the other hand, I’ve given that ego of yours plenty of boost too.”
“True,” Reid smiled and when he saw Luke coming up, he pushed his chair from the table a little. His smile grew when Luke mounted him – as expected – and pulled Reid’s head to his.
“Maybe your ego needs a refreshment course.”
“Maybe,” Reid’s smile had turned into a grin by now.
“I’m sorry that my own insecurities have triggered yours,” Luke whispered, softly nibbling on Reid’s lower lip. “My response to your proposal was not a rejection of you as a person. You do know that, right?”
Reid had some trouble focusing on Luke’s question, fully enjoying the sensation of Luke’s playful fondling. When he failed to respond, Luke pulled away from him and examined his face.
What was the question again? Oh. Yes.
“I do know, but you know how this stuff works…it can take some time before brain and heart are aligned.”
“Tell me about it,” Luke was back to the nibbling. “Just remember that I did all those stupid things when I really didn’t know how awesome we’d be together.”
“I can’t,” Reid softly caressed Luke’s chin to soften his words, “because that’s not true.”
Luke leaned back again, frowning.
“We were together for a few months when you returned your ring…”
The kitchen turned a couple degrees colder in a few seconds. Reid could feel Luke freeze and he moved his hand over his lovers back to keep the blood pumping.
“Oh God, did that wound open again?”
Without waiting for an answer, Luke bent forward and sought shelter against Reid’s body. When would he ever learn? When would he finally stop making these stupid mistakes?
“This is not your fault,” Reid whispered, obviously reading Luke’s mind. “And remember what the abbot said to Noah. I needed this experience as building blocks. If you would never be able to fall down, you’d never know what it feels like to stand up. And I stood up, Luke. I’m still here and so are you. I can feel your love. Your commitment. We’re okay.”
And all of a sudden the kitchen heated up. Luke showed his radiant smile that always made Reid a little dizzy and then their lips found each other.
Gaia gave them a final look and then silently made her way back to the scullery. They were okay.
Big Thanks To Lorraine, for brushing up my grammar