dr. Reid Oliver

As The World Keeps Turning

The life and love of Dr. Reid Oliver

160 Impressed
dr. Reid Oliver
sylnl

 

Word Soap: As The World Keeps Turning
Author:
SYLnl
Title:  #160 Impressed
Rating: PG
Summary:  “Whatever makes an impression on the heart seems lovely in the eye.” - Sa'Di
Big Thanks To: ltklo, for brushing up my grammar

Previously on As The World Keeps Turning: click here for chapters 1 - 159



So she didn’t speak and she couldn’t write yet… Lydia Wilson was not overwhelmed. On the contrary. She was thrilled. She liked a challenge and her small class was just that. A challenge.

She watched Danny focusing on his little project of the day. He was so endearing and captivating, but his scars were deep and dark. Sometimes he showed a glimpse of them and even those little fragments had broken her heart.

And Hallie. Smart, extroverted, but very strong-willed and stubborn. She looked like an angel, but Lydia wasn’t fooled. And speaking of angels, her newest addition to her classroom earned that title too. The reddish blond curls and the striking blue eyes gave this little girl a special aura that didn’t match the standoffish demeanor and the pure dismissal Lydia could feel. Leave me alone.

Miss Lydia smiled. A challenge indeed. And she was so ready for some provocation. After a stupid roadside bomb had claimed the life of her husband and simultaneously her reason for living, Lydia had been in a fog. The request to be the home tutor to a little – wounded – boy had felt like divine intervention. And now here she was. With not one but three little kids and a full life because of them.

After Luke – she’d never called him that out loud, but to her he’d been Luke from the start – had informed her about Zoë, she had gathered all the information she could to find some helpful exercises to figure out what was going on in the girl’s mind and the current assignment had Zoë completely concentrating. Lydia had asked her to make a drawing of her family before ‘the accident’. And the girl wasn’t portraying anything that actually looked like her, except for the curls and the blue eyes.

Feeling she was watched, Miss Lydia looked up and met Luke’s eyes. She gave him a quick smile that he didn’t return.

“I’m going for some coffee,” Luke stood up and softly tapped Will on his shoulder. “Miss Lydia, could you join me for a moment?”

“Sure,” she smiled again. This was one of the things she liked about her employer. He was very sensitive and involved, so his “What’s going on?” after they reached the kitchen didn’t come as a surprise.

“Zoë is drawing herself without a mouth,” she said and his frown deepened.

“That’s not good,” Luke muttered and Lydia nodded.

“Something else is bothering me too,” she continued, “She drew a cat, but not her parents.” She accepted the coffee mug and shrugged. “I’m not sure what it means yet, but it bothers me.”

Luke nodded in thought and then smiled at her.

“You’re doing a great job. With all of them.”

“Thanks. It’s great to combine my two passions. Somehow being a teacher wasn’t enough, but being a child therapist didn’t fit the bill either. So this is perfect.”

Luke’s smile broadened. “I’m glad. We couldn’t do this without you.”

He then remembered something.

“My uncle will be joining us for lunch. I expect him in an hour.”

“I’ll make sure we’ll be ready for a break by then,” Lydia nodded and opened the door, so Luke could enter with a mug in each hand.

“Ah,” Will leaned back in his chair after accepting his coffee, “Good timing.”

***

“This is my uncle, Seth Snyder. Uncle Seth, this is Lydia Wilson.”

While the two adults shook hands, Luke was surprised by Lydia’s obvious confusion.

“I never realized…” she blushed.

“What?” Seth send her his calm smile, but it seemed to have an opposite effect.

“The family name should have been a clue, but I I I I never…” Lydia took a deep breath, realizing she was stammering. “I have all your books.”

Luke tried to suppress his grin. So that’s why she looked so star struck. She was!

“I’m flattered,” Seth smiled again and decided to make his way to the kitchen to breach the somewhat tense atmosphere.

“My mother went to school with you…” Lydia was repulsed by her own shaky voice, but before she could finish her sentence she noticed a teasing look between Luke and his uncle.

“What?”

“You just made me feel very old,” Seth explained without a hint of real annoyance.

“Oh boy,” she blushed again, “I’d better shut up…”

“Please don’t,” Seth pulled a chair back for her and she sat down after a quick nod. “Luke praises you to the skies, so I’m glad to finally meet you.”

“Thank you,” Lydia’s blush seemed permanent by now, “I hope you don’t believe what they say about first impressions.”

They all chuckled and then – unknowingly – Danny saved his tutor by attracting the attention.

“Daddy?” Danny chewed his sandwich with a passion.

“Yes, sweetie?”

“Can I show Dawn to Miss Lydia and Hallie after lunch?”

Luke tried to look firm, but the plea in his son’s eyes touched his heart.

“You know our agreement, Danny.”

“I do…” the boy lowered his head, “but they haven’t seen her yet…”

“I guess you have a point,” Luke said and the boy looked up. His face full of hope. “But just this once. We agreed that Dawn wouldn’t interfere with school work.”

Danny nodded. “Promise, Daddy. Just this once.”

“A bit of fresh air is good for us anyway,” Lydia smiled. “Helps the concentration.”

“True,” Seth nodded, “Especially in nature. After moving out here I realized how much I missed that.”

“You had Central Park,” Luke teased and Seth grinned.

“Not quite the same. I know the little forest behind my house isn’t huge, but it’s big enough to escape in.”

“The smell of pine,” Lydia smiled.

“Exactly,” Seth narrowed his eyes for a moment. He’d felt an immediate connection with this woman and her remarks emphasized why. He glanced at her fingers and was strangely disappointed by the wedding ring. He felt like snorting. Her mother went to school with him! She was way too young anyway.

Unaware of his uncle’s musings, Luke noticed Zoë’s aloof expression and raised an eyebrow.

“Would you like another sandwich, sweetie?”

The girl shook her head, looking straight at him without any noticeable emotions. The folding of her arms was telling. She was in protest. But about what?

“Did you like the sandwich?”

The small nod was a big reward.

“So what’s up with the arms?” Luke folded his arms too and for a split second amusement reached the blue eyes in front of him.

She then pointed at Danny, who looked startled.

“What did I do?”

She moved her arm in a vague gesture, but Luke cracked the code.

“You don’t want to go to Dawn.”

Zoë nodded, looking defiant.

“That’s okay. I’ll stay here with you.”

The girl looked surprised and a lot happier. Luke grinned. His daughter really didn’t like horses. It made him think of Zoë’s other daddy. Like about everything in life made Luke think about Reid. He took out his phone and rose to his feet.

“I’ll be right back.”

“Good timing,” Reid sighed in Luke’s ear and it made the blond smile.

“Bad day?”

“Not really bad, just busy. Hearing your voice…I don’t know…it’s just good.”

“I know, same here.”

“I could use another shower,” Reid’s voice dropped in volume and sound and Luke felt flushed, thinking about their shared ‘wet moments’ this morning.

“Me too,” he whispered. “I miss you so much. How bizarre is that?”

“Hey…it would be more bizarre if you didn’t. I mean… it’s me we’re talking about.”

“True. What was I thinking…”

“You were thinking shower,” Reid chuckled, “You’re forgiven.”

Luke groaned. “I could think up some excuse and come over there…”

“Don’t. If nothing comes up, I’ll be home soon. Three cancellations. Speaking of good timing.”

“That sounds perfect,” Luke sighed. “We still have to talk to Danny, remember?”

“I know,” Reid sounded tired. “It’s on my Don’t Wanna Do list.”

Despite everything, Luke chuckled.

“I love you.”

“Love you, Looker. I’ll be home soon.”

“I’ll be waiting.”

“Naked would be good.”

“In front of the kids? And Will? And Lydia? And Seth?”

Reid sighed. “I guess I’ll be waiting too then.”

“Think shower,” Luke teased.

“Have mercy,” Reid groaned.

“Maybe. Bye.”

Before the connection was broken, Luke heard Reid making a kissing sound and it made him smile. He was ready for the next part of the day now.

Junky much? He bit his lip. His addictive behavior was a fact, but for what it was worth, Reid was the best drug he could imagine.


160 Impressed
dr. Reid Oliver
sylnl

 

Word Soap: As The World Keeps Turning
Author:
SYLnl
Title:  #160 Impressed
Rating: PG
Summary:  “Whatever makes an impression on the heart seems lovely in the eye.” - Sa'Di
Big Thanks To: ltklo, for brushing up my grammar

Previously on As The World Keeps Turning: click here for chapters 1 - 159



So she didn’t speak and she couldn’t write yet… Lydia Wilson was not overwhelmed. On the contrary. She was thrilled. She liked a challenge and her small class was just that. A challenge.

She watched Danny focusing on his little project of the day. He was so endearing and captivating, but his scars were deep and dark. Sometimes he showed a glimpse of them and even those little fragments had broken her heart.

And Hallie. Smart, extroverted, but very strong-willed and stubborn. She looked like an angel, but Lydia wasn’t fooled. And speaking of angels, her newest addition to her classroom earned that title too. The reddish blond curls and the striking blue eyes gave this little girl a special aura that didn’t match the standoffish demeanor and the pure dismissal Lydia could feel. Leave me alone.

Miss Lydia smiled. A challenge indeed. And she was so ready for some provocation. After a stupid roadside bomb had claimed the life of her husband and simultaneously her reason for living, Lydia had been in a fog. The request to be the home tutor to a little – wounded – boy had felt like divine intervention. And now here she was. With not one but three little kids and a full life because of them.

After Luke – she’d never called him that out loud, but to her he’d been Luke from the start – had informed her about Zoë, she had gathered all the information she could to find some helpful exercises to figure out what was going on in the girl’s mind and the current assignment had Zoë completely concentrating. Lydia had asked her to make a drawing of her family before ‘the accident’. And the girl wasn’t portraying anything that actually looked like her, except for the curls and the blue eyes.

Feeling she was watched, Miss Lydia looked up and met Luke’s eyes. She gave him a quick smile that he didn’t return.

“I’m going for some coffee,” Luke stood up and softly tapped Will on his shoulder. “Miss Lydia, could you join me for a moment?”

“Sure,” she smiled again. This was one of the things she liked about her employer. He was very sensitive and involved, so his “What’s going on?” after they reached the kitchen didn’t come as a surprise.

“Zoë is drawing herself without a mouth,” she said and his frown deepened.

“That’s not good,” Luke muttered and Lydia nodded.

“Something else is bothering me too,” she continued, “She drew a cat, but not her parents.” She accepted the coffee mug and shrugged. “I’m not sure what it means yet, but it bothers me.”

Luke nodded in thought and then smiled at her.

“You’re doing a great job. With all of them.”

“Thanks. It’s great to combine my two passions. Somehow being a teacher wasn’t enough, but being a child therapist didn’t fit the bill either. So this is perfect.”

Luke’s smile broadened. “I’m glad. We couldn’t do this without you.”

He then remembered something.

“My uncle will be joining us for lunch. I expect him in an hour.”

“I’ll make sure we’ll be ready for a break by then,” Lydia nodded and opened the door, so Luke could enter with a mug in each hand.

“Ah,” Will leaned back in his chair after accepting his coffee, “Good timing.”

***

“This is my uncle, Seth Snyder. Uncle Seth, this is Lydia Wilson.”

While the two adults shook hands, Luke was surprised by Lydia’s obvious confusion.

“I never realized…” she blushed.

“What?” Seth send her his calm smile, but it seemed to have an opposite effect.

“The family name should have been a clue, but I I I I never…” Lydia took a deep breath, realizing she was stammering. “I have all your books.”

Luke tried to suppress his grin. So that’s why she looked so star struck. She was!

“I’m flattered,” Seth smiled again and decided to make his way to the kitchen to breach the somewhat tense atmosphere.

“My mother went to school with you…” Lydia was repulsed by her own shaky voice, but before she could finish her sentence she noticed a teasing look between Luke and his uncle.

“What?”

“You just made me feel very old,” Seth explained without a hint of real annoyance.

“Oh boy,” she blushed again, “I’d better shut up…”

“Please don’t,” Seth pulled a chair back for her and she sat down after a quick nod. “Luke praises you to the skies, so I’m glad to finally meet you.”

“Thank you,” Lydia’s blush seemed permanent by now, “I hope you don’t believe what they say about first impressions.”

They all chuckled and then – unknowingly – Danny saved his tutor by attracting the attention.

“Daddy?” Danny chewed his sandwich with a passion.

“Yes, sweetie?”

“Can I show Dawn to Miss Lydia and Hallie after lunch?”

Luke tried to look firm, but the plea in his son’s eyes touched his heart.

“You know our agreement, Danny.”

“I do…” the boy lowered his head, “but they haven’t seen her yet…”

“I guess you have a point,” Luke said and the boy looked up. His face full of hope. “But just this once. We agreed that Dawn wouldn’t interfere with school work.”

Danny nodded. “Promise, Daddy. Just this once.”

“A bit of fresh air is good for us anyway,” Lydia smiled. “Helps the concentration.”

“True,” Seth nodded, “Especially in nature. After moving out here I realized how much I missed that.”

“You had Central Park,” Luke teased and Seth grinned.

“Not quite the same. I know the little forest behind my house isn’t huge, but it’s big enough to escape in.”

“The smell of pine,” Lydia smiled.

“Exactly,” Seth narrowed his eyes for a moment. He’d felt an immediate connection with this woman and her remarks emphasized why. He glanced at her fingers and was strangely disappointed by the wedding ring. He felt like snorting. Her mother went to school with him! She was way too young anyway.

Unaware of his uncle’s musings, Luke noticed Zoë’s aloof expression and raised an eyebrow.

“Would you like another sandwich, sweetie?”

The girl shook her head, looking straight at him without any noticeable emotions. The folding of her arms was telling. She was in protest. But about what?

“Did you like the sandwich?”

The small nod was a big reward.

“So what’s up with the arms?” Luke folded his arms too and for a split second amusement reached the blue eyes in front of him.

She then pointed at Danny, who looked startled.

“What did I do?”

She moved her arm in a vague gesture, but Luke cracked the code.

“You don’t want to go to Dawn.”

Zoë nodded, looking defiant.

“That’s okay. I’ll stay here with you.”

The girl looked surprised and a lot happier. Luke grinned. His daughter really didn’t like horses. It made him think of Zoë’s other daddy. Like about everything in life made Luke think about Reid. He took out his phone and rose to his feet.

“I’ll be right back.”

“Good timing,” Reid sighed in Luke’s ear and it made the blond smile.

“Bad day?”

“Not really bad, just busy. Hearing your voice…I don’t know…it’s just good.”

“I know, same here.”

“I could use another shower,” Reid’s voice dropped in volume and sound and Luke felt flushed, thinking about their shared ‘wet moments’ this morning.

“Me too,” he whispered. “I miss you so much. How bizarre is that?”

“Hey…it would be more bizarre if you didn’t. I mean… it’s me we’re talking about.”

“True. What was I thinking…”

“You were thinking shower,” Reid chuckled, “You’re forgiven.”

Luke groaned. “I could think up some excuse and come over there…”

“Don’t. If nothing comes up, I’ll be home soon. Three cancellations. Speaking of good timing.”

“That sounds perfect,” Luke sighed. “We still have to talk to Danny, remember?”

“I know,” Reid sounded tired. “It’s on my Don’t Wanna Do list.”

Despite everything, Luke chuckled.

“I love you.”

“Love you, Looker. I’ll be home soon.”

“I’ll be waiting.”

“Naked would be good.”

“In front of the kids? And Will? And Lydia? And Seth?”

Reid sighed. “I guess I’ll be waiting too then.”

“Think shower,” Luke teased.

“Have mercy,” Reid groaned.

“Maybe. Bye.”

Before the connection was broken, Luke heard Reid making a kissing sound and it made him smile. He was ready for the next part of the day now.

Junky much? He bit his lip. His addictive behavior was a fact, but for what it was worth, Reid was the best drug he could imagine.


159 True colors
dr. Reid Oliver
sylnl

 

Word Soap: As The World Keeps Turning
Author:
SYLnl
Title:  #159 True colors
Rating: PG
Summary:  “Don't be afraid to let them show your true colors. True colors are beautiful, like a rainbow.” - Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly
Big Thanks To: ltklo, for brushing up my grammar

Previously on As The World Keeps Turning: click here for chapters 1 - 158


She felt emotional, looking around. This was her first real visit. Sure, she’d been here before, but she never made it past the kitchen and dining room. And even that was a blur. She knew it happened. She acknowledged her actions. But it didn’t make sense to her. Not even a tiny bit.

She watched the man on a chair next to her. His eyes were on the children on the other couch. They were drawing and something worried him, because she saw him frown. It made his face stern, but that didn’t throw her off anymore. She recognized the warmth in the blue eyes. The tenderness. The love. She watched him look up to Luke and their exchange of smiles touched her deeply.

The hand on hers distracted her and she looked up to the owner.

“Are you okay? You let me know when you want to go?”

She smiled.

“I’m okay. More than okay. It’s so good to be here.”

Damian nodded. He understood exactly what she meant. This had been a special moment. Sharing a domestic scene with their son and his family. That may be normal in many families, but not in theirs. He saw how Reid was softly informing Luke about something and now Luke was frowning too.

What was going on? He didn’t want to ask. Didn’t dare to interfere and overstep. He didn’t have to, though. His grandson gave him a clue by leaning over to Zoë and offering her a red pencil. Her shake of the head was short but clear and Danny looked at Zoë’s drawing. Now Damian noticed what apparently Reid had noticed too. His new granddaughter only used black. Without being aware of it, he frowned too.

Before he really thought things through, Damian addressed the young boy with a friendly smile.

“So what are you making, Danny?”

The boy looked up, obviously feeling more relaxed with his grandfather because his smile was genuine.

“I’m making something for Dawn. To hang in the barn.”

“Now that’s a good idea,” Damian nodded, “I’m sure Dawn will like that.”

Danny rewarded him with another huge smile and Damian hesitated for a moment. His eyes found Luke’s and the little nod gave him the last push to shift his attention to the girl next to Danny.

“How about you, Zoë? Are you also drawing something for Dawn?”

Zoë pulled a face. Making anything for that pony was clearly not on her agenda and the way she looked at him, told Damian something else. She didn’t like him. Her eyes were cold and almost hateful, the message in them very obvious. Leave me alone.

Damian wasn’t put off, though. He knew hatefulness. He knew rejection. So he just smiled.

“I see. For your daddies, then?”

Zoë slightly bowed her head, watching her drawing for a moment and then looking back at Damian again. Her shaking head showed hesitance and then her eyes moved to the two men and she looked almost apologetic.

“It’s okay if you want to draw just for you,” Reid calmly said and relief found its way to Zoë’s eyes. Then she looked at her drawing again and bit her lip. A telling sign for Luke who left Reid’s armrest and squatted next to her.

“It’s okay, sweetie. We understand everything feels a bit dark for you right now.”

When she looked up, again Luke was struck by the beauty of her eyes. Especially with the little watery glow on them. She softly put a few fingers on Luke’s cheek and when he made a move to stand up again, she moved her fingers to his arm, shaking her head again. So Luke stayed put, watching how she tapped on Danny’s arm and pointed at the red pencil she declined earlier.

The boy handed it over with a little smile and after another quick look at Luke, she studied her drawing. In a small corner, surrounded by black figures and forms, she put the red pencil on the paper and almost immediately Luke knew what she was doing. The small heart was not very artistic, but it was clearly a heart and it was very red. She colored it with a little piece of tongue sticking out of her mouth. She colored it with a passion. With hope. Leaving all the adults with a lump in their throat.

Then Zoë looked at Danny and the boy looked at her. For a moment they smiled at each other and then Danny nodded and gave her a thumbs up. It made Zoë grin.

“You have a beautiful family, Luke,” Lily took her son’s hand in hers, “Thank you for sharing it with us.”

“Inviting us back to the house was a real treat,” Damian agreed, giving his son a soft pat on the back. He moved over to Reid and they shook hands.

“Reid, thank you too. It’s a pleasure to watch the both of you.”

“So I don’t have to worry about being shipped off to some camp to set me straight?” Reid teased and Damian had the courtesy to blush.

“I’ve done some dumb things,” he admitted, looking Reid in the eye. “But if anybody had to be set straight, it was me. And you two did that. I honestly realize now that it’s not about gender, but about love.”

“Hallelujah,” Reid smiled and when he felt Luke next to him, he put his arm around him. Their smile was telling.

“Thanks…Dad…” Luke’s hesitation was noticed, but Damian focused on the word he had missed for a long time. The word that made his face light up. That made him kiss his son on the cheek.

“I second your mother, son. You have a beautiful family. I’m very proud…of both of you.”

Reid just nodded and Luke leaned forward to kiss his father.

“Thanks.”

After a last wave they closed the door and with their arms around each other walked back into the living room where Holden kept an eye on the kids. When Luke and Reid entered, Holden rose to his feet.

“I’m leaving too. I promised Mama and Molly to help with dinner…”

“Doing what?” Luke teased and Holden grinned.

“I’m not sure,” he admitted, “but I’m hoping my willingness to help will get me in their good graces.”

“Smart thinking,” Reid agreed and both men smiled, shaking their hands.

“This was a good day,” Holden smiled at Danny and felt rich when the boy smiled back.

While Luke and Holden walked over to the front door, Reid flumped on the chair next to Zoë and took a quick look at the artwork at hand. The contrast was huge. Danny was still working on something that looked like their family. The sun was shining, the colors were bright. Danny was in a good place. And Zoë was not. Except for the little red heart, her painting showed some indefinable forms with all one thing in common. They were all black.

“I’m pretty sure Dawn will like that, Danny,” Reid smiled when the boy was obviously pleased with the remark.

“This is us.”

“I can see that. What’s with the suitcase in my hand?” Is he afraid I will leave?  

“Not a suitcase. Your doctor’s bag.”

“Ah, of course.” Proportions are obviously not a natural part of a six years old. “And what’s that?” It looks like a rat!

“That’s the dog.”

Dog? “We don’t have a dog.” Not that I know of, at least.

“I know,” Danny’s smile was calm and a little mischievous, “but I’d like one.”

To Reid’s surprise Zoë looked up with more enthusiasm than he’d seen so far and her nodding confirmed it. Oh boy.

“Hey guys, what’s up?” Luke could sense something was going on, so he sat next to Reid on the armrest and put his arm around his shoulder.

“Danny made a picture of us,” Reid started and pointed at the rat, “and that’s the dog he would like.”

“Dog?” the way Luke’s eyes started to glimmer made Reid moan and when Zoë started her nodding again, the brown eyes started to shine even brighter.

“We just added two horses to the mix. Let’s get used to that first.” Reid reminded them, trying hard not to look at Zoë’s sad eyes.

“We’ll talk about it,” Luke kissed Reid’s temple and stood up. “How about it. Anybody hungry yet?”


158 Getting acquainted
dr. Reid Oliver
sylnl

 

Word Soap: As The World Keeps Turning
Author
: SYLnl
Title:  #158 Getting acquainted
Rating: PG
Summary:  “One of the greatest moments in anybody's developing experience is when he no longer tries to hide from himself, but determines to get acquainted with himself as he really is.” - Norman Vincent Peale
Big Thanks To: ltklo, for brushing up my grammar

Previously on As The World Keeps Turning: click here for chapters 1 - 157



Everybody was moved. Well, everybody except Zoë. She was focused on Danny, but didn’t show any emotion.

“Danny loves horses a lot and he didn’t know he would get one today,” Reid explained, but the girl didn’t seem too interested. She gave a quick nod and that was that.

Socially challenged much?

His thought made Reid smile. Not too long ago that was his profile. It still was, in a way. So he gave himself the same advice he had given to others: don’t make it personal.

“Are you okay? No pain?”

This time Zoë did make eye contact as she shook her head.

Okay, she mouthed and almost smiled.

“Good,” Reid winked, “Shall we move a little closer?”

The small hands on his neck grabbed his hair in a painful response and Reid groaned a little.

“I guess that’s a no,” he muttered and the amusement in her eyes warmed him. “Shaking your head would have been sufficient too, you know.”

Again she mouthed ‘Okay’ and for a moment Reid felt a wave of emotion through his body. He could feel it in his bones. For a moment they were connected. He quickly planted a kiss on her temple to seal the deal and then focused on his other child. The minute he did, he looked into the big brown eyes and the boy started beaming.

“Look Daddy, this is Dawn!”

“She is beautiful!” Reid said in all honesty and nodded at the grandparents who couldn’t look more proud and happy.

“We also bought you a saddle and everything you need to ride, but first you and Dawn need to become acquainted,” Holden calmly explained. “So you visit her every day and I’ll be back in a few weeks to check on you two. And when it feels right, we can start the lessons.”

“Really?” Danny was still trapped inside the disbelief and Holden ruffled the boy’s hair on an impulse. When he felt the boy flinch, he could kick himself, but before he could utter an apology, Danny looked up to him and gave him a small and insecure smile.

“I didn’t mean to startle you,” Holden softly said and Danny’s smile grew.

“I know, Grandpa. It’s okay. I’m safe.”

The adults realized Danny’s message was more to himself than to Holden, but his grandfather responded anyway.

“Yes you are. We will never hurt you.”

Not consciously, at least. Holden looked at his son and felt regret. It was remarkable how Luke’s relationship with Reid had shown Holden how much his boy had been hurt by his parents. All three of them. Every time he witnessed Luke, he looked more secure, more happy and more powerful and Holden knew that was Reid’s influence. The stability of their love, Reid’s evident lack of sugarcoating and their deep mutual respect had managed to build Luke’s confidence from the inside out and Holden had realized more than once that he had failed Luke in that area. He had failed himself too. Living with Molly had shown him that. He would always love Lily – he smiled when he saw her taking pictures – but somehow he’d always felt the stable boy with her. All these years he had wanted to prove her and himself that he was worthy. As if a stable boy was less important. Less interesting. He finally felt good about who he was.

A small hand in his pulled him back to the present.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, Danny. I’m glad you like her.”

“Like?” the boy beamed, his hand still on the pony, “I love her.”

Looking very vulnerable, he looked at Damian and Lily and both adults just smiled at him. Luke felt proud. They really seemed committed to taking it slow. After a deep breath Danny stepped forward, reluctantly letting go of Dawn, and extended his small hand to Damian.

Luke could see his father’s emotion as he crouched down, accepted the hand and shook it.

“Thank you…Grandpa.”

“I’m happy you love her,” Damian softly said and for a moment they looked each other in the eyes, holding hands. Grandfather and grandson. Strangers. Building a bridge. When Danny pulled back his hand, Damian let go immediately and the boy smiled.

“You have a nice smile,” Danny said shyly. “Just like Daddy.”

“I’m happy to hear that,” Damian treated him to another one.

Then the boy made his way to Lily and focused on her wheelchair.

“Zoë has one of those,” he said.

“I know. We saw you all leave the hospital, yesterday.”

Danny frowned. “I didn’t see you.”

“We were on the second floor, behind the window.” Lily explained.

“Zoë was very sad last night,” Danny shared. “But then my… our daddies came up and she hugged Daddy Luke. That was special.”

Lily just smiled, lost for words. It was so hard to realize that her Luke, her boy, was a father now. And a very good one. She looked up and watched Reid interact with Zoë. The cranky, arrogant doctor. Who knew he could be this loving? Well, apparently Luke had known. Her eyes wandered to her son. He looked so strong. So manly.

“You are all special,” she said, looking back at Danny and smiling.

“We all are,” Danny agreed, reaching out his hand. “Thank you for Dawn.”

“I know you’ll take good care of her. I’ve made some nice pictures of her. I will send them to your daddy.”

After a quick nod and a big smile Danny returned to his newfound treasure and when he softly caressed Dawn’s nose, she ‘talked’ again. This time the answer came from the barn and Luke put his hand before his mouth, looking embarrassed.

“I totally forgot!” He hugged Holden and then looked at Reid.

“I forgot he’s here too!”

“I guess he figured that out and made his presence known,” Reid grinned, not moving an inch.

“You don’t want to go in and say ‘hi’ too?” Luke teased and Reid rolled his eyes.

“Tempting…but no. You go ahead. I’ll stay with Zoë.”

“Wuss,” Luke muttered under his breath. He gave Reid a telling look and made his way to the barn. The minute he stepped inside, he stopped in this tracks though. Mainly to give his eyes the opportunity to adjust to the half-light in the barn, but also to fully take in the smell. Luke smiled. He loved that smell of hay, leather, straw and horses. He breathed in deeply and then walked to the stable where Handsome was already waiting for him. Impatiently.

“Hello gorgeous,” Luke softly caressed the soft nose of the animal, “I’ve missed you.”

Handsome’s snort made Luke chuckle.

“I know, I haven’t been around much, but from now one we’ll see each other every day.”

As if he was listening closely, Handsome made a quick move with his head and when Luke kissed his nose, Handsome stepped forward, making himself more available for the hug. He stepped back when there was some movement in the barn.

“Hallo Handsome!” Danny’s voice made the horse step forward again and the little snort felt like a greeting. To all of them. Danny giggled.

“Have you met Dawn?” the boy asked the horse.

“He has,” the grandfather answered. “They are good friends already.”

“Good,” Danny beamed.

“How about we put them out for a few hours?” Luke chuckled when Handsome started ‘nodding’ again.

“I saw your horse arena is completely snow free,” Holden’s approval was evident, “so I think that’s a good idea.”

“Yeah, there’s something installed in the ground that will keep it dry and warm,” Luke explained. “Some kind of under floor heating.”

“I can tell you chose some new techniques…” Holden nodded, “It looks great.”

“Thanks Dad,” Luke looked proud and pointed at a little control panel next to the stable door.  “This will open the other end of the stables, so they can walk in and out as they please.”

Luke smiled when he saw Danny having some silent conversation with his pony.

“How about it, sweetie? Are you ready to let Dawn stretch her legs a little in the arena?”

Danny nodded. “She’d like that.”

“Good. Just lead her into her own barn and close the door.”

When Holden stepped forward to help, Luke put his hand on his father’s arm and quickly shook his head. Danny could do this. And he did. He oozed pride when he joined Luke and Holden again. After Luke showed him where to hang the halter, Danny looked up to the control panel.

“Can I push, Daddy?”

“Of course,” Luke lifted the boy up so he could reach the buttons, “it’s the green one.”

After the push, a soft rattle indicated that the sliding doors were opening and for a moment both horses just looked alert, but didn’t move. Then their curiosity took over and after a few careful steps, they walked outside and started to run around.

“Come, let’s watch them outside,” when Luke extended his hand, Danny grabbed it immediately.

“That was awesome,” he sighed and Luke smiled. He’d always treasured the moments he could share his love for horses with Holden and now he could share it with his own son. When he looked up to Holden, they exchanged a telling smile.

It was awesome alright.


157 Dawn is breaking
dr. Reid Oliver
sylnl

 

Word Soap: As The World Keeps Turning
Author:
SYLnl
Title:  #157 Dawn is breaking
Rating: PG
Summary:  “Change, like sunshine, can be a friend or a foe, a blessing or a curse, a dawn or a dusk.” - William Arthur Ward
Big Thanks To: ltklo, for brushing up my grammar

Previously on As The World Keeps Turning: click here for chapters 1 - 156



“…and I was hoping you’d go with me…” Luke tried hard not to sound too desperate, but he kinda was. He needed Danny to leave the house, so Holden and Damian could set up the surprise, but knowing that his grandfather was coming to talk about horses – or so Danny still thought – made it nearly impossible to get the boy away from the premise.

“But Daddy…” the boy looked absolutely outraged right now, “Grandpa Holden is coming!”

“I know, sweetie. I’ll make sure we’ll be back in time…”

“But Daddy is staying home with Zoë. Why can’t I stay…”

“Daddy is on call, Danny. You know what that means. And when the hospital calls, he will drop Zoë off at Uncle Seth’s. I assumed you wouldn’t like to stay there without me…” it was a dangerous gamble, Luke realized, but it did pay off. Danny frowned and shook his head.

“I don’t want that.”

“And that’s perfectly fine. But coming with me is the only option.”

Danny’s pout would have been adorable if it hadn’t reminded Luke of himself so much. He just ruffled the boys hair and tossed him his jacket.

“Come on, let’s go. We’ll be back soon…”

Luke walked over to the couch where Reid was watching cartoons with Zoë and their kiss was soft, quick, but loving. They both smiled at each other and Luke pinched Reid’s chin.

“I hope you’ll still be home when we come back,” he whispered and Reid tapped Luke’s leg.

“I hope so too.” And he wasn’t even lying. He could do without the horses, but he was looking forward to Danny’s face when he would see the pony.

“Bye Daddy,” Danny kissed Reid on his cheek and then waved at Zoë. “Bye. I wish I could…”

“Danny,” Reid sounded firm, “That’s enough of the drama. Just help your daddy buy some nice pie. Make sure it’s a lot.”

“Yes Daddy,” the boy was a little startled by Reid’s tone, but the pie remark made him smile again and he was even hopping to the door. Luke watched it with a shaking head. Danny was turning into a normal six year old alright.

**
“Grandpa Holden isn’t even here yet,” after Luke helped Danny out of his seat, the boy put his hands in his pockets and looked relieved.

“I told you we’d be back in time,” Luke smiled, handing Danny a bag. “Can you hold that for me?”

The boy nodded, carrying the bag as a trophy. “I’m sure Daddy is gonna love the pie.”

“I’m sure too,” Luke agreed, “You picked a very good one.”

While Luke grabbed all the groceries from the car, an unfamiliar sound – at least for their part of the world - reached their ears and Danny’s head went up.

“A horse…”

“Yeah, I heard,” Luke smiled as he walked to the house and opened the door. “Come, let’s put this away and find out where that sound is coming from…”

Danny wasn’t wasting any time. He rushed inside, put the pie on the counter and started dancing around Luke. Suddenly he stood still.

“Daddy and Zoë are not here,” all excitement was gone. He understood the message. Reid had been called to work.

“Come,” Luke grabbed the boy’s hand and together they walked to the end of the grounds. Loud neighs welcomed them and Danny was back to the skipping.

“It sounds close, Daddy.”

“It is close,” Luke pointed at the stables and the young boy next to him looked startled at seeing the trailers.

“What…”

“Grandpa Damian and Grandpa Holden will explain…” Luke started, watched the company in front of him and then made a surprised sound. “…and Grandma Lily is here too!”

“And Daddy!” Danny made a run for it and even with Zoë in his arms, Reid managed to give his son the welcome he deserved and then focused on the larger blond, leaning in for a kiss.

“Hey,” Luke softly slapped Reid’s cheek and then smiled at Zoë. “Hey sweetie, did you have fun with the cartoons?”

The trademark shrug was all he got and the girl didn’t even smile at Danny. It was obvious. Zoë was not happy and she wasn’t hiding it either.

“I think we can safely conclude that our Zoë is not a horse person…” Reid softly explained and the way the girl pinched her nose was emphasizing his words.

“You can keep each other company then,” Luke concluded and decided to focus on Danny. This was his big moment and he didn’t want anyone – not even their newest member of the family – spoil that for him.

“Hey guys, good to see you all,” Luke greeted his parents and gave his mother a soft kiss on the cheek. “I didn’t expect you to be here.”
“I didn’t expect it either,” Lily smiled, “And it’s just for today. Damian will bring me back to the hospital after we deliver our surprise for Danny.”

Hearing his name made the boy step forward. “Surprise for me?”

“Yes sweetie. You thought Grandpa Holden was coming over to talk about horses, but he already found you the perfect pony.”

“You did?” All initial reserve melted as Danny looked up to Holden and tugged the man’s trouser. “A pony? For me?”

“A pony for you,” Holden nodded. “A surprise from your grandparents.”

“For me?” Danny repeated and they all chuckled. His disbelief was priceless.

“Let me get her for you…” Holden stepped into the barn and when he came out with the beautiful pony, Danny started crying.

“This can’t be for me,” he whispered and Luke pulled him close, kissing the blond hair.

“But it really is, sweetie.”

Danny was still shaking his head when Holden reached him.

“This is Dawn, Danny.”

Still visibly confused, the boy softly touched the yellowish neck and then the pony looked up at the human next to her. Her lips vibrated and let out a mixture of whinnying and snorting. It was an awkward sound, almost like she talked.


156 Silent conversation
dr. Reid Oliver
sylnl


 

Word Soap: As The World Keeps Turning
Author:
SYLnl
Title:  #156 Silent conversation
Rating: PG
Summary:  “My words like silent raindrops fell and echoed in the wells of silence.” - Paul Simon
Big Thanks To: ltklo, for brushing up my grammar

Previously on As The World Keeps Turning: click here for chapters 1 - 155



“Are you awake?”

The soft whisper out of the speaker made Luke and Reid look up at the same time and after a quick grin to each other, they huddled together to watch the little monitor next to the couch.

They could see Zoë come up a little and nod at Danny. Was she smiling? The screen was too small to really tell.

“Are you okay?”

The way Zoë pressed her old teddy bear against her chest was telling.

“Are you scared?”

She nodded.

“Of me?” Both fathers cringed a little at the insecurity in Danny’s tone, but smiled when Zoë shook her head.

“Of our daddies?”

Without noticing, Luke had grabbed Reid’s hand and when Zoë shrugged, he squeezed so hard it hurt.

“Hey,” Reid pulled away his hand and placed it on Luke’s back, pulling his partner close.

Completely out of character, Luke didn’t even apologize. All his focus was on the little screen and this interaction between their kids.

“I understand,” Danny said softly. “When I first came here, I didn’t trust them either.”

That statement obviously surprised Zoë and she was clearly all ears, so Danny continued.

“I was in a bad place, you know. Before I came here, I mean. Those people…” Danny shook his head, “they were mean. They hurt me. So when I was brought here…I kinda expected the same. They were nice when other people were around, but I was sure they would get mean. That always happened.”

Danny shrugged and Zoë looked worried.

“But they were never mean, Zoë. This is a good home,” Danny softly tapped her on her leg. “You’re safe.”

Zoë shaking her head shook them all and then she put her hand on her mouth. Harshly. Like someone grabbed her. It made Danny flinch.

“Somebody hurt you?”

Zoë nodded.

“And he’s still out there?”

She nodded again, pulling her bear very close.

“Don’t worry, he can’t come here. I’ll ask Daddy Reid to show you the system. He showed me, because I was scared too. Nobody can come into the house. There are little…” Danny obviously forgot what they were called, “…things all around the house. If someone climbs the gate, men with big muscles will come and catch him.”

Danny tapped Zoë’s leg again.

“So you can go to sleep. You’re safe.”

Zoë didn’t look completely convinced, but she did nod and laid down again.

“I’m glad you’re here,” Danny said, as he moved off the bed and waved at his new sister. “Goodnight Zoë.”

The girl waved back at him and Luke and Reid could hear Danny walk to his own room.

“He’s so special,” Reid’s voice was filled with emotion and Luke snuggled even closer, letting his face lean against Reid’s neck.

“He is,” he agreed. “And apparently Zoë is more scared then we knew.”

“Yep.” Reid leaned back into the couch, his hand on his neck. “Her not talking isn’t helping.”

“Her not able to write yet isn’t helping either,” Luke made a wry face.

Reid was softly caressing Luke’s back, watching his blond still looking at the screen. Were they in over their heads? He was about to say something, when their attention was drawn by a soft but telling sound. Zoë was crying.

“Now what?” Luke bit his lip.

“What do you mean, now what?” Reid frowned. “Let’s go up there.”

“You go…there’s a connection between you two…”

“What’s going on?” Reid softly grabbed Luke’s chin and made eye contact. “Did you forget how she smiled at you after dinner? She even let you carry her to the couch.”

“I know.” Luke shrugged. “I’m just…”

“Scared,” Reid calmly said, “and so am I. This is whole new territory, Luke. We’ll just have to trust our instincts, like we did with Danny. That worked out pretty well.”

“But we don’t know anything about her…”

“Exactly. So let’s get acquainted.”

Luke smiled halfheartedly. “I feel so stupid.”

That made Reid sit up straight.

“Stupid? Why?”

“I was the one assuring you I wanted this, that I could do this…”

“You do want this and you can do this…”

“I’m not so sure anymore.”

The soft whisper made Reid frown. He could still hear the little girl sobbing and his father-heart urged him to go to her. But his lover was dealing with pain too. Now what? Three words came to mind. Three words that had already demonstrated their efficiency.

“Trust the love.”

“What?”

“Trust the love. You’ve loved this girl from the moment you saw her. Maybe even before that. Trust that love and we can’t go wrong. I really believe that.”

“Trust the love,” Luke smiled, “Maybe I should tattoo it on my arm. I keep forgetting it.”

“And now you remember,” Reid shrugged and rose to his feet. “Let’s go.”

When they came up the stairs, they could hear Danny leaving his bed and Reid picked him up with an elaborate swoop that made the boy giggle.

“She’s crying,” he whispered in Reid’s ear and the man held the boy close to his chest.

“We know,” Reid kissed the boy’s temple. “I’m really proud of you. You’re a great big brother.”

Danny beamed for a moment, but then looked worried again.

“I didn’t know what to do when she started crying…”

“That’s okay. We’re here.”

He followed Luke to Zoë’s room and then decided to sit on the edge on her bed, still holding Danny in his arms.

Luke softly touched her cheek, but she didn’t open her eyes and for a second the fathers exchanged looks and a silent conversation.

“I don’t know what to say to her…”

“Yes you do.”

“Do you want us to leave?” Luke whispered and with her eyes closed, she shook her head, so Luke kept stroking her cheek.

“It’s okay,” his soft voice was loving and patient, “Is there anything I can do to help?”

Blue eyes, swimming in water, looked up to him and suddenly Luke recognized a yearning that reminded him of Reid. Big blue eyes begging him to hold him, to comfort him, but also the pure disinclination of showing that vulnerability. One big difference…Zoë wasn’t babbling. She wasn’t saying a word, not even making a sound. Luke slowly moved his hand to her back and then softly pulled her against his chest and the moment their bodies met, Zoë’s hands found their way around his neck and her sobbing turned into a heartbreaking cry.

All Luke could do was hold her, while rubbing her back and whispering “It’s okay. Just let it all out.”

When Reid felt Danny watching him, he looked down and smiled when he saw Danny’s telling look and then pulled the boy close to him. Danny knew the signs. Zoë had decided to trust Luke with her pain. Yet another step made.


155 New connections
dr. Reid Oliver
sylnl

 
Word Soap: As The World Keeps Turning
Author:
SYLnl
Title:  #155 New connections
Rating: PG
Summary:  “Everything in life is connected somehow. You may have to dig deep to find it but its there.” – Donald Miller
Big Thanks To: ltklo, for brushing up my grammar

Previously on As The World Keeps Turning: click here for chapters 1 - 154



They were ready for her. Their former guestroom was a little girl’s room now and although Reid was very sure Luke would have managed just fine on his own, his partner had involved Faith and Natalie in the whole process and the three of them had done pretty well. Four of them, Reid corrected himself looking at Danny. Their son had taken the role of supervisor, making sure everything would be perfect for his little sister. And it was. They were ready for her.

He felt something stir inside as he watched Luke. One year ago he was dropped into Podunk Illinois and – seemingly – stripped of his free will. His heart and body had been sucked into the Swamp of Irresistible Attraction and his brain had been so busy struggling with all those emotions that were flushing in, that he hadn’t realized he was getting in too deep before it was too late.

Six long months he’d hated that Swamp. But now it was heaven. He never knew being a father would be so great. He never would have believed he would be so good at it. Would this be it? Two kids? Reid grinned. Very casually Luke had mentioned something about an extension to their house and when Reid had inquired why they would need more rooms, Luke had blushed.

‘Well…you know… all the rooms are occupied now. I like the thought of some spare rooms…’

‘We’ll have two guesthouses in a few months. One of them is almost finished. How much room do you need?’ Reid had asked and Luke had lowered his head.

‘That’s in another building, though. It could be useful to have some spare rooms here…’

Not capable of teasing Luke for too long, Reid had given in.

‘If you think we need more space, this would be great timing. They’re building now anyway, so we’d better get it right.’

‘Exactly,’ Luke had been visibly relieved, ‘We’re dealing with all the noise and mess already…So you’re okay with it if I ask Dave to give some input?’

‘I am,’ Reid had confirmed, ‘but I only have one condition…I don’t want the front of the house changed. I love that farmhouse look and feel.’

‘Me too,’ Luke had smiled and had softly caressed Reid’s stomach. ‘I remember driving up here for the first time… we knew this was the house.’

Reid had given a kiss on Luke’s blond locks. ‘We did. So I don’t want to mess with her appearance…’

He knew how sappy he had sounded. Talking about the house as a ‘she’, as a entity. But that’s how he felt. This house was his very first home. The very first place he felt he could be himself. Where he was loved for who he was, not for what he did. This house had taken him in.

And now his home would welcome another child. His daughter. It still felt illusory, but then reality struck him when he saw her coming towards them in the wheelchair. The CS-guy, pushing her down the corridor, looked like the proverbial cat that ate the canary and it made Reid grin. CS-Bill had gotten his way and eventually they were all winners. It was a good deal.

Everybody was nervous. Well, everybody except CS-Bill. He was the only one looking completely relaxed, while Luke was fidgeting his earlobe, Danny was biting his lip, Zoë pulled the old and the new teddy bear close and Reid’s left hand was tapping his leg. No one in the group was aware of their audience. Nurses and even some doctors had found some good spots to witness the union of this special family. Nurse Tyler was the only one with a real reason to be there and she made the best of it.

“This is Zoë’s suitcase,” the little purple suitcase exchanged hands and Luke held it close for a minute. As if all the secrets inside this little trunk could give him extra strength. “And this is her medicine. Dr. Hughes added some instructions, but it’s all very straightforward.”

She leaned over to Zoë and when she noticed some panic in the child’s eyes, she smiled reassuring.

“It was great to meet you, Zoë. I’m very happy you’re going home now with your big brother and your daddies,” Nurse Tyler crouched down and softly touched Zoë’s cheek, “Take care, sweetie.”

The smile Nurse Tyler was hoping for didn’t come and with a soft sigh she straightened herself and stepped back. All her little patients touched her one way or the other, but once in a while a special one would come along. And Zoë was on that list. Nurse Tyler smiled when she watched her COS, his partner and their son approaching the girl. It was very obvious Zoë was very special to them too. She knew this girl couldn’t be in better hands. The charming, loving Luke Snyder and the sarcastic, commonsensical Reid Oliver had blended their characters into this amazing mix of level-headed dedication. Without much drama, without any mind games, without power struggles. Nobody knew, but watching these two men interact had made her question her own relationship. The ease, the respect, the acceptance, the fun, the love…all that was lacking in her own life and although she’d known that for a long time, seeing her chief and his partner together had made it painfully clear. This is what she wanted too.

With a big sigh she watched the Oliver-Snyder family leave the hospital. Danny was pushing the wheelchair and she could still hear his excited conversation with his new sister. She was so focused on that scene, that the male voice next to her startled her.

“She’s one of the lucky ones.”

Nurse Tyler nodded. “She is.”

“Can I buy you a cup of coffee to celebrate, Miss Tyler?”

She looked up in surprise. Suddenly noticing the warm glow in the grey eyes. Remembering his calm tenderness and patience with Zoë. A coffee couldn’t hurt.

“Yes, Mr. Chimberlane, that would be great.

She liked how her answer made his face light up for a moment, so she ignored the curious looks of her colleagues as she pointed at Bob’s.

“We actually have some great coffee these days.”

“That’s good,” Bill Chimberlane responded, although – in all honesty – he couldn’t care less about the coffee. They would sit down together and talk. Now he was the one being nervous.

***
“Welcome home, sweetie.”

While Danny kept the door open, Luke walked in with the girl in his arms and without showing much emotion, Zoë slowly looked around.

“We sleep upstairs,” Danny was still holding the door. This time for Reid who was bringing in wheelchair, crutches, suitcase and bag, but maybe for the first time ever Danny’s attention was not on his father. He was clearly in awe of their new member of the family, “but you’ll see…your room is beautiful.”

“Do you want to go there first?”

Zoë shook her head and pointed at the crutches. The message was clear. She wanted to make her own way through the house. So Luke put her down on a chair and gave her the crutches. For a moment she just sat there. Visibly overwhelmed.

“Okay guys, let’s give Zoë some time to settle in. Danny, can you help me set the table? I already prepared dinner, so I’ll turn on the oven and we can eat in about fifteen minutes.”

The boy was clearly torn, but Luke’s eyes didn’t leave much room to argue and with a small pout he followed his father into the kitchen, while Reid lifted the suitcase.

“Do you want this here of do you want me to put it upstairs in your room?”

The girl, still on the chair, pointed up and after a nod Reid walked to the stairs.

“I’ll be right back.”

When he saw the relieved nod, Reid smiled. Luke had been right. Zoë needed some time to become acclimated. When he came down again, she was still sitting but her demeanor had changed. She’d been crying and Reid almost grinned when he saw her wiping her cheeks when he walked towards her.

He squatted next to her and softly touched a tear she missed.  

“It’s a lot to take in, isn’t it?”

Zoë just nodded, not looking at him.

“It’s okay to feel what you feel, Zoë. Don’t feel ever ashamed of who you are or what you feel.”

Again a nod.

Reid lowered himself even more by sitting on the floor. He pulled his legs up and put his arms around them. He wanted to soothe her. He wanted to help her. But he was lost for words. He looked up to her and their eyes met. The familiar frown appeared instantly and Reid smiled.

“What’s that frown about, sweetie?”

A little startled she just looked at him and then her hand moved to one of his eyes. He kept them open as she softly moved her finger on his face.

“Our eyes have the same color,” Reid said, “Is that what’s making you frown?”

Zoë shook her head, looking attentively now. She moved her hand from the front of his face to the side of his head. She mirrored the motion on her own head, having one hand on her own temple and the other one on Reid’s. This time the man frowned and after noticing that Reid didn’t understand her message, she removed the hand from her temple and pointed two fingers to her own eyes and then to Reid’s.

“She feels a connection. She recognizes something in your eyes,” he heard Luke softly say next to him and for a moment Zoë stared at the blond, nodded and then pointed at herself.

“She recognizes herself in you,” Luke translated unprompted and something sparkled in Zoë’s eyes when she nodded again. It left Reid speechless. She recognized herself in him? What did that even mean? His first impulse was to joke about it, but when he saw Luke’s expression he didn’t.

“You’ll have a whole life together to find out what she recognizes,” Luke put his hand on Reid’s shoulder and one finger played with a curl in Reid’s neck. “Are you ready to eat?”

Reid grinned.

“I’m always ready to eat,” he let himself be pulled up by Luke and then turned to Zoë.

“Do you want to hobble your way to the kitchen on those crutches or do you want a private ride on my back?”

Zoë didn’t smile and pointed at her crutches. The determination was all over her little face, her eyes a little defiant.

“Okay Pert, show us what you’ve got,” Reid teased and while she lifted her head proudly, she grabbed her crutches, found her balance and hopped to the kitchen. With their arms around each other both fathers watched her go and smiled.

“She’s strong willed,” Reid grinned.

“I’m glad you’re enjoying that,” Luke snorted and Reid pulled him a little closer.

“She’s a handful, but we knew that,” Reid shrugged, “and hey Snyder…you tamed me, so I’m sure you can handle her.”

“Funny, you don’t feel tamed to me,” Luke chuckled when Reid’s hand suddenly moved to his crotch. “See? That’s not tamed.”

“Maybe you should try a little harder…”

“It’s hard enough for now,” Luke whispered and gave Reid the look. And surely enough, it worked once again.

“You have that eye sex mastered,” Reid groaned and Luke laughed out loud, cleverly avoiding Reid’s hands and quickly moving into the kitchen. The look they exchanged was telling. Later.


154 Closing
dr. Reid Oliver
sylnl


Word Soap: As The World Keeps Turning
Author:
SYLnl
Title:  #154 Closing
Rating: PG
Summary:  “Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.” - Alexander Graham Bell
Big Thanks To: ltklo, for brushing up my grammar



Previously on As The World Keeps Turning: click here for chapters 1 - 153


There was a lot of humming today, Reid noticed. The fact that all nurses were in tune about the melody was very obvious too. He tried to look annoyed, but the amusement in his eyes spoiled his act.

Actually he had no reason to be annoyed. Elvis’ ‘Devil in disguise’ was one of his favorite classics and his hospital – he loved referring to it like that – was running like clockwork. He had replaced some nurses and doctors that had been inadequate. They had all found new jobs in neighboring hospitals, what Reid found disturbing but not his responsibility, and the new employees lived up to his standards.

It had changed the whole dynamic of the hospital. There was a new sense of pride. Of integrity. Of team work. Of respect. And most of all, a new sense of efficiency. Just how Reid liked it. And speaking of liking…

“Hey you two.” He swooped Danny above his head and enjoyed the big hug the boy gave him and then he kissed Luke. “All ready to go?”

“Are you sure you can’t come, Daddy?”

“I’m sure. I have to stay here,” Reid put the boy down on his feet, “But I do have time to see you off.”

Apparently Danny accepted the situation, because he didn’t argue and started skipping, holding hands with each father.

When they arrived at the Children’s Ward, Zoë was already in a wheel chair and Danny hurried to her.

“Cool!” he admired the seating arrangements and Zoë gave him a glimpse of a smile.

“Can I push, Daddy?”

“You should ask Zoë,” Luke suggested and when the girl nodded, he continued, “and be very careful. Zoë doesn’t have that cast for fun.”

The adults shook hands and Bill Chimberlane gave Luke a telling glance.

“Ready for this?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” Luke answered, looking at Zoë.

“I’m glad you agreed to join us,” Bill stressed, “I think it’s very important that you can share this with her.”

“We think so too,” Luke nodded. “I’m sure it will be very emotional…” and I want to be there for her, Luke finished in thought.

“It will,” Bob confirmed. “But it will also give her closure.”

Reid joined them to the car and after everybody was buckled in, he gave Luke a quick kiss.

“Good luck.”

Luke’s soft “Thanks” revealed his emotion and Reid couldn’t make himself go inside after seeing the car off. Part of him wanted to be in that car too, but another part was selfishly relieved that he could stay here. Visiting Zoë’s parental home would be no picnic, but Child Services had explained to them that it was necessary to give the girl a chance to secure some items she wanted to keep and to really come to terms with the fact that her parents were not coming home.

Not entirely sure about CS’ capabilities, Reid had checked with Dr. Michaels and she had agreed with the procedure. She had also advised them to bring Danny with them, so Zoë would have a peer to share it with.

After a deep breath, Reid turned around and walked back inside.

“Was there really nobody to cover for you?”

“I didn’t check,” Reid smiled. “After their visit, Luke is taking Zoë on a little shopping spree so she can show him what colors she wants for her room and stuff like that…”

“Not your thing,” Alison laughed.

“Not my thing,” Reid agreed.

“Let’s go to work then.”

“Let’s do that. What have you got for me?”

***
Run down. That was Luke’s first impression of the neighborhood in general and the house they were walking towards was no exception. While Bill was pushing Zoë’s wheel chair up the small hill, Danny walked beside her with his hand on hers. Luke wasn’t sure she noticed. She only had eyes for the house and her stare was a mixture of fear and sadness.

While Bill parked the wheel chair and walked to the door to unlock it, Luke squatted and looked at Zoë.

“When we go in, I will keep my hand on this armrest. If you want to stop or show me something, you just have to touch it, okay?”

For a minute Luke was convinced she would ignore him, but then she turned her head and looked at him. Intensely. Cautiously. Her hand lifted and unconsciously Luke held his breath when she softly touched his cheek and then nodded.

Unknowingly Bill ended the magic. “Okay, let’s go in…”

“Ready?” Luke whispered and the girl nodded, her eyes on the house again.

The shabby look outside continued inside. The furniture was old and mucky and every room was messy. Luke watched both Danny and Zoë like a hawk, so Danny’s look didn’t stay unnoticed. He didn’t feel comfortable.

“Daddy?” It was a soft whisper, but Luke responded immediately.

“Yes sweetie?”

“Can I walk next to you?”

“Of course.”

The boy rushed to Luke’s side and grabbed his hand.

“Scary?”

“It kinda feels like…you know…that place. Where I lived before I came home.”

Luke nodded, kissing the boy’s hair.

“Do you want to leave?”

“Yes, but I won’t,” he straightened his shoulders and smiled at Zoë. “I’m safe.”

“Yes you are,” Luke almost choked on his emotions, so he took a deep breath and turned to Zoë.

“Is there anything in this room you want to take with you, sweetie?”

Zoë shook her head and then pointed at the ceiling.

“Upstairs? Your room?”

The child nodded and then frowned. Apparently realizing what Luke became aware of. Stairs.

“I can carry you up?” Bill offered, but Zoë shook her head and looked at Luke.

“You want me to carry you?”

Her nod was quick and vague, but it was a nod and again he took a deep breath. After her standoffish behavior, just a few days ago, this was quite a change and he felt blessed and hopeful.

As careful as possible he lifted her up and she surprised him again by leaning to his chest. Danny looked a little lost, watching them, so Luke involved him by giving him a job.

“Danny, would you watch her cast for me? Make sure that we don’t bump into something?”

“Yes Daddy,” he grew three inches on the spot, “I will.”

Slowly they worked their way up and Luke had to hold his breath again. But this time to prevent him from gagging. The smell upstairs was horrifically…like something died.

Bill was obviously thinking the same thing, because he motioned Luke to wait and starting checking the room. When he came back he was carrying a pillowcase and hurried downstairs, mouthing ‘cat’ in the process.

Oh god. When Luke felt warm drops of fluid on his shirt, he knew Zoë had pieced it together and he softly kissed her curls.

“I’m so sorry, Zoë.”

He could feel her nod, but she didn’t make a sound, until Bill returned and opened the door to her bedroom. A long, soft moan escaped the child’s lips as she looked around in the notable bright and tidy room. Her arms were stretched to the bed and when Luke sat down on it, she grabbed a fluffy teddy bear and pulled it close to her face. Crying out loud now.

Danny sat next to her, one hand on her leg, and just watched her. His smile seemed to calm her down and she looked around again. Apparently she liked pink.

“Do you want your new room to be pink too?”

To Luke’s surprise, she shook her head with a passion.

“You don’t like pink?” Or don’t you want to be reminded of this room…

Again her response was passionate. She stuck out her tongue and pulled out a face. She really didn’t like pink.

She then pointed at her bear.

“You want to bring the bear with you?” Luke guessed.

She nodded, but then she pointed at the wall and back to the bear.

“You like that colour?”

When she nodded, Luke and Danny started laughing and Zoë’s deep frown was back.

“That’s the colour that’s already on the wall of your room,” Luke explained and Danny nodded.

“On mine too, Zoë. I love that colour too.”

For a moment the two children looked at each other intensely and then they both smiled at the same time. Luke’s heart grew. His children. Bonding.

“Okay Zoë, what else do you want us to take?”

The girl looked at a picture frame on a small table. When Bill gave it to her, she softly caressed the picture of two elderly people.

“I’m guessing grandparents…”

Bill was right. Zoë nodded.

Then she pointed under the bed and Bill obediently bend down and grabbed a little suitcase. The way she grabbed it, but didn’t open it, was a telling sign. This was her secret. And everybody respected that without a word.

“Something else?”

She slowly shook her head and Luke could almost feel how she silently said goodbye to her old life.

“Do you want me to take a picture of your room?”

When Zoë looked up to him, she gave him a big smile. The first real smile she’d shared with him. Then she shook her head and lifted her arms up to him.

“Ready to go?”

She nodded and with a smile he lifted her up again. When he noticed Bill watching them with a content expression, he winked and looked as grateful as possible. Bill had been right all the way. This experience had given Luke a connection with Zoë he hadn’t felt before. She trusted him. And he knew from experience that it was an important first step.

He gave Danny a big grin. “Can you watch the leg again, sweetie?”

The boy nodded, visibly proud of his important task and carefully they walked away from the penetrating smell, the room that had revealed some of Zoë’s character - she obviously had kept her room tidy…Reid would be so pleased with another ‘neat freak’ in the house, Luke thought with a grin – and the family life that had ended on the side of the highway.

After both children were buckled in, Luke turned to the house one more time.

‘I’m sorry your life had to end this way,’ he silently told Zoë’s parents. ‘I promise we’ll take good care of her. I hope you found peace.’

Some snowflakes came out of nowhere and landed on his nose. It made him smile.

Then he stepped into the car and fastened his seatbelt. He waved at the house and saw in his rear view mirror how Danny and Zoë copied his movement.

Another chapter closed.


153 Devil in disguise
dr. Reid Oliver
sylnl


Word Soap: As The World Keeps Turning
Author:
SYLnl
Title:  #153 Devil in disguise
Rating: PG
Summary:  “Your best friend and worst enemy are both in this room right now. It's not your neighbor right or left - and it's not God or the devil - it's you.” - Edwin Louis Cole
Big Thanks To: ltklo, for brushing up my grammar


Previously on As The World Keeps Turning: click here for chapters 1 - 152


The minute Luke entered the kitchen, he started laughing. Two grown men, red sauce around their mouth and a ‘caught-in-the-act’ expression on their face, looked up to him and in one swift motion Luke pulled out his phone and took a picture.

Reid moaned. “Mr. Blackmail having a picture of us like this is not good news…”

“You’re right about that,” Luke calmly agreed, shaking his head at the pile of bones that used to be enough chicken legs to please the crowd in the other room.

“I came in here to warm these up for our guests…” Luke started.

“I guess you’re too late,” Reid concluded without any remorse.

“I’m a guest,” Simon put forward without any remorse.

“Don’t make me regret that,” Luke smirked and for a moment Simon looked uncertain.

“If it’s any consolation…your man did give me a piece of his mind.”

“And we made peace with some chicken,” Reid completed.

Some chicken?” Luke’s eyes were still on the huge pile on the table.

“Okay…so we both have a healthy appetite,” Reid shrugged and tried to pull Luke closer, but the blond jumped aside.

“No kissing as long as you look like that,” Luke grinned and rushed to the pantry, returning with another bucket of chicken.

“There’s more?” Reid’s eyes glimmered.

“Not for you, Food Monster,” Luke put the chicken in the microwave and hit some buttons.

“He’s so cruel,” Reid complained to Simon, who proved to be his new best friend.

“I can see that, mate,” he softly patted Reid on the back, “I feel for ya.”

“Thanks. It helps,” drama was coming out of Reid’s ears and it was so out of character that Luke stayed focused on the microwave in front of him, so Reid wouldn’t see his big smile. It made Reid go into the drama even further.

“And this is just the tip of the iceberg… there have been times he flat out refused to get me some food.”

“No way!” Simon sounded genuinely outraged.

“Way!” Reid whined, “he made me go out of bed myself. At three a.m.!”

“That’s inhuman.”

“You know it.”

“I know it,” Simon emphasized. “Katie is the same way. Maybe worse. She doesn’t even let me into her bed.”

“Brutal,” Reid agreed.

“She might be the smartest one of us all,” Luke said calmly, his eyes still following the chicken in the microwave, inhaling the delicious smell.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Reid growled and Luke shrugged.

“If we don’t share a bed, I can’t kick you out of it to get your own food.”

Damn. Luke had him nailed and they both knew it. Luke’s grin was victorious when he turned around with the warmed up chicken on a plate.

“I’ll take the abuse,” Reid grumbled and Luke laughed out loud.

“Wise choice,” on the threshold Luke turned to both men at the table again, “have fun comparing notes.”

“Wow, he’s fierce…” Luke heard Simon say when Luke stepped into the hallway and eager to hear Reid’s response, Luke stood still.

“He is,” Reid sounded proud.

“I was wondering about the dynamics between the two of you and Katie already assured me that Luke stood his ground, but now I know what she means.”

“Yeah, he’s the perfect sparring partner,” Reid agreed, “He’s the perfect partner. Period.”

“I can see that. The painful truth is…I had that. With Katie. And I let it slip away.”

“You know my take on that. You could get it back, but shopping around is not the way to get there.”

“I know. I’ve heard you. Loud and clear. I’ll tell Katie everything.”

“Good. You know I’m rooting for ya, but if you hurt her, I’ll be your worst enemy.”

“I know. I’m glad she has a good friend like you.”

“She’s a good friend to me too,” Luke couldn’t see Reid, but he just knew the doctor was shrugging right now.

“I’ll treat her right,” Simon promised.

“You’d better,” Reid said calmly and then raised his voice. “Hey Snyder, don’t let those chickens cool off too much!”

Luke bit his lip, but decided to let his laugh out to confirm his presence.

“Good point,” he said as cheerfully as possible and then hurried to the living room.

***

“In all fairness,” Reid turned out the lights and accepted Luke’s extended hand with a smile, “I did have some fun tonight.”

“I’m glad.”

“When is the next one planned?”

Luke chuckled. “That’s up to you. Next important event is your birthday.”

“Wrong.”

“Wrong?” Luke frowned.

“Wrong. Next important event is tomorrow. Or today, I should say.”

Luke’s frown deepened.

“Today?” January 19th. It didn’t ring any bells.

“Don’t tell me you forgot…” Reid teased and Luke bit his lip. He supposed to be the considerate one in this pairing. The one with all the anniversaries listed in his head. Was Reid kidding or…

“That day changed everything,” Reid continued, “and you don’t remember?”

All of a sudden Reid noticed Luke’s discomfort and he pulled him in.

“I’m just teasing.”

“So today isn’t an anniversary?”

“Uhhh yeah, it is. But it’s okay if you don’t remember. You had a lot on your mind, one year ago…”

Something started to dawn on Luke and he slapped his hand in front of his mouth.

“Is it the day you came to Oakdale?”

“Almost. It’s the day we first spoke on the telephone,” Reid said and Luke sat on the edge of the bed.

“January 19th,” he whispered.

“Yep,” Reid took his phone out, activated his agenda, found the date and showed Luke the entry.

‘Call Luke Snyder.’

“I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t know then what I know now…” he grinned, putting his phone down on the night stand and starting to undress Luke.

“You wouldn’t have returned my call?”

“Probably not. Nobody would have been able to convince me that being in love was a good thing.”

Luke’s hands pulled on Reid’s shirt and he smiled when he felt the bare skin under his fingertips.

“I’m glad you changed your mind.”

“Me too,” Reid grinned, removing Luke’s pants in one fast – and very well trained - sweep.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw you,” Reid mumbled against Luke’s chest.

“I thought it took you a few times…”

“To know I was lost, yeah. But I wasn’t the blind one, Looker. God, you’re so beautiful. Those big brown eyes…the minute you looked at me, my whole body came to life. I remember turning my head. I wasn’t able to keep looking at you, without slobbering all over you.”

“You were so arrogant,” Luke smiled at the memory, “and so rude…those blue eyes so icy…”

“Did I make something happen here?” Reid’s finger slowly made a path to Luke’s groin and the blond gasped.

“You did, but I dismissed it. I decided that your looks were a strange anomaly of nature. A waste of beautiful features. A devil in disguise.”

Reid chuckled.

“I can’t blame you.”

“No, that you can’t. And according to the song the nurses picked out for you tonight, I wasn’t the only one thinking that.” Luke teased, pulling Reid’s head towards him for a lazy, deep kiss. “But luckily I’ve realized your looks weren’t the disguise. Your attitude was.”

“Hmm,” Reid’s tongue danced over Luke’s skin, “You waltzed right through all the masks. I was pretty busy building up new walls.”

“Yes you were,” Luke softly moaned as Reid removed his own clothing and their skin touched.

“I’m glad I can put all that energy to other use now,” Reid whispered and he smiled when Luke shivered.

“Me too,” the blond gasped, grabbing onto Reid’s body. “One year ago… just one year ago…”

“I know,” Reid started moving, “I’ll deny it if you ever quote me on this to somebody else, but sometimes I can’t grasp the fact that I had this whole life before us. It’s a blur. All I know is you. My life started with you. How pathetic is that?”

“Not pathetic,” Luke whispered, “Beautiful. I feel the same way. Everything was a dress rehearsal at best. Just some groundwork necessary to get us where we are right now.”

Reid stopped moving and lifted himself up for a moment. Disbelief and love on his face. “You feel that too?”

Luke nodded, smiling. “I do.”

After an intense look and a broad smile, Reid lowered himself again. Immerging himself in his personal wonder called Luke Snyder.


152 Scared to love
dr. Reid Oliver
sylnl


Word Soap: As The World Keeps Turning
Author:
SYLnl
Title:  #152 Scared to love
Rating: PG
Summary:  “Loving can cost a lot but not loving always costs more, and those who fear to love often find that want of love is an emptiness that robs the joy from life.” – Merle Shain
Big Thanks To: ltklo, for brushing up my grammar

Previously on As The World Keeps Turning: click here for chapters 1 - 151


When they walked into the kitchen, hand in hand, they both frowned at the same time, but for different reasons.

‘What is going on here,’ Reid’s brain wondered.

‘No, this is not according to plan,’ Luke’s brain concluded.

The way Simon stepped back from the counter after hearing them come in was telling. Too telling. Reid raised an eyebrow and that was apparently enough to make Simon lower his head.

Luke only had eyes for his sister. She was looking uncomfortable and defiant at the same time. Abigail’s eyes dared him. What? Are you gonna give me a scolding now?

When she watched Luke’s face turn sad, she felt guilty and slid off the counter. The minute she was back on her feet, Luke extended his hand.

“Come on, Sis. I want you to meet someone,” when he felt her hand, he almost dragged her out of the kitchen, letting Reid handle Simon.

“Really Luke, there was nothing…”

“Please don’t,” Luke stopped in the hallway, scanning the living room. Katie was talking to Ali and his ‘target’ was standing near the window, looking out. “Being gay doesn’t mean I’m oblivious to heteros in heat, Abi. And with all due respect, but I thought you promised yourself not to cave for bad guys anymore…”

“Simon isn’t a bad guy,” Abi refuted and Luke gave her a telling look.

“Besides his previous activities as a thief and conman, I know for a fact that he’s very in love with Katie. So he was looking for something he isn’t getting from Katie right now or he was trying to make Katie jealous, but either way…trust me on this one…Simon Frasier is bad news.”

Abigail sighed. She felt stupid. Again.

“So did you really want me to meet someone or was that your way of getting me out of there?”

“No, I really want to introduce you to someone.”

“A good guy…” Abi snorted.

“I happen to think so, yeah.”

He started walking, but when he looked at his ‘goal’ again he could hear Abigail gasp.

“What?”

“You’re gonna introduce me to him?”

“That was the plan. Not good?”

“Too good,” Abigail even blushed. “He already caught my eye, but…I don’t know…he doesn’t seem very approachable…”

“Reid didn’t either,” Luke grinned, “The best ones might take some more effort than others.”

They both chuckled and with renewed courage Abigail followed her younger brother to this fine specimen.

“Dr. Rainsby…” when the man raised an eyebrow, Luke corrected himself with a broad smile, “Bill… I’d like to introduce you to my sister, Abigail.”

“Hello Abigail,” Bill Rainsby’s voice was soft and low and Abi swallowed.

“Hi,” it sounded breathless and she saw amusement in the doctor’s eyes. “As you can hear, you literally take my breath away…”

Her remark visibly surprised him and he flashed a smile from Abigail to Luke. “Apparently honestly is in the Snyder genes…”

“Not really,” Luke grinned. “Officially I’m not a real Snyder… my adoptive father is Abi’s biological father.”

“Don’t even try to figure it out,” Abigail warned him, feeling comfortable really fast, “Our family tree is a challenge for even the best of brains.”

“I like a challenge,” Dr. Rainsby stated, giving her a quick smile, “So try me.”

I will, Abigail thought, nodding to Luke. You did good.

“Well, I know the family tree as good as can be expected, so I’ll leave you two to it.”

Before one of them could respond, Luke had already made his way to the couches and plumped himself next to Casey.

“Mission accomplished?”

Luke grinned and then nodded. He should have known his friend saw right through him.

“I made the connection. The rest is up to them.”

“So far so good,” Casey gave the couple a quick look, “they both look pleased.”

“I’m glad,” Luke ordered his eyes not to go there, “Abi deserves a good guy for a change.”

“And are we absolutely sure he’s on my team?”

“Yep, I’m sure. Ali told me he broke off a long term relationship with his girlfriend a few months ago.”

“No guarantee,” Casey shrugged, “He could have broken it off because he realized he was gay…”

This time Luke did allow his eyes to take a peek and then he turned to Casey again.

“Nope. Look at them. He’s not gay.”

Casey looked and smiled.

“He’s not gay,” he agreed.

“Pretty cool you could be here tonight, Case.”

“Yeah, it is. Grandpa was pleasantly surprised when I showed up.”

“So was I,” Luke chuckled, bumping his friend’s shoulder.

“Yeah, I wasn’t sure I could wing it with the teachers, so I decided not to tell…”

“You’re forgiven,” Luke smiled.

Casey faked relief and scanned the room.

“I haven’t seen that doctor of yours in a while…did he run for the hills?”

“Mentally he probably did,” Luke chuckled, “but he’s in the kitchen…”

“Oh boy, there goes all the food…”

“Believe me, Case… even Reid can’t eat that much…no worries.”

“But if you leave him alone in there, you…”

“He’s not alone.”

Casey frowned. “He’s not? Who…”

“I left him there with Simon.”

The worried look surprised Casey.

“Why so concerned? Simon is definitely…”

“Nothing like that. There was something brewing with Simon and… someone.”

“Not Katie, because she’s been here all the time.”

“Not Katie,” Luke confirmed on a soft tone.

“Damn,” Casey looked angry, “Is he fooling around?”

“That’s what Reid is trying to find out. Personally I think he’s frustrated, because Katie keeps pushing him away.”

“Yeah, my aunt is playing hard to get for a change…”

“I think she’s just scared,” Luke shrugged. “If Simon is serious about her, he’ll understand.”

“Like Reid did with you,” Casey grinned. “That poor guy. But I’m glad he is the genius that he is and waited for you.”

“Me too,” Luke blushed, “Maybe that’s why I relate to Katie so well…I do understand how she feels. It’s scary to feel all that attraction.”

“As if I don’t know,” Casey snorted, “After that whole wedding disaster with Ali, I was scared to give into those feelings again too…”

“You’re right. That’s the same stuff. How are things now?”

Casey shrugged, looking at Ali and smiling when their eyes met.

“We know we love each other,” he said softly, “and for now that’s all I know. When we’re together, everything is right with the world. But with school and her life here…” Casey shrugged again.

“Yeah, that’s pretty tough,” Luke agreed. He didn’t even wanted to imagine how life would be if he was parted from Reid most of the time. “So Ali hasn’t changed her mind about moving, has she?”

“To be honest, we haven’t talked about it for a while…”

“Maybe you should,” Luke suggested. “Don’t assume, just get the facts. I mean…there must be a way where your lives could be combined.”

Casey looked at Luke and smiled. He knew his friend was right.

“I’m a bit scared to be rejected again,” he admitted.

“I understand, but I don’t think Ali is rejecting you if she still didn’t want to make the move, Case. She has her reasons and you know those by now.”

“I do. But still…it’s hard to take a no.”

“I know,” Luke smiled, “but if you never bring it up, that no keeps hanging there. And who knows…maybe it’s ready to turn into a yes.”

“I wish I had your way with words,” Casey smiled.

“You don’t need fancy words. She loves you for who you are, Case.”

“Yeah,” Casey looked at Ali again. “She does. I think I’m gonna take her home.”

“You do that,” Luke grinned, tapping his friend on the leg. “I’m gonna check on Reid and Simon… they’re in there for a long time now…”

They bumped fists and their exchange of smiles was telling. It was good to see you.

With mixed feelings Luke made his way to the kitchen. He hated goodbyes and this visit with Casey had been way too short. But he hadn’t expected Case to be here in the first place, so it had been a great gift.

While gratefulness and sadness fought their little battle, Luke noticed something else. It was strikingly quiet in the kitchen. Too quiet. What was going on?


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