I haven't finished this story but I do know where it is going and finally feel okay to upload some. I have quite a bit done. This first 'chapter' makes up three pages out of thirty nine total I've typed up… yeah, haha. Enjoy.

Normally Luke dreaded having to go out of town for business. He hated leaving Noah for more than a few hours, let alone a few days, and would usually try to arrange the trip for the weekends when Noah could come along, or, if that didn't happen, he'd find an excuse to bring his business partners to Oakdale or insist that he could only fly in for a few hours. Luke truly was a hopeless romantic and refused to let business interfere with pleasure.

This time, though, Luke was actually welcoming the trip. He was working with an organization in Texas that sponsored horse camps for children with autism. While the program wasn't necessarily unique, they were a smaller organization with few sponsors and were hoping that Luke's foundation could help them with finances, specifically for making it possible to lower the price of participation. It was exactly the kind of thing Luke was interesting in helping through his foundation and he had jumped at the offer. He'd been talking to them for a few weeks when they offered to fly to Oakdale for a meeting, but Luke had insisted that he come to Texas, claiming that he wanted to see some of the camps first hand. After mentioning that he'd grown up around horses and talking so enthusiastically about the project, the organization leaders didn't hesitate to agree. Luke hadn't lied about anything in that conversation, for truth be told he was quite anxious to see these camps first hand and get a good feel for what his foundation was doing, but another truth was that he needed to get out of Oakdale, even if only for a few days. In a town so small and close-knit as Oakdale was, it was impossible to go anywhere without stumbling over memories or running straight on into old heartaches.

The timing of this trip was just about perfect. The day before he got the call about wanting to meet, Luke had spent the majority of his time sulking around the farm house, just trying to stay busy and refusing to give his mind a moment to linger on the events of the previous week. He went riding with Faith, swam alone for a good portion of the afternoon, thankful that the water was still a decent temperature in early October, and helped Jack and Parker cut up firewood. By sunset, though, he'd ran out of distractions and had taken to laying out on the dock at the pond. It was the only place that he could think straight these days. He stared at the changing sky, trying to name each individual shade of red, blue and pink, and once the stars came out he even tried to pinpoint the few constellations he remembered from high school astronomy. When that failed, he tried counting the stars, but they soon began to blur together in a pool of tears that he could no longer hold back. He looked over, reliving the last time he'd laid out here like this, and imagined Noah's face beside him. Tonight Noah wasn't here, and Luke knew that wasn't going to change.

The only comfort in Luke's mind was that Mason was out of the picture. After Mason's obvious display of affection during a shoot at the Lakeview things only continued to grow more tense between the young couple and the professor. Luke had gone to Mason's office to confront him, only for the two of them to wind up in a yelling match which ended when Noah walked in to hear Mason declare that once his film was over and he was no longer Noah's advisor, he would do everything he could to tear Luke and Noah apart. Noah had given Mason a piece of his mind and asked for a new advisor the next day, but that didn't change the fact that his relationship with Luke was already a sinking ship.

They managed to stay afloat for a few more months before tragically falling apart. Luke was still angry over everything with Mason and while the lack of the older professor in Noah's life was a plus, it didn't change the fact that Luke had been jealous and without realizing it, untrusting of Noah, a fact that the other boy couldn't ignore. Noah's schedule became more and more hectic with filming, as did Luke's with the foundation, and things steadily began to build up. It was down at the very docks that Luke lay at now that things had finally boiled over, sending their relationship into a sinking spiral.

"I don't know what more you want from me, Luke! This film is everything to me, it's what I've been working toward for years! And now that Mason is gone and I have an advisor who is new to the project, I have twice as much work to do," Noah shouted, his voice echoing off the thick trees the covered most of the property.

"Then let me help you! I've offered to do paperwork for you, to just be there for moral support during filming, to run errands or whatever else you need, but you won't let me. I can't even bring you dinner or do your work around the apartment, little things to try and make things easier on you, without you getting angry at me and telling me to stop interfering!" Luke's voice was even more emotional than Noah's, though that was hardly a surprise.

Noah took a deep breath, looking away and running a hand through his hair. The sun was setting, casting dark shadows over the pond, making the boys' already tired faces look even more drawn and weary.

"You just don't get it, Luke," Noah sighed, refusing to look his boyfriend in the face. "I let you get involved before, and look where that got me!"

"What, you mean with Mason? Are you seriously blaming me for that?" asked Luke, outraged at the very thought of being at fault for the former advisor's actions.

"No, Luke, I'm not blaming you!" Noah said wearily. "It's just that, I work better when I keep things compartmentalized. I have to keep my personal life and my work separate!"

"We're supposed to be a couple, Noah. We're supposed to want to bring each other into every aspect of our lives. I let you help with the foundation, I've always given you the chance to be involved in my life however you want," said Luke.

"But I'm not you, Luke!"

The conversation continued, going around and around in endless circles until they were just too exhausted, physically and emotionally, to go any further.

"I can't do this, Noah," Luke finally said, looking down and shaking his head. Noah didn't have to ask what he meant. The brunette sighed, the pain apparent even in such a simple sound, and nodded.

"I can't either, Luke."

A few more words were exchanged before Noah left the dock and headed back up to the farm house. Luke stayed at the pond a while longer, tears streaming down his eyes and falling into the cool water below. He returned to their apartment later to find it empty save a note on the kitchen table. It was from Noah, telling Luke that was staying at the Lakeview tonight and that they could figure out the details later. So that's it, Luke thought to himself, unintentionally crunching the paper in his hands. They really were over. He felt like he was getting a divorce. First there was the pain of separating in the first place, but soon would come the trouble of playing the 'that's mine, this is yours' game. He packed a few things and slept at the farm house that night, not even bothering to attempt to sleep alone in what was no longer their bed.

It was only a few days later that he was setting up the meeting in Dallas. By the end of the week he was packed, had all of his paperwork organized and filed in his briefcase, and was boarding the Walsh jet. He slept most of the way, occasionally staring out the window and taking in the scenery of the many states they left in their wake. A few hours later they landed and a car was waiting to take Luke to his hotel. It was still early in the day when he arrived and so he took the time to shower and relax in his room, listening to some music and enjoying the view, which looked out over a rather spectacular part of downtown Dallas. He wandered down to the pool later, doing some laps before sitting in the sauna for a good 30 minutes, allowing the comforting steam to work wonders on his aching muscles and week-long migraine.

His meeting was not until the next morning and so when the sun began to set Luke found himself feeling rather restless. Pay-per-view could only entertain him for so long before the lights and sounds of the city began to tug at him, begging him to explore and enjoy all it had to offer. He finally gave into the call and changed from his lounging clothes of basketball shorts and a t-shirt into something more outing worthy; jeans and a polo. He would always be a small town boy at heart. He glanced at himself in the mirror, amused that tomorrow morning he would be wearing a suit and tie. He enjoyed dressing up and he took his job seriously, but he was quite aware that most times he hardly looked the part of a businessman. Luke preferred his casual attire anyway, and with that in mind he set out into the night, itching to stumble upon some great discovery on this beautiful Friday night.