Man, this was wildly self indulgent! It's prettylong too! Plenty of Reid and Katie, a dash of Ethan and family orientated Luke, a version of Lily I like and miss and some soppy Reid and Luke. *sigh* This was fun to write. Hope it's fun to read! Feedback is appreciated in bucketloads :D (as usual!) Any mistakes are mine. Thank you to those who have given such lovely feedback wherever I post this- it's cherished a lot :)
"When are you picking him up?" Katie asked as she smacked her lips together, red stain perfectly applied.
"Dunno, just later," Reid replied. He was distracted trying to remember the last time he'd done this. He and Luke were together, he'd kind of said the three terrifying words that solidified a relationship and they'd already had sex. They still had no clue where they stood. From blackmail and hatred to the saga of Luke and Noah, following that was Reid's month away and Luke's illness and shortly after things had changed. Written down or said out loud, it seemed epic and like a long story but their 'relationship' or whatever it was, was not. It was undefined, new and completely confusing, not to mention the impact of each party's own personal battles thrown into the mix.
"Do you know Luke at all?" Katie asked, snapping him out of his insular monologue.
Reid glanced up from his work to the sofa where she was now sweeping brush strokes across her cheeks. "Yes." Reid was not in the mood for Katie and her agony aunt-esque relationship counselling.
"You haven't set a time to meet? Did you not offer to pick him up?"
"He has a car. He can drive."
Katie sighed, frowning to herself. Reid huffed and dug his elbow into the table, his eyes darting backwards and forwards from Katie to his notes. He was silent for a second. Damn her insight.
"Ok what? What is so wrong with that?"
She smiled, a little smugness in her face. "Well you're hardly going to give Jane Austen a run for her money in the romance department but it's pretty basic stuff Reid. A guy picks up his date."
"We're both guys."
She laughed and rolled her eyes, flicking her mascara tube dramatically. "God you're hard work!"
"Good. We're done with that then." He turned back to his work immediately. Katie turned her kohl lined eyes to him, staring him out. She dragged her gaze to his worn jeans and battered boots then up to his old fashioned style shirt. Out of her mouth came a squeaky giggle, surpressed immediately by her manicured hand. Reid pretended he couldn't see her and looked more intently at his pages. She'll get bored he thought, please for the love of god get bored. She didn't. "Am I that darn gorgeous that you can't take your eyes off me?"
She smiled. "No, handsome, I just have an idea."
"Good for you." His eyes didn't move from his paper.
"You know how we've both had a rough few months and haven't really seen one another much?"
His brow crinkled and lips pursed. He had a feeling he wouldn't like where this was going. "Mmm hmmm."
"Well, I finish my stint on the show at noon and I'm free. Jake's got his babysitter and I happen to know that you've only got a couple of consults this morning before your late shift tonight so..."
"You're thinking you'll have an afternoon out and leave me to have a day of peace and tranquility?" He glanced up, cocking his eyebrow.
"Not quite. How about I take you shopping? I need a new dress for the station's formal party in a few weeks and you... Well Reid you need a new look."
"Ok now you're just being insulting."
She snapped her mirror shut and bounced up out of the seat, taking up a new residence at Reid's side and tugging at the paper in his hand. His eyes widened with accusation and he held on tight.
"Reid come on! It'll be fun. It's been a long time since it was just me and you."
"There's a reason for that," he whispered, pushing his books out of her direct reach.
"Ok. Be like that. You just go out with your perky, hot and YOUNG boyfriend and look like a cradle snatcher from the dark ages."
She hit a nerve. "You play dirty," he snapped.
"Too right I do because you know Reid my darling, on this, I might just know a little more than you."
"Well I bet you're so proud." He just couldn't find the energy to be amenable.
"I am and so will you be when Luke looks at you like he wants to eat you."
Reid slowly lifted his head, eyes inquisitive. "How?"
"By the power of a decent outfit and the magic of Katie Snyder," she chimed, her arms sashaying to her side playfully, "and did I ever tell you I had three guys after me at once?"
Reid choked on his own breath. He let out a wry laugh. "The fact one of them was Hank makes that particular morsel of your past even more amusing."
She ignored his bite. "So are you coming or what?"
He glared at her solidly. "Do I have even a hint of a choice?" He knew he didn't and something, somewhere deep inside, secretly found the idea intriguing. He hadn't had a female friend to do those kind of things with. Shopping, to Reid Oliver, was a fifteen minute rush job in a supermarket filling a basket with the cheap and practical.
"Not in the slightest."
He groaned, most of it put on for her benefit and put down his pen. She grinned, red stain and all, and reached for her cardigan. "Ok Oliver grab your jacket, we've got cash to burn."
"Luke! Luke! Luke!"
Ethan was in a creative mood. Inspired by his past visit to the hospital and the fact he had babbled relentlessly about being a surgeon like Doctor Reid, Grandma Emma had, in her infinite wisdom, bought him a 'Make your own skeleton' kit complete with sticky kid glue. Luke had witnessed her fallen face when Ethan had pulled off the top and spotted splashes of sticky all over her varnished kitchen table.
In seconds there was newspaper everywhere and one very happy and occupied Ethan Snyder. Luke had been distracted plenty since arriving home and knew that his parents being away meant that he had peace but even still, he found himself staying at the farm. Nat, Ethan and Emma were so much fun to be around and he knew if he felt even the slightest bit poorly, they'd cheer him up.
"Yes Ethan?" he called back, putting down his book on the bed. He ran downstairs two at a time to be greeted by Ethan's new friend.
"Look, his skull's made. It's solid and won't break just like real skulls. If you drink lots of milk, your bones get strong so that's why I put lots of glue on."
Luke smiled, watery and lopsided. He could barely resist squishing his brother's cheeks. "Aww Eth that's so clever." He surveyed the wobbly stand and scary looking paper skull sticking off the top which was shining in the light from the thick pasting of glue. It looked ridiculous but it was clever, so clever for a boy as young as Ethan.
"How did you do this?" Luke asked, catching his Grandma's eyes and sharing an adult smile.
Ethan beamed, picking up his tools. "Oh all you do is this. You look at the book and the notes," he said, offering Luke a look, "and then you get the right pieces and slot them together then you just glue and attach them so they make the bones strong. Once you've done that you put them in the right place. I don't know some of them though so I look them up in my encyclopedia... look!"
Luke took the hardback book from Ethan's hand and smiled. It was his old one, his cherished book of facts that he's poured over as a kid. Luke felt a twinge of nostaliga and grinned lovingly at his little brother. "So what brought all of this on then eh?" Luke asked, handing the artist his tools back.
Ethan busied himself again but spoke as he worked. "Doctor Reid. My teacher too though. She said I was good at science and I did good for Doctor Reid and I told her so she said I should read more books and look at more pictures. I did. Dad said he'd take me to the science museum when it's my birthday and we can see dinosaur bones."
Ethan's face glowed and his eyes shone with excitement. Luke felt as if he would burst. He let his mind drift back to the story Reid had told him about his father and the science museum and immediately filled with pride. Ethan had the semblance of a dream and even if it didn't materialise in reality, a dream was precious and he clearly loved what he was doing.
"That's awesome. You think I could come too? It all sounds so cool."
Ethan grabbed Luke's hand with his small one and shouted, "YES! Luke you come too and we can do all the stuff together. The things dad doesn't want to do, you know the games and stuff."
Luke nodded and smiled back. "It's a plan." He noticed Ethan was eyeing up his outfit and caught his eye.
"Anyway why are you wearing those clothes? Where are you going?" Ethan asked, a hint of protectiveness in his little voice.
Luke laughed. "Well, I'm off out tonight."
Ethan let out a little gasp. "With Doctor Reid?"
"Yes, actually. As a matter of fact it is with Doctor Reid." Luke glanced over at Emma who was silent, watching her boys, and offered him a grin of acceptance.
"Yes my little pumpkin, Luke has a date so we are going to have milk and cookies and watch a DVD. How does that sound?" She made her way over to the table and sat by her grandsons.
"Can I have two cookies?" Ethan asked, eyes huge and greedy. Luke laughed remembering when he used to do exactly the same when he was small.
"Yes sweetie, you can have two." She hugged him close, her eyes finding Luke's and sparkling. Luke knew she was thinking of those moments they'd shared when he was young that mirrored the here and now. Sitting in the farm kitchen surrounded by fake skeleton ones, glue and his family, he felt so truly and simply happy. He felt little pieces of himself fit back together again after they'd been scattered and broken for a long time.
Reid had a headache.
"How about this one?" Katie called, throwing the curtain to one side and sitting on one hip, her leg tipped to the side. It was a purple dress, tight at the top, flared at the bottom and patterned so strongly that Reid wanted to reach for a pair of sunglasses.
She sighed, over the top and irritated. "Reid that's the seventh I've tried on and you've just said no. I mean, throw the girl a bone here." She disappeard behind the velvet screen again.
"Seventh? Feels like seventeenth," he complained, realising to even himself that he was behaving a little like a petulant teen who was void of all of the attention. Be good, he told himself quite uncharacteristically.
"Ok this is the second last one and I happen to like this so please don't be honest. I want you to lie to me."
When the material slipped back and she appeared, he knew this was the one. It was pink, cap sleeved and retro looking, very classical with tiny flowers dotted all over it. He even noticed her breasts and shocked himself. It must be bloody fantastic, he thought.
She threw a questioning look and put her hand on her hip. "Ok. Now I'm confused. Is that you lying or being serious?"
He smirked. "You said you wanted me to lie so I lied. Wow Katie make up your mind."
"Argh Reid just tell me what you think. Use that blunt honesty of yours."
He smiled slowly, letting his eyes take it all in. She deserved this much, he thought. "You look good. It fits well, legs and boobs look good, the colour doesn't make your eyes water or bore you to death, it's kind of inbetween and it looks," he stumbled over a word, "pretty."
She phsically jumped on the spot and crushed her ands together infront of her chest. The smile on her face was a 100W beam. Reid felt a little flicker of love for her, as he always did when she wore him down. If he was totally truthful and brutally honest she looked better than pretty. He was silent for a second and then something happened... he gave her a straight out and honest compliment. "You look beautiful."
He was sure there were tears inamongst the girly squeals and hands and hair and hugs. He sat, quite rigidly, but smirked cleverly none the less. He could only think of one thing- I wish Luke was here, he'd be so proud.
An hour and one dress later, Katie had dragged Reid to a gentleman's outfitters and he stood, solid as steel, facing rows upon rows of black suits, navy suits, grey suits, pinstripe suits, skinny suits, baggy suits, ones with patches, ones with pockets, dinner jackets, daytime cuts, decorative styles, white ensembles, velvet jackets and top and tails.
"Is this some kind of joke?" he asked under his breath, quite diplomatically he thought.
Katie swatted him away and went to work, slotting her hands between the rails checking each style and each colour in turn. She kept mumbling 'oh no' and 'that's nice' over and over as she assessed each rail. Reid stood still, confusion plastered all over his face. Why the hell did people feel the need to spend so much money on a legion of suits when they all looked the damn same? He shook his head- the rich- that's who. He owned two suits- one black classical suit and one dinner jacket for the odd formal occassion he'd attended back in med school. He was sure it'd still fit as he hadn't changed in physique much since but had zero idea why, for a casual date with Luke Snyder, he'd need something like any of this.
"Reid come here!" Katie commanded and he groaned at himself as he found his feet moving and obeying her every word. Shit, I'm whipped, he concluded.
"You called darling?" he sang sarcastically as he neared her side, eyes full of fear as she thrust two pairs of pants into his hands and a shirt that looked so full of starch it'd slice skin. "And what do you propose I do with these?"
She stopped and glared at him, perfectly plucked eyebrows raised in accusation. "Well, they're what you call clothes, genius, you try them on, now go on while I look at the rest of the racks and give me a shout once you'd ready to show me." She directed his back to the changing rooms.
Once inside, Reid stared at himself in the mirror. He tilted his head, taking in his chest, ass, legs and finished by ruffling a hand through his hair. It was getting longer now, a little messy and curly but it was the usual auburn tinted stuff that had grown there all of his life. He took in his brown shirt and tight dark jeans, nodding in appreciation at how they made his ass look. He didn't see a problem with anything. Who gives a damn what I look like, he argued with himself internally, if they don't like it then they know what they can do. As long as this stuff looks ok under a labcoat or scrubs then that's fine by me.
"Done yet?" Katie called, throwing more coat hangers over the rail, her heels clip clopping back out to the shop floor. He sighed roughly and unzipped his jeans to begin the painful process.
"So you're ok baby? You promise me because I'll come straight home. It was only Doctor Oliver insisting you were fine that stopped me in the first place," Lily explained, her concern conveyed perfectly even down the telephone.
"Yes mom, I'm fine. I do promise. It was just a minor hiccup. The doctors said that I was a little run down and had the outset of anaemia. I'm ok though. I've got new tablets and Reid, Doctor Oliver, has been great so I've got plenty of people here to take care of me. I'm at the farm with Grandma, Ethan, Faith and Nat so I've got plenty of people to keep me company. You stay there and do what you have to do."
"Ok honey. You would tell me if you needed me to come home right?" she asked, her voice almost pleading. Luke wondered if he should just ask her to return just so she could stop worrying but it was completely unecessary. If truth be told he felt so cared for that adding Lily to the mixture would verge on that level of suffocation.
"I would tell you, I promise. Look, mom Reid, Doctor Oliver, has be monitored. Believe me, if I showed any signs of being poorly, he'd know."
There was an odd silence for a few seconds. Luke felt a brief flash of nerves in his stomach. "You like him an awful lot don't you?" she asked gently. It was the first time he'd noticed an acceptance in her voice that signalled she understood that things were over with Noah and he was moving on with his life.
Luke took a deep breath. "Yes mom I do."
"And he takes care of you and makes you happy, right?"
Luke smiled to himself, images of Harvard t-shirts, sandwiches, fluffy blankets, mugs of hot drinks and protective kisses flooding his brain and filling his stomach with a fluttering he could barely control.
"He really does take care of me, he takes care of a lot of people. People don't see it when they meet him because well, he's Reid. He's all about taking two steps back, putting up that wall and only doing the very minimal to go from one exchange to another but he really does have his heart and soul in the right place." Luke heard himself and shook his head momentarily. He knew he was speaking the truth but it was the kindness in his voice, the respect and admiration in his tone, that shocked him. He was proud, so proud to be someone cared for by Reid Oliver and in that moment, he had the overwhelming desire to show Reid exactly what it was like to be given that gift in return. "He does make me happy. I know people probably don't understand it and think I'm crazy but I love being around him."
Lily sighed at the warmth in her son's voice. It felt nice. "Good. I'm pleased sweetie, I really am. I'm sorry for being so awkward with you about Noah and questioning your choices. You know your own mind and I just want the best for you. As much as I don't know him or particularly like him, Reid Oliver has gone above and beyond for you and he makes you sound so lit up inside. That... well, that is all that I need to know."
"Thanks mom. That means a lot. I'm sure when you get to spend time with him, you'll see what I mean."
"Even if I don't baby ... if he makes you happy, that's enough for me. Have a wonderful night. I love you."
Luke felt three years old. He wanted to throw his arms around his mum's neck, bury his face in her hair the way he used to and smell her perfume. He hugged his phone. "I love you too mom, see you when you get back. Night."
"Can I be your date tonight please?" Katie cooed, her head to one side surveying her handiwork.
"Put your tongue away Perretti I'm off limits." Reid was a little bitter and avoiding letting her believe that she was right. He felt good, damn good. She'd chosen a pair of well fitted black pants, a pair of stylish black dress shoes and a tight fitting shirt with a thin tie that he could pick of choose. She'd styled his hair with a product that seemed to make it look as if he'd got out of bed and intended each strand to lie as it did. He looked young, felt young and was sure when he walked he'd smoulder. I actually quite fancy myself, he admitted secretly and let out a personal wry titter.
Katie smoothed the material of his shirt, her hand lingering on his chest a little. She couldn't help herself. She stood back and held his shoulders, her eyes darting up and down, searching for imperfections.
"You'll do," she assessed. Reid smiled a small but grateful smile in return, one which didn't go unoticed by her and made her heart swell with pride. Still got it, she decided.
"I text him. I'm meeting him at that farm they own and we're driving together... so you can be smug about that," Reid said, a layer of admission in his voice, letting Katie know that he knew he'd done the right thing.
"Oh I am, believe me. Great. Well, you know what I said... just be thoughtful."
"And by that you mean...?" he asked, his eyebrows raised and eyes searching for an answer.
"A little less you," Katie stated, plain and simple.
"Nice," Reid groaned, checking his watch and feeling a bubble of nerves rise in his chest. He had no idea what to do, how to act, what to say and feared that small talk would occur and he'd start having to list the parts of the brain to get himself through it. Luke. This was Luke, he reminded himself, and they promised that it would be done their way. He shook himself a little and psyched himself to prepare for the worst.
"Ok handsome, I'm off out. Play nice and don't do anything I wouldn't do."
He let out a sarcastic chuckle and pulled a face. "Going off stories I've heard, that leaves me a lot of legroom."
She slapped him playfully. "Yea well, you know what I mean. You look hot. Use it." She kissed his cheek, threw a wink in his direction and was out of the door in seconds.
An hour and a half later, Reid stood on the front stoop in the dusky light fiddling relentlessly with the bottom of his shirt. He felt the panic in the back of his throat. He mentally constructed a list of things to say if painful small talk arose and stored them at the back of his brain for later. He looked down, worrying a little that he looked too obvious, too ridiculous and was sure it was as if there was a neon sign hanging above his head proclaiming 'I've been styled by my female friend.'. He shuddered. He was not this guy. He mentally slapped himself and squared his shoulders. Reid Oliver is not easily toppled by a few dollops of hair wax and a new pair of shoes. Adapt and overcome, he schooled himself.
"Oh sweetie I'm so sorry. Oh I really am." Reid heard voices on the other side of the door and felt frantic, his previously confident mantra gone in an instant. The lady Reid knew as 'the one who makes the good pie' came out of the trellace door, pulling a shawl around her shoulders and casting a worried look over her shoulder. Reid saw a figure behind her, their eyes locked and a glittering smile lit up Luke's face.
"Hi," he said quickly, turning back to his grandma, "look, its ok I'm sure Reid won't mind. This is Aunt Meg we're talking about. I know it's serious. It's ok ... just go." She reached up to kiss her grandson, started as if to say more, to fuss and apoligise further (the Snyders and their need to apoligise!), before walking off into the night.
"Bad timing?" Reid asked, turning to Luke with a smirk. He felt shrouded in a thick air of tension, one that felt far too good for his health.
"No. Never," Luke purred, his eyes lingering on Reid's body and taking everything in, "Hi. Again. You erm... nice." Luke felt his cheeks burn and his finger twitch, he wanted touch. It was all new and pritsine and so un-Reid but very very nice. He looked younger but still mature and well put together.
Reid let out a small laugh, shrugging his shoulder slightly and stepping towards Luke. "You too. Maybe erm, what's with the towel?" he asked, cocking an eyebrow towards the cloth tucked into Luke's shirt.
Luke blushed, his hand whipping the offending article away in a second. "Just sibling stuff." He stepped forward, mirroring Reid's move. They were so close together.
"Come here." Reid reached out for Luke, his hand finding a handful of dark navy shirt. He pulled and Luke stumbled the space between them. "Too far away."
It took seconds for them to resist a kiss. Reid's lips met Luke's first, gently but with precision. He traced a hand up Luke's chest, letting it rest on the space between collar and hair. It was warm and soft, so much so that Reid felt his head reel. This was something he knew he would never ever get used to.
"Wow," Luke breathed, his head dizzy and legs a little woozy.
"So you keep saying," Reid whispered, low and in the direction of Luke's ear. The vibrations sent Luke spiraling, his skin tingling.
As Reid's lips found Luke's once more, his hand reaching hair and running lightly and protectively through it as if to pull Luke closer. "There's been a bit of a change of plan," Luke spoke into the kiss, desperate to break the news so nothing could be spoiled.
Reid leaned back, his right hand on Luke's hip. "Don't care," he mumbled, leaning closer and sucking a lingering spot on Luke's jaw, "at all."
Luke shuddered and smiled to himself, his eyes closing as Reid's lips worked magic. "We've erm, we've got to um look after my brother and sister, urm mmm, my grandma's had to, ahhh, go and see my Aunt in hospital," Luke slurred out, distracted by Reid's heat and smell and the fact his hand was wide and slowly sliding upwards, sending tickles up his side.
"Tha's ok," Reid mumbled between kisses as Luke's head tipped back slightly.
"Really?" Luke asked, surfacing to reality for a second, "I mean, it means we can't go out and do all of the things we wanted to."
Reid stopped and let his eyes find Luke's again. They were deep and lustful but sheened with a perfectly bright honesty that caused Luke to catch his breath. "Like I said, I don't care. Wasn't really relishing standing in the hot dog queue or cramming into some contrived little bistro somewhere. I want to spend time with you. Don't care what we do even if it is a night at the Snyder nut house."
Luke rolled his eyes and reached up to kiss slowly and full of graitude. "Thank you. I promise we'll do something proper." He wanted to say more, he wanted to say those three words because that's exactly what he felt but he kept them in his racing heart for a little while longer.