Love and other Brain Signals
"Reid! Are you ready? You're taking a really long time in there."
Katie tapped on the bedroom door with her knuckles. There was a faint groaning and rustling sound coming from within.
"Alright Reid, I'm coming in, it's nothing I haven't seen before any-"
Katie stopped dead in her tracks as she observed the scene before her.
"Oh Reid…" She said sadly.
"Hey! You're not supposed to be in here!" said Reid through a mouthful of food. He was sitting on an unmade bed in his underwear, with packets of chips and takeout food strewn about the floor. He looked to be in some distress but it was hard to tell with all the chocolate stuck to his face.
He wiped his mouth with his forearm as Katie sat down next to him, narrowly avoiding a slice of pizza and a couple of half-eaten candy bars.
"I don't actually think I can do this" he muttered, tearing a doughnut into small pieces and stuffing them all into his mouth. "I mean, do you think there's any chance we could call the whole thing off?"
Katie put her hand on Reid's shoulder.
"Reid, it's all organised for today. The cars are booked, the minister's there, everyone's ready to go. You can't just say you don't want to do it. You were really excited about it all yesterday!"
"That was yesterday!" Reid shouted as he stood up, causing a small avalanche of candy wrappers.
He started pacing the room as he ate more doughnuts from a big bag he clutched to his bare chest.
"I'm not cut out for marriage. I can't even handle the most basic human interaction, how am I supposed to get up in front of everyone I know and promise myself to somebody until death do us part… Oh my God, death do us part, this is terrifying!" Reid's eyes bulged out of his sockets as he took a bite of doughnut and began coughing.
Katie decided it was time to take action. She got up and slapped Reid on the back until he had swallowed the food. Then she attempted to prise the bag of doughnuts out of his hands but he resisted.
"No! I need these!" he groaned as she struggled.
"You do not need them! I'm doing this for your own good Reid. You don't want to waddle up the isle do you?"
"Ha!" exclaimed Reid, still trapped in the bizarre game of tug and war.
"Don't you understand anything about the way metabolism works, Katie?"
"Well," huffed Katie. "I'm assuming you don't want to start spewing up everywhere halfway down the aisle. That would make a great wedding picture- everyone standing in a big pile of vomit."
Katie finally gave up on her attempt to separate Reid and his food and he resumed pacing and eating. She sighed. She was still in her dressing gown and Jacob wasn't even awake yet. This was turning into a disaster.
"Where did you even get all this food?"
"Hmmm?" Said Reid, ignoring her question. "Maybe there's a way I could escape, you know. If I drove down the east side I don't think anyone would see me… Yeah…"
"OK, Reid." The situation had gotten desperate. Katie took Reid by the shoulders and shook him until the bag of doughnuts fell to the floor.
"HEY! I WAS EATING TH-"
"Reid Oliver! I am doing this as your friend! Your best friend!"
Reid blinked and stopped struggling.
"Now… Repeat after me: I love Luke…"
Reid's eyes glazed over and the sides of his mouth turned upwards.
"Yeah… He is pretty great, isn't he?"
"Oh, for the love of God! No, repeat after me: I love Luke…"
Reid nodded. "I love Luke… Yeah. You're right."
"Okay. Now the real reason you're getting married is because you love Luke. And he loves you. It's just a day to celebrate your love. None of the other stuff matters. It's going to be a great day. You're not going to mess up. It's all going to be fine. Look, even the weather is on your side."
Reid looked out of the window. The sky was completely clear. It looked beautiful. His heart rate returned to normal.
"Right, thanks Katie," he said gruffly, pulling her into a hug.
"Uh Reid. I love you but you really need to take a shower." She smiled, pulling away quickly.
"Right… Right, oh my God, I need to get ready… Hey little man!"
Jacob had zoomed into the room unannounced and undressed, clutching his beloved teddy bear.
"Does no one in this place have the sense to put some pants on?" sighed Katie, putting an arm around Jacob.
"Uncle Reid, can teddy come to the wedding?"
Reid ruffled Jacob's hair. "Sure. He can even make a speech. Make sure he doesn't eat any of the cake though, we want to keep most of that for ourselves."
"There's going to be cake?" exclaimed Jacob, his eyes widening. "Mommy, can I get married too?"
Katie rolled her eyes as Reid guffawed. "Not till you're at least twenty five, boyo. Now you're going to get changed into your wedding clothes. And Reid is going to take a shower and change into his suit. And I'm going to get rid of all this mess, okay?"
"Mommy, I could eat some of it for you!" said Jacob hopefully, looking around.
"No! Reid, you are a terrible influence on him. I'm throwing out all this garbage."
Reid and Jacob both started protesting.
"There's going to be plenty to eat later boys, now hurry up! We haven't got all day!"
One and a half hours later, Reid was sitting on the sofa in his black tux with Jacob who was dressed in his little blue suit. They were playing operation and Reid was winning.
"Is this what its really like when you do your operations on people?"
"No. That's why this is a terrible game. Completely unrealistic! One day I'll teach you how to play chess. Now that's a real game: you need patience, skill, technique… and where is your mother? We need to go soon."
"MOMMY!" yelled Jacob.
"I'm coming!" came the exasperated reply. Katie dashed out of her room, one shoe on, one shoe in her hand. She was dressed in a floaty, sky blue, off the shoulder dress and she looked radiant, if somewhat harassed.
"Now, I've got the flowers, I've got my phone and the rings. I'm sure there's something else I need to do…"
"You look… really beautiful by the way. You did a great job picking out the dresses" said Reid awkwardly, standing up.
"Thankyou. Too bad you're already taken. You look wonderful for someone who was knee-deep in junk food just this morning."
They smiled at each other. Jacob tugged on his mother's hand. "What about me?"
"You are going to be the handsomest little man at the wedding." said Katie as she put on her other shoe. "Now, they just phoned me ,the car's outside." Reid gulped. "And we're running a little late so we need to go now… Oh! Yes, the other thing I was supposed to remember. She took a letter out of her purse and handed it to Reid. He immediately recognised it as Luke's slanted handwriting on the front.
"Luke made sure that I gave you this just before we left." Reid nodded. His stomach had wound itself into a tight knot again and for some reason he found himself incapable of speech.
"Okay, we'll be waiting in the car. Come out when you're ready."
They left and Reid was alone in the apartment. For some reason he was hesitant to open the letter. He wanted to freeze time so that he could reflect on everything that had happened here. Their first real kiss, the first time they'd had sex, the arguments and then the making up later. It didn't seem real, even now that he had found someone that he couldn't bear leaving, that was willing to marry him in spite of, or perhaps because of his many faults. But Luke was waiting. He couldn't let him wait. He opened the letter carefully.
I know that you are probably freaking out right now so I'm writing this to tell you that I love you. Stop freaking out.
Just remember, no matter how nervous you get there is always cake, and then our honeymoon in Tuscany afterwards. And I hear there is pizza in Italy. Lots of pizza. There will also be lots of sex. But not at the same time: you know how I feel about that.
I can't wait to be alone with you.
I can't wait to marry you.
I love you so much.
SO FOR GODS SAKE GET IN THE CAR AND MAKE ME YOUR HUSBAND!
Yours forever and ever amen
Reid put the letter in his pocket. He walked straight out of the apartment and locked the door behind him. He wiped his eyes on the way to the car. He wasn't crying, it was probably just an allergy of some kind.
As they drove in the white vintage wedding car, Reid's heart drummed against his chest but he was determined now. There was no going back. There never had been, really. Katie kept squealing excitedly and Jacob just grinned and clutched his teddy bear. Reid wondered what Luke was feeling at this moment. Being away from him just for that night had been surprisingly awful. It had been Luke's idea to do everything according to tradition of course. Or as traditional as he could make it with two men getting married.
"Oh my God, we're here!" said Katie squeezing Reid and Jacob's hands. "This is it!"
Reid scanned the area for a glimpse of that familiar crop of blonde hair but he couldn't see Luke from this distance.
The lake looked incredible. The water glistened in the sunlight and threw glimmering light against the white tents that Luke's family had put up for the reception. Flowers seemed to be covering every inch of the ground apart from a long red carpet which was serving as the aisle.
It seemed like everyone in Oakdale had come out to see their favourite son get married. There was Henry and Casey and Alison and Bob and Kim and- Reid's stomach suddenly back flipped- his parents. It didn't seem possible but there they were. Greyer and older than he remembered them but they were unmistakable, his father in a light tan suit and his mother in a long peach dress. She was even smiling at him.
He didn't have time dwell on this any further though because he suddenly clapped sight of Luke on the other side of the crowd. He was standing in between his mother and father and Reid didn't think he had ever seen anyone look so happy. He was dressed in a pale grey suit which reminded Reid of one of their first meetings. He was looking directly at him, beaming with joy and Reid could feel himself smiling back, unable to stop. For the first time he believed Katie completely. Today was going to be a great day.
Katie gave Reid's shoulder a quick pat. "You ready, Reid?"
As they had practiced, Katie took Reid's arm and they walked down the aisle, Jacob behind them, carrying the rings. Beautiful cello music played as they walked and a soft breeze stopped the heat from becoming unbearable. Reid still couldn't understand why his parents were here but it didn't matter. Nothing could spoil this day. They got to the end of the aisle and the minister, a rotund smiling man with bushy white eyebrows nodded at them.
"Good Luck, Reid!" whispered Katie as she took her place with Jacob. Then the band began playing again as Luke walked down the aisle, arm in arm with Lily. Luke had a lot more people following him. All of his brothers and sisters had insisted on being part of the ceremony and they were following him with various expressions of glee, waving at Reid. His face was beginning to get sore from smiling so much as Luke stood in front of him, eyes sparkling with delight.
"Did you get my note?"
"Yeah, I needed it."
"I knew you would. You look… so beautiful, Reid." he said, taking Reid's hands.
"Thanks, you look really really hot."
"Ahem!" coughed the minister. "It's time for the ceremony to begin!"
Luke seemed as though he might burst with excitement as he began to speak.
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the wedding of two wonderful men, Luke Snyder and Reid Oliver."
"That's Doctor Oliver," muttered Reid. Luke shot him a warning look but Reid shrugged.
"Hey, I didn't work my ass off for that degree for nothing."
A few people in the crowd tittered and the minister smiled.
"I'm sorry, Doctor Reid Oliver…"
Luke shook his head at Reid and he could feel himself begin to relax. The sunlight was playing against Luke's hair, making it seem golden and it was very hard to concentrate on what was being said. Why had he been so nervous about this only a few hours ago? Of course marrying Luke was what he was supposed to do. He had never been more sure of anything in his life.
The minister was talking about love and commitment and other things that Reid would once have scoffed at but now all he could focus on was the sparkling light in Luke's eyes.
"… the joys of a union between two people, supporting one another through thick and thin, come what may… Now, if anyone knows of a reason that these two men should not be joined in holy matrimony speak now or forever hold your peace."
He paused and Reid looked around at the crowd. All of Luke's family appeared to be leaking from the eyes and even Bob was blinking furiously as he smiled proudly at Reid. He could see his mother and father at the back of the crowd but they were strangely expressionless even from this distance.
This had to be a dream. This was bizarre.
"Alright, then! Now Reid, my good man, repeat after me, plea-"
A loud yell suddenly interrupted the minister.
Reid looked up to see what was going on. A man was running towards the wedding at top speed and as he got closer he realised that it was Noah.
"Jesus Christ!- sorry minister."
Typical. He knew this had all been too good to be true. Noah was sweating like he'd just run a marathon and he was tanned, with longer hair and a suspiciously Mason- like scarf around his neck. Luke looked more furious than Reid had ever seen him. He looked as though he wanted to punch Noah square in the jaw. Reid thought he wouldn't mind having a go himself.
"What the Hell are you doing here, Noah?"
Noah looked a little shirty, wiping the sweat from his brow.
"You invited me, remember?"
"Yeah, and you said you couldn't come. You had your big important film to make."
"I just…" Noah looked around at everyone. Katie was scowling at him and a few other people seemed more than a little irritated by this interruption.
"I just need to know… that you're happy. That you're making the right decision."
Reid half expected Luke to explode with anger and he put a steadying hand on his arm just in case.
"Noah, I'm just about to marry the smartest, kindest, funniest, most wonderful man I've ever known in my entire life-"
"-You left out best-looking."
"-Shut up Reid!- and you come here and ask me if I'm happy? It's thanks to Reid you can see, Noah. So why don't you go and sit down."
A few people actually cheered at Luke's words and Noah, looking dejected, went to find a seat at the very back of the crowd.
"You tell him Luke!" cried Lucinda, waving some flowers in the air.
Luke's cheeks were flushed and his hair was ruffled, reminding Reid of some of their first heated arguments when they had practically hated each other. Only now Luke was on his side… forever.
"I love you." he said without thinking about it and leaned in to kiss him. Luke responded with a lot of enthusiasm.
"Ahem!" coughed the minister again. "Well this is all going topsy-turvy. Let's get things back on track shall we?"
Reid and Luke opened their eyes, Reid somewhat embarrassed as he had forgotten than everyone was here and he had an aloof image to keep up.
From somewhere in the crowd a male voice moaned: "Oh man!"
"Now! Reid, repeat after me: I Reid-"
"Take thee Luke-"
"Take thee Luke…"
He repeated his vows clearly and calmly, smiling a little at the 'sickness and health' part and Luke repeated the same back to him, choking up at "Till death do us part."
A huge lump in Reid's throat was threatening to erupt into tears but he swallowed it down. This place was enough of a mush-fest already.
"Now the rings please!"
Jacob immediately bounded forward, eliciting a lot of cooing from the crowd. Reid winked at him as Faith, looking pretty in her blue dress gave Luke the other ring. Luke's tears had begun to spill out of his eyes and there was audible sniffing from the front row.
"Jeez, it's not a funeral." muttered Reid.
Luke elbowed him. "You're going to cry by the end of the night, Reid, just you wait."
"Alright… Now repeat after me, Reid.. With this ring, a symbol of my eternal love, I thee wed…"
Reid's heart was beating against his chest again. This was it… No going back now.
Luke wiped his eyes as he said his vows and one of his tears hit Reid's hand as he placed the gold wedding band on Reid's finger.
"Hey," whispered Reid, as he placed the other ring on Luke's finger. "You're soaking me, Mr Snyder."
"You're heartless Doctor Oliver," Luke whispered back. "It's a good thing I love you anyway."
"I now pronounce you legally wed: husband and husband! You may both kiss the groom."
Luke launched himself into Reid's arms and they kissed while everyone cheered loudly. Breaking apart, Reid couldn't help laughing like a kid at Luke's tear-stained, extremely happy face. He kissed him again, and then once more on his red nose.
"You're my husband now! Oh my God, that was amazing!"
"I know, I was there. Come on, I think we've got to walk down the aisle now."
He was only assuming this as Katie was pushing his back, whispering "Go!" so he put his arm around Luke and they walked together.
Bob and Kim were clapping and all the girls were throwing confetti as they made their way towards the lake.
"Oh my God, I'm going to cry again. This is perfect." Reid couldn't stop looking at Luke and he was sure he had a really stupid grin on his face but for once he didn't care. Even the sight of Noah, clapping half-heartedly at the end of the isle couldn't put a damper on things. Luke had chosen him. It was final. It was over. Tiill death do us part…
"Luke… My parents are here."
Luke and Reid had finally gotten a moment alone together by the lake. Chris, who had insisted on being the photographer and filming the wedding had forced them to take endless pictures together and in various different group shots. There had been one horrendously awkward photo with Noah and Richard who had turned up too for some reason, and another much sweeter one with the entire Snyder family squashed in together to fit into the frame. Jacob had also demanded a shot with just Reid and his teddy, which Reid had pretended to be grumpy about but secretly found hilarious.
Everyone had shaken their hands (or in Katie's case hugged them both so tightly that they couldn't breathe for a moment) and Luke's mother Lily had cried onto Reid's shoulder and called him her second son. Reid had asked about the cake and been elbowed by Luke again. Apparently getting married hadn't stopped his violent streak towards him. All the time Reid noticed that his parents kept a cool distance from the commotion.
They had finally gotten some alone time as Luke's grandmothers had gone off to prepare the food, and everyone else was either chatting or taking a stroll.
"I know… Isn't that a good thing?"
"I don't know… You invited them, didn't you.?"
"I'm sorry. I just thought… If they could see you the way I see you…"
"They're too old, Luke. I think for some people there just comes a point where they cant let go, they cant change. Why would they, after all these years?"
"Well, they're here aren't they?" asked Luke gently , twisting the ring on Reid's hand as he held it.
"I mean, that has to count for something- oh look!" He stood up suddenly, pulling Reid up with him and slipping his arm around his waist.
"They're coming over."
Reid's mother was leading his father by the hand- an unusually intimate gesture for them, Reid thought. His mother looked smaller and frailer than ever before but she had an oddly unconcerned, peaceful look about her which gave the impression of youthfulness too. His father on the other hand was as tall and stern as he remembered him.
He was most certainly not prepared for his mother to clasp his hands and say:
"Reid! My Reid, I've missed you, son!"
"Agnes, get away from him!" said Reid's father, pulling her back.
Reid felt paralyzed. Luke squeezed him closer and held out his hand to Reid's father.
"I'm Luke, Reid's husband."
The man neither took his hand nor acknowledged that Luke had just spoken, instead focusing his attention on his wife, holding onto her shoulder in a tight grip. Reid was astonished- he had never seen them so physically close throughout his entire childhood.
Luke let his hand fall back.
"Look Bill, it's Reid, he's back. I knew he'd be back. You've grown so much darling, I cant believe it!"
"Of…. of course I've grown. Its been so many years." He couldn't believe how relaxed she seemed to be about the whole situation.
"No, it hasn't been that long, silly! Still working hard, are you?"
"Mother, I'm a doctor now."
"A doctor! Oh my goodness, Bill did you hear that? I always knew he had it in him. I'm so proud of you! Where's David? I want the whole family together- we need to celebrate."
Bill Oliver closed his eyes and sighed deeply. Reid began to understand what was happening. He was very glad of Luke's comforting hand on his waist.
His father finally made eye contact with him and nodded.
"She's got it pretty bad. Some days she doesn't even know who she is. The doctors say its just going to get worse."
"What is, Bill? I wish you would tell David to meet us here. I cant wait to see his face when he sees Reid."
Reid shuddered even though it was swelteringly hot.
"Agnes, we've been over this. David's gone away."
"Away where? You never tell me anything these days! Can't he just get on a plane? I want all my boys together."
"Is she… Does she think I'm still a teenager?"
"She mostly seems to think that you're both in collage.. Sometimes she doesn't remember either of you. She keeps asking to see you so I just thought.. I don't know…"
Agnes simply beamed at Reid and then turned to Luke.
"Who are you dear? Are you the groom? I think there's a wedding going on, it's very pretty out here."
"I'm Luke. Yeah, I'm the groom."
"Oh that's wonderful! Congratulations!" Reid's mother moved forward to give Luke a hug, breaking him apart from Reid, who was now stood face to face with his father.
"You know there are special homes… They'd look after her."
"Never. Not even if I have to keep watch over her every second of the day."
It was difficult to comprehend this level of compassion coming from his father, a man who'd kicked him out of the house and hadn't spoken to him in over twenty years.
"So you did come here to see me at all? To see me get married? To see what my life is like now?"
Reid's father looked at the grass and then back to Reid again who was searching his face for any trace of love or kindness.
"I did it for her. Two men, getting 'married'… You might have the papers and rings but it's just not real."
"I'll fucking kill you!" Reid lunged forward and took a swing at his father, but Luke grabbed hold of him around his chest with surprising strength, pulling him back out of the way.
"Hey, Reid, take it easy, baby."
"Not real? Don't talk to me about real love. You're the one who broke up the family, not me! You're the one who made us feel like we could never be good enough, no matter what."
"Reid, you don't have to do this." whispered Luke looking very concerned, still holding on to Reid around the middle.
"No, I need to tell you this, ten years ago, maybe five, I would've cared about what you had to say to me but now… I've built my own life, dad. I'm a doctor. I save people every day. And I'm married.. Yes, to a man, who is the love of my life, the greatest person I've ever met. I'm living my life exactly the way I want to."
Reid's father spat on the ground and looked at Reid with disgust.
"It wont bring him back…"
Reid could feel angry tears welling in his eyes and Luke stepped forward.
"You need to leave now. I think you're fucking vile for how you've treated Reid."
"Don't worry, we're going. This was a complete mistake, come on, Agnes."
He started to pull on her hand but she resisted.
"No! Come on, its only a silly argument. If David was here, he'd be able to sort it out. I think there's a wedding on, I want to see the bride."
"No, we have to go," he said, tugging at her hand, looking wearied.
"I want my boys all together again. I've cooked a nice roast dinner... I know how you both love your food" she said sadly as she looked at Reid.
She suddenly broke free from Bill's grip and hugged Reid tightly, pressing her cheek against his face and whispering "Sorry, I'm sorry."
Reid barely had time to choke out: "It's okay." before she pulled away and stared at him as though she had just seen him.
"Reid? I'm so glad you're here, I think there's a wedding on."
"Come on, Agnes!" He put his arm around her and led her away, despite her protests. Reid's face was ashen and he was visibly shaking. He turned around to face the lake, wringing his hands together. Luke put his arm around him again and Reid's body seemed to collapse against him. His face was pressed against Luke's shoulder and Luke knew he was sobbing. He tactfully pretended not to notice as he watched them fade into the distance behind Reid.
"Okay, they're gone… That wasn't the best idea I've ever had."
Reid coughed and blinked in an attempt to look nonchalant.
"Hey, what's a wedding without a little family drama?"
"Reid, we're married now. You don't have to put on the act with me."
"No, I just got a little… affected by all these flowers… I have allergies."
"First I've heard of it."
Reid wiped his eyes and started stroking the side of Luke's face.
"Well, now that we're married you're going to find out about all my little foibles."
Luke bit his lip, trying to contain his laughter.
"You mean besides your overeating, your grumpiness, your inability to be romantic."
"HEY!" He said giving him a gentle slap. "Remember last valentine's day. I gave you my last doughnut!"
"Oh yes, how could I forget? What a grand gesture!"
Reid suddenly looked serious.
"In all honesty… I'm glad they came. At least now I know… And I felt like a part of that, with my mother… I felt like it was real. I know that's probably stupid."
"No, it's not stupid. I understand."
"Yeah, I know you do," said Reid, stroking Luke's chin. His ring glistened in the sun. He belonged now, to Luke, to the town, to these people.
Reid kissed him, opening his mouth to let their tongues swirl together, drinking him in, his beautiful husband.
"You guys!" Katie tapped him on the shoulder and he was forced to end their embrace. "You need to cut the cake, everyone's waiting. Come on, you'll have plenty of time to make out later."
"Did you say cake? Let's go, Luke!" grabbing Luke's hand as Katie followed them, laughing.
Night had fallen by the lake and everyone was inside, lit up by hundreds of candles and fairy lights as they sat down at two very large tables. Reid had to hand it to the Snyders: they definitely knew how to throw a party.
Luke and Reid sat at the head of the table surrounded mainly by Luke's family, although a few of Reid's old colleagues had turned up. This was very exciting to Katie, who already had her eye on Reid's old college roommate, a handsome dark haired doctor named Stephen.
Chris kept getting in on the action, taking photographs at every opportunity, much to Katie's annoyance.
"It's so awkward having him here." she had confided privately to Reid when she was sure Chris wasn't in earshot.
"I mean, why is he insisting on filming everything?"
"I think he feels like he needs to repay me… You know, for saving his life. Though a better way of repaying me would be if he just left me alone."
Noah had stayed, but he was keeping very quiet as though he sensed all the ill-feeling towards him. He was sitting next to Richard and trying not to catch anyone's eye.
Katie suddenly tapped the side of her wine glass and shouted:
"Time for speeches!"
Everyone clapped and cheered.
"Okay, I'll start seeing as how I'm Reid's best woman…"
"Katie, remember what we talked about…"
"Shh Reid!" said Katie, waving her hand dismissively at him. She stood up and started her speech.
"Now, when I first met Reid five years ago I thought: he's single, he's a doctor, he's great with Jacob and he's easy on the eye: of course he turned out to be gay: just my luck! But then, when I got to know him better, I realised why he was single. Reid is an arrogant, sarcastic, grumpy, antisocial man and-"
"-Hey this is supposed to be flattering-" Reid interrupted as Luke roared with laugher.
"I'm getting to that bit! Yeah, so he's a grumpy loner-"
"But underneath, all that, Reid is a wonderfully brilliant, caring guy, who saves lives every day. And it took someone like Luke to chip away at his armour and unearth this other side to Reid. He developed this massive crush on Luke quite early on: it was so cute! I'd get in and find him hugging pillows or eating a ton of food or just generally freaking out-"
Reid banged his head against the table in mock outrage.
"And when he and Luke eventually fell in love. Well I was so happy- some of that was down to my meddling!…"
Everyone laughed and Katie turned to look at Reid, who narrowed his eyes at her.
"But in all seriousness, Reid is a great guy… He's the best. He and Luke just balance each other out perfectly. And Reid deserves all the happiness in the world. He's helped me so much with Jacob. I remember, when Jacob was a baby, Reid used to sing him Justin Timberlake songs to get him off to sleep-
"-Whoa! OK, Katie I think you've said enough!"
"-No no, it was really sweet!"
"Hey mommy," piped up Jacob. "Remember Uncle Reid gave Teddy an operation when he hurt his leg?"
"Yeah, that's right, Jake, he sewed it all back up again didn't he?"
"Right, that's enough about me, Luke's turn!"
Luke wiped away tears of laughter and composed himself enough to ask:
"Who did I marry?"
"Look, Justin Timberlake's songs are very catchy, alright? And I can't help it that I have a great memory."
Luke kissed Reid on the cheek as Lucinda stood up and cleared her throat.
"Well I cant deny that the way Luke and Reid met was very unconventional. Reid treating Luke's ex-boyfriend Noah as a patient? It sounds like something out of a soap opera!"
Noah shuffled in his seat uncomfortably.
"But what the hell? What's normal anyway for Oakdale?" She laughed, raising her glass. "Now, I know I'm biased, but Luke is one of the finest young men know. He always puts himself above others, he always knows the right words to say and… he has the most loving soul. So you'd better take care of him, Reid Oliver, you hear me?"
Reid nodded seriously, taking Luke's hand under the table.
"Luke hasn't always had the best time in life, but all that's changed now. He's a writer! He's married- to a doctor! But I'll have to stop before I get jealous. Reid is a marvellous man and I wish you both all the happiness in the world darlings!"
"Hear hear!" said Lily and Holden, clapping Reid on the back and causing him to spill a bit of his drink.
"To Luke and Reid!" said everybody, holding up their glasses and cheering. Lucinda walked over and hugged both Reid and Luke very tightly, wiping a tear from her eyes.
"I'm so happy for you both!" she whispered.
By nine o' clock that evening everyone had eaten large quantities of wedding cake and Luke's grandma's home-cooking. Reid had been clapped on the back so many times that he made a mental note to get himself checked out by a chiropractor as soon as he got the chance and Chris had made a nuisance of himself by taking a slightly compromising picture of the happy couple when they were least expecting it. He had been ordered to go and take some nice pictures of the lake as the dancing began.
Luke dragged his complaining husband out onto the makeshift dance floor by the lake and forcibly took his hand, placing the other one around his waist.
"I don't dance." grumbled Reid as he struggled against Luke's grip.
"I don't care. It's tradition. All you have to do is hold onto me."
"I might've known you would do everything by the goddamn book."
"shh, just relax.. . Think about brains or something…"
The first song began playing: the Beach Boy's "Don't Talk Put Your Head on my Shoulder' as chosen by Luke, so Reid stopped struggling and meekly obeyed the words of the song.
If he closed his eyes, he couldn't see the gleeful expressions of everyone watching them and he let Luke lead the way as they swayed round the dance floor. This really wasn't so bad after all… It was actually… nice.
When the song ended he opened his eyes and kissed Luke before he could get a chance to make a joke, as everyone clapped and stated to join them.
Every single female member of Luke's family insisted on dancing with Reid until Luke finally rescued him during David Bowie's 'Heroes'.
"What kind of a gay wedding is this?" complained Chris as he snapped a shot of them dancing together. "Where's Abba? Where's Lady Gaga or Cher?"
"Chris, would you please take your camera and your gay stereotypes elsewhere?" said Reid.
"No, don't worry," grinned Luke. "They're coming up later."
Reid bashed his head against Luke's shoulder and swatted Chris away wordlessly.
By ten o' clock Bob and Kim congratulated them one last time and left, along with some of the other older members of the party.
Then Noah came to say goodbye, shaking Reid's hand and giving Luke a hug.
"I'm… really happy for you, Luke."
"I'm glad you came… even if you did kind of crash the party."
"Yeah, I'm sorry about that… I'm sorry about a lot of things."
"It's okay, Noah."
Noah looked wistfully at Luke and Reid's entwined hands.
"Well… I've got to get back to L.A. We're shooting tomorrow morning."
"I hope it all works out for you."
"You too, Luke. And you, Reid. See you, guys."
He walked off with Richard in tow and Luke muttered:
"Wow. He actually called you by your first name."
"Not nearly as exciting as when you first said it." replied Reid, squeezing his hand.
A few hours later the party began to wrap up. Jacob had fallen asleep in Katie's arms and Luke's feet were aching from dancing. Lily kissed both him and Reid on the cheek before she started packing all of the extra food away.
"I think this is going to last us for weeks."
"My husband could probably finish it in a day." said Luke, who had been referring to Reid like this all night. Reid thought about protesting but then realised that he didn't actually want him to stop.
After most people had left, hugging them goodbye and wishing them a good honeymoon, they sat down with Katie and Jacob, who was still out for the count.
"Thank god Chris has gone, I thought he would never leave… Oh and thanks for aiming the bouquet at me, Luke."
Lily and Holden approached the table, arms filled with left over food.
"Boys, your car is here! It's time to go."
Luke got up and hugged his mom and dad.
"Have fun sweetie."
Reid ruffled Jacob's hair and said
"Look after yourself, Katie." as they began walking towards the waiting taxi.
"It was such a beautiful, day guys." smiled Holden.
"Yeah," said Reid as he climbed into the back of the taxi. "It's been a great day."
Hours later Reid was watching Luke's eyelids fluttering as he battled the onslaught of sleep, his head bobbing against Reid's side. They were currently flying across the Atlantic Ocean, sitting in a first class cabin with a delightful amount of leg room.
"I want… to give you something."
Luke sat bolt upright and grinned.
"Yeah, I knew that would wake you up."
"What is it?"
"Don't get too excited… It's just…"
Reid reached into his pocket which still contained Luke's note from this morning and found what he was looking for.
He pulled out an ancient, battered wooden chess piece in the shape of a castle and handed it to Luke, who looked slightly bemused.
"It's… When I was young my dad threw out all my stuff… Like he didn't even want any reminder of me in the house…"
Luke put his hand on Reid's leg and looked pained for him.
"I was so mad. David and I used to play each other all the time as kids on this great chess set and he just… got rid of it."
"God, that's so cold…"
"I know… But I managed to save this one piece. It was always my favourite anyway. As a kid I used to think I could find a full sized version of that castle and live there, make it my home… So I wanted you to have it because now…"
Reid faltered, trying to think of how best to explain what it meant to him to have Luke as his husband, his partner forever, after years of being completely alone.
"Reid, you don't have to explain." said Luke, clasping the chess piece tightly in his hand.
"I'm your family now. Well, me and about fifty other siblings but you get the idea. I'll treasure it. Thank you."
He put it carefully into his pocket and they kissed for a very long time until Luke pulled away suddenly and said:
"Hey, maybe we could get a dog!"
"Uh, I think you're getting ahead of yourself, we haven't even started living in our new house yet."
"Yeah, but its big enough! And since I'll be at home writing all day it could keep me company while you're at the hospital."
"Next you'll be asking me to have a kid with you."
"Ugh no, there are far too many kids in our lives as it is… Maybe we could get one of those small cute dogs, you know-"
"-No. Those look ridiculous! I'd refuse to take it for walks."
"You really think a small dog would ruin your image now, after everyone watched you dancing at our wedding?"
"Hey! I was good- if anything I was leading you."
Luke gave him a sharp elbow in the ribs.
"Is this our first fight as a married couple?"
"Here's to many, many more!"
Luke drew Reid's face towards his and kissed him until his lips began to hurt. Then he let out a satisfied sigh and rested his head on his chest, ready for sleep to take him into the next day.
The last thing he remembered before falling asleep was Reid gently playing with his hair.
Reid watched his husband drift off to sleep before wrapping a blanket around them both.
I'm home he thought.