Disclaimer: I do not own anything ATWT does.
Notes: Written for moongirl24's prompt Facebook misunderstanding at the Spring Nuke/Jansis Anon prompt meme at the nuke_anon livejournal.
Noah Mayer went from being "it's complicated" to "in a relationship."
What the fuck.
Four months. Four.
Exactly four months ago, Noah had vowed to wait for Luke. Apparently, that pledge had an expiration date.
Of four fucking months.
It wasn't like Luke had expected Noah to pine for him. Luke had been mourning another man, unable to simultaneously examine his feelings for Noah. Noah understood, and hadn't asked him to.
Instead, he simply promised to wait. For Luke to emerge on the other side of his grief. For Luke to remember what they were, without feeling like it was a betrayal of a dead man.
Most of all, Luke suspected Noah was waiting for Luke to acknowledge they were meant to be.
Or maybe that's what Luke hoped he was waiting for.
How long had this been going on? Noah had acted somewhat detached around him at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but Luke had assumed his awkwardness lay with their situation: not boyfriends, but still family. Still connected. He thought Noah had been avoiding closeness to prevent himself from overstepping.
Luke mentally kicked himself. The entire time he'd believed Noah was keeping a distance for his sake. When in fact, Noah was simply moving on.
Luke searched Noah's Facebook for new photos; for any indication of who this interloper was, but to no avail. He hadn't expected to find anything. Luke visited Noah's page daily; he'd have seen it if any such pictures had been added.
Meaning either that there weren't, and Noah was keeping his private life private. Or that such photos had been uploaded, and simply weren't visible to Luke. Noah's attempt to spare his feelings, no doubt.
Returning to Noah's wall, Luke continued to stare at the damning string of words on his laptop screen.
In a relationship.
Not for long, if Luke Snyder had anything to say about it.
"Luke? Luke Snyder!"
Twenty-four hours later, Luke was surprised to hear his name called out by an unfamiliar young woman, making her way towards him in the parking lot across from the studio. He stopped, allowing her to catch up with him while he tried to place her. As she neared, the funky Coke-bottle glasses and closely-cropped hair sparked recognition. Luke held out a hand to greet her.
"Jess? You're Noah's assistant?"
"Very good! So Noah does talk about me, huh? All good things, I hope!"
"Absolutely," Luke assured. He omitted the fact that he and Noah barely spoke apart from the holidays - and that the extent of his knowledge about the petite PA was gleaned from stories Noah told the entire family as he passed photos around the Snyder's table. Now, it seemed that Noah had similarly shared photos and stories from home with his friends here, if Jess' recognition of Luke was anything to go by.
"You have good timing. You can walk in with me. It's easy to get lost on the lot if you don't know your way around!"
"Thanks," Luke answered as they made their way to the crosswalk. "First time here."
"I know! Noah didn't even mention you were visiting. He wanted to surprise us, I guess."
Luke raised an eyebrow at the odd comment. "The surprise should be his; he doesn't know I'm here."
At that, Jess came to a dead halt in the middle of the intersection, causing Luke, who was following, to inadvertently crash into her.
"Oh God, I'm sorry," he apologized.
"My bad," Jess explained. When an irate driver beeped at the stationary pedestrians, Jess grabbed Luke's arm and quickly pulled him along to the sidewalk. "I just think that's so amazing! Didn't mean to get you run over, though. Since Noah's mentioned me, he probably told you I get distracted easily."
"It's okay. If Noah's talked about me at all, you probably know I can be..." Luke trailed off, realizing he had no idea what Noah would've said about him.
"Spectacular," Jess finished, leading Luke into the studio entrance. At Luke's surprised look, she continued. "Oh, come on. You have to know he thinks you hung the moon. He must tell you; he tells the rest of us enough."
Suddenly, Luke's stomach fell. In Jess' scatterbrained mind, she'd mistakenly tabbed him as Noah's boyfriend. Meaning, whoever was Noah's boyfriend... was spectacular.
Luke was pretty sure he was going to be sick. To her credit, Jess noticed. "Are you all right? You look a little off."
"Maybe it's the jet lag," Luke lied.
"Ooh, I hear you. I'll tell you what. There's a crew meeting in ten minutes. Noah will be there for the next hour or so. I'll take you to his trailer so you can relax."
Luke nodded, agreeing that he very much needed to lie down. Stopping outside the trailer, Jess added, "Rest up. And my lips are sealed. Your guy will be completely surprised when he gets here."
Jess opened the door for Luke, signalling for him to enter. As he climbed the few stairs, he turned to the petite brunette. "Thanks for everything."
She gave him a thousand-watt smile. "No problem! Can't wait for the big reunion!"
With that, she closed the door and headed off, leaving Luke to wonder just what the hell he'd gotten himself into. Still, he'd come here with a mission, and he wasn't about to abandon his future because of one obstacle, no matter how spectacular. Turning away from the door, Luke began to explore Noah's trailer.
And was shocked by what he found.
Noah rubbed at the back of his neck as he headed for his trailer. The meeting hadn't been particularly grueling, but it had run long. Two-and-a-half hours the morning after working late Friday night was enough to have him feeling the fatigue. Luckily, they were far enough ahead of schedule that at the conclusion of the meeting, Noah delivered the happy news, giving the crew the rest of the weekend off to recharge.
He needed the break, too. Noah hadn't been overly tired last night, but ever since he arrived at the lot this morning, felt somewhat out of sorts. He could chalk it up to exhaustion, but he knew better.
Exhaustion, thy name is Luke.
Noah had put off telling Luke the truth for too long. He'd spent countless hours turning it over in his head, trying to think of some way to approach it. He couldn't begin to think how Luke would react, but none of the scenarios that played out in his head were good ones.
And the worst one involved Luke finding out before Noah got the chance to tell him.
No, Noah told himself as he arrived at his trailer. He had to come clean with Luke, no matter the cost. He owed him that much.
Noah's resolve grew as he opened the door, climbing the three steps into his trailer. Luke was the one person in his life he'd been able to be completely honest with. It wasn't worth it to Noah to compromise that by hiding this. He would call Luke now. He wouldn't wait for the whole thing to blow up in his face-
"What the hell, Noah?"
Noah spun at the top of the stairs to face his surprise guest, which threw him off balance, causing his foot to slip. He crashed back to the bottom step, his body slamming against the door. As pain shot to his lower leg, he realized two things.
1. He had very likely twisted his ankle.
2. More importantly, Luke knew.
"Noah! Oh my God, are you okay? Let me help you."
Luke, now standing two steps above Noah, reached a hand down to assist him. Bruised in both body and spirit, Noah hesitated, but finally accepted the help. Luke carefully pulled Noah up, and Noah immediately shifted his weight to his uninjured foot.
Noticing, Luke descended one step further, overriding Noah's protests to wrap the injured man's arm over his shoulder, and help hoist him up the stairs. Luke maneuvered him to the nearby sofa, lowering them down to sit together. Noah quickly retrieved his arm from Luke's shoulders, his discomfort evident.
Luke ventured to the kitchenette, returning with a Ziploc filled with ice. He leaned to place the ice against Noah's ankle, but Noah stopped him, taking the bag. He placed it against his own ankle, using his sock to hold it there.
A minute passed as they sat, both looking straight ahead; then two, then three. It was evident Luke intended to await Noah's explanation. And Noah couldn't begin to think how to give it.
He finally settled on, "How'd you find out?"
Luke sighed, indicating he'd been expecting an answer rather than a question. "Facebook. Your relationship status changed."
Turning to Luke, a look of surprise passed over Noah's features. "I didn't think you could see that."
Despite everything, Luke couldn't help but smirk just a little as he met Noah's eyes. "Facebook changed their privacy settings again. And, when I got here... well, you left your laptop logged in."
"Oh," Noah replied. As Luke's expression grew serious, Noah knew he needed to offer more than that. His palms began to sweat as he absentmindedly wrung his hands.
"Just tell me the truth, Noah," Luke pressed. "About your boyfriend."
If there had been any doubt before, Luke's tone put it to rest. He knew everything. Suddenly, Noah was uncharacteristically spewing word vomit as if his life depended on it.
"It just sorta happened. Tara in reception asked me out, and I told her I'm gay. Word got around, and one of the studio execs started asking me out. I told him thanks but no thanks. But it just kinda snowballed from there. Guys kept asking and I kept saying no."
Noah paused, looking for any sign from Luke that this was beginning to make sense. He found none, but soldiered on.
"Eventually Tara told me I was getting a reputation; that people believed I think I'm better than everyone else. So I finally started telling people I'm taken. I thought that would be the end of it, but they wanted details. It was like they could tell I was lying.
So when I went home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I told everyone I was visiting my boyfriend. And I posted the pictures of us your mom sent me on Facebook," Noah finished.
"And you made sure nobody in Oakdale could see them," Luke added.
"Yeah," Noah admitted. "I'm sorry, Luke. I swear I was gonna tell you. But as far as what I did - I can't defend that. I knew it was wrong. I just couldn't deal with people knowing the truth."
"That you were available? So you put these in your trailer?" Luke lifted one of the numerous photos of the two of them littered throughtout the room.
Noah balked. "No! And no. Those were already here. From Day One."
Luke's heart warmed at that. Realizing that Noah had carried Luke with him right from the start, placing pictures of them together throughout his first-ever set trailer... the revelation stirred something deep within Luke. "Wait. You said no twice. What was the other no? You didn't want people to find out you're available?"
"No," Noah repeated, seemingly with resignation. "I didn't want them to know why I'm not available. I didn't want them to know how pathetic I am, waiting for a man who's probably never gonna want me again-"
Luke's mouth covered Noah's, effectively cutting short both the sentence and the sentiment. He clenched Noah's shirt to bring him closer, pressing them tightly against one another in the kiss. After a moment of stunned immobility, Noah came to life.
His left arm looped around Luke's waist to pull him even closer, while the fingers of his other hand threaded through Luke's hair, anchoring the hand there to hold Luke firmly within the liplock. He couldn't believe Luke even wanted to kiss him - especially after the stunt he'd pulled - but Noah sure as hell wasn't about to complain. Reluctantly, the need for air finally forced them to break the connection.
Noah regarded Luke with amazement. "So... you're not mad at me?"
Luke laughed, then pushed Noah backwards to lie on the couch, lowering himself cautiously to rest on top of Noah without putting pressure on his injured ankle. "No, I'm not mad. It's kinda nice, actually. Usually I'm the one to bring the cray cray. But having me as your fake boyfriend definitely rates. It might take me awhile to top that," Luke joked.
Noah prepared to object to Luke even making such an attempt, but was interrupted by the knock on the door.
Before Noah could answer, Luke piped up. "Come in, Jess."
The door swung open, and a pleased-looking Jess stepped inside, stopping on the second stair to appreciatively regard the pair lying on the couch. "Ahh, so the reunion's going well. Just wanted to check that you're feeling better, Luke. It sure looks like you are," Jess concluded with a wink.
"I am, thank you," Luke confirmed.
"Seeing your handsome boyfriend will do that, I guess!"
"Jess," Noah interjected, intending to set the record straight once and for all. "Luke's not-"
"Yes, spending time with my sexy man is all I needed," Luke cut in teasingly, talking over Noah.
"Aww, you two are adorable. I want to be annoyed you're both gay, but you're so damn cute together I can't. You can make it up to me by coming to dinner with the crew tonight. Everyone's dying to meet you, Luke. Seven o'clock at Pagoda West!"
"We'll be there," Luke answered for them both. "See you then."
Jess exited with a "toodle-ooh" wave and a knowing smile.
"Luke, you didn't have to cover for me. I'll tell them the truth."
"But I already did. You're bringing your adorable boyfriend to dinner with your friends at seven o'clock. There's nothing more to tell."
Noah swallowed, hard. Luke hadn't just kissed him on an impulse, then. In fact, he'd come all the way to Los Angeles all because... he'd seen the change in Noah's relationship status.
"You were jealous?"
"Of course not," Luke taunted. "I flew seventeen hundred miles across the country unannounced because I wanted to try the kung pao chicken at Pagoda West."
"Got it," Noah played along. "And you just happen to know it's seventeen hundred miles between O'Hare and LAX."
Noah nodded, and tightened his embrace around Luke. "1739... point 76."
"Oh my God bubby," Luke laughed. "You Googled it, too!"
"I did," Noah admitted, then confessed something more telling. "I needed to know how long it would take me to get to you... if you needed me."
In response, Luke burrowed his face into the crook of Noah's neck. He spoke softly, his words muffled by his position. "I always need you."
This time, Noah swallowed twice to get the words out. "I love you, Luke. You're the only one for me."
Luke smiled into Noah's neck. "I better be," he warned. "I love you, too." Knowing this next part was especially important, Luke pulled back, and tilted Noah's face down to meet his own. "I could never love anyone the way I love you."
Luke's face blurred slightly as Noah gazed at him through now-watery eyes. He knew the words were meant, and they were exactly the ones he'd needed to hear for so long. Noah pulled Luke into an impassioned kiss, preventing him from voicing the thought he knew without a doubt Luke could hear.