By Mike Douglas
Special thanks to nezabudka1 for help with editing the story.
Disclaimer: Luke, Noah, and all related characters, plots, and locations are property of As the World Turns, Telenext Media, and CBS Television. No profit is made from this fan creation. No copyright infringement is intended!
Summary: A question is asked, will there be an answer?
Luke was reading a book in the parlor when he noticed someone standing in the doorway. He looked up and smiled instantly at the man staring at him.
"Come on . . . lets go for a walk around the pond," Noah held out his hand.
"But my book?" Luke protested. The book occupying all of Luke's attention was just getting to the who-done-it part, but Noah was standing there looking so ridiculously handsome and having been in Oakdale for the past week, with another week to go, he was getting a little anxious for some romance. He shut off his iPad, got out of the chair he was sitting in, walked up to his bubby and gave him a quick kiss. "Okay."
It was early dusk as they walked out of the farmhouse, hand-in-hand. It was a clear evening, with enough chill in the air to make the skin tingle.
"Where did everyone go?" Luke thought it was strange they didn't run into anyone on their way out of the house. Normally, you couldn't throw a stone without hitting a Snyder on a Friday night.
Noah shrugged his shoulders, put his arm around his boyfriend, reminiscing about how they used to love going for these walks. The conversation abruptly stopped when Luke spotted a white path ahead of him.
"What's that?" Luke inquired of Noah. He still knew the farm like the back of his hand, even though he had been in California with Noah for the past four years.
Noah didn't say anything as Luke pulled out of his arms, grabbed his hand and began walking toward the path. When they reached their destination, Luke knelt down and picked a flower up off the ground. He stood up and looked at his hand but his eyes disbelieved what he was seeing. "White lilies?" He whispered with astonishment, as he looked from the flower in his hand to the path in front of him.
"I wonder why they are way out here?" The attempt by Noah to feign a lost look gave away that he knew exactly why they were there.
Impatiently, Luke pulled Noah quickly along the path. But as soon as the pond came into view, he stopped dead in his tracks, and let out a loud gasp. He let go of Noah's hand, dropping the flower he had picked up, and covered his mouth with both hands.
Hundreds of white lilies were floating in the pond, giving brightness to what was normally, at this time of the evening, a dark pond. There was enough light to see everything clearly but the Chinese lanterns floating in the water, were beginning to give a warm glow to the neighboring flowers, as they waited to give light to the coming night. Crickets and frogs added nature's song to the wonderment in front of them.
"It's so beautiful!" Luke's eyes darted from one side of the pond to the other, in an attempt to view everything. "How did you . . . we were just here yesterday." Flustered, he turned to look at Noah. "How did you? . . . A dock? . . . ." There had never been a dock at the pond in all the years that he could remember. "Where did the boat come from?"
Noah was pleased with Luke's response to all his hard work. "Come on." He grabbed Luke's hand and gently pulled him toward the boat but Luke stopped dead in his tracks again. Noah turned around and saw Luke reading the engraved plaque attached to the dock.
Luke looked up baffled. "Snyder-Mayer dock, 2015?" The look of confusion turned to complete and utter shock at the meaning of all the night's events clicked in his head. "Noah, you're not . . . ." He lost his voice for a few moments. ". . . Oh my GOD . . . you are!" he shouted.
A huge smile eclipsed Noah's face. It was exactly the reaction he thought he would get. "I'm what?" he stated calmly.
"Yes, Noah," Luke shouted again. "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes." The excitement of the moment seemed to overtake him.
Noah couldn't help but laugh. The impulsive part of his partner always seemed to rear itself in Oakdale, while the more prudent side lived in California with him. He liked prudent but missed impulsive when it was dormant for long periods of time. It drove him crazy but it was the side of Luke that he fell in love with. Now that they were more mature, grown up and well, he kind of missed the old Luke from time to time.
The night was interrupted by a loud whisper of a bored child, which seemed to be coming from the nearby bushes. "Did he ask him yet?"
Voices of several people trying to shush the youngest sibling came from the same direction. Luke and Noah laughed as they turned their heads toward the voices.
"No," replied Natalie with an equally quiet whisper.
"Why not?" Ethan whined.
"Because Luke won't shut up!" Natalie responded truthfully.
Luke blushed with embarrassment, as Noah snorted at the unseen conversation.
"He never shuts up," Faith added as fact.
"Hey!" Luke was the one whining now.
"What is going on? Come out of those bushes!" Noah laughed at the banter of the Snyder clan.
Luke and Noah watched Luke's father, mother, grandma, grandmother, and his three youngest siblings come out of their hiding place. The adults looked embarrassed at getting caught.
"Did you invite them?" Luke asked Noah.
"No, I did not," Noah replied. "Only one of them knew of my plans for this evening." Noah moved his mouth to Luke's ear. "But it is better we find out they are watching us now, than later," he whispered.
A knowing look overtook Luke's face. He didn't care if his family was there . . . well, he did, because it was keeping Noah from asking the question.
"I'm sorry, Noah," Holden said with sorrow in his voice. "Lily overheard us talking and well, you can probably guess the rest."
The thought of Noah going through all this trouble for her son was taking Lily's breath away and even to the casual observer, the romance of the night was off the chart. She couldn't imagine what Luke was feeling but her thoughts turned from sweet to sour at hearing Holden's explanation.
"Way to throw mom under the bus, Dad," Faith scolded her father.
Holden went stiff all over as he turned toward Lily. Seeing her displeasure, he quickly turned back to Luke and Noah. "Don't mind us," exclaimed Holden. "Just keep on with what you were doing." He was a little impatient to get this over with. While this was important, the Cubs were playing and he was missing the game.
Lucinda agreed. "Just carry on with what you were doing, darlings," she said as she waved her hand.
"Will you take me for a boat ride, Noah?" Ethan innocently asked.
His face looked so hopeful that Noah hated the thought of turning him down.
"Me too," Natalie excitedly added her voice.
Noah turned Luke to face him. "Luke, do you . . . ,"
"YES!" Luke shouted out much too quickly.
Noah shook his head from side to side. He was just going to ask if it was okay to give his brother and sister a ride. The rest of the family rolled their eyes at the excitement from their kin.
Noah knew Luke was never going to allow him to give a long proposal, so he figured he better just say it and expand on it later, when they were alone. He grabbed both of Luke's hands and looked straight into his eyes. "Will you marry me, Luke?"
Luke's face turned from excitement to shock at actually hearing the words he longed to hear for so long. For the first time in his life, he was truly speechless.
"I hope they were not watching us." After what they've done in the boat, Luke could only hope.
"I doubt it," Noah saw Luke looking at him with a lost look, as he looked over his shoulder. "We would have heard the screams of horror." Noah covered their naked bodies with a blanket after he felt a mosquito bite into his naked thigh.
Luke laughed for a few seconds before he got serious. "Thank you, Noah."
"For making this night so special," Luke looked over his shoulder again.
"Well, it was special after we gave the kids a boat ride and everyone left," Noah grinned. He could have easily been upset but this type of thing was typical of the Snyder family.
Luke looked sheepish. "Yeah, sorry about that."
"You know I love your family," Noah was just glad, after all their relationship issues, that Luke's family still liked him.
Luke just smiled. He knew the feeling was mutual. Almost everyone loved Noah right from the start and those who didn't, came to love him soon after.
Noah kissed the back of Luke's neck. "But, how about instead of talking about your family, I tell you how much I love you," he said between kisses. "And how much better our lives are when we are together."
Luke's smile widened. It sounded like a better plan to him. Since he was looking away from Noah, at the flowers floating on the pond, he started to turn himself around.
Seeing Luke's movement, Noah became extremely nervous. "Luke . . . WAIT!"
But it was too late!
The kids were in bed and Lucinda had gone home. Emma, Lily and Holden were up, sitting at the table, waiting to see the newly engaged couple when they returned. Emma was coming up with a to-do list for an engagement party for the next evening, Holden was reading about the game he missed on his iPad and Lily, with paper in front of her, jotted down notes for the upcoming wedding.
The door opened to the farmhouse. Luke and Noah, with only a single wet blanket wrapped around the both of them, walked into the kitchen.
Emma's face turned quickly to surprise as she looked up from her list. "What happened to the both of you?"
"Jacques Cousteau tipped the boat over," Noah volunteered.
"No!" Lily moaned, upset their romantic evening ended that way. "Where are your clothes?"
"At the bottom of the pond," Luke's face turned red. With it being dark out, the only thing they could find was the blanket.
Holden stifled laugh. It was one of the funniest things he had seen in a while. He picked up his cellphone and took a quick picture without anyone noticing.
Noah noticed the devastated look on Luke's face for what he could only think that Luke believed he had ruined their evening. "It was about time to come in anyway," Noah looked up at the clock. "When we are old and gray, all we will remember were the many romantic hours we spent floating around the pond." He kissed Luke on the side of his head.
"Who are you kidding," Luke looked into Noah's eyes. "The first thing we will remember is that I tipped over the boat!"
"Well, yeah!" Noah replied. "But I was trying to make you feel better."
Luke put his forehead on Noah's naked chest. "Thanks."
Noah kissed the top of his head. "That's my job, to make you as happy as I can, until we are old and senile. In a few years, we will think it's funny."
Luke pushed himself into Noah and wrapped his arm around him, as he kept his other hand on the blanket that prevented him from flashing everyone in the kitchen.
A look of ecstasy appeared on Noah's face. "Luke, your . . . um . . . is rubbing on my . . . um . . . stop that." He was relieved when Luke stopped moving. But the look of ecstasy was soon replaced with a look of fear.
"Why are you both in a towel?" Although, Emma had already figured out the reason, in her mind, all of her stringent house rules still applied. She was wondering how hard she should be on them for breaking those rules.
"Um . . . ," Noah couldn't think of an excuse quick enough.
"Yeah . . . ," Luke tried to add to the conversation but was lost for words. ". . . Um. . . ."
"Momma!" Holden gave his mother a disapproving look. They had just gotten engaged and he didn't think his mother should be questioning them.
Lily came to their rescue, "Look at the mess you two are making on the floor. Get upstairs and take a shower."
Taking that as their cue, they walked quickly over to the stairwell door, opened it and then walked quickly upstairs, making their getaway before Emma could chastise them. They stopped at the top of the stairs and kissed.
"I don't regret anything, Luke," Noah said plainly. "She will just have to be a little upset with us for a while."
"I don't think she was really upset or she would have followed us up the stairs," Luke knew his grandmother well enough. "Listen, Noah, I'm sorry I didn't answer your proposal right away."
"I don't think I've ever seen you speechless before," Noah replied honestly.
"We have been through so much together, as a couple," Luke voiced his concern. "At times, I didn't think we would make it."
Noah's mood changed instantly at the memories of their past issues.
"No, Noah, don't. It's all in the past now," Luke acknowledged Noah's emotional turn. "We took an all but a dead relationship and rekindled it. It's better now than it's ever been. That's why this is all the sweeter and that's why it took me aback when you asked me."
"Oh!" Noah pulled Luke into a hug. "Well, we should shower and go to bed. I have a feeling the ladies of your family will be grilling us tomorrow about a wedding."
"Yeah!" Luke thought about it for second and smiled. He looked up at Noah. "I wish we could shower together and get into bed, like we do in our home."
"So do I but you know your grandma's rules," Noah acknowledged. "I bet you will dream about our wedding tonight."
Luke kissed him. He unwrapped himself from the blanket and moved over to his bedroom door, naked. "Then I'll have a lot of ideas tomorrow." A large smile eclipsed his face. He grabbed the door handle, opened the door and walked into his bedroom.
Noah looked as his naked fiancé shutting the door to his bedroom. "And I'll be dreaming about the wedding night!"