Cracks

Premise: When Lily and Luke talk about Reid's life and untimely death, cracks begin to show in the Snyder family's formerly thought to be solid foundation.

"Lily, hurry or we're going to be late," Holden said as he slid on his shoes and looked up to see his wife staring off into space. "Lily?"

"Oh, sorry, I was just ... thinking ..." Lily said, looking over at Holden and smiling at him weakly. She reached for her jewelry box and opened it, pulling out her favorite strand of white pearls. She looped them around her neck and then went to get her high heels.

"What's on your mind?"

"Our son."

"Which one?"

"Luke. I tried to give him Noah's postcard that arrived in the mail today and he wouldn't even touch it; he looked at it like it was poisonous actually... I'm really worried about him."

"He's going through a lot," Holden said. "He will be okay though, I truly believe that."

"I want to believe that too but I - I just don't right now," Lily said as she slowly slipped into her high heels. "I mean, I tried to get him to come with us to the Metro re-opening tonight and he just shook his head and said he was busy. Busy doing what? Sitting and staring at old pictures of Reid or sleeping again? I'm really concerned about Luke."

"Lily, seriously. He needs time to grieve. Then he's going to be okay, I promise."

Lily looked at the clock on the wall. "I just want to talk to him for a little bit. You go on ahead. I'll come over afterwards..."

Holden shook his head. "Nothing can be solved tonight, Lily. But I know you, once you have your mind set on something, you don't budge." He walked over and lightly bussed her cheek with his lips. "I'll see you soon. Don't keep me waiting too long, okay?"

"Okay," Lily agreed and watched Holden walk out of their bedroom. She finished getting dressed as she heard him say goodbye to Luke and then she too walked out of the room.

She found Luke sitting on the sofa, looking at a picture of Reid, seemingly as he always did these days. She took a moment to watch her son. He looked tired and drawn even though he seemed to sleep for hours at a time. He had dark circles under his eyes and red-rimmed lids. His hair was rumpled and he was wearing old, baggy jeans and a tee-shirt that he hadn't changed out of in days.

She slowly walked over to him. "Hey, Luke," she said.

He shrugged. "I thought you and dad were going out together tonight..." The way he said it, it sounded like an accusation rather than a question or an assumption.

"We are but I wanted to spend some time with you first if that's okay." She edged over to the sofa and he scooted aside to make room for her.

"Go for it," he said sulkily.

Lily sat down beside Luke and watched him again, looking for any sign that he was willing to hear what she had to say. There was no sign though and she forgot what she had been about to tell him, all the words she had practiced simply drifted away from her mind.

She swallowed hard over a lump in her throat and then spotted the postcard at the edge of the coffee table.

"Uh, did you read Noah's postcard? He says he misses us - all of us, but especially you, Luke."

Luke said nothing, just became stiffer if that was possible. Lily sighed. "Luke, do you want to read the postcard? I mean, it says he misses you and he would like to see you again really soon."

Luke turned his head and glared at Lily. "Great, Mom, that's just freaking great. Except I don't care. Because Noah is not Reid, okay? I care about Noah, always will, but he's not Reid - I loved Reid with all my heart... And you pushing Noah on me won't change that fact."

Lily was taken aback but tried not to show it too much. "Luke, that's not what I'm trying to do -"

"Isn't it? Isn't it, Mom? You think because you moved on so lightning-fast when dad 'died', that I can just do the same? That I can just go back to Noah and pretend everything is alright?" Luke demanded. "Well I can't, I just can't!"

Lily bit her lip. This was not going well but she knew Luke needed to vent his feelings and for once, she was going to let him. "I understand you're upset, Luke -"

"Do you, Mom, because I really don't think you do! You got your happy ending with dad. How can you possibly understand?"

Lily didn't say anything as Luke barreled on. "I mean, 'Juicy Janet' got a baby with Dusty. Carly and Jack are remarried after cheating on each other like a bazillion times and Carly's pregnant again. Chris and Katie get a happy ending too and Chris gets to give Katie Reid's heart ... So you tell me how you understand, huh? Everyone got a happy ending but me and Reid and even Noah - the gay guys. If that isn't 'social justice' what is, huh?"

Lily nodded. "It's not over for you, Luke. Reid is gone, yes, but you're not. You are going to have a long life and you're going to find love again. Sometime-"

"I don't want to find love again! I found true love with Reid Oliver, okay, and he died because he had to stupidly try to outrace a damn train ..." The tears that had been building in his chest finally gave way and came streaming down his face. "Hit by a train, Mom. That's just a horrible way to die. And he died so Chris could live. How is that fair? How is that freaking understandable?"

Tears formed in Lily's own eyes. "It's not fair, Luke, I just don't want to see you suffer forever. You are a good man. No, scratch that. You're an amazing man. You don't deserve to have lost so much."

Luke dabbed at his streaming tears. "You know what's so funny? Reid would probably say I needed to just man up, buck up or whatever, and stop acting like an emotional basket case..."

"I think Reid would have understood how lost you feel, Luke, I really do."

Luke looked over at his mom. "I'm - I'm sorry for lashing out at you. I am just kind of still in shock."

Lily shook her head. "Don't apologize. You're entitled to your feelings, Luke. I always pictured you turning out a certain way but the man you are ... is far more wonderful than I could ever have imagined or dreamt..."

She held out her arms to Luke and he scooted into them, resting his head on her slender shoulder. They both cried, their tears intermingling so neither knew where their emotional release ended and the other's began.

They must have sat there for at least an hour before Luke pulled away from Lily. "Mom?"

"Yeah, son?"

"I learned a lot from Reid. But I learned even more about myself and about life from being around him. Basically, here's some unsolicited advice for you... Love with all your heart and soul, don't give up easily, and fight for your happiness."

Lily nodded. "That's the best advice, Luke. And I really want you to remember that, especially the last part. You have a right to be so happy and I hope to god you will be again really soon."

XoXoXo

Luke went to bed after his talk with Lily and she opted to stay home as well in case he needed her. She tried to call Holden and tell him she wasn't coming but she got his voicemail.

She crawled into bed at eleven-thirty p.m. and waited for him to return. He finally showed up at just after midnight, flipping on the light and staring at her accusingly almost. "You didn't show."

Lily blinked against the brightness of the lamp light. "I thought being with our son was more important."

"You could have called."

"I tried. Your phone was turned off."

"Oh. Well, you missed a nice party. Bob and Kim were the life of it actually," Holden said. "I thought about coming home when I realized you weren't coming but I got cornered by everyone and had to stay."

Lily looked at Holden and nodded. "I understand, Holden."

Holden stripped down to his boxers and crawled into bed. He kissed her cheek and then rolled over to face the wall. "Night, Lily."

"Night, Holden," she said.

She laid awake a long time listening to his soft breathing, thinking over everything she and Luke had said to each other. She understood now that Reid and Luke had had something amazing, something that was supposed to last. She wondered if she and Holden had that same kind of pure love and she honestly didn't know. That thought scared her. It scared her a lot...

FINIS