Reid’s meeting Luke near Java and Luke’s late.
Reid glances down at his watch and then he checks his phone. No messages and no texts. He considers calling but he’ll give him a few more minutes. Luke is Mr. “I Need To Be There Ten Hours In Advance For No Reason” so Reid thinks that something important must be keeping him. He’ll be sure to punish him for it later. That’s a thought that keeps Reid smiling.
“Anyone special?” he hears from a stranger beside him.
“Yeah, he’s called none of your business,” Reid resists the urge to roll his eyes. Everyone’s always interested in everyone else in this podunk town. If he’d been in any other large metropolitan city, no one would notice him. But, no. Everyone is on everybody else’s radar. Don’t these people have lives of their very own?
“He,” the irritating stranger picks up on the pronoun. “Well, he must be very special if you reserve that smile just for him.”
“You’re not like seriously hitting on me, are you?”
“And if I am?” he closes his newspaper, his body turning to face Reid, placing both hands neatly in front of him.
Reid observes him quickly for the sake of observation - hair unkempt, brown blazer, an annoying scarf around his neck even though it’s not scarf weather at all. “Teacher?” he guesses.
He chuckles, “What gave me away?”
“The hideous wardrobe that tells me you’re trying to relate to your hipster students. Also, your bag says Oakdale U on the side of it with a bunch of graded papers spilling out of it,” Reid motions with one hand, his other hand lifting his cup of coffee to his lips.
“Oh,” he bends down quickly to gather the few papers that are spilling out, zipping the bag closed to prevent it from happening again. “Thanks,” he says as he looks up at Reid, his eyes traveling the length of his body before catching his gaze.
“Uh-huh, whatever,” Reid shrugs, stopping himself from checking his watch again.
“And you? You must be … well, you’re new here.”
“You’d be wrong.” Reid knows exactly how long he’s been here and it’s one year, two months, and three days longer than he wanted to spent in this town. He thought he’d end up spending a day here but he couldn’t have been more wrong.
Not like he really minds it all now. He still pretends he does to annoy Luke.
“I’ve been in and out this past year. Just started teaching again.”
“And you think I care about this why?” Reid motions in a circle with his cup, eyes narrowing at this guy.
“I’m hitting on you, remember?”
“Oh, god. Let me save you the trouble. You’re not my type,” Reid pushes himself off of the wall to walk away and he finds the other man falling into step with him. “You’re following me now?”
“You’ve piqued my curiosity.”
“Well, unpique it. I’m not interested.”
“It’s sort of obvious that we’re on equal footing here. I’m a professor and you’re someone who clearly believes that he’s superior to others in some capacity. You’re hot and I’m hot,” Reid scoffs into his coffee cup when he hears that. “What’s the harm in a one-time thing? I’ve had my fair share of relationships and now believe that a discretion or two isn’t gonna hurt the most stable relationship.”
“Oh, yeah? You get involved in a lot of ‘discretions’ in your relationships?”
“No, not me. Not at first until things got a little shaky. I had this really attractive student and he was having some problems with his boyfriend.”
“Can you spare me the story?” Reid’s a second away from leaving when he turns and sees Luke running toward him.
“Hey, sorry,” Luke smiles, out of breath when he reaches him. “Got here as fast as I could. I didn’t mean to keep you waiting. I just got caught up in this thing with Grandmother --” Luke stops speaking when he turns his head to look at Reid’s conversation buddy. “Mason,” he says, voice firm.
“L-Luke,” Mason stutters a little, smiling a little.
“Oh, you know this guy? He’s annoying. Couldn’t shake him off.”
“Yeah, he’s kind of like that,” Luke tells Reid. “He has this thing where he hits on my boyfriends. First, it was Noah and you’re trying to go for Reid now too?”
“Luke, please. You know that it wasn’t like that with Noah.”
“Don’t you dare!” Luke shouts, eyes flashing with anger. “Don’t. You know what you did was wrong and you should be damn lucky that I didn’t bring up your indiscretions to the school board. And now you’re back in town and one of the first things you do is hit on my boyfriend? You’re a piece of work, Mason.”
“I didn’t mean anything by it. It was just some harmless flirting and if you’re that insecure --”
Luke laughs loudly when he hears that, shaking his head, and placing his hands on his hips. “Me and Reid? I’ve never been more secure, more wanted, and more loved in my life. Maybe you should go off and find that for yourself away from Oakdale instead of going after men who’ve been with Luke Snyder.”
Reid feels like he’s beaming when he hears his entire exchange. He probably is. He does feel both proud and turned on by this side of Luke.
With that, Luke turns to leave, and Reid’s about to follow. But first, he smiles smugly at this Mason guy. Then, he walks away to catch up with Luke.
Luke’s still working off his anger, just walking straight down the street without any particular destination. When they begin walking too far, Reid reaches out his hand, and captures Luke’s, lacing their fingers together. Luke finally comes to a slow stop and faces Reid, “Sorry.”
“Don’t have to be,” Reid leans in and presses a kiss to his temple. “Feeling any better?”
“If it helps, you were really hot back there,” Reid ducks his head a little to catch Luke’s gaze.
Luke lifts his eyes, a smirk at the corners of his lips. “Really?”
“Oh, yeah. I love when you go into defensive mode. You yell and bring someone down a peg.”
“Gee, I wonder why that appeals to you,” Luke laughs, giving Reid’s hand a squeeze.
“Sounds like he deserved it.”
“I really never told you about Mason?” Reid shrugs his shoulders. Luke begins to walk back in the direction that they came from so that they can walk back to Reid’s car which is still in the parking lot at Java. “He was Noah’s faculty adviser and they were working on Noah’s film together.”
“You mean, the masterpiece he was working on when he was blinded?” Reid’s voice is dripping with sarcasm but Luke nods anyway.
“Yeah, that’s the one. Mason wanted Noah and he made sure that I knew it. I told Noah about it but he just didn’t, he kept telling me that he needed to work with Mason, that my fears were unfounded even though at the film’s wrap party? Mason came up to me and told me on no uncertain terms that he was going to go for Noah. Anyway, all of this led to the fight that resulted in Noah’s temporary blindness.”
“Oh, so the Mason guy is the one whose ass I should kick for dragging me here? We have our history all wrong. I thought that it was the blackmail but it turns out, it’s Mason.”
Reid’s only joking and Luke usually knows that but that doesn’t even get a smile out of him. “Are you … do you regret that? Do you regret coming here?”
Reid flashes through the past year. He thinks about the blackmail, Mr. Snyder and Dr. Oliver, thinking about brains in elevators, flirting in the hospital hallway, the first time they really kissed without Noah looming over them, bringing back the heart for Chris from Bay City and finally having earth shattering sex with Luke that very same day, the first time that they both told each other that they loved each other, and Reid finally shakes his head. “No. I don’t.”
Luke looks a little relieved and moves even closer to Reid as they walk. “You just want to kick Mason’s ass for being the cause of the fight that blinded Noah that brought you here. All right, just don’t hurt your hands,” Luke brings Reid’s hand up to his lips, kissing him there.
Reid laughs and releases his hand, wrapping an arm around Luke’s shoulder instead. “Tell me something, you’re still that pissed at that guy for hitting on Noah?”
“No, no, not at all,” he shakes his head. “I’m just upset that he got away with the whole thing and I’m even more upset thinking about how Noah didn’t believe me and he kept telling me that he needed him even though he could’ve found another film professor that didn’t hit on him every time they were in the same room. Maybe I’m still just more upset with Noah than with Mason. Everything that followed was just sort of like the final straw for us. I put up with a lot --”
“That’s probably an understatement.”
Luke glances over at him and nods, “Yeah, that was, that was the thing that started the inevitable downfall and brought the two of us together.”
“Again, we should be thanking him.”
“Okay, thank him before you kick his ass.”
“I think that you verbally kicked his ass. He’d be a dope to come around again.”
They eventually make it back to Java and Mason is nowhere in sight. Reid likes to think that it’s because Mason knows Luke’s capable of taking him down and he ran away as soon as they left.
That’s how Reid thinks of Luke. He believes Luke is capable of anything. He believes that Luke can handle a guy like Mason. He believes that Luke can stand up for himself and he doesn’t need Reid to defend him -- even though he will if the situation calls for it.
Reid really loves being Luke Snyder’s boyfriend.
Reid pulls Luke against him, right there in front of Java, and plants a big wet one on his lips. Luke only pulls away a little to give him that bright smile and Reid thumbs his lower lip before leaning in for another kiss.
Yeah, Reid loves being Luke Snyder’s boyfriend and he really loves Luke Snyder.