“Mother, are you sure you don’t want me to take you to the airport? Luke won’t be discharged for at least another couple of hours; I have plenty of time.” Although he wasn’t entirely pleased with his mother’s decision, Reid didn’t want to continue arguing.
“Reid, you need to be by your husband’s side, just as you have been throughout this ordeal. It’s been quite eye-opening staying with Ethan at your house. I’m finally getting the hang of mothering and grandmothering, and I’m fairly certain that includes making sure you stay with Luke.”
Smiling coyly, Luke turned toward Miriam. “Please don’t worry about me. I’m fine. My kidney is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do, Ethan’s in school, I can wait for Reid to come back from the airport should I happen to get sprung earlier than expected.”
“Young man, are you trying to deny me a ride to the airport in one of your lovely limousines?” She offered a half-grin.
“I just don’t want you to think we don’t care about you, Mrs. Oliver. I’m so very grateful to you for all the time you spent taking care of Ethan and supporting Reid. It was exactly what the doctor ordered, so to speak.”
“My dear Luke, are you ever going to call me Miriam?”
Blushing, Luke lowered his head. “Do you really think that would be alright? I mean, it took Reid forever to call me Luke when we met.”
Reid snorted, remembering the first time he called his partner by his first name.
“Luke, you’re my son-in-law. I’d like it if you’d call me by my first name.”
Luke smiled listening to Miriam’s declaration.
“I expect you’ll be seeing much more of me in the future. Now you’ll both have to excuse me. I need to get to the airport. I feel like I’ve already put in a full day, saying goodbye to my hyperactive grandson after enduring a tour of his entire school in three minutes will do that to a person. I don’t know where that boy gets his energy from; he never seems to stop.” Miriam approached the hospital bed. Luke was sitting with his legs dangling off the side. She gave him a warm, but gentle hug. “Take good care of yourself.”
“Thank you for everything, Miriam. I will.”
She then turned to Reid, who was standing back, enjoying seeing, in front of his eyes, proof of the growing connection between his mother and his partner. “I’m glad everything turned out alright for both of you. It’s obvious how much you care about him.”
“I love him, Mother.”
Miriam nodded. “I know, and I love you, Reid.”
Eyes wide, Reid was rendered speechless.
“It’s taken a long time, but I really do finally understand what’s important, son.”
Giving his mother a kiss on the cheek, Reid smiled genuinely. “Call me when you get home.”
“I will. Thank you.”
“For what? You’re the one who came all the way from Boston to help us with Ethan.”
“For reminding me what it’s like to have a family. Take care of yours, Reid.”
He nodded, opened the hospital room’s door and flagged down one of the maintenance workers to help his mother take her suitcase to the waiting limo.
Luke’s regular nephrologist arrived with a nurse and the discharge paperwork. Dr. Walker had left a few days earlier, no longer concerned Luke would reject his new kidney. Before she left, she had arranged to have Luke visit with her in Boston in three months for a follow-up examination.
When the papers were signed and Luke was given the long list of limitations and instructions, as well as a two-week follow-up appointment, the doctor finally left. Luke stood up and scanned the room he had lived in for almost two weeks. “I can’t believe you kept me here so long.”
“VIP treatment. I have an in with the innkeeper.”
Chuckling, Luke wrapped his, still somewhat weak, arms around Reid’s waist. He leaned into his chest. “I wasn’t sure things would work out this time. I expected to be on dialysis.”
“I had a feeling. There was no way I was going to let that happen if it was at all within my power.”
“Not everything’s in your power, even though you’d like it to be.” Luke rested his head on Reid’s shoulder.
“I’m working on that misconception.” As he held Luke, Reid could feel the gentle laughter rippling through his partner’s body. It was a wonderful sensation, one that he loved.
“It’ll be a while before we can make love again.”
“I’ve demonstrated my patience with you before, I guess I’ll just have to do it again.”
Lifting his head, Luke looked into Reid’s eyes. He sensed there was something more on his lover’s mind than sex. “We have to be careful.”
“When it’s time for us to resume our incredibly healthy sex life, I’ll be extremely careful with you.”
Luke shook his head. “That’s not what I mean. The Grimaldi family, my former family -- we have to keep them in the dark otherwise they’ll--” His voice trailed off. “I know Damian can be a charmer, he’s charmed me before, but how could my mother marry him?”
“Obviously she figured out fairly quickly how big a mistake that was.”
“But I thought they’d run a paternity test years ago, at Damian’s request. I don’t get it.”
“Neither do I, Luke, but I’m just happy that you could finally confirm who you really are.”
Biting his lip, a tear escaped Luke’s eye. Reid thumbed it away. “I wish I’d known sooner; I wish my dad knew before he died. Who knows, maybe Damian wouldn’t have had reason to arrange the explosion?”
“There’s no telling how Damian would have reacted. Maybe more Snyders would have been at risk and that’s not a chance I’m willing to take. I’ve worked too damn hard to perfect the fine art of being the ideal spouse to let anything harm you.”
“Aren’t you the cock of the walk? Ideal spouse? You really do have an ego that won’t quit.”
“Do you have any complaints?” Reid embraced Luke, peppering kisses along his neck and jawline.
“Not a one, Mr. Perfect.” Luke pressed his lips to Reid’s, pushing his way inside, his tongue slowly exploring for the first time in weeks.
Feeling the urgency and need both had been missing, Reid returned the kiss, but soon pulled away, knowing they had to refrain from anything further for another few weeks. Luke pouted at the separation.
“Stop frowning, and that’s Dr. Perfect to you.”
Luke snorted. “My mistake.” He continued to cling to Reid. “I do miss you, us, in our bedroom. I want you inside me as soon as we can.”
“Have I told you how brilliant you are?”
“I love how you think, Mr. Snyder.”
“Mr. Snyder. That name sounds better than ever, especially when you say it.” Luke had a faraway look in his eyes.
“Thinking about your dad?”
“A little... and you.”
“I can’t believe I didn’t want to make love with you the first opportunity we had. Was I really that stupid?”
“It took me a while, but I figured out why.”
“Oh really, and what did you diagnose my problem to be, Dr. Oliver?”
“You wanted it to be making love, so we couldn’t have sex until it was about more than satisfaction or getting off.”
“I knew we’d be together the day you tried to run off and get Chris a new heart. The moment you told me you loved me I knew I hadn’t felt anything so right, been prepared for and wanted something so much, in my entire life.”
“And then you made us ride in that damn helicopter.”
“It was the only thing that made sense.”
“I know. Plus it got us back here faster, and then back to Katie’s that much quicker.”
“I want to touch you now; as much as I wanted to back then.”
“Sorry, Luke. This time I have to put the brakes on. Your body’s not ready.”
“You’re amazing, Reid.”
“Ethan’ll be home from school soon. You two
can get out before it’s too late if you hurry,” Reid called to Luke’s most
recent visitors. He’d seriously considered putting in a revolving door during
the week after they’d arrived home from the hospital. Luke was far too popular
for his own good.
Mark chuckled. “We like Ethan, remember? Besides, Noah and Luke are talking about filming their documentary and I’m not sure I want to get between the writer and the director. They seem to be having some sort of argument about how to shorten the length of their film; which scene to cut.”
“The little artistes butting heads. How quaint.”
“I heard that, Reid,” Luke called from across the room.
“You were meant to. You’re supposed to be recuperating, not working.”
“Noah needs to start shooting some critical scenes and he can’t wait for my overprotective partner to release me from bondage and return to work.”
“Bondage, now there’s a thought we haven’t visited in a while.”
“Reid!” Luke blushed from his forehead to his shirt collar.
Reid laughed out loud and Noah rolled his eyes. “Is he always this annoying?”
Luke grinned. “Some things never change.”
“And you’re sure you love this clown?” Noah smirked. “I’m sure you could do better.”
“Oh really? Do you have any suggestions?”
Reid and Mark watched the amusing interaction.
“The last time we had a conversation like this you had a clear recommendation.”
“Not anymore, Luke.” Noah walked up to Mark and planted a loud, demonstrative kiss on his lips.
“Then I guess I’ll just have to make do with Dr. Oliver.”
Noah chuckled. “Suit yourself.”
Luke stood up slowly, needing to be cautious with the still healing site of his surgery. He wrapped his arms around Reid’s neck and laced his fingers in the red curls that were just beginning to show a touch of gray. “I’ll definitely suit myself.” Drawing Reid in, Luke brushed their lips together in a chaste kiss, but Reid returned the small gesture of love, with a hungrier one. His patience was waning, but he knew they still had to wait.
“How much longer, Reid?”
“Another three weeks.”
“Hey, I’m a doctor,” Mark spoke to the group lightheartedly, “but there are some secrets even I don’t want to be privy to.”
Reid rolled his eyes. “My home; I can say whatever I want.”
Noah grabbed Mark’s hand and tugged him off the chair he was sitting on. “I’d say it’s time for us to go. Luke and I won’t get any more work done anyway. His mind is clearly elsewhere.” Noah rolled his eyes.
Mark grinned. “Can I encourage your mind to go to the same place?”
The edge of Noah’s lips quirked upward. “How fast can you get us home?”
Turning toward Luke and Reid, Mark tilted his head toward the front door. “We’re outta here. See you at Memorial, Reid. Bye, Luke.”
Without further hesitation, Noah waved and let his partner take his hand as they both quickly left.
“Thank God they’re gone.”
“Reid, you know you like them both.”
“I like Mark; I tolerate Noah because he’s your best friend.”
“You like Noah too -- don’t deny it.”
Reid bit his lip.
“Besides, you’re wrong.”
Raising his eyebrows, Reid stared at Luke in response.
“You’re my best friend.”
“Back at you, Mr. Snyder.”
“Glad to hear it, Dr. Oliver.”
Before the two could kiss again, the front door swung open and Ethan plowed through the living room, making a beeline for the kitchen. “I’m starving, I have a ton of homework, and I need to get you guys to sign a permission slip for a school trip.”
Luke and Reid followed Ethan into the kitchen, watching as he grabbed four cookies and a carton of milk without missing a beat.
“Oh, and Dad, my science teacher wanted me to thank you for donating those models of the brain. They’re totally cool.”
Gazing at Reid, Luke mouthed, “Dad? He hardly ever calls you that unless he wants something.”
Reid grinned and then mouthed back, “Must be Tuesday, movie at Jacob’s.”
Luke started laughing.
“Hey, what’s so funny?”
“Nothing, Ethan. I’m just glad to be home and watching you back in your regular routine.”
[TBC with an epilogue]
Return to The Hospital