Triangle - chp11
At 10:25 there was a knock on the door of Reid's apartment. When Reid opened the door Noah reached for him and Reid stepped into the embrace. Noah pushed him towards his bedroom. "I want you. I need you."
"OK, OK," Reid replied.
When they got into Reid’s room with the door shut behind them, Noah fingered a bit of Reid’s shirt.
"Take your clothes off."
Reid did it slowly but he complied. He stood next to the futon, completely naked, and let Noah look at him. Noah moved one hand lower and palmed himself through his jeans. Reid watched this, stroking himself leisurely. Then Noah moved much closer. He put his arms around Reid, one hand clasped at his waist, the other at his lower back, drawing circles with his fingers on the smooth skin there. Both of them were getting off on the juxtaposition of a completely naked, vulnerable Reid and a fully clothed, more physically dominant Noah.
"You’re beautiful," Noah bent his head in and whispered in Reid's ear. He drew back and let his eyes travel down the other man's body, then back up to his mouth.  "Kiss me."
Reid put his face up and captured Noah's mouth with his, hard.
Noah brought one hand around and began running it along the silky length of Reid's cock. They kept kissing, though Reid had to occasionally pull back because of the sensations happening between his legs.
Noah slipped his shoes off and moved onto
the futon mattress, bringing Reid with him. He fell to his knees and deftly took Reid in his mouth, running his tongue along the shaft of Reid's cock and then taking him deeper and deeper into his throat. After a few minutes Noah reached for the lube that was laying nearby on the floor. He coated a couple of fingers and slipped them up inside Reid, still blowing him. Noah didn't want to stimulate Reid too much, just wanted him open a little, for later. But it wasn't long before the sight of this beautiful man downing his cock, along with the addition of Noah's fingers, caused Reid to shoot his load down Noah's eager throat.

Reid was thirsty and and went to the kitchen to grab some water, explaining as he left the room that Demetri was in Chicago at a conference, so they had the place to themselves. This bit of information caused a now naked Noah to surprise Reid in the kitchen a few minutes later.
"I wanna bend you over something and fuck you," Noah breathed in Reid's ear.
Noah soon had Reid splayed over the arm of the couch in the living room, Reid's ass in the air and his face buried in his hand on one of the seat cushions, Noah frantically pumping into him. "Uh" was the only discernible word out of either man’s mouth. Noah reached over and pinned one of Reid's arms slightly behind his back with one of his biceps. Reid hadn't really experienced this little bit of bondage play with Noah before. He loved it and he could tell that Noah knew he did. When Noah came it was with such force that Reid thought he was being torn in half.

Within 10 minutes Noah was hard again. Reid saw this.
"Fuck me one more time."

They were on the floor next to the coffee table, panting in tandem, Reid on his back. Noah grabbed at Reid’s hair and pulled his head back, sucking and nuzzling at his neck. Noah's cheek was pressed against the side of Reid's face, the beginning of stubble rough against Reid's skin, Reid's cock heavy and sandwiched between their stomachs. Reid couldn't get past how much he loved the weight, the smell, the taste of this ultra-masculine body on him. Then Noah slowed things down.  His hips were barely moving, yet ever millimeter of traction caused rapturous sensations throughout both men's bodies. Noah kissed Reid hard, then pulled back a little and looked into his face.
"Did you miss this?"
"What do you think?"
Noah looked into Reid's eyes and increased his pace. 
Noah, Reid breathed, keep going it's so good.
Three or four more strokes and Reid couldn't stop himself from coming, the hot stickiness cementing them together even more. Noah picked up even more speed-he could feel his ejaculation coming. "God, Reid," he panted between thrusts, "I fucking love you!" and then came, again and again.

Noah slept over. In the morning neither man said anything about what Noah had uttered the night before. Despite enjoying the most marathon session of sex they'd ever had together, they were both too busy trying
to shake off the nagging feeling that it would be their last.


Luke happened to get off a subway stop too early. He was tired and wasn't really paying attention. That's OK, he told himself, I'll just walk to Casey's from here. He made it up out of the subway and was heading east when he caught a familiar face in the distance. It was Reid. Luke was about to call out when he realized Reid wasn't alone. A tall, dark haired guy was walking with him. They stopped and Reid looked up at the taller man. The latter bent his head and they briefly kissed. Then  went their separate ways.
Luke felt slightly ill, and not just because he had seen Reid kiss another man. He knew this person who had been with Reid. It was Noah, the bartender from Axel's, Noah who Luke had hit on the night he had met Reid, Noah who was supposed to be fucking straight. Noah who had either lied to Luke or else changed his ways where Reid was concerned. Luke quickly fell back so that he wouldn't be seen. Now he knew why Reid had acted so odd that night at the restaurant. Part of Luke just hated Reid now, but he also knew that Reid had been honest with him, up to a point. It was hard to find much solace in it though. 
Even though he had known that Reid probably was still playing the field, as it were, it just bothered Luke intensely that the person Reid was seeing was Noah. Luke normally played it surface but underneath it all he knew why: Noah had rejected Luke's own advances and yet Reid had managed to snag him, and he had said he was straight and yet Reid was seeing him. But what Luke thought he should do about the situation was another thing.


Reid had tried to call Luke again earlier in the day, as he still had not heard back from him. It had gone to voice mail and Reid hadn't leave a message.
Now Reid tried Luke a third time. He was a little surprised when Luke picked up.
"Hey." Luke's voice didn't sound very friendly.
"Hey, how are you?"
"What's up? You sound kind of pissed off."
Luke sounded bored. "Oh really?"
"Listen, can I come by? I need to talk to you."
"Um, I don't know. I think I have plans."
"Luke, what is going on with you?"
"Oh, I don't know. Maybe I'm just reliving the sight of seeing you kiss that goddamn bartender from your work."
Reid fell silent for a few seconds. "Luke," he finally said, "listen, I'll be over in a while. Will you let me come in and talk to you?"
"I don't know. We'll see."
"Fine." Reid hung up.

Luke did let Reid into his mom's place, but once he was through the front door Luke would barely look at him.
"Luke, I'm sorry, I didn't want you to find out like that. I was trying to get a hold of you."
"And what were you going to say to me?"
Reid paused. "Well, I was going to say that we should maybe cool things off a bit. At least until I figured out where things were with...Noah and me. That I didn't want to give you the wrong impression."
"The wrong impression. Yeah, I guess fucking me might do that! Screw you, Reid!"
"Luke, I'm sorry."
Luke stared at him. "God, I feel like you've been using me."
"You know what, Luke, I never told you we were exclusive. In fact, I told you I wanted to keep my options open!"
Luke narrowed his eyes. "Yeah, I don't know, I guess I was assuming too much."
He walked over and looked out the window at the city below. "So it's really so hot and heavy with him, huh?"
"I don't know. Maybe."
Well, is he out?"
Reid looked away. "No, not quite."
"Not quite? What in the fuck does that mean? Is he planning on coming out?"
Reid sat down in the nearest chair and looked at his hands.

"Oh my god Reid, don't tell me you're that clueless!" Luke shook his head then stared at Reid. "When did you hook up with him?"
"Just wondering. Oblige me."
"Not long after I met you."
"Oh really."
Reid looked confused. "What's your point?"
"Oh nothing, I just wonder what his game is."
"His game?"
"Yeah, like he sees me ask you out and decides that he's going to be a wrench in the fucking machine just for yucks."
Reid sighed. "Well, I don't know if it was all that devious."
Luke paused. "So you're doing both of us, huh?"
Luke exhaled. "
Here I thought I was being bettered by hanging around you but maybe it's just that you're becoming more like me. I can't believe that you've been fucking both of us."
Reid stared at him. "Um, Luke, from what I've gleaned, that's been your modus operandi for years."
Luke looked a bit angry. "We're talking about you here, not me."
"Oh, OK," Reid said. "Glad we've got that straight!"
Luke was still glaring at him. "I really liked you."
Reid looked a little pissed off now. "Is it really me that you liked or is it just that you realize that there's a bigger world outside of the privileged one you've been lording over for most of your life? Or is it just that you think I'm hot?"
Luke looked a little sulky. "I don't know, maybe one of each?"
Reid smiled slightly and Luke couldn't help but smile a little too. Luke took a step closer and looked down at Reid. "But don't think you're going to charm your way out of this, Reid. I'm still really pissed off at you. And I wouldn't get too high and mighty. Yeah, I may be a spoiled playboy but at least I'm smart enough not to delude myself into thinking a certain someone is going to change for me, because I very much doubt that he is!"
Reid looked upset. "Yeah, well, I know that."
"You do, huh? Could have fooled me! You're whipped!"
Reid groaned. "
I'm sorry, Luke. I think I've gotten in over my head. Part of me wishes none of this ever happened..."
"So you could just go back to being cut off and alone? Probably not your best option." Reid looked up at Luke. The latter's face was serious. "You know what Reid? You're going to have to make a choice."

"You mean between him and you?"
"Maybe. Or maybe I just mean between living the kind of life you're living now and one that's out in the open. I've tried being with a guy on the down low before and it sucks.
I may be pissed at you but still, I don't know why you're selling yourself short."
Reid looked at Luke slightly anew. He was more mature than Reid had given him credit for. "Yeah, I suppose you're right."

Triangle chp12
Noah called Reid the next morning. "Hey, what're you up to later?"
"I'm on my way to class right now, but I might be able to clear a little time out later on. Why?"
"I'm off today and working on a friend's place, and thought you might like to come by and see my handiwork thus far." 
"Uh, sure, Noah. I'd like that."
"Do you know where Sardi's is on 8th?"
"Meet me in the bar there around 5:00 and then we can go up and look at the place. It's just around the corner."
Reid couldn't deny that he wanted to see Noah, but in light of his conversation with Luke yesterday, Reid was going to be direct tonight. No matter what.

Noah was already in the bar when Reid walked in. He gave Reid a huge smile when he saw him. Reid sat down. Upon closer inspection, he saw that Noah looked a little dusty and smudged. It didn't dampen his good looks.
Reid chuckled. "Well I may have been up to my eyeballs in the dissection room today but you're the one who looks it."
Noah smiled. "Yeah, I was breaking up concrete in the bathroom for most of the afternoon. I'll have to take a shower later. Or maybe I'll just have to take one at Greg's." Noah paused and gave Reid a rather lascivious look. "If you're really nice to me you can watch."
Reid smiled briefly. "Who's Greg?"
"The friend of mine who owns the condo I've been working on all day. I already helped him put in a new kitchen over the last month and a half, and now I'm concentrating on redoing one of the bathrooms."
"Oh, OK. I was getting a little concerned there." Reid looked at him. "But don't worry, Noah, I'll be nice to you later." He lowered his voice and let a small smile ghost over his face. "I'd be nice to you right now but it'd probably get us arrested."
"Reid..." Noah leaned back and looked at Reid through narrowed eyes. "I don't think you really know the effect you have on me."
Reid let his tongue lightly trace his upper lip. "Oh I don't know, I might." He took a swig of his beer. "So, how do you know this Greg?"
"Oh, he's actually a friend from Connecticut. His folks and mine go way back. He's actually involved my dad a fair amount on this remodel - gotten some good deals on products through my dad's company." Noah paused. "My dad's even come to Brooklyn a few times to give his input. Of course he still thinks he knows better than anyone how things should be done. He's always offering up helpful critiques of my work and poking his nose in where he shouldn't."
Reid took a breath.
"So, Noah, what is the deal with your dad?"
"You mean..." Noah looked down. "He's just...well, he's hard to deal with. Generous in a way, but thinks he's right about everything." He paused. "My whole life he's always told me I'd do everything he never got to."
"Sounds a little heavy handed."
"Uh, yeah, just a little."
"And yet you're going to let him decide how you live your life?"
Noah took a deep breath and looked into the bottom of his glass. "Yeah, you have a point there. It's just hard to get him to see that..."
Reid rolled his eyes slightly.
"At least my dad and I don't live in the same state!" Noah tried to sound a hopeful note.
"Yeah, I guess," was all Reid had to say.

They finished up their drinks and went up to Greg's loft.
Reid looked around the space
and smiled.
"Well, I'm no expert, not like your dad," here he winked at Noah, "but it seems like you've done a pretty bang-up job on this place so far!"
Noah walked over and encircled Reid's waist with his arms. He leaned in and kissed the other man lightly. "Thanks."
Reid looked at him. "So, where is Greg?"
"You're sure about that?"
"Yup." He smiled. "He's actually gone to Boston with his girlfriend for the weekend. He gave me a key and told me to just let myself out when I'm done."
"Oh," Reid said slowly. Noah was pressed against him and obviously very turned on.
"So..." Noah said playfully, "I thought maybe we could order some takeout and have a little picnic here in front of the fireplace."
"Well..." Reid started to say.
Noah's phone rang. He took it out of his pocket and glanced at it. "It's my dad. Better just grab this, he's this close to floating me a loan for a project and I don't want to seem ungrateful," he winked at Reid.
"Hey dad. What's up?"
There was a moment of silence.
"Oh yeah?" Noah's tone sounded off. He looked over at Reid, covering the receiver with this hand. "He's downstairs!" he whispered harshly.
"What?" Reid looked a little stunned. He walked over to the window and looked down. He could see an older man
standing on the sidewalk, holding a cup of coffee and talking on his cell.
"OK, dad, I'll be right down." Noah hung up the phone and joined Reid at the window. He looked down then pulled back quickly, so Reid surmised Noah's dad must have looked upwards.
"What in the hell is he doing here?" Noah started pacing back and forth and sounded
slightly hunted.
Reid looked at him. "Noah, just calm down."
"Yeah, you're right. Listen, while I go let him in maybe you can just take the service elevator down."
"Noah, I am not going to take the service elevator."
Noah looked at him. "No, you're right, you're right. I'm sorry, Reid, I'm not thinking straight." He looked around. "OK, I'll just go get him."
Reid nodded.

When Noah appeared in the doorway with his dad in tow, he gingerly looked around the room.
"Right here," Reid said in a clear voice. He had his jacket on and his backpack over his shoulder.
Shock registered on Noah's face but he didn't say anything. He stepped towards Reid, his dad behind him.
"Um, dad, this is Reid, Reid Oliver. Reid, this is my dad, Walt Mayer."
Walt was not nearly tall as Noah but made up for it in abrasiveness. Noah must have gotten his temperament from his mother Reid thought to himself. Not to mention his looks.
"What are you doing here, dad?"
"Well, Noah, I talked to Greg this morning and he happened to mention that you were working here all day. I had the day off so I decided to drive over and drop in on you. You see how you're progressing." 
Noah looked over at Reid. "Yeah, that's why Reid came by-to see how it was going-"
"I came because you invited me," Reid cut in. The look he was giving Noah wasn't very friendly.
Noah stared at him, "I know I did. Anyhow, he was impressed, weren't you, Reid?"
He had looked at Walt momentarily, then back at Reid. There was an anguished note to his voice.
"Yes, I was impressed." Reid repeated, a little blankly.
Walt cut in. "Say, Noah, does Greg have any beer around here?"
Noah looked at him. "Yeah, I think so."
"Well, grab me one, will you?"
"Um, sure dad, just a sec." He walked away into the kitchen, eyeing Reid the whole time.
Walt turned to Reid. "So, yes, Reid...aren't you the one who's about to start medical school?"
"Yep." Reid wasn't even going to try with this guy.
Walt looked at him evenly. "Be prepared to live, eat, and breathe your training. Really no time for anything else."
"That's what I've heard!" Reid replied matter of factly.
"Well, good luck with that, young man," Walt said. "I'm sure you'll carve a great life out for yourself."
"Thanks, I'm sure I will." Reid stepped towards the front door.
"Are you leaving Reid?" Noah had returned, beer in hand. He looked miserable.
"I've got studying to do."
Noah handed the beer off to his dad and walked Reid to the door.
"I'll call you later, huh?" he said in a quiet voice.
"Bye! Reid," Walt called over his shoulder.
Reid didn't reply to either man. He gave Noah a look and turned away.
Reid felt like he'd swallowed a five pound stone. He knew, and Noah knew too, why Walt had decided to 'drop by'. He obviously was going to run interference to make sure that Noah stayed his golden boy, even if he had to look past reality in order to get his expectations met. Luke had been right. It was clear that this wasn't going to work.


Luke had just left Axel's and was walking down the sidewalk towards his car when he realized that Noah was walking towards him. Luke impulsively approached him. Noah looked both pissed and a little alarmed. "What do you want?"
"Can I talk to you for a moment?"
"About what?"
"It's private."
Noah looked at him untrustingly. Finally he huffed, "Follow me." He led the way around the side of the building to the brick alleyway. "You've got two minutes - I don't want to be late for work." He paused. "What are you doing here by the way?"
"I dropped by to see Reid, but they said he called in sick today."
Noah looked concerned. "He did?"
"Yeah he did, and I probably know why too." Luke glared in Noah's direction.
Noah didn't quite glare back but he looked uncomfortable.
"So, what's your plan with Reid? Are you two getting serious?"
Noah looked at him. "I'm not sure."
Luke shook his head, then lit into him. "You know, Noah, it's guys like you who make it even harder for those of us who are actually out.  I've found a guy I might actually like and you're going to screw it up for me for no real reason. Because I don't believe that you will stay with him. You will eventually go back to what makes you more comfortable or what's easiest. It's not even your fault, it’s just reality. I've been with my share of 'straight' guys who thought they might be gay or bi, but I never saw it work out! So, why don't you just back off!"
Noah just stared at him during this entire outburst, then looked past him at something in the distance. In the daylight his eyes were a pale sapphire blue. God, no wonder Reid can't drop him, Luke thought to himself. Noah finally brought his gaze back to Luke.
"If I do will you promise you'll be good to him?"
"As much as he will let me."
"I really care about him." Noah decided to omit the L word for Luke's sake.
"I care about him too." Luke paused. "So what's gonna happen?"
"I need some time to think."
"So you'll let me know?"
"Reid will let you know, either way."
Noah turned on his heel and walked back the way they had come.
Luke drove home. Part of him couldn't believe that he had actually said anything to Noah. But he needed to hear it, and Reid obviously was too hung up on the possibility of Noah to make the point. He knew Reid probably wouldn't appreciate the interference but somehow Luke knew that Noah wouldn't say anything. Conflicted or not, he just seemed like that kind of guy.


Reid answered the door. Noah was standing there.
"Come in," was all Reid said.
Noah didn't. He seemed rooted to the threshold. He looked a little nervous, a little sad.
"Listen I came to talk to you. I'm sorry. I acted like as asshole to you the other day at Greg's."
Reid looked at him. "Uh, yeah, you did."
"My dad and I...we had a huge fight." He stared off for a moment. "I won't bore you with the dreary details." He looked at Reid. "I think you know how I feel about you."
"I might have an idea." Reid smiled a little sadly.
Noah nodded slightly.
"I don't know. Who knows if I am really gay and just haven't come out, or maybe it's just you that brings out these feelings in me. I don't know right now. But I do know that I don't want you to become a victim of the pressures I feel. And I do know that you deserve someone who is really there for you, maybe in a way that I might never able to be." Noah started to sound choked up. He stepped closer and stroked the side of Reid's face, staring into his eyes. "I feel obsessed with you. You walk in the room and my dick gets hard. I don't know what to do about it." Then Noah seemed to square his jaw. "But I know I have to let you go, be with someone who isn't going to disappoint you."
Reid nodded but his eyes were moist now too.
"But I swear, if I find out that anyone's hurt you, I don't know how I'm gonna respond, but it won't be pretty."
Reid smiled, put his hand up into Noah's hair, caressing it a little.
"You know, I am a big boy, I can handle things."
"I know, I know, I just...I've always wanted to protect you a little bit."
Reid blushed slightly. "Not sure why but I appreciate the sentiment. You really are like the nicest, most good-hearted person I've ever met.
And despite what happened at Greg's, probably too good for me. I haven't handled all of this very well."  
Noah didn't say anything. Finally he took a deep breath. "Well, I should get going." He looked at Reid. "I've got a new gig at Mirage."
"You mean that place down on 3rd?"
"That's the one."
"You already quit Axel's?"
"Had to."
"I'll miss you."
Noah gulped. "Me too, but I won't be far. You always know where to find me."
"You too."
Reid wiped his eyes and tried to fake a smile.
Noah left.


Luke felt cautious when Reid texted him and said he wanted to meet at Brimm’s coffee shop down on Grassley Street. Luke felt like it was just the sort of neutral, laid back place where someone wouldn't feel too bad about dumping someone else. Hell, he'd done it enough times to know. He tried to put on a brave face when he saw Reid walk in the door. Over here he motioned and hoped he seemed as cocksure as usual. Reid walked over.
"Do you want anything to drink? I'm paying."
Bad sign, Luke thought.
"Um sure, I'll have a latte."
He felt his phone buzz. It was Chris. Luke ignored it. He had been avoiding his calls and texts for days and wasn't going to start now. The only person in his 'posse' he had any desire to hang out with any more was Casey. And he knew why, because Casey actually seemed to give a shit about him, and because Casey had his own life going on and didn't just want things from Luke.
Luke jumped a little as Reid set their lattes down on the table in front of him. He'd been so engrossed in his thoughts that he'd forgotten his surroundings.
"Late night or something?" Reid asked. "You look a little tired."
Luke scrunched up his face a little. "Oh, no, just need more coffee!" He cradled the mug in his hand.
"So, what did you want to talk to me about?"
Reid waited until Luke's big brown eyes had abandoned their fixation on his coffee cup and came up to meet Reid's. "Just wondering if you wanted to go out on Saturday. I've actually got the day off and I wanted to go to the planetarium."
Luke smiled for a moment, then looked away. "I could," he said thoughtfully. "I do think I need more culture." He looked back at Reid. "Are you still with him?" he said slowly.
Reid looked at him. "No."
"How do you feel about that?"
"I'd rather not talk about it." Reid touched Luke's hand. "Can we just call it a clean slate and see where this goes? Is it a date?"
Luke grinned, "It’s a date."

Triangle chp13
One year later.

Noah was surprised to see Luke walk in the front door of Mirage.
He could tell Luke was surprised to see him as well.
"How are you?" Noah said a little stiffly.
"Good, good."
There was an awkward silence. Noah noticed that Luke looked good. Really good. Not just his looks, those hadn't changed, but his aura. More directed, more mature, something.
"So, uh, how’s Reid?"
"Oh, um, he’s fine. I just talked to him last week."
Noah looked a little puzzled. "You mean…you’re not together anymore?"
"No. We…er…I broke it off like half a year ago."
"You did?" Noah’s tone was on the edge of being hostile all of a sudden.
"No, no," Luke laughed a little, "it’s not bad between us. We’re still friends, talk pretty often! Just decided we weren’t all that compatible."
"Oh." Noah looked only a little relieved. "Well, I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t work out."
"Yeah, it was a bummer for a while, but I don’t think either one of us regretted getting involved. We agree that we both made some really good changes in our lives as a result of knowing each other."
Noah nodded while he took in this last statement but Luke could tell he was hoping for more information. Luke didn’t give him any. He turned the tables instead.
"How about you, Noah? How are you?"
Noah looked a little older to Luke all of a sudden, still so handsome but a bit more world weary. "Well…I guess this has been a rough year for me." But, he tried to strike an optimistic note, "I did get one thing straight."
"I’m not."
They both laughed.
"Well, I guess I owe you a little bit of an apology then. I didn’t think you had it in you."
"Well, why would you?" Noah smiled a little ruefully.
Luke looked over his shoulder for a moment and waved at someone. He turned back to Noah. "Listen, I’d better run. I’m meeting a couple of business associates and one of them is already here." He paused. "I’m editing my own webzine these days. It’s actually doing quite well! Focuses on entertainment and culture in the city." He leaned in. "Actually, don’t mention it to your boss but the reason we're here is that we’re doing a little review of this place tonight! We aren’t afraid of putting Brooklyn to the test, too!"
Noah looked both ways for effect, then put his finger to his lips. "Don’t worry, I won’t breathe a word," he said in a low voice. "Truth be told, the guy's a prima donna, but you didn’t hear that from me. Any attention he gets is good attention in his book!"
Luke chuckled.
Noah smiled back. "Man, that’s great that you started your own zine!" He seemed genuinely impressed.
Luke looked thoughtful for a moment. "I think that’s one of the things Reid did for me. Made me remember I could have some goals. Well, bye Noah." He started to walk away and then turned back. "Listen, maybe I’m out of line here, but you should go look Reid up one of these days. He’s up to his ears in med school, but, I don’t know, I think you two should talk."
"Is he at Mount Sinai?" Luke noticed that Noah didn’t quite respond to his first statement.
"Yup, he got in just like he’d hoped." Luke smiled. "See you, Noah!"
"Bye, Luke."


Reid turned the corner. He had all of fifteen minutes to grab something from a vending machine before he had to get to a seminar. The place was busy, lots of people rushing on their way to somewhere. So Reid didn’t realize that Noah was in front of him until he was just a few steps away. For a moment Reid looked like he was seeing a ghost. Then he seemed to snap out of it.
"Hi Reid."
"In the neighborhood?"
"Actually, yeah. My cousin and his family live down the way, and after I left his house, I thought...well...I heard that you were here now."
"Yeah, Luke called me the other day. Said he told you to drop by and see me sometime." Reid paused. "I didn’t think you really would."
Noah nodded almost imperceptibly.
"I thought about going to your apartment, but I forgot to ask Luke if you still lived there, and, well, it just would have been too damn depressing if you'd moved."
"I didn't," Reid said softly.
"How are you?"
"Strapped for time." Reid seemed to stiffen a little and looked at his watch. "Have a seminar in like 11 minutes. They keep us on pretty short leashes here. I was just running to grab some lunch out of the vending machine..."
"Yeah, I was pretty surprised to see you just now actually. Thought I was gonna have to page you or something." Noah reached out and lightly fingered the material of Reid’s top. "Like the scrubs. You’re official now." He smiled a little.
"Yep." Reid kept his tone light. "How about you?"
"Well, I’ve been promoted to management at Mirage. I’m also in talks with the owner about going in on rehabbing the neighboring property, which would be a good thing..." Noah's voice trailed off. He looked down, then back at Reid. "So Luke said you and he aren't together anymore."
"That's true. He broke up with me. Well, we kind of both broke it off in a sense. Decided we made better friends than anything else."
Noah nodded. "That's what he said. He also said you both thought some good things came out of it?"
"Well, let’s see. Luke finally got somewhat of a past time besides being a constant man whore, as he put it. Went back to school part-time. Got his own webzine going."
Noah nodded. "Yeah, he told me a little about that."
"I guess it’s being pretty well received. Actually garnering some outside advertising revenue. Of course, it was totally financed by his family’s money, but we all knew that was a given…" They both smiled. "
But, yeah, Luke definitely taught me a few things too."
"Like what?"
"Encouraged me to be more outgoing, have a little more fun, get in other people's faces a little bit more when I need to..." Reid looked at Noah, hard. "Luke, uh, also told me that you made some decisions about your…life."
Noah smiled a little. "You mean I came out? Yeah, I did."
"How’s that been?"
"About how you’d expect. Some good days, some bad days, but mostly relief."
Reid nodded.
Noah grimaced a little. "My dad just started speaking to me again. Of course, he's still hoping it's a phase."
"Do you think it is?"
"No." Noah stared at him. "So, you seeing someone?"
"Nope." Reid gestured around the hospital. "Too busy anyhow."
"Haven't met anyone lately that interested me."
"Oh." Noah looked at Reid. "So you and Luke just decided you weren't right for each other, huh?"
"Yeah, well that and there was something else."
"What?" Noah said softly.
Reid paused, his blue eyes locked on to Noah's. "He told me he was also kind of tired of dating a guy who was still in love with someone else." He looked away for a moment and then back at Noah. "I had to agree with him."
"Reid, I…"
"No." Reid set his jaw. "I don’t think I can do this right now." His eyes suddenly looked a little red. "I have to go. Thanks for coming by Noah." He turned and walked quickly back the way he had come. Noah watched Reid leave and wondered if this was the last he would ever see of him.


Noah’s back was to the bar, he was crouched down and trying to reach a hose that kept popping of the back of a cooling unit. He finally was able to grab it and jam it back on. He had spent the afternoon training in a new employee and sent her to the back room half an hour ago to check inventory. He picked up his clipboard off the top of the unit and put it under his arm. He needed to go check on her progress. Noah called down to another one of his employees wiping down the other end of the bar.
"Mason, can you cover me? I need to go in back for a bit."
Mason gave him a thumbs up. Still kneeling, Noah pushed the cooling unit back in place. He heard a fairly inebriated female voice behind him. Someone obviously seated at the bar.
“Hey, are those scrubs under there? What are you, a doctor?" Pause. "I’ve always wanted to find me a doctor.”
Noah couldn’t help but smile, half amused at the conversation he was overhearing and also because a small part of him couldn’t help but think of Reid when he heard ‘scrubs,’ especially after seeing him at the hospital yesterday.
“Well, no, I’m not a doctor, yet…but thanks for noticing. I don’t usually wear them to bars. There were extenuating circumstances…”
Noah felt a rush of emotions. He slowly stood up, set his clipboard on the counter, turned and looked. Reid was sitting at the bar. He was wearing his scrubs, underneath a leather jacket, and he was seated next to a woman, a rather drunk woman who was gazing at him rather happily. But Reid wasn’t looking at her, he was looking at Noah, and he was smiling, too, a little smile, Noah’s favorite one.


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