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Triangle chp12
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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?"
"Yeah."
"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?"
"Out."
"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.
"Reid?"
"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."
"Hi."
"Hi."
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 know...to see how you're progressing." 
"Oh."
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."



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