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In Love With The Proper Stranger - Chapter 6
| Title: In Love With The Proper Stranger|
Chapter: Six of Twenty-three
Summary: AU - Their's is a love story which happens quite by accident, in the midst of a dangerous whirlwind of mystery and deceit sparked by the death of Luke's mother-in-law
Characters: Luke, Noah, Reid
Genre: AU, Action, Adventure, Romance, Angst
Disclaimer: This site is no way associated with "As the World Turns", CBS, P&G, or Van Hansis and Jake Silbermann. This is not for profit. No copyright infringement is intended. Authors submit and write their own work.
Luke had driven just a few blocks from the brownstone before he had to pull over. His hands and feet were shaking and he felt oddly out of touch with the world. It was like he was floating above it all while life went on without him.
Luckily he found a parking space on the street outside a small neighborhood park, where the final groups of nannies and kids were making their way home.
As the last glimmer of daylight began to fade over the playing field and skyline lights were growing brighter, he wandered down to the large man-made pond.
He'd often sit here with Reid and enjoy the fresh air while watching youngsters sail their tiny remote-controlled boats; and talk about having children of their own one day.
Or rather, Luke talked. Reid just grunted from behind the New York Times Crossword Puzzle.
Luke's most favorite place in the world was his Grandma Emma's farm back in Oakdale, Illinois where he grew up. This city park was as close as he could get to that same feeling of peace he got from the farm.
Obviously it wasn't near identical. But it wasn't bad considering the sprawling metropolis surrounding it.
The park's pigeons sat in rows along the tops of trees and backs of park benches watching him; hoping for some last-minute crumbs before darkness fell.
As he stood there before this strange avian audience, the skies opened up and within moments he was drenched to the skin. Still he didn't move, just kept taking those shallow breaths, shivering, determined not to give in; and failing miserably.
Why did he feel the need to mourn a relationship obviously doomed from the start?
Kicking Reid out of his life had been carefully orchestrated to make him feel better!
But it didn't! He drew no enjoyment or satisfaction out of it at all.
Suddenly feeling sick to his stomach, Luke rushed over to a nearby trash can and threw up in it. Holding on to the container's sides and staring down at the garbage and vomit, he let out not one but two mournful sobs before sliding down to the ground; coming to rest against the bin's concrete side.
Maybe he was mourning the years he had lost - the years Reid had stolen from him – along with the years he had planned ahead for them.
Maybe he was morning the loss of his home, the loss of his life as he had known it.
But one thing he knew for damn sure. It wasn't Reid he was crying over. He never loved Reid.
He hadn't known what love was until he found it one morning in the crystal blue eyes of a beautiful man; up against the brickwork of a strange house.
Yes, he was sure of it. He had fallen hopelessly in love with Reid's striking nephew.
When their lips met, it was like nothing Luke had ever known to exist. He couldn't get Noah out of his head.
He was especially concerned about that fear he had seen; a pain just behind Noah's tender eyes. He wanted to comfort him. He wanted to fix what was wrong. Nobody that perfect should ever be tarred by sorrow.
Maybe that was why he was crying. Helping Noah; being with Noah seemed so far out of reach. Especially now after he had successfully managed to convince the guy he was a sex-crazed, lunatic stalker.
Of course that was what Noah would think! F*ck! He had totally screwed that up!
Maybe he was crying because this real love he had found was now-
He turned toward the voice only to have the glare from a flashlight hit him directly in the eyes. He lifted his elbow to shield them.
"You okay?" the cop shouted over the driving rain. The collar of his NYPD-issued black raincoat was pulled up against the wind, while pools of water gathering on the brim of his cap ran stream-like down his face.
Luke hadn't noticed how dark it had gotten let along just how wet and cold he had become.
"Yes, sir. Sorry, officer. I wasn't feeling too well. But I'm fine now."
"Well you'll have to move along now, sir. The park is closed."
Luke stood and nodded, making his way through the rain toward his car, wiping the grass off his wet backside as he went.
Nearing the street, Luke was confronted by an angry-looking park services manager, his hand resting impatiently on the park gate.
He glared at Luke. "Park closes at 6 p.m. sharp!" he said, tapping his finger to his wristwatch.
"Yes, I'm really very sorry."
"Humph!" he huffed, slamming the wrought iron gate behind him.
Back in his car, Luke leaned over to grab his water bottle and wash out the sick taste in his mouth. He spat out the window and then took a few long swigs.
His phone rang and the display read Lily Snyder.
"Hey Baby." Her voice was gentle and caring. "How'd it go?"
"Terrible!" he sniffed.
"Oh honey! I'm so sorry."
"I thought I'd feel better but I don't! I just feel…" he sighed.
"Would you like me to fly to New York, sweetheart? I could stay a few days. We could go see that new play or maybe do some shopping and stuff, you know, take your mind off it all."
Luke laughed. "I love you for the thought Mom, but I'm fine, really. Anyway, that's way more Faith's idea of a distraction than mine! Don't worry. I know I've done the right thing."
"Well I tell you that man better not come anywhere near me if he knows what's good for him!"
"Hopefully neither of us will ever have to see him again!"
His stomach clenched somewhat at the thought. But he knew the pain he felt was for the man he had believed Reid to be rather than for the louse Reid turned out to be.
"Yes." Lily agreed. There was a moment of silence before she asked, "Are you sure you're okay?"
"Mom! Please! Don't worry okay? I'm fine. I just want to go back to the new apartment, take a shower and get some sleep. I'll feel better in the morning. I just know it!"
"That's my baby! And Luke?"
"Now you can go out there and find the man who deserves your love, sweetheart. I really want that for you."
"Thanks Mom, goodnight."
"Night my baby."
She hung up and he sat staring at the phone for a while. What if he had already found the man of his dreams and lost him? What then?
He drove to the new apartment housed in a luxury high-rise in the Upper West Side. It was more like a hotel than an apartment building, with beautifully-furnished accommodations and added features including an on-site gym and room service.
Luke's place was very sleek and modern… so totally NOT Luke. To him, it was a cold reminder of how lonely his life had suddenly turned out to be.
This new place would just have to do until he figured out what the hell he was going to do with his life.
He took a long shower and as the warm water washed over him; his thoughts were totally stolen by that tall black-haired, blue-eyed stunner.
Luke stepped out of the shower and padded dripping wet onto the plush cream carpet of his bedroom. He quickly towel dried and fell back naked on the bed staring at the ceiling, trying to rid himself of all thoughts of Noah.
But the memories of his smell and taste were relentless at turning Luke on until finally he had no choice but to satisfy himself by hand, imagining those red lips curled around-
Luke suddenly awoke from a deep sleep feeling an overwhelming and strange compulsion.
He glanced over at the digital clock, 1:32 a.m. He'd been asleep for hours.
He quickly dressed in jeans and a T-shirt; took the elevator down to the garage; and headed south toward Noah's home in Brooklyn.
He blew through several traffic lights and fish-tailed across the bridge into lower Brooklyn.
He didn't even fully understand what he would do when he got there.
Luke couldn't explain the sudden tug of anxiety compelling him to act like this.
He had to try again, even if he had to admit everything to Noah. Maybe Noah would understand. Maybe there was a chance, however small, that Luke could convince him his motives were genuine and sincere.
He just had to take that chance.
Luke sat parked opposite Noah's house for a while. He kept staring at the house; playing out a handful of scenarios in his head of what would happen if he knocked on the door.
He was shaken out of this reverie by the front door flying open and Noah rushing out and stumbling slightly.
"You come back here!" a man's voice boomed from inside.
Greg appeared in the doorway looking huge and menacing. He was shirtless and swaying considerably.
"You f*cking little prick!" he bellowed.
Luke sat there wide-eyed as Greg quickly caught up with Noah and easily slammed him to the ground.
It was Greg's kick to Noah's ribs that shocked Luke into action. Noah really needed him. Greg was a huge hulk of a man and an injured Noah was proving to be no match for him.
"I'll KILL you! You hear me!"
Noah groaned loudly as the man's boot dug once more into his ribs.
Thinking fast, Luke popped the trunk of his car and drew out a nine iron club from Reid's golf bag he'd taken from the brownstone.
A sudden fury toward this man, who would treat a kid three times smaller than himself in such a way, drove Luke across the street and into the thick of it.
Greg was way too focused on causing maximum pain to his victim to notice Luke sneaking up from behind him.
But the moment he was close enough, Luke raised the club high and clobbered the giant's head as hard as he could.
Greg seemed to pause in place for a minute, swaying, before falling over sideways just like the trees Luke was used to chopping down with his dad on the farm.
He didn't stop to worry about Greg.
"Noah!" he exclaimed, throwing down the club and crouching beside him. He placed a hand on his shoulder causing Noah to flinch and crawl back quickly away from him. Noah's eyes were wide as blood ran down the left side of his face from a cut just below his hairline.
"It's okay," Luke tried to reassure Noah, "He's out."
Terrified, Noah's gaze left Luke to fall on the body lying sprawled across the sidewalk.
"What have you done?" he asked looking back up at Luke.
"Noah, I had to do SOMETHING to stop him!"
"Are you crazy?" Noah crawled over to where Greg lay and checked for a pulse, sighing with relief when he found one. "He's still alive."
"Are you okay?" Luke reached out for him only to be pushed back.
"What the F*CK? Do you have any idea what he'll do to me when he comes to? Sh*t!"
"Noah… he was going to kill you!"
Noah stood up shakily and it took everything in Luke not to rush forward to help him. But the glare of fire in the blue depths kept him at bay.
"I can take care of myself." Noah sniffed. "I've done pretty well at it my whole life! I don't…" He grimaced, keeling over and holding his arms across his bruised stomach.
Luke couldn't help it. He took one step forward. But Noah's hand shot out to warn him off.
"I don't need your help, okay? I don't want it!"
Luke felt sure his heart cracked at the look of agony on Noah's face. His stare was cold with warning as he breathed heavily in staggered breaths.
"Go back…" He inhaled deeply. "Go back to wherever it is you came from and… and… do me… a f*cking favor… stay there!"
He turned and started to limp back toward the house. But halfway up the walk the pain grew too great and he began to fall.
Luke caught him midway and their eyes locked. Noah was reading him. Luke could almost feel his thoughts. He realized then that it wasn't anger but trepidation and humiliation that was driving Noah now.
They stayed that way for a moment, Luke's arms around him.
Finally Noah began to struggle against the hold and they both fell to the ground. Luke didn't know what possessed him but he wouldn't let go. Instinct told him to hold on.
"I don't need this!" Noah screamed. "I don't… need… anybody!"
Luke kept Noah in that hug despite his struggles and protestations.
Eventually his cries of "let go!" turned to sobs and his hands came up to grip at Luke's jacket.
"It's okay." Luke whispered, pulling him as his struggles subsided, into an even deeper embrace. "It's okay. Let it out. Just let it all go."
As the adrenaline left his body, Noah wept, pressing his face into Luke's jacket and convulsing as he sobbed. His hands clawed deep into Luke's arms.
"How long," Luke wondered, "has this kid been living in such fear?"
Thanks for reading as usual...
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, Sep 8 2011, 7:18 AM EDT
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