"Do you think I know how to flirt?"
Reid scoffed and immediately answered, "Nope."
Luke put his laptop aside on the coffee table and faced Reid. He sat opposite from him on the couch, Reid’s hand wrapped around his foot, but he didn't even put down the medical journal he was reading when Luke turned.
"Why? You going out and looking to replace me?"
Luke smiled and playful rolled his eyes, "Been with you for this long. Why start now?" Reid chuckled. "No, no. Casey and Alison were talking about like the kind of flirting you do to try to get what you want and Casey said I don’t know the difference between flirting and being really, really nice."
"You don't. That's true."
"What! How is that true?"
"Because you didn't pick up any of the signals I was sending you when we first met."
"You weren't sending me any signals."
"Yes, I was."
Luke thought back. It was a little over 10 years now but he still remembers most of the events that brought Dr. Reid Oliver to Oakdale and all the blackmailing he did to make him stay. He sifted through his memories of how annoyed Reid was whenever he saw him, his unexpected help when Holden was being framed for murder, the reasons he stayed in Oakdale.
But he couldn’t come up with a single time that Reid was noticeably kinder to him or sent him any signals before they first kissed.
“You can’t remember a single one?” Reid asked after a moment.
“What about when we were flirting right in front of Noah?”
“Okay, when was that?”
“You came in with your idea for the hospital and I didn’t think it was completely idiotic.”
“Okay, I kind of remember that. It was one of the first times that you were open to hearing what I thought and we both laughed at some dumb joke I made.”
“You said I’d turn down all of your next ideas.”
The memory of it came flashing back to him. At that point, Reid was less caustic and Luke just remembered how funny he actually was. The quips that used to annoy him became more endearing than anything. Like, Reid enjoyed riling him up just for the sake of it and not because he was actually being cruel in any way.
“Yeah, all right. I can see things were taking a turn there. Can you think of anything else?”
“Mechanical bulls?” Reid said after a beat.
Luke laughed, shaking his head. “You looked hot up there, but I also just remember having a lot of fun with you. So technically, that wasn’t flirting. That was us having fun together.”
“When you dropped your towel in front of me. That wasn’t you wanting me to know that you were naked?”
“I was getting ready for the hearing!”
“You answered the door without your shirt on.”
“I thought you were room service.”
“I probably didn’t have to, like, fling it off like that. I could’ve closed the door. I was rushing, though, you were already ready.”
“God, I never thought I’d say this, but Casey’s right. You are really terrible at this.” Reid finally abandoned his medical journal, placing it next to Luke’s laptop. “Okay, when was the first time you felt like there was something between us? Be honest.”
Luke knew immediately the first time he actually felt something which feels completely inappropriate, but he’ll be honest. “When I was pushing you out of my house after you said something about me and Noah. Do you remember that?”
“Oh, yeah,” Reid slide closer on the couch toward him, his hand coming to rest on Luke’s thigh.
“You told me that I suffocated Noah and wouldn’t back off and something about Noah putting himself first for a change?”
“I had it all wrong. I didn’t really know you then. I’d have never said anything like that if I did,” he admitted.
Luke placed his hand on top of Reid’s, holding it loosely. “We were looking at each other and I was extremely angry at you and you were angry with me but I felt...something.”
“I did, too,” Reid smiled. “I mean, I’d never admit it in a million years back then but I liked how you defended the people you loved even though that manifested in physically holding me against a wall and then trying to forcibly shove me out of your house.”
Luke laughed then, “I forgot about the wall thing.”
“You were defending your dads and then defending Noah. It was impressive much, much later.”
“Maybe I was just looking for an excuse to touch you.”
It was Reid’s turn to laugh then. “No way. You were completely annoyed with what I said.”
“Which was very easy because you were completely annoying.” Luke took the sting out of his words by leaning forward for a kiss and then another.
“We were both pretty annoying. Maybe that was our version of flirting.”
“It still kind of is when you think about it. But it became less annoying and more...that’s just who you are. Like I remember the first time my mom asked me about you when she caught us in the hospital together.” Reid furrowed his brow, unsure whether he’d heard this story or not. “I told her you said you liked me and she said you didn’t seem very nice. I said you were rude and cold and she asked me if I found that attractive. And I don’t know, maybe part of me did. I liked that you were so confident and so sure of yourself and so sure of me.”
“I was very sure of you,” Reid confirmed. It still made Luke blush and smile.
“I think I just understood you better and the more I learned about you, the more I started falling for you.”
Reid stayed silent, his thumb making slow circles over the top of Luke’s hand now. “You remember when Noah punched me in the nose?”
Luke chuckled, “How could I forget?”
“I told him earlier that day during our appointment, after he confirmed he no longer wanted to be my patient, that I wished I had been the blind one during your whole ordeal together.”
“What?” Luke sat up straight in surprise, mostly surprised that this had been the first he’d heard of this years and years after it happened.
“Yep, told him that you bent over backwards for him, that he still dumped you anyway even though you did absolutely everything to help him. I guess I wished that I had someone who cared about me as much as you cared about him because I never would’ve taken you for granted.”
“Reid,” Luke said softly. Just as he’s about to lean in for another kiss, there was a loud knock on the door. A key slipped into the lock and the handle turned before either one of them could make a move.
“Hello!” Lily called out. “Oh, there you are,” she said when she spotted them.
“Daddy!” the little boy launched himself on the couch between them. Luke wrapped him up in his arms and Reid ran a hand through his soft, light blond hair.
“Hi, buddy. Did you have a good time with grandma? Was he okay?” Luke asked as Lily took a seat on the chair across from them.
“He was perfect. He had such a good time with grandma and grandpa. Didn’t you, Cole?”
“Grandpa let me ride a horse!”
“Lily --” Reid was about to protest.
“Before you say anything, he rode on the pony, and Holden was with him the entire time. Thank you for letting me steal him. He took a bath afterward and he just finished his lunch. I have to get going but I’ll see you soon.” She dropped kisses on the heads of Luke, Cole, and gave Reid’s shoulder a squeeze before leaving again.
“Come on, kid. Time for your nap,” Reid insisted.
“But I’m not sleepy,” he protested, even as he opened his mouth to yawn widely.
“No, you’re not sleepy at all,” Reid agreed, taking him into his arms and carrying him into his room.
Luke was about to pull his laptop on his lap again. He needed to finish those grant proposal reviews but he couldn’t help but follow Reid to their son’s room, watching him as he placed him in his bed for a nap.
“Grandma said I could have a horse.”
“Grandma can keep that horse on the farm, then. You can go ride him whenever you like. Within reason. With grandpa there to watch you just in case.”
Reid was a mess the first time Cole rode a horse. Even though Holden’s been taking care of them practically his whole life, Reid still watched like a hawk. Later, he spent at least 20 minutes talking about -- or ranting about -- the kind of brain damage that could occur if anyone fell off a horse, let alone their very young son.
Cole was two years older now at 6, but still a little boy, and Luke couldn’t blame him if he was being overly cautious. Still, his parents supplied him with his own helmet, the pony, and Holden’s supervision whenever Cole decided he wanted to ride.
“Are you scared of the horse?” he asked as Reid was tucking him in for his nap.
“No, I’m not -- well, I’m a little scared of the horse. But I’m mostly scared if anything would happen to you, okay? So just listen to grandpa and be aware and be careful.”
“I love you,” he leaned over, kissing Cole’s cheek. “Have a nice sleep.”
“Love you, too, daddy,” Cole turned on his side, hugging his teddy bear.
Reid smiled when he saw Luke standing at the doorway. Both men moved aside so they could close the door and go back to where they had been originally -- their living room couch.
“Maybe our flirting wasn’t flirting,” Reid continued on as though they hadn’t been interrupted. “Maybe it was prolonged foreplay.”
Reid stretched out on the couch and Luke followed, both stretched out side by side.
“Foreplay, huh?” Luke wondered, wrapping an arm around Reid.
“Extremely prolonged.” Reid leaned down and they met in the middle for a kiss, one unlike the ones they’ve been delivering all day. This is one of intent. “So I’m kind of glad you don’t know how to flirt.”
“Why’s that?” Luke laughed.
“Because then maybe you would’ve found someone else to flirt with you. This way, you barely even recognize it so I’m safe.”
“Shut up,” Luke smiled, his hand found its way into Reid’s hair, pulling him down until their lips met. “Remember when you told me you didn’t want to bond with me?” he parted, briefly, that memory coming back to him in a flash.
“Well, I want to bond with you now.”
“No, I mean, you told me you were gay. Was that flirting?”
“Maybe it was me being informative. Sometimes flirting doesn’t have to mean anything other than I’m into you and even though you were annoying, you were still hot.”
Luke couldn’t stop the blush rising to his cheeks. Even after all these years, Reid still managed to make him feel so special and wanted. He’d have thought he’d be used to it by now, but he never was.
“Now, Mr. Snyder, can we table this for now? I’d really like to have some of that bonding time before the rugrat wakes up.”
“Sure, Dr. Oliver. But let’s take this to the bedroom. I’ll show you how much I’m into you.”
Luke took Reid’s hand to help him up from the couch, disappearing into their room, and closing the door behind them.
Luke may not know how to flirt, but he’s had other useful methods that’s helped him plenty over the years, and since he has Reid Oliver, he thinks he’s doing just fine.