[identity profile] noelleleithe.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] noelleleithefic
Title: Room With A View
Author(s): [livejournal.com profile] noelleleithe
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything here except my own words. No copyright infringement is intended.



It was just as good as he remembered. Noah fell into the kiss without hesitation, lips and tongue moving along Luke's as if they belonged together. Luke's hand moved from Noah's palm to slide into Noah's hair, and he felt Noah's free arm wrap around his waist, pulling him in closer.

Luke lost all sense of time. It had been so long since he'd kissed like this, not just as a formality, another item on the let's-have-sex checklist. Even that first time with Noah, he'd been focused on the fuck, not the kiss. Now, he explored Noah's mouth, tasting the mint of his toothpaste and the salt of his skin, twining their tongues together in a slow, seductive dance.

He couldn't begin to figure out who was doing the seducing.

Luke felt Noah's other hand land on his back, just below his shoulder, but then Noah pulled out of the kiss and hissed, pulling his hand away. Luke looked down and saw the cut, small but still bleeding, and he took a deep breath and a step back.

"I'll get you something to fix that up," he said, lifting his head far enough to catch Noah's eye.

"Luke, I—" Luke held up a hand to cut him off.

"Let's take care of that cut, and we'll talk," he said. "Okay?"

Noah paused but then nodded once, and Luke turned and walked back toward his bedroom. Noah probably knew where his first aid supplies were just as well as Luke did—maybe better—but Luke also needed to put on some clothes before he lost total control and just shoved Noah up against the wall.

Again.

In his room, Luke stepped into the closet and pulled a pair of jeans and a t-shirt from the stacks folded on shelves at one side. He hurriedly dressed, remembering the broken mug at the last second and stopping to slide on a pair of sneakers. He crossed to his bathroom and retrieved the small first aid kit from under the sink, heading back into the kitchen.

He was not surprised in the least to find Noah on one knee with a wad of dampened paper towels in his uninjured hand, searching out the remaining shards of ceramic on the floor. He lifted his head as Luke came in and then stood up, turning to drop the towels into the trash can at the end of the counter.

He took a deep breath and let it out before turning back to face Luke again. Giving a half smile, he held out his injured hand. "I think it finally stopped bleeding."

Luke rolled his eyes and set the first aid kit on the island. "Good," he said, snapping open the lid of the plastic box. "But we're still going to clean and bandage it. Trust me, I've had a couple of cuts get infected because I didn't pay enough attention. It's not a pretty picture."

The cuts in question had come from bar encounters that hadn't gone nearly as well as the one with Noah, but there was no need to get into that. Besides, Luke hadn't had more than one drink on a night out in years.

Noah stood stock still as Luke dabbed the cut with an alcohol swab and then gave it a healthy swipe of antibiotic ointment. He tore off the wrapping of a small piece of gauze and settled it carefully onto the cut before securing it with medical tape. He knew he was letting his fingers linger too long on Noah's skin, but he didn't much want to stop.

Finally done, Luke clicked the first aid kit shut and gathered up the remains of his attempting at playing nurse. Balling up the papers in his hands, he finally chanced a look up at Noah. As he did, Noah's eyes lifted from his bandaged palm to meet Luke's gaze, his blue eyes gone soft.

"Thanks," he said, a low rumble that, combined with the look in his eyes, set Luke's skin on fire. Luke managed, barely, not to throw himself at Noah bodily, instead stepping back and to the side to toss the trash into the kitchen can. Taking a deep breath, he turned around and smiled.

"Let's have that talk," he said, tilting his head toward the living room. Slowly, Noah nodded in agreement.

~~~~

Luke settled into the cushions at one end of the sofa, and Noah almost followed suit before holding up one hand. "Be right back," he said, and he disappeared into the kitchen. Luke heard the refrigerator door open and close, then Nothing more until Noah came back in, smiling a little sheepishly. He had a big mug in each hand, and Luke grinned and reached for one, lifting it as if toasting as Noah sat down.

"Cheers," Luke said, and Noah echoed him, each taking a long sip. Luke let the warm liquid roll over his tongue and down his throat, not realizing until that moment just how parched he was. He took another drink before setting the mug on the coffee table and leaning back, folding one leg up onto the cushions.

He gave Noah a look and saw he seemed as unsure as Luke did about this. Somehow, that made Luke feel a little better. But only a little.

Luke gathered his thoughts, but before he could speak, Noah did.

"I, um…" He cleared his throat and leaned forward, resting his forearms on his thighs and rubbing his hands together. He didn't look at Luke. "I don't know if it matters, or whether you'll believe me, but in the club that night? It's only about the third time I've done that, and the first time in almost three years."

Luke blinked. He didn't expect to hear that. He shrugged. "I kind of wish I could say the same," he admitted. "That's pretty much all I've done since college. I had one…." He stopped and shook his head. "It ended badly."

Noah shook his head, a rueful smile on his face. "I had one that ended badly too," he said. "Ended with me drummed out of the Army under Don't Ask, Don't Tell and my dad disowning me. Been working three jobs to stay ahead ever since. Finally got to start college a year ago. And then…" He turned his head finally to look at Luke, and he gave a slow, crooked smile. "And then I walked into a bar, and I met you."

Luke swallowed thickly, emotion clogging his throat. "I don't…. I can't begin to imagine what you've been through," he said. "I'm a coward who can't even tell his own father the truth. I've got a whole other family in Illinois I barely know and no real friends who stick around. But I've been given money and power, and I let it go to my head for so long that I'm not all that sure I can get over it."

Noah moved closer, reaching out to lay a hand on Luke's thigh. "You already have," he said in a low voice. "You didn't have to help me out. You didn't have to hire me, or trust me, and you sure didn't have to take care of my hand, or kiss me like that." He shook his hand and Luke's leg with it. "But you did. There's a good heart under those designer duds. It just needs the right opportunities to shine through."

A laugh bubbled out of Luke's throat before he could stop it. Noah grinned at him, and Luke smiled back, shaking his head. "I just met you," he rasped out. "How can you know me better than people who've known me my entire life?"

Noah's smile softened. "Because you let me in."

Luke couldn't speak, so he slid across the sofa and let his body do the talking instead.

~~~~

Luke smiled and nodded at the receptionist as he passed by with his usual Starbucks in one hand and briefcase in the other. He'd woken up to streams of sunlight through his bedroom window and found himself gravitating toward the view, something he'd never paid all that much attention to before. With new eyes, he studied the dichotomy of Central Park's green space against the stark edifices of steel and stone surrounding it. It tugged at something inside him, something he couldn't quite reach yet. But he knew it was there, and he knew he'd find it.

The day and night he'd spent with Noah had been the happiest he could remember. Sure, they'd had sex—several times—but what Luke remembered most was laughing. They'd watched a movie, cooked meals together, showered together, stood at the window together in the wee hours of Sunday morning, naked and wrapped up in a sheet, making up stories about the people they could see walking by on the sidewalks outside.

By the time Noah left, just after he'd treated Luke to homemade pancakes for a late breakfast, Luke had to hold himself back from asking him to stay. Noah had a life separate from Luke's, schoolwork to handle and two more jobs to juggle, and Luke couldn't ask him to give that up on the basis of such a fragile relationship.

In his office at a much more reasonable eight o'clock than the six or seven he'd suffered through the past few weeks, Luke went through the process of checking emails and messages, making a neat list on a legal pad of the things he needed to get done with today. His goal was to leave no later than the ten-hour mark. There's no reason I can't do this job in a reasonable amount of time, he told himself.

Coffee down to the dregs, Luke switched to the fresh bottle of water his assistant brought him as he perused a stack of paperwork. The numbers mostly swam before his eyes, invoices and accounts receivable, so he focused on the bottom line and initialed each set if it seemed a reasonable conclusion.

That worked up to the halfway point of the stack, where the final statement made him blink. He flipped back through the stapled pages again, and there was just no way the number at the bottom of the last page matched up with the figures that came before.

Turning to his computer, Luke pulled up the calculator program and quickly added up the columns. The total that stared back at him from the screen was a good thirty percent below the number on the page. He did the math again, more slowly this time to be sure he had it right, and got the same result.

Bringing up his email, Luke fired off a quick request for the complete documentation for the shipping manifest reflected in the paperwork in front of him. Setting aside the papers until he had something more to check, he went back to his reviews, finding nothing more amiss. He didn't stop thinking about the discrepancies he'd found, but he couldn't do much about it until he had the rest of the information.

~~~~

In the weeks since Damian left, Luke had gotten into the habit of keeping his office door pulled mostly closed during the day. It cut down on the noise from the bustling office outside, and it set up a small barrier to discourage people from stopping by just to chat (or to try to get in good with the temporary boss). It didn't keep everyone out, though. A knock on the doorframe made Luke look up, and he saw half of Noah's face looking back at him.

"Is it safe to come in?"

Luke smiled and leaned back in his chair. "Oh, please do," he said. Noah stepped inside, and Luke's eyes widened when he saw the takeout boxes in his hands. "Holy crap," he said, glancing at his watch to see it was nearly one. "I had no idea it was lunchtime already."

Noah was shaking his head with a teasingly admonishing look on his face. "All work and no lunch makes Luke a hungry boy," he said, setting the stacked boxes on the edge of the desk before picking the top one up and holding it out.

Luke found himself laughing as he took the box, and he lifted the lid to find it contained a thick roast beef and fresh mozzarella sandwich with a side of broccoli salad. He shot Noah a mock glare. "No fries?" he demanded.

"Be good and eat your vegetables," Noah replied in a mild tone, pulling up one of the office chairs close to the desk and reaching for his own lunch. "Then maybe you'll get some dessert."

Luke's mind filled with all the possibilities of what, exactly, "dessert" might entail, but he did his best to slam a lid on that and lock it down tight. He'd made it clear their personal relationship had to stay separate from their business relationship, but he hadn't told Noah exactly how closeted he was at work—a hundred and ten percent, at least. He didn't need to risk blowing the door wide open because he couldn't keep his libido in check.

The sandwich was amazing, and Luke even had to admit the salad was tasty. He swallowed a bite and speared another piece with his fork, smirking at Noah. "I don't know how healthy a vegetable like this could possibly be," he said. "Considering it's coated in dressing and has bacon pieces mixed in with it."

Noah swallowed and smiled. "It's still a green vegetable, no matter how you top it," he said. "Next time we'll work on eating it naked."

His smile slid into a smirk on the last word, and Luke almost choked on his broccoli. Noah was going to keep him on his toes, wasn't he?

They were just finishing up their meals when another knock came at the door. "Come in," Luke said as he looked that way, and a middle-aged man in a blue uniform shirt and jeans leaned in.

"Mr. Grimaldi, I have those records you requested," he said, and Luke nodded, pushing his nearly empty plate aside and standing up. His eyes widened when the man opened the door to reveal a rolling pallet covered with at least a half-dozen document boxes.

"Where do you want these?" the man asked, and Luke blinked.

"Um, over by the wall, I guess?" He waved toward an empty section area near the door, and from the corner of his eye he saw Noah clearing away the remains of their lunch while shooting curious glances toward the boxes and Luke.

Once the boxes were unloaded, Luke thanked the delivery man—Tony, his uniform said—and stood staring at the stack, his hands on his hips.

"So if you don't mind me asking," Noah said, "what the heck is all this?"

Luke shrugged and glanced at Noah. "I don't really know," he said. "I found something off in one of the sets of paperwork I was checking this morning, so I asked for the related records. I expected a few file folders, not…." He waved vaguely at the boxes.

Noah nodded slowly. "Well," he said, drawing out the word, "I'm kind of at loose ends right now. No class tonight, and all caught up on your stuff. So I could start looking through it, if you could tell me what I'm looking for?"

Luke chuffed out a laugh, shaking his head. "I have no idea, that's the thing," he said. He turned back toward his desk. "Let me show you what I found, and maybe between the two of us we can figure it out."

~~~~

The afternoon passed quickly. Luke and Noah went over the puzzling paperwork together, and Noah dug into the records boxes, looking for clues as to what might have happened. He pretty quickly figured out that the shipments involved were pharmaceuticals, and that the project had started almost five years earlier, but nothing he'd found seemed to indicate anything unusual was going on. Of course, he was only into the second box of paperwork.

Luke was just thinking about shutting down and heading home when he heard Noah say his name. He glanced over, and Noah was sitting cross-legged on the floor, where he'd been for most of the past few hours, several stacks of paper sitting neatly around him. His head was bent over a folder full of even more paper, and as Luke stood and walked toward him, he could see Noah frowning. No, more than that: he looked angry.

"Noah?" Luke asked, lowering himself to sit next to him. "Did you find something?"

Noah glanced at him, and Luke almost recoiled at the heat in his eyes. "You could say that," he ground out. "What the hell kind of company are you running here?"

Luke jerked in surprised. "I have no idea what you're talking about, Noah," he said. "If there's something going on I should know about, tell me."

Noah seemed to study him for a moment and then relaxed, but only very slightly. "This project," he said, nodding toward the boxes. "Like I said earlier, it seemed to just be drug shipments, normal stuff. It took a little more digging to find out where they were going: Africa. Still okay. And then I finally found a list of some of the drug names, and it was AIDS drugs." He signed. "Everything's, like, written in code. I think maybe a couple of the things I found weren't supposed to be in here. Or maybe you weren't supposed to be able to get your hands on these and someone screwed up."

He hesitated, and Luke frowned. "But if it's AIDS drugs going to Africa, that's a good thing, right?" he said. "I mean, even if it's not entirely on the up and up, it's helping people."

Noah bit his lip and shook his head. "That's the thing, Luke," he said. He lifted his head to meet Luke's gaze, and his eyes were sad. "If that was it, then no big deal. But they aren't real, Luke. That's what this says." He lifted the papers in his hand. "They're low-grade stuff, and some of it's mixed in with placebos. They're sending drugs that could kill people. That probably are killing people." He took a breath. "And just about every piece of paper in here has been signed off by Damian himself."

Luke sat back, stunned. He knew Damian hadn't lived a totally clean life. He'd been mixed up a lot of stuff over the years that was borderline illegal, at best. But Grimaldi Shipping had always been his legitimate business, anything less than clean kept far out of the way. He'd been up front with Luke about all of that when he'd brought him into the business, and Luke had believed him.

It had all been a lie. And now Luke was mixed up in it, too. And so was Noah.

Luke reached for the paperwork in Noah's hands. "Noah," he said. "I need you to leave." Noah stared at him, but when he opened his mouth to reply, Luke cut him off. "This doesn't concern you, Noah," he said. "You can't be a part of this. I can't drag you into it. Whatever's going on, it's not good. And I won't let you go down with it."
Noah's face darkened. "I'm already in it, Luke. I've seen the paperwork. Hell, I found the paperwork." His expression softened. "And I won't let you go deal with this alone."

Something surged in Luke's chest at that, a rush of emotion so overwhelming it took his breath away. After everything they'd said, everything they'd done, it wasn't until that moment that Luke recognized what he was feeling.

When, exactly, had he let himself fall in love with Noah Mayer?

With effort, he pushed it back, got himself under control, and managed a smile. "Well, I guess you do deserve the lion's share of the credit once we bring these bastards down," he said. Noah smiled back, and Luke felt it wash over him, calming him.

"Okay," he said, nodding toward the boxes. "Let's start by getting this stuff under lock and key. And then we'll figure out where to go from here."

~~~~

Paperwork secured in the closet in Luke's office, and the office itself locked for good measure, Luke and Noah headed for Luke's apartment. Luke tried to stop for takeout on the way home, but Noah just pulled him away and smiled enigmatically.

When Luke unlocked his door and stepped inside, he understood. The smell of something cooking set his mouth watering, and he reached behind him to pinch Noah's arm.

"Ow!" Noah rubbed at the spot, grinning. "What was that for?"

"You've been cooking again," Luke said, closing and locking the door behind them and tossing his keys onto the nearby table. "I told you that's not part of the job."

Noah reached for him, hands wrapping lightly around Luke's upper arms, head dipping to catch Luke's eye. "I'm not doing it as part of the job," he said softly, and Luke couldn't help himself. He closed the distance between them, arms coming up to wrap around Noah's waist, his head finding its place on Noah's chest. He felt a soft rumble in Noah's chest as he chuckled, and Noah's arms slid around his back, holding him.

"You've had a rough few weeks," Noah said into his hair. "And you haven't had much of a support system. I figure the least I can do is make sure you eat well."

Luke tilted his head back, meeting Noah's gaze before letting his eyes flick down to look at his mouth. "You've done a lot more than that," he murmured before leaning up for a kiss. He lingered for just a moment before his stomach reminded him that lunch had been almost six hours ago. He smiled against Noah's mouth. "Feed me, Seymour."

Noah laughed as he drew away. "C'mon," he said, grabbing Luke's hand. "It should be soup by now."

~~~~

The beef stew was perfect, even though Noah insisted it was just the basics: meat, potatoes, and carrots flavored with broth and onion soup mix. Noah had bought a loaf of French bread and made fruit salad for dessert, and by the time they finished eating, Luke felt as overstuffed as a Thanksgiving turkey.

"Ugh," he said, leaning back against the sofa cushions and rubbing one hand over his stomach. "Are you sure you're trying to make sure I eat well and not just fatten me up? 'Cause at this rate, I'm going to blow up like a balloon in no time."

Noah snorted. "Trust me, you have nothing at all to worry about." The tone of his voice made very clear exactly what he thought about the current state of Luke's body, which immediate took notice. Luke turned his head toward Noah, who was sitting forward on the cushions, stacking up their dinner plates. Luke leaned over to lay his hand over Noah's, which stilled under his touch.

"The dishes can wait," Luke murmured. "I'm ready for dessert now."

A shudder ran through Noah. "I thought we were going to talk about—"

"The records can wait, too," Luke said, sliding across the cushions, letting his hand run up Noah's arm and over his shoulder, coming to rest on the back of his neck. "We can't really do anything about that until morning anyway."

They were so close Luke could smell the sweet tang of the pineapple from the fruit salad on Noah's breath, but he didn't close the inch between their mouths. Not yet. He let the heat between them fill his body, feeling his skin flush, his cock harden. Noah's hand touched his thigh, moved slowly up toward his hip, and Luke broke, pushing forward to bring their lips together.

In seconds, their hands were tangled in each other's hair, and Luke was halfway onto Noah's lap. He couldn't get close enough. His heart pounded, his body on fire, and all he could think was that he wanted Noah everywhere, covering him, surrounding him. Inside him.

He tensed at the thought. He hadn't bottomed in years, not since the night he broke up with his first boyfriend. His only boyfriend, really. Chad had been his first, but their relationship had never been smooth or easy. That last night, Luke had been sore from one round of manic sex, but Chad had pushed to fuck him again until Luke gave in. Chad took him fast and hard, without nearly enough prep time or concern for his tenderness, and Luke ended up fighting him off and throwing him out.

He'd never again seriously considered letting anyone inside him again. But Noah, despite the passion and eagerness he'd shown in their few encounters, could be so gentle and considerate that Luke thought maybe, just maybe, he could give it another try. He'd loved it when it had been good. Maybe it could be again?

He realized Noah had gentled their kiss, and his hands were running lightly up and down Luke's back. Noah drew away and lowered his head far enough to catch Luke's eye. "You okay?" he asked softly. "You seemed to disappear there for a minute."

That was enough to make up Luke's mind. He kissed Noah again, quickly. "I want to ask you for something," he murmured against his lips. "And I need you to not ask any questions, okay? I promise I'll explain later."

Noah nodded, a line appearing between his eyebrows as his brow furrowed. Luke lifted one hand to rub his thumb over the spot, smoothing it away. "I want you…." He paused to swallow. "I want you inside me. But I need you to be gentle about it."

Later, Luke remembered the look in Noah's eyes at his words, because he saw it again as Noah pushed inside. He'd spent what felt like hours getting Luke ready, driving him crazy with need, opening him up gently. Luke sighed as Noah slid in deep. With Noah's long cock inside him, his long arms around him, his long legs tangled with Luke's, Luke finally felt like he'd gotten as close to him as he could. It wasn't enough—it would never be enough—but it was the best they could do.

Noah moved slowly, languidly, as if they had all the time in the world, and as far as Luke was concerned, they did. Nothing existed beyond the bed, not the streets or the buildings or even the trees in the park. For the first time, Luke understood the meaning of two becoming one, and when his climax finally rolled through him, pulling Noah's along with it, it was almost an afterthought. Noah was a part of him now, and in that moment, nothing else mattered.

~

Go to Part 3

Date: 2011-07-26 08:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seajellybaby.livejournal.com
This chapter was amazing on so many levels... first the blooming of their love for each other and their realisatin that that's what it is...

Their discovery of Damian's evil deeds with the AIDS medication... nasty! And their determination to fight that together.

And then Luke's amazing revelation that his first boyfriend hurt him so badly. Hinting to this being the reason for his distance when it came to sex.

So many amazing things to quote but I loved these the best:

"Noah's smile softened. "Because you let me in."


"Noah swallowed and smiled. "It's still a green vegetable, no matter how you top it," he said. "Next time we'll work on eating it naked."


"Something surged in Luke's chest at that, a rush of emotion so overwhelming it took his breath away. After everything they'd said, everything they'd done, it wasn't until that moment that Luke recognized what he was feeling.

When, exactly, had he let himself fall in love with Noah Mayer?"

Date: 2011-07-28 01:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sln188.livejournal.com
really great part here. You had a lot going on, all pertinent to the story. But my favorite part was the last paragraph -"Luke understood the meaning of two becoming one.... Noah was a part of him now..." So beautiful.

Date: 2011-07-28 11:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] random-nic.livejournal.com
Just love the development of their relationship and deepening of the trust between them, so that when things really get sticky thanks to good ol' Damian, Luke knows he can count on Noah 100%. You've developed this alternate love story for Nuke in an entirely believable and engaging way.

Date: 2011-08-01 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] asonearth.livejournal.com
great chapter!! loved the different approach you took here on how they get closer and get to trust eachother. perfect!!

Date: 2011-08-17 02:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rebop13.livejournal.com
I think one of my favorite moments in this story is how you didn't describe the passionate sex Luke and Noah had when Luke is remembering the night and day they spent together.

Instead, he remembers the talking and the laughing and the snuggling, and movies and pancakes. (I got all woobie at the pancakes.) Luke's been having great sex, but he's been starving for warmth and affection and companionship, so it's not surprising that he's fallen so hard for Noah so quickly-who wouldn't? He's a sweet muffin of a guy.

And oh, Damian as per usual is an evil fuck that deserves the ninth level of hell.

I love how you got the boys into Starsky and Hutch mode, and it was touching that Noah has his back, no matter what.

And Luke-letting Noah in like that...sigh.

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