[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.

Luke couldn't believe how quickly things happened after that. The next morning, he and Noah sat together inside Luke's locked office while Luke called the New York bureau of the Drug Enforcement Administration. An agent was there within the hour to hear their story, and by the end of the day, Luke's and Damian's offices were sealed up tight, with a stream of men wearing DEA jackets wheeling out boxes, computer equipment, and almost anything else that wasn't nailed down.

Luke had gone through a few terrifying moments when two of the agents had escorted him into a conference room and grilled him for nearly an hour about what he knew and when he knew it. He wasn't afraid so much for himself as he was for Noah, whom he realized would've been undergoing a similar interrogation. The agents seemed to be satisfied with their answers, though, letting them leave but instructing them to stay in touch and available for more questions as needed.

Back at Luke's apartment, this time having stopped for takeout on the way home, Luke and Noah sat close but not touching on the sofa, picking at their dinners. Luke's brain seemed to be operating on autopilot, and he didn't really taste the sesame chicken as he chewed and swallowed. He managed less than half before he tossed down his fork and flopped back into the sofa.

"They said Damian will be back in New York tomorrow."

Noah's words were unexpected, and Luke stared at him. "How…. I thought he was in Malta!"

Noah shrugged, gazed still focused on the beef and broccoli he wasn't eating. "Apparently he's been going back and forth," he said. "I overheard one of the agents talking right after they finished questioning me. His passport was recorded in Chicago late last night."

Luke jumped to his feet. "Mom," he said, looking around for his phone. He had to have left it somewhere. "I need to call my mom."

Noah's eyes were wide, and Luke knew he was shocked. Luke hadn't said a word about his mother, or the rest of his family. All he knew was Damian. By then Luke had found his phone, still in the pocket of the suit jacket he'd discarded as they came in, and he picked his mother's number out of his contact list and waited.

"Voicemail," he murmured. He tried again, this time trying Lucinda. If he didn't get her, he'd have to try the farm—

"Luciano?" Lucinda voice was somewhere between surprise and alarm. "To what do I owe this rare pleasure?"

"Grandmother," Luke said in a rush. "Do you know where Mom is? I tried to call her, it's kind of a long story, but—"

"Calm yourself, dear boy," Lucinda interrupted. "Your mother is right across the table from me, safe and sound. She's just finished informing me that Jack Snyder received word that Damian had been picked up by federal agents in Chicago. Is that your concern?"

Luke's knees gave out, and he sat down hard. He should've known that Jack would be on the case, after the last run-in between Damian and Holden. "Yes, that's it," he said. "So everything's okay? Everyone's okay?"

"We're all fine, dear," Lucinda said. There was a noise at the other end, and then Lucinda's voice again. "Your mother would like to speak to you."

Luke tried to breathe deeply and slow his heart rate. He could feel Noah watching him closely, but he couldn't focus on that yet.

"Luke?" Lily's usually smooth, cultured voice sounded much rougher than usual. "I'm so glad you called. Is everything okay? What's going on? All I know is what happened to Damian."
Luke sighed and rubbed the fingers of his free hand over his eyes. "It's a long story, Mom," he said. "Suffice it to say Damian's apparently been telling lies again. Pretty big ones. Federal charges-sized ones."

"Oh, honey." The sympathy and pain in Lily's voice made Luke's breath catch in his throat. "I'm so sorry."

She understood, Luke knew. The two of them had been the only ones who'd wanted to believe in Damian's innocence over the years, even when he'd done unsavory things. Their biggest fight had been over where Luke would live, and it took Damian rescuing Luke from a potential kidnapping in childhood that finally convinced Lily he could be trusted to take care of their son. He hadn't done anything to disprove that over the years; not until now. This went far beyond the occasional business scheme and his several unsuccessful attempts to win back Lily's affections.

"I'll be okay," Luke said. He hesitated, then decided in for a penny, in for a pound. "I'm kind of… seeing someone." He glanced at Noah and smiled softly at the blush high on his cheekbones. "It helps to have some extra support."

Lily's voice sounded much brighter. "That's wonderful, dear," she said. "You'll have to bring her home so we can all meet her!"

Luke tried to correct her, but he couldn't quite bring himself to do it. He couldn't tell her that over the phone. "Maybe," he said instead. "We'll see what happens with all of this."

He sighed again. "I need to go, Mom," he said. "I'll call again soon, okay?"

"Okay, take care, honey," Lily replied. "I love you."

Luke swallowed. "Me too," he said before ending the call.

When he stood up, Noah was already there, waiting with his arms relaxed but open. Luke slid his phone into his pocket and stepped into Noah's embrace, the one place where he always felt at home.


"I'm telling you, I do not know what you are talking about."

Damian's voice, firm and clear but not loud, nevertheless carried through the door and into the hall outside, where Luke sat waiting, alone. Noah had wanted to come in with him, but Luke asked him to stay in the outer lobby. This was one confrontation he needed to handle on his own.

He'd lain awake for half the night, curled up against Noah's warm, sleeping body, and thought. He'd considered his life, from the bits of childhood in Oakdale he remembered, through his years in New York, raised by Damian and a string of nannies, going to years of private school and college, all picked by his father. His place at the head of Grimaldi Shipping had been determined without his input or desire, and he'd always just assumed that's the way things were. That he didn't have a choice.

And then Noah came along, and everything changed.

One of the agents in the room with Damian opened the door and leaned out, pulling Luke from his thoughts. "We can give you a few minutes now," he said, and Luke nodded, rubbing his palms on his thighs as he rose to his feet.

Damian watched him as he walked into the room and to the far side of the table where his father sat. He considered the chair but decided he didn't need it. He leaned one hip against the edge of the table and crossed his arms over his chest.

"This is it, Damian," he said, proud of himself at how level he kept his voice. "My family trusted you for a long time, and it turns out you've been playing us. Playing me. And I'm not going to let you do it anymore."
Damian face was a mask of false innocence. "I don't know what you mean, son—"

"Don't call me that!" Luke's temper got the best of him, and he stood up, leaning forward with both hands on the surface of the table. "You had your chance to be my father. To be honest with me and raise me right. And you blew it. You lied to me, and you forced me to lie about myself. I'm done with it. And I'm done with you."

Damian frowned. "I truly do not understand what you—"

"I'm gay, Damian!" He slapped one hand on the table. "I'm gay, and I've been hiding it from everyone because of you. Because of the way you treat people like me. I knew you'd never accept it, so I hid it. But I'm not going to do it anymore."

Damian was almost smiling, which just make Luke angrier. "You don't know what you're saying, Luciano—"

"And stop calling me that, too," Luke said, standing up straighter. "My name is Luke, not Luciano. And as soon as I can manage it, I'm going to get rid of the Grimaldi, too." He took a step back. "You can just do whatever you want, Damian," he said. "Because as far as I'm concerned, you're no longer my father."

He tuned out whatever Damian called after him as he walked out. He didn't slow down until he got to the lobby, where Noah immediately stood up as he saw him coming. Luke just reached for his hand, pulling Noah along with him.

"Come on," he said. "We're going home."


It was clear Noah hadn't realized what Luke meant when he'd said they were going home. Luke walked into his apartment and headed straight for his bedroom, pulling out a suitcase and tossing in clothes seemingly at random. Noah watched him for a few minutes before he walked over to still Luke's hands with his own.

"Luke," he said gently. "Where are you going?"

Luke stood with his head down, staring at but not really seeing the pile of clothes in front of him. "Home," he said softly. "I want to go home."

Noah was quiet for a minute. "Oakdale," he finally said. "Luke, you know I'd love nothing more than to go with you. But I have two more weeks of classes."

Luke looked up at him, surprised at first, but then realizing it was the truth. He'd almost forgotten Noah was in school, even though half his evenings were taken up with either classes or schoolwork. Luke looked away and nodded.

"You're right," he said. "I can't expect you to drop everything so close to the end of the term." He blew out a breath. "It's probably best I go by myself anyway. I have a lot to tell Mom." He let out a sound almost but not entirely quite like a laugh. "Starting with the fact that someone I'm seeing isn't a woman."

Noah chuckled and wrapped his arms around Luke, not letting the odd side angle stop him from kissing Luke's temple. Luke leaned into the touch. "I'm glad it's not a woman," Noah murmured. "And I'm glad it's not some other man, either."

Luke turned toward Noah so he could reciprocate the hug, and they stood there together for long minutes. Luke let the stress and anger from his confrontation with Damian drain away before finally taking a step back.

"Okay," he said. "Since only one of us needs to pack, do you think you could lend me a hand? You are still my personal assistant, after all," he teased, making Noah smile.

"Sure," Noah replied. "I'd even be willing to help pack your underwear."

Luke laughed.


The water spread out in front of Luke, glassy and shining in the spring sunshine. The day was as gorgeous as he ever could have asked for, high blue sky with only a few puffy clouds, and a light breeze keeping the sun's warmth from becoming too much.

Oakdale was just as he'd expected and entirely different at the same time. Luke's decision to come here had been spur of the moment, but once he arrived, he felt a knot he didn't know existed loosen somewhere deep inside. He'd left Noah in charge of his personal affairs, as usual, and appointed a top vice-president he trusted and who'd been cleared in the DEA's initial investigation to take over business operations.

He found he didn't really care all that much about any of it, except for Noah himself.

He'd been in Oakdale less than twenty-four hours. Flight, car ride, and hotel check-in had gotten him settled in time for dinner the night before, and he'd been shocked when his mother had shown up at his door just as he was considering whether to go out or order room service. Lily's hug had been tight and welcoming, and Luke had returned it automatically, but it only took a few moments for the true warmth to hit him, and he'd relaxed into the embrace.

When Lily stepped back, her eyes had been full of tears, and she'd answered Luke's questions by telling him she owned the hotel now, and she'd seen his name on the guest manifest. She apologized for not calling first but invited him to have dinner with her in the hotel restaurant. He'd accepted and spent the evening starting to get to know his mother better, although he still held back from coming out to her.

As they said good night, Lily had suggested he visit the farm today. Emma had been just as warm and welcoming, thrilled to see him and plying him with fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, and Holden had given him a handshake that made it clear he was holding back from a full-body hug, as if unsure if Luke would accept it. Luke wasn't sure either, but he knew he'd get another chance if he decided he would.

Luke had been left to wander the grounds as long as he wanted, and memories flooded back as he walked: the barn where Holden had introduced him to the horses, the trails where he'd taken his first horseback rides, the pond where he'd cooled off on hot summer days. He'd spent so many years away, with just brief visits now and then, that he'd forgotten how much he'd liked it here. Oakdale seemed to be woven into his DNA, and it wasn't until now, surrounded by the land that seemed to be at the heart of it, that he felt complete.

Well, almost complete.

Only a day apart, and already Luke missed Noah. He didn't miss New York, although he knew he would over time. But he kept wanting to turn to Noah to point things out or tell him stories he remembered, except that he wasn't there.

Footsteps behind him drew his attention, and he turned his head to see Holden walking toward him. "Hey," he said, sliding his hands into the pockets of his jeans, feeling a little nervous but not sure why.

"Hey," Holden replied, stopping next to him and looking out across the pond. "Beautiful day out. Supposed to rain over the weekend, though."

Luke nodded, gaze running over the lake. He watched as a bird dove down, dipping into the water just enough to send ripples out across the surface before flying away again. He almost felt the small waves, churning up the agitation inside him.

"So who's Noah?"

Luke's head snapped around. "Who's…. What?"

Holden didn't look at him. He was pulling apart a piece of grass. "Got a phone call a while ago," he said. "Said he was a friend of yours and just wanted to be sure you got out here okay."

Luke felt guilty, not realizing until then that he hadn't thought to call or text Noah to let him know he'd arrived, and he'd deliberately left his phone back at the hotel. "You told him?"

Holden nodded, shooting Luke a quick glance. "He seemed pretty worried, and pretty relieved when I said you were here."

Luke's shoulders tightened. He knew he needed to say it. He needed to tell someone, and maybe Holden was a good place to start. Ease into it before he told his mother.

"He's… not just a friend," Luke pushed out. "I haven't told anyone here. No one knows. But I'm…" He shook his head, frustrated with himself. "I'm gay. And Noah's my… my boyfriend."

He hadn't actually called Noah that before, even though he knew it was true. He hadn't had a boyfriend since Chad, and the word felt foreign in his mouth—but it felt right in his heart.

Holden just nodded in response, looking out over the water again. "Must be a pretty good guy," he said, his tone mild.

Braced for shock, denial, Luke felt off-balance at Holden's measured response. "He is," he said, standing up a little straighter. "He's been great through all of this. I think…." He paused. He didn't really want to tell a virtual stranger before he said it to Noah. "I care about him a lot."

Holden nodded again. "You're worried about telling your mom."

Luke shrugged. "Yeah," he said. He shot Holden a quick glance. "I haven't exactly spent a lot of time with her. I don't know how she might react. And with Damian out of my life…."

Holden looked at him, suddenly and piercingly. "Don't go thinking she's all you have left," he said firmly. "You have a family here, no matter what. Oakdale doesn't let its children go easily."

Luke bit his lip to hold back his emotions. He could only nod. He had no idea how he could ever repay Holden for these few minutes, but for the first time in his life, he thought he might know how it felt to have a real father.


Emma insisted that Luke have dinner at the farm, and told Holden to bring Lily and the kids. Holden checked with Luke in a single look, and Luke nodded, his heart warming at the gesture even while his insides twisted with nerves. He'd loved being around the kids in the past, and Ethan had wanted him home for his birthday, but he hadn't seen them in a few years, and things could change quickly.

He needn't have worried. Ethan greeted him enthusiastically, chattering a mile a minute about the comic book he was reading and the trip to Disney the family had planned for the summer. At fourteen, Natalie was more blasé about things, but she couldn't quite hide her happiness at having Luke around. Faith was missing, but Lily explained that she was working part-time at Java, a coffee shop in town, and couldn't get away that evening.

They were halfway through the pot roast dinner before Lily raised the question Luke dreaded. "So, Luke honey, is your girlfriend going to come visit, too?"

Luke looked at Holden, who held his gaze but didn't seem to be directing him one way or the other on how he should answer. Luke decided it wasn't the best time to drop his bombshell. "It's kind of a long story, Mom," he finally said, cutting off another piece of meat. "We'll talk after dinner. Okay?"

Lily seemed poised to press the issue, but Holden laid his hand on her arm, and they shared a long look. She subsided finally, and Emma quickly filled in the silence, asking Luke about his apartment in New York.

Dinner over, Luke found himself helping clean up without even thinking about it. Emma smiled at him indulgently and took the stack of plates out of his hands.

"Don't worry about this tonight, dear," she said. "Go visit with your family. I know they've missed seeing you."

He couldn't possibly argue with that, so he just smiled and kissed her on the cheek before turning toward the living room. Just as he stepped that way, though, Lily came around the corner, and he stopped for a moment before gathering his courage and tilting his head toward the back porch. "Can I talk to you alone?"

Lily smiled at him, puzzled but agreeable. "Sure, honey," she said.

Luke held the door for her as they stepped outside into the cool evening air. He made sure the door closed behind them before he turned to face her. He opened and closed his mouth a few times but couldn't get started.

He shoved his hands into his pockets again. "God, this is hard," he muttered.

Lily took a step closer, looking worried. "Honey, whatever it is, I'm sure it'll be okay," she said. "You know we love you, right?"

Luke looked into her eyes and saw the truth in her statement. It didn't matter that he hadn't grown up here with the family. He was part of it, and no matter how his mom reacted now, he still would be.

"Mom," he said, reaching out to take her hand. "Mom, I'm gay."

Lily blinked once, then again. "What?" she finally said.

"I'm gay." It was easier to say now. "I'm sorry I haven't told you sooner, but I'm just now figuring out how to be open about it. I'm gay, and I don't have a girlfriend. I have a boyfriend. His name is Noah, and I… I really care about him a lot. And I know this is a lot to take in, and—"

Lily pulled her hand away and took a step back, lifting her hand to cover her mouth. "Oh honey," she said. "Are you… are you sure? How do you… have you…."

Luke almost laughed. "I'm very sure," he said. "I've known since I was fourteen, but no one else really did except some guys I've… been with. Damian didn't know until yesterday."

Lily seemed frozen in place, staring at him, and Luke started to feel uncomfortable. "I know it's a surprise," he said. "I don't expect you to just go on like nothing's changed. But I hope you can…. I want to…. Dammit!"

He spat the last word out in frustration as the emotions he'd been trying to hold back spilled out in the tears he couldn't stop. He turned away and dragged the back of his hand across his eyes, trying to wipe them away, but after a moment he felt a hand on his arm and looked down to see Lily looking up at him, her eyes wet, too.

"I'm surprised," she said. "I don't really know what to say, Luke. But you have to know that no matter what, you will always, always be my son."

At that point, Luke gave up trying to hold back the tears, and he let his mother gather him into his arms like a child.


Luke lay on his back, staring at the ceiling of his room at the Lakeview. Lily had wanted him to move into the house and stay with them, but he needed a little decompression time, so he told her they'd talk about it the next day. Now he couldn't sleep, his third near-sleepless night in a row, and something was going to have to give before long.

He was surprised to hear a knock at his door. He flipped on the bedside lamp as he climbed out of bed, running a hand through his hair to tame it a little as he walked to the door. He looked through the peephole, blinked in surprise, and unlocked and opened the door to find that, yes, that really was Noah standing in the hallway. He had a backpack over one shoulder and a duffel bag in his other hand, and he was smiling a hesitant, lop-sided smile.

"Um, surprise?" he said.

Luke laughed, feeling the knot in his stomach loosen for the first time in days, and he grabbed for Noah's arm, pulling him inside and re-locking the door. He turned back to see Noah setting down his bags and looking around.

"Wow," Noah said. "This room is really, really ni—"

Luke cut him off with his mouth. He kissed Noah hungrily, tugging at his clothes, digging for bare skin. It took Noah a moment to reciprocate, but when he did, it was with enthusiasm. Within minutes, they were naked and falling onto the bed together, touching everywhere they could reach, kissing as if they'd never get enough.

Their lovemaking was urgent and needy, with Luke taking charge, barely slowing down until he was buried deep inside Noah. He moved more gently then, sliding out before pushing in slowly, nipping at Noah's lips, sucking on his tongue. Noah's moans drove Luke crazy, and his thrusts grew harder, faster, until he was fucking Noah with abandon, watching his head twist back and forth against the pillows, lost and beautiful in his desire. They came seconds apart and fell together onto the mattress, wet, sweaty, and sticky. Luke had never felt better in his entire life.

Once they'd caught their breath and Luke had taken care of the condom, they lay facing each other and Luke pushed the dark, damp hair back from Noah's face. He smiled. "This is one of the best surprises ever," he said. "But what are you doing here?"

Noah shrugged and gave a sheepish smile. "I was done with classes until Monday," he said. "And I… I wanted to check out Oakdale."

He blushed, and Luke knew that wasn't what he'd been going to say. He leaned forward to kiss the tip of his Noah's nose. "I missed you too," he admitted, and Noah bit his lip and smiled.

They kissed again, relaxed and sated, until finally Luke pulled back and propped himself up on one elbow. He reached out to touch Noah's hair, twirling a piece around his first finger. "So I've been thinking," he said. "It turns out Oakdale's kind of a nice place."

Noah's gaze never left his, even as his hands wandered over his shoulders and chest. "You want to stay a while," he said. It wasn't a question.

Luke nodded once. "I do," he said. "It feels… it's like part of me lives here, and when I'm not here, it feels like that part's missing. You know? And I know it's not that simple, I know there are things I have to take care of. But I think I need this. Need to kind of… start over. But I don't want to leave—"

Noah cut him off with two fingers on his lips and a small smile. "I hope you won't think this is too forward of me," he said. "But I checked into it yesterday, and it turns out there's a pretty good film school at Oakdale University. And I talked to admissions, and they don't think I'd have any trouble transferring."

Luke stared at him in shock. "You'd give up everything in New York?"

Noah nodded. "If you think Oakdale would have me."

Luke knew it wasn't really Oakdale he was asking about. He surged forward and kissed Noah hard, putting everything in his heart into that one kiss. When they finally pulled apart, they were both breathing like they'd been running for miles, and their hard cocks were rubbing together between.

"Oakdale would like nothing better," Luke managed to say. "Turns out there's someone here who thinks he might just be in love with you."

Noah seemed to stop breathing for a few long moments before a wide smile broke out on his face. "Oh thank God," he said. "Because someone thinks he might just be in love with you too."
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