1. Chapter 1 by DancingElf88
2. Chapter 2 by DancingElf88
3. Chapter 3 by DancingElf88
4. Chapter 4 by DancingElf88
5. Chapter 5 by DancingElf88
6. Chapter 6 by DancingElf88
7. Chapter 7 by DancingElf88
8. Chapter 8 by DancingElf88
9. Chapter 9 by DancingElf88
10. Chapter 10 by DancingElf88
11. Chapter 11 by DancingElf88
12. Chapter 12 by DancingElf88
He stood in front of the house-no, mansion and sighed. Heavily. This would be his new life in this gigantic house-mansion. He had never felt so alone in his life. As he was contemplating what would happen if he stayed in the BMW forever, the chauffeur opened the door for him and smiled in that I-have-to-do-this-but-I-hate-my-job kind of way.
"There you are. You've finally arrived. I've been practically jumping out of my skin in anticipation," Brian said excitedly before enveloping him in a hug and a kiss that almost made him gag, "Come on, sweetheart let me show you our room." He took his hand and practically dragged him up the stairs.
The room was impeccable. In the center was a queen-sized bed with ivory white silk sheets and pillows to match. There was a walk-in closet to the right and a sandalwood armoire to the left. A big dresser with a mirror was opposite the bed. He walked towards the large window that showed him the most breath-taking view he'd seen in his 21 years.
The sun shone brightly outside; it was almost mocking him. He swore if he were in a cartoon, that damn ball of yellow would have the biggest smiley face in the world. The sky wasn't doing him much favors either. All blue and beautiful, no clouds to suggest any slight chance of rain. And that field. That beautiful, green pasture was straight out of a painting. Complete with tufts of purple and yellow scattered beautifully almost on purpose and the horses galloping freely about with no cares in the world. He wished for their freedom. But he had forfeited that when he allowed that band to be put on his finger, binding him to this man for-how long was it? But, he couldn't think of that now. Not while there were people benefitting from this sacrifice and especially not when he was so close to an open window that led to a beautiful field that could take away this pain in an instant if he just leaned out far enough and...
"Are you even listening to a word I was saying? If you want to pull this off, then it's best you start acting as though you actually care about me my love or well I don't really need to tell you the consequences now do I?" Brian smirked and walked over to his beautiful, new husband. Beautiful. There was no other way to describe him. He stroked his cheek and felt the young boy shudder at his touch.
"I..um..Brian, please stop," He hated when he stroked his cheek, "I'm sorry. I'll try harder in public. I'm sorry I wasn't paying attention. I'm just a little tired from the flight." He backed away hoping to break contact, that touch made him shiver.
"Of course I understand. Dinner is at 7 so you have some time to rest a bit. I have to go check on a few things. I'll be back at around 6:30. I expect you to be ready by then. Your clothes are hanging in the closet. Rest up." Brian leaned in to kiss him and he instinctively pulled away slightly but he was pulled in anyway. "Beautiful." Brian whispered before pulling away and walking out.
He flopped down on the bed, repeated that heavy sigh from earlier, and covered his face with his hands.
"Welcome to hell, Noah."
"Why aren't you up yet? The flight couldn't have been that long." Brian barged in to see Noah still dozing on the bed. The young man woke with a start, disoriented for a few nano seconds before realizing where he was. The melancholy look he'd been sporting returned once he realized his location. Somehow he was hoping it was all a dream...he was wrong.
"I'm sorry," Noah realized he'd been saying that word a lot: sorry, "I won't take long. I promise." He shot out of bed quickly and turned in circles trying to find the bathroom before looking to Brian who was pointing to his left.
7 o'clock found Noah sitting at the head of a table, wearing a crisp white shirt and black dress pants, and surrounded by people he didn't know. Apparently Brian thought it brilliant to invite a few of the town's (Oakdale, was it?) to dinner and meet his new spouse. But Noah wasn't good with crowds or people really for that matter. Especially people, who expected him to charm them, engage them; know the difference between a salad fork and a dinner fork.
Honestly, what was so barbaric about one fork? Oh wait, she's saying something. Noah was jarred from his thoughts by the woman speaking to him. Lisa...something or other, he couldn't remember. She laughed, Noah wasn't sure what she was talking about, so he laughed too. It's going to be a long night.
He wasn't wrong. The Who's Who of Oakdale loved to talk. About what? Noah wasn't sure. He just smiled and nodded; trying ever so hard not to let the bile that was rising in his throat from Brian's hand on his waist come barreling out.
He needed air. A big, heaping, helpful of it. He had managed to sneak out under the pretense of going to the bathroom once Brian surrendered control of his waist.
"Let me guess. One more minute in there and your head would explode?" What a sweet voice. Noah turned to see the owner of the voice that read his feelings so clearly and suddenly there wasn't enough air out there. He looked into the most beautiful brown eyes he'd ever seen. Light brown. His favorite kind of brown actually with flecks of green in them. So inviting and full of spark.
"Helloooo. Hey you up there?" Noah saw the blur of hand waving in front of his face and realized he hadn't spoken in about a minute.
"I...uh...sorry," there was that word again, "Yeah...air...needed..yeah." Could he be a bigger idiot.
"You like air?" Apparently he could. The blond laughed. He was blond. Noah started to notice other features now. The sandy blonde hair, he was slightly shorter than him, and had beautifully kissable lips and a laugh that was infectious.
"Yea I love air. Keeps the old ticker a-tickin'," Brown Eyes said as he touched his chest, "I'm Luke. Snyder, by the way." He held out his hand for Noah to shake.
"Hi. I'm-" he touched Luke's fingers and felt electricity.
"Noah! I've been looking everywhere for you. This isn't the bathroom," Brian interrupted them. His hatred for that man only grew in that moment, "Mr. Snyder. What a surprise seeing you here. Have you met my husband? This is Noah." Brian took a hold of Noah's waist again and he tried not to shudder.
"Yes. We kind of just met. Hi, Noah. I'm just here on behalf of my Dad. He finished drawing up those papers for the horses and wanted me to bring them over to you as soon as possible to look over. Here you are," Luke handed Brian the papers, "I'll leave you to your guests. It was nice meeting you Noah." Luke smiled and turned to leave, but not before glancing once more at Noah.
"Come on. Let's go back inside." Noah was led away. Ugh. Back to the gulag .
Noah rolled over to see Brian staring at him. Again.
"Do you realize how beautiful you are?" Brian reached up to stroke his cheek again. That familiar shiver went down his spine.
"I really wish you would stop saying things like that." Noah said in a whisper, almost inaudible.
"And I really wish you'd stop shivering every time I touch you," Brian looked almost... hurt. He reached up again. This time Noah pulled away so quickly he almost fell of the bed, "We could be happy Noah. Why can't you see that? We could be happy."
"But I don't love you, Brian. This marriage, it isn't real. We aren't real." Noah tried to keep the tears out of his voice. Crying would make him seem vulnerable, Brian thrived off vulnerable.
"Dammit, can't you see we could be?!" Brian yelled, making Noah jump. Brian raising his voice meant he was losing control...this never has a good outcome.
"Ok. I'm sorry. Just calm down," Noah tried placating him, "I'm doing this for my father, Brian. You know that. I...I didn't marry you for love. You can't expect me to jump from blackmail to love in a matter of weeks Brian. You just, you just can't." Keep it together, Mayer. He loves it when he can break through your shell. Don't give him that.
"Go to sleep beautiful. Tomorrow, tomorrow we'll talk." Brian went to sleep immediately. It took Noah a little longer and when he finally did it was to the image of brown eyes with green flecks in them. The next morning Noah woke up with a smile. Images of those eyes and sounds of that chuckle made the day not so daunting. Until he opened his eyes and saw Brian emerging from the bathroom, buttoning his shirt.
"Morning, sunshine. Breakfast is in 45 minutes. I expect you down there soon." Brian bent down and captured Noah's lips in a kiss and then headed for the door.
Breakfast was an awkward affair. Noah took comfort in the fact that there were no rich people to impress. But, there was Brian, looking at him, and talking endlessly about the work he had to do for the company. He was the head honcho of a shipping company in Oakdale. Apparently it was strenuous work.
"So what are you planning to do with yourself?" Brian asked, taking a sip of orange juice.
"I hadn't really thought about it. I thought maybe I'd enroll in school in the fall. I don't really know." Noah replied. If he had had his way, he'd be planning for his 3rd year at Northwestern. But sadly he was in Oakdale, married to a guy he loathed, and his Dad miles away in a hospital. Yeah, life was great.
"school, huh-" Brian's phone rang before he could finish his thought, "Yeah. Barry, calm down. Wait for me. We'll sort it out. I have to go beautiful. Crisis down at the company. Explore the land, it's a sight." He left before Noah got a chance to answer and didn't see the sigh of relief given off by his young husband.
Noah decided to explore his new home. He'd been there practically a week and the only parts he'd seen of it were from his bedroom window. Before he could depart on his adventure, he heard the doorbell ring. James, the butler, announced that a Master Luke Snyder was at the door.
Noah's breath caught when he saw him walk through the door. He looked perfect in nothing more elaborate than dark blue jeans, brown cowboy boots, a tight polo shirt and a brown jacket to complete the ensemble. Nothing fancy, but to Noah he was perfection.
"Hey," that smile and those eyes hypnotized Noah again, "is Brian here?"
"Um no actually he just left for work. Why?" Noah was able to speak today.
"Oh well. He signed the papers for his horses to be delivered today. I'm here to bring the goods." Luke explained.
"Horses?" Could he be any more perfect? Stop it, Mayer, you're married.
"Yeah, my dad breeds and sells them. Brian just paid a wallop for two thoroughbreds. Would you like to see them?" Luke asked.
"Sure." Naturally Noah couldn't resist him.
They were beautiful. Both horses were tall and gorgeous. The kind of beauties only seen in the old Westerns Noah loved to watch. Both had full, sleek, black coats and manes that blew just right.
"They're beautiful, right?" Luke could see how captivated Noah was with the horses. Luke couldn't help but be captivated with the young man standing before him.
"Beautiful is kind of an understatement." Noah breathed.
"Ok, " Luke asked amused, "what word would you use? Magnificent, heavenly, dazzling, stunning, pulchritudinous? "
"I'm not good with words. But you obviously are. I'm guessing those are all synonyms for beautiful?" Noah joked.
"You are correct sir!" Luke joked back with one finger on his nose and the other pointing at Noah, which made him laugh. Hard.
"I'm not sure where the barn or stable or whatever is. Let me um, let me call Brian," Noah got out his cell phone and punched in the speed dial number, "Hello? It's Noah. I'm sorry to disturb you, but Luke Snyder is here with the horses you apparently bought. Where...? What? Oh, ok. Bye." Luke noticed there was no "I love you" exchange between the two. He found that odd for a newlyweds or lovers for that matter.
"He said you can just put them in the stable," Noah said bringing Luke out of his reverie, "You want help leading them there?"
"I thought you didn't know where the stable was?" Luke asked.
"I don't. I guess this would be a good way to find out, then huh?" Noah countered.
The two young men walked over to the horse carriage and released them. Luke held onto the reigns confidently while Noah, a little apprehensive, held on to the other horse. They walked a while along the land in a comfortable silence.
"So how long have you and Brian been together?" Luke was the first to break the silence.
"Brian and I," Get your story straight, "met in Branson. He and my dad were old friends. I don't know we just kind of hit it off. Love at first sight kind of thing." Noah hoped Luke believed him. If h knew the truth behind his marriage to Brian, there would be hell to pay.
"Romantic." Luke answered, but not quite convinced. There was something off and he couldn't quite figure out what that was.
"They really are beautiful...I mean pulchritudinous, was it?" Noah commented and Luke laughed a laugh that made if possible would've made Noah putty.
"I always wanted to learn how to ride them." Noah spoke up again.
"Really, is that so? Well, I actually give people lessons. It's kind of my job. If you're up for it, I can teach you." Luke offered, silently praying that the handsome man would take him up on his offer despite his being married.
"Are you serious? I would love that actually." Noah was ecstatic. He almost jumped for joy. Almost. He didn't want to completely let his inner dork out the cage.
"Alright then. Listen I have to go. But, how about I stop by tomorrow, say around 10?" Luke offered and Noah heartily agreed.
Noah couldn't believe how happy he was feeling. First, he was learning how to ride a horse. He'd always been secretly obsessed with cowboys. Now h would get to be one. Second and most importantly, at dinner that night Brian told him at dinner that night that he had been called away to South Carolina of all places for TWO WHOLE FREAKIN weeks for business. He would be leaving early the next morning.
Luke arrived at exactly 10 o'clock that morning. He was wearing another simple outfit. Light-blue jeans, a black swoop neck t-shirt, brown cowboy boots, shades, and a cowboy hat. He looked perfect.
"Howdy partner," he greeted while tipping the right side of his hat, "ready for your first lesson?"
Noah couldn't speak for a moment. His cowboy fantasy was coming true.
"Y-yeah. I'm ready," he managed to stammer out when he finally gained his composure.
Luke led Noah to the barn where the horses were and led him to Rocket, one of the horses he had delivered yesterday.
"So today's lesson is: Get to know your horse," Luke said as he patted Rocket gently, "Well get over here Mr. Wheatley--"
"Noah," he interrupted forcibly, "Call me Noah. Please."
"Ok Noah then," Luke was slightly taken aback at how bothered Noah was by being referred to by his last name. But he agreed anyway, "As I was saying, you should get acquainted with your horse before riding. Just like dating."
So that was his first lesson: getting to know Rocket. Noah spent an hour grooming him, talking to him, feeding him, walking him around the pasture a bit, the works.
"Ok, I think we're good for the day," Luke announced.
"Wait, that's it? I don't get to ride?" Noah was disappointed, but more so at the prospect of Luke leaving so soon. He knew he shouldn't, but he was already getting attached to the blond beauty.
"Patience, grasshopper. Soon you can be one with the horse." Luke answered.
"Thank you, Obi-Wan," Noah rolled his eyes and smiled, "How about you stay for lunch?" Please say yes.
"I can do that." Luke answered.
Lunch with Luke was the complete opposite of the ones he had with Brian. Noah actually spoke during this one. Both he and Luke discovered a love of comic books, zombie movies, and oddly enough the superior taste of strawberry ice cream vs. vanilla. Noah felt so at ease with him, it was a new feeling for him. It was also one that worried him because Noah knew that it was only a matter of time before his attraction to Luke Snyder would turn into a full blown crush or worse possibly love.
The week's lessons consisted of Noah learning about the American saddle and how to properly apply it to his horse. He spent more time with Rocket, getting more and more comfortable with him. He also spent more and more time getting comfortable with Luke.
That Friday Luke decided that it was time for Noah to start practicing the riding of a horse, with one catch: he wouldn't e riding an actual horse.
"How am I supposed to practice riding a horse without a horse?" Noah was confused.
"Simple grasshopper," apparently this was his new nickname, "you will practice on this." Luke unveiled a strange looking apparatus. It was kind of like a mechanical bull but made of wood and obviously completely stationary.
"You will use this to practice getting on the horse, your stance, etc," Luke stated matter-of-factly. He looked over at Noah to see the boy with his arms crossed, left eye brow lifted, and sporting the most adorable pseudo smirk he'd ever seen, "don't give me that look grasshopper. I promise it'll be good practice. Just try it. Come on!" He grabbed the man's hand and pulled him over to the "horse."
Luke decided that he would show Noah how to do it first. He expertly put one leg over one side and gracefully sat on the "horse," then gave Noah a look that clearly said "see it's easy." He then hopped off and looked at Noah expectantly.
Noah tried imitating him. He swung one leg over, sat atop the "horse," and then suddenly found himself sprawled on the floor. Apparently it wasn't as easy as Luke had made it look. Speaking of Luke, he was now doubled over with tears streaming down his face. Apparently the sight of Noah not quite making it was quite hilarious.
"How is this funny?" Noah managed to ask.
"How is this NOT funny?" Luke composed himself long enough to counter before breaking out in laughter once again. "Omigod. My stomach, I can't take it. Omigod. Woo! Ok, I'm ok now. No wait!" And off he went again for another 30 or so seconds. Noah watched with annoyance but Luke's laugh finally got to him and he started to laugh also.
After finally calming down, Luke offered his hand to Noah, and pulled him off of the ground. But Noah, clumsy as he was, lost his footing and ended up pinning Luke against the barn door. That's when the atmosphere quickly changed. Suddenly Noah wasn't so giggly, he was out of breath. He looked down at the blond whose mouth was slightly open and panting hard underneath him, brown a smoldering shade of dark brown and those green flecks more intense than ever. Neither was sure who initiated it, but all too suddenly lips had captured lips, tongues were fighting for dominance, two hard bodies were pressed up against each other. It was the greatest thing Noah had ever felt.
"Wait-you have to...we have to...ohhh...no stop." Noah managed to push him away no matter how much he didn't want to.
"What's wrong? Why'd you stop?" Luke was out of breath and slightly pissed that the greatest make out session he had ever been involved in had been cut short.
"We, I can't do this. I just can't." Noah immediately fled from the barn and into the house, hoping against hope that no one had seen anything.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid boy. What the hell were you thinking, stupid idiot!" This was the mantra that Noah had been chanting as he bounded up the stairs, two at a time. He didn't notice a certain blonde hurrying to catch up with him.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid bo-what are you doing?" He finally noticed Luke standing, actually bent over trying to catch his breath, outside his bedroom door.
"Trying really hard to breathe normally again. You're fast, cowboy. I guess that's an advantage that comes with those impossibly long legs of yours?" God, he's so adorable was all Noah could think.
"You...you shouldn't be up here, Luke. Please, you have to go." Noah pleaded, hoping for once in his life someone would listen to him.
"No," Luke stepped into the bedroom and closed the door.
"I'm married Luke. This ring on my finger," Noah lifted his right hand to give him a better view, "isn't just cause I think it's pretty. It signifies a commitment I made to Brian." He hoped that he was able to say his name without that look of disdain that usually accompanied it.
"I find it fascinating that a married man has a hard time saying his husband's name without flinching," apparently he had failed at the disdain thing," You don't love him do you?"
"What kind of question is that? Of course I do!" Please let that be convincing.
"Then say it." Luke challenged.
"What? Look I don't, I don't have to prove anything to you. Please leave." Noah tried to be forceful. But, apparently it seemed he hadn't yet perfected his obey-me-or-die-a-slow-death voice.
"No," Luke stepped closer to Noah, "Not until I hear you say it. Say it, Noah. Say it."
"You have to leave." Noah pleaded again, backing p from Luke but Luke followed him step for step.
"I don't think you want me to leave Noah," Luke closed the distance between them, got on his tip toes in order to reach Noah's ear, and whispered, "do you?" Then he licked his ear, taking Noah's earlobe into his mouth and sucking it gently before quickly sucking on Noah's neck.
That was all Noah could take before his knees gave way and he allowed Luke to continue his work on the right side of his neck, then sliding his tongue over his Adam's apple, and working on the other side. Luke captured Noah into another searing kiss, his tongue slipping in easier this time. They continued kissing fiercely until their clothes became too much of a burden from them.
Noah removed Luke's shirt and pushed him towards the bed in one fluid motion. Luke wasted no time in getting the other man shirtless as well as their kiss intensified. Noah was in heaven. He never realized he could be this turned on by one person. However his lust quickly dissipated when a flash of gold temporarily blinded him.
"Dammit! We have to stop," Noah scrambled away and heard Luke groan loudly, "I need you to leave Luke. Please. Please. Please." He hated how vulnerable he sounded. But Luke had to go.
"Noah," Luke was going to protest before he saw those sapphire eyes well up with tears. He sighed, gathered up his clothes, opened the door, and left. But not before one last look at Noah who was now sitting on the floor, head in hands, heart probably breaking into as many pieces as Luke's was at the moment.
Luke returned the next day, determined to talk to Noah about what had happened between them. He really wasn't sure why he was so adamant about wanting Noah. Sure he was beautiful, but he was married which meant that he was off limits. But he was also sweet, funny, and so adorably shy and Luke could never resist a shy guy.
Luke rang the doorbell only to be greeted by the butler.
"May I help you Mr. Snyder?"
"May I speak with Mr. Wheatley please?" He hoped that Noah would see him.
"Mr. Wheatley decided to take a stroll. I believe he is by the pond." Luke was on his way before the butler could say any more. After a good amount of walking he finally saw him. He was sitting much in the same position he was when Luke had left him in the bedroom. Luke walked over and sat down next to him.
"Hi again," Luke said tentatively.
"Why are you here, Luke?" Noah sighed.
"Looking for you, what do you think?" Luke answered.
"I need you to-"
"Yeah, I'm not leaving." Luke interrupted
"Why are you pushing this?" Noah was frustrated. Falling in love was not part of his plan.
"Because, I'm falling for you and I know that you feel the same way. And you still haven't said it!" Luke almost screamed.
"Said what?!" Noah countered
"That you love him! You haven't said it. All you've said is that we can't or pleaded for me to leave. You haven't said it because you don't feel it, do you?" Luke looked him in the eyes and knew the answer without Noah having to say a word.
"You don't understand, Luke-"
"Make me." Luke reached to stroke Noah's cheek-
"What's going on here?" The sound of Brian's voice made Noah's heart stop and not in the good way. Brian looked calm and controlled from the outside, but Noah could see that glint in his eye. That dangerous spark that told him that things would get bad soon.
"Then get up and let's go." Brian ordered and Noah knew to follow. Brian didn't even acknowledge Luke, he just turned on his heel and started to walk away briskly expecting Noah to be behind him. Noah looked back at Luke and mouthed "I'm sorry," looking on the verge of tears, and hurried to catch up to Brian.
They had not gotten two steps into the bedroom before Brian stopped immediately, turned around, and slammed Noah against the wall.
"I. will. NOT. Be. Made. A fool of. Understood?" Each word was punctuated with a hard jab to the chest.
"I wasn't-" Brian shushed him by pointing his index finger at him.
"is this what you did while I was away? Whored around with-"
"Don't call me that!" Noah somehow found his voice. Brian looked taken aback by his husband's new found courage. "I was talking to him, ok? That's all. He was teaching me how to ride a horse while you were away. I'm not allowed to talk to anyone besides you?"
"Not to him! Funny how I didn't see any horses where you two were caught canoodling-"
"Canoodling? Ok, first of all who still speaks like that? And we weren't canoodling or whatever." Noah yelled back.
"I will NOT allow you to embarrass me, Noah. Not after everything I've done for you-"
"Every...? Everything? You make it sound like you've been some great mentor or something. You put me in hell!"
"I saved you from a lot of trouble kid! You should be grateful-"
"Grateful?! Grateful that I'm stuck in a marriage with some old geezer who couldn't get anyone else to love hi so he had to prey on someone with no way out-"
"Watch who you talk to Noah. Shut up!" Brian's fist connected with Noah's cheek so forcibly and quickly that he barely had any time to react. He fell to his knees and waited there for a moment.
"You should really get a clue beautiful. That must hurt. I'm sorry," The stones in Brian's ring cut him right below his left eye. Brian hovered over him, "But you know there's much worse I could do that would hurt you more than any slap in the face. Or have you forgotten about your father who is laying in the hospital right now? Now clean yourself up. Dinner's in an hour." Then he just walked out.
"So, you're just going to sit there and not talk me? No questions about how my trip went?" Brian asked casually, as though nothing had transpired between them no less than 26 minutes ago.
"How was your trip Brian?" Noah sighed. Noah's face still hurt. He was trying very hard not to cry or lunge forward and stab Brian with his fork. The latter made him smile for half a second.
"Well..." Brian started but Noah tuned him out. He hated him and the sound of his stupid voice.
Noah confined himself to his room for the next three days. But, on the fourth, he decided to talk a walk into town. The four walls were starting to suffocate him. The walk through Old Towne proved to be what he needed until he noticed the same man he'd seen at the coffee shop, the bookstore, the Blockbuster. Now he was sitting at a table to the right of the bench Noah had decided to rest on.
Luke walked over to him and sat down before Noah could do anything.
"I need to talk to you. What...?" Luke said as soon as he sat down.
"And I need you to stay away from me," Noah said louder than necessary but then in a whisper said, "Brian is having e followed. That guy to my right I think is one of his guards. I can't talk to you here." Noah hoped he wasn't being too obvious.
"555-263-8904," Luke whispered back, "that's my number. Text me when you get a chance. You know what? I just sat here because I thought you needed a friend. Screw you, jerk." Luke then got up and walked away in a huff. Quickly Noah took out a piece of paper and wrote down the number, then he got up and went "home."
N: Hey, thnx 4 playing along 2day.
L: Sure. Hubby= stalker much? What happened to your face?
N: Lol. Pretty much and don't worry about it.
L: We should talk
N: How? I have tail remember?
L: Don't worry. Meet me 2nite @ tree where we were caught.
N: Brian will be here then. How would I sneak out?
N: Wait, nvm. I have a plan. L8er
Brian came home in a better mood that night. Noah knew that it was most likely because his guard had informed him that Noah told Luke to go screw himself basically.
Dinner that night was the usual quiet affair, except Noah kept watching Brian carefully, making sure that he ate every morsel of food. Usually after dinner Brian retired to the study to read, but he was feeling extra tired this particular night. He fell into a deep sleep before his head hit the pillow and Noah smiled.
N: 10 mins
Noah found Luke sitting under the same tree they had shared 3 days ago when he had almost told him that he felt the same way, that he didn't love Brian, he had almost told him everything. He would need to have better control tonight, because he had decided that tonight would be their last night together. He just couldn't risk Luke getting hurt.
"You're here," Luke got up and hugged him, "now tell me what the hell happened to your face."
"I told you I would be here. I ran into a cabinet door." Noah responded.
"Liar. Why are you letting him do that to you?" Luke demanded.
"I don't have a choice." Noah didn't see the point in lying to him, he would see through it anyway.
"There's always a choice. Wait, how long do we have? How did you sneak away?" Luke hoped it was longer than 5 minutes.
"I paid the cook an extra 200 bucks to sneak Ambien into Brian's food. He's going to be out for a while." Noah smiled.
"Good," Luke said before enveloping Noah into a deep kiss.
"No stop please. I just asked you here to tell you that we can't see each other anymore. This, whatever it is, needs to stop." Noah tried to be firm.
"You don't mean that. I can see it in those eyes of yours. You want this as badly as I do. Why not let yourself go there?" Luke almost yelled, but then remembered that they had to be discreet.
"I'm married, Luke-"
"But you don't want to be! You-"
"Why are you pushing this Lu-"
"Because dammit I'm falling in love with you!" That was all it took to break Noah's resolve. He pulled the slightly shorter boy into a kiss. They fell onto the ground and held onto each other as if they'd stop breathing if they broke contact.
"Crap! I told, I told myself I wouldn't o this." Noah leaned against the tree.
"I can't help that I'm so irresistible," Luke joked then got serious again, "divorce him."
"Why? This isn't the old days of England you know. Divorce is allowed-"
"I told you I have no other choice-"
"And I told you that there is always a choice No-"
"Not in my situation! You don't get it!" Noah was exasperated.
"Make me." Those eyes were so intense even in the darkness.
"If I leave, my father dies." Noah said in the most defeated tone Luke had ever heard.
"Huh? What does Brian run the mob or something?" Luke was confused.
Noah didn't know why he wanted to tell Luke this story. Why he wanted to somehow believe that maybe he wasn't doomed.
"Are you sure you want to hear this?" Noah asked.
"I'm here right?" Luke asked.
"Ok, here goes."
"I met Brian the summer before my junior year of college. I was attending Northwestern trying to be a director. Anyway, he was my father's new boss. Brian had hired my Dad as head of security after he was kicked out of the army for mistreatment of a soldier. My Dad adored his job. He got to boss people around, so he was in heaven and he thought the freaking world of Brian. That summer I came home and met Mr. Wheatley for the first time an immediately he sketched me out. He had this sneaky way about him and every time he looked at me, it looked like he was leering. It was creepy. But of course my dad was oblivious to it. In fact, as soon as Brian mentioned that he was looking for an assistant, my Dad immediately suggested me. I needed a job and I hated disappointing my father so I took the job.
That proved to be a bad idea. He kept hitting on me, it was subtle enough to be seen as ‘affectionate' but obvious enough so you knew exactly what he wanted from you. Then one night we were working late on something and he was just hovering over me. And then out of nowhere, he just grabbed my neck and kissed me hard. I pushed him hard and ran out of there. I wanted to quit so bad, but my Dad wouldn't hear of it so I stayed on. The come on's got worse and I went so far as to threaten him with a sexual harassment lawsuit if he didn't back off. But it didn't scare him; it was like he was amused by my attempt at rejecting him. But, thank goodness summer ended and I went back to school.
But about halfway through the Fall semester, I got a call that my Dad had suffered from a major stroke and would need surgery if he wanted to live. The surgery cost him a little more than half his savings, even with insurance. He was better for a while until he suffered from another one. This time the surgery wouldn't be covered by his insurance and since he had been dishonorably discharged from the army, he would get no benefits. And then came Brian to the rescue. He said he would agree to take care of everything for my Dad, on the condition that I married him. So it was either marry Brian or watch my Dad die. So I agreed, I married him to save my father's life. And here we are." Noah finished his story with a deep breath.
"That...that...miserable bastard. Marriage in exchange for your Dad's life? That's so cruel!" Luke was outraged.
"Yeah well the world is a cruel place. What are you gonna do?" Noah responded.
"So you're just going to stay in this loveless marriage forever?" Luke asked.
"No! The doctor said that my Dad is going to be out of commission for about a year, and after that he'll be eligible for early retirement and we still have some money left for his savings. That money combined with the retirement checks will be enough for him. I'll get a job and help out. It'll be fine, I just have stick it out for at least a year. In a year, I'll be free." It was the only thing that had kept him going: in a year, he would be free.
"That's not guaranteed Noah," Luke tried to make sense of this, "what if he relapses? Or needs more care? Or Brian doesn't give you the divorce? What then Noah?"
"No. The doctor said one year, Luke. He said one year, that's what he said Luke one year. He said one year." Noah was starting to panic. Luke couldn't be right, could he?
"I'm sorry calm down. Please, calm down. Let me help you." Luke pleaded.
"You can't help me. No one can. I have to do this." Noah said in a determine voice.
"I can help you. Listen, do you have any idea who my grandmother is? Lucinda Walsh. She's on the Board at Oakdale Memorial, she's a businesswoman, and loves me to death. We can help you. Your dad can have the top doctors and nurses to help him and you can leave Brian." Luke reasoned.
"No, I can't get you more involved in this. I made this choice, I made a commitment to him and I have to stick by it. I can't ask that of you. Brian can be dangerous; I don't want to think about what he could to you." Noah couldn't involve him in this.
"And what about what he's doing to you? Look at me Noah," Luke pulled his face into his hands, "do you love Brian?" Noah shook his head no.
"You love me?" His heart stopped waiting for the answer.
"It'sureeelsatwah." Was Noah's answer.
"I'm sorry what?" Luke released his face.
"I said: it sure feels that way. This is crazy! We just met and I...this is crazy." Noah breathe.
"Then trust me, ok? I'm going to help you out of this so help me God." With that resolve Luke kissed him again and both men parted ways.
Noah didn't hear from Luke for two days. He lay in bed, next to Brian fearing that Luke had changed his mind when his phone vibrated, signaling that he had received a text.
L: talked to gm, all good.
L: Yes, what hospital your Dad is in?
N: Caraway Institute in ATL. Name: Winston Mayer. Thank u so much
L: U can thank me l8er. G'nite
Noah fell asleep happier than he had been in a long time. So blissful in fact that he forgot to delete the texts and didn't notice his husband get out of bed and reach for his phone.
Noah was sitting in his bedroom waiting for the word from Luke that his father was safe in Oakdale. The plan was set: once Winston Mayer was in Oakdale, in the hospital, and safe, Noah would leave Brian's house and never look back. Actually he would have to look back since he would be filing for an annulment soon after. Brian and he hadn't been married a full year yet; Noah wanted to erase any trac of his involvement to Brian as soon as possible.
L: Dad's gone.
Noah's breath left his body. He couldn't be gone. How di this happen? He called Luke as soon as he was able to breathe normally again.
"Luke! Where is he? What do you mean he's gone?" Noah practically yelled.
"I, I don't know what happened. My grandmother called me and told me that he's not there. She said that the nurses say that he was checked out of the institute yesterday. " Luke answered.
"But, wha-Brian! He found out, damn it, somehow he found out. I have to go." Noah hung up the phone before Luke could say anything else.
Noah sped all the way to Brian's office building. He barged into the office without waiting to be told to wait..
"Where the hell is he Brian?! Where's my father?" Noah raged.
"Keep your voice own sweetheart, this is a place of business." Brian looked at his husband with a calm look on his face, not fazed by the young man's anger.
"Tell me where he is-"
"Or what," Brian walked out from behind his desk and approached Noah, "what are you going to do? That's what I thought. " Brian said when noticed Noah's shoulders slump.
"Please tell me where he is, Brian. Please." Noah needed to know that his father was safe.
"Mmmm, I don't think so. I warned you, Noah, I warned you not to make a fool of me. Kids these days just don't listen. Now you'll face the consequences." Brian patronized.
"Where the hell is he?" Noah asked through gritted teeth. He knew he should have tried to placate Brian more, but he was so close to freedom and Brian had snatched it away.
"Ah, ah, ah. Now is that any way to talk to your husband? Especially your very powerful husband who just happens to hold your father's life in his hands?" Brian was enjoying this, he loved making Noah squirm.
"Godammit! What the fuck is wrong with you?! Are you this screwed up that you get off on other people's pain? Just tell me where my Dad is you bastard!" Noah punched a hole in the wall. Brian was scared, the usually calm boy had lost control. But by some ungodly power, he managed to keep up his cold demeanor.
"Get a hold of yourself and go home, Noah. We'll discuss this when I get home." He dismissed him and went back to sit at his desk.
Noah was incensed. He couldn't believe that this was happening, how did he possibly find out about his plan? He needed to call Luke, when he looked at his phone he noticed that Luke had called him 10 times already. He quickly punched his speed dial (#1) and called Luke.
"Luke, he did it and he won't tell me. He won't tell me where my father is! He won't tell me!" Noah was desperate and it showed in his voice.
"Ok, calm down, we'll figure something out. Meet me in Old Towne, outside of Java. We'll come up with something." Luke hoped that they would be able to do something.
Twenty minutes later found Luke, Noah, and Lucinda Walsh huddled up in the corner of Java finalizing the details of their plan. Noah hoped that it would work, it was up to him to make this work.
"Honey I-" the phrase didn't completely leave his mouth before Brian felt a significant blow to his right temple and the room went dark.
"Wakey, wakey sunshine. Brian, Brian, wake up." He heard a voice luring him out of the darkness he had been enveloped in for how long? His head hurt-scratch that it killed. He tried to reach up to calm the dizzying effect the pain was causing him, but he found that he couldn't move his arms...or his legs...what the hell?
"Don't bother trying to move Brian, it's useless." Noah was sitting across from him looking ever the calm, cool, and collected.
"Wha...? I don't, where, where am I? How did? What's happening?" Brian was confused, disoriented, and in pain.
"Where are you? In a room somewhere. How did it happen? I think the pain to your head should answer that. What's happening is that you're going to tell me where the hell my father is and you're going to o it now. Hey!" Noah banged a silver bat against the table, "Wake up Brian I'm talking to you." Noah didn't like being so cruel, but he had to keep up the act. Make him afraid of what I might do to him. This is the only way to save your Dad.
Brian regained a little of his faculties after a few minutes. When he could finally see without the room going out of focus, he finally saw where he was.
It was a very tiny room, illuminated by one light above them, a window with bars on it, and a wooden table. Across from him at that table sat his young husband, slightly bloody metal bat in his hand, looking at him. Brian then noticed a large, brown folder in the center of the table.
"What the hell is your deal, kid? What do you think you're up to?" Brian couldn't keep the tremor out of his voice.
"Did I not just explain this to you," Noah put on his best mobster act. Those endless hours of Scarface and Godfather were paying off, "you're going to tell me where my father is and I'm going to not cave your face in."
"You don't have it in you." Brian challenged.
"You know that's funny since I'm the guy that cracked you in the side of the head. I guess you like headaches because I have no problem giving you another one." Noah challenged back twirling the bat in his hands hoping that he was pulling this off; the flash of fear in Brian's eyes confirmed that he indeed was.
"Bludgeoning me to death isn't going to get you your father Noah." Brian said
"Silly man I don't plan on bludgeoning you...at least not to death. That isn't my plan. This actually is." Noah said and he put his hand on the folder that lay between them.
"What the hell is that?" Brian demanded.
"A case profile...on you. Let's see," Noah flipped open the folder, "you've been a bad, bad boy dear Brian. Let me see here: embezzlement, bribery, illegal smuggling you scoundrel."
"What are you talking about?" Brian began to seat, his façade quickly fading.
"Oh this? Looks like someone has been looking into what kind of business you've been up to and I gotta say, it does not bode well for you." Noah answered casually.
"I don't believe you," Brian responded, but it was obvious that he was screwed, "You got nothing on me."
"I don't, really? Well these pictures, transcripts of recorded conversations, and actual footage which I have stashed say that I do. So now that I have your attention, this is what's going to happen. You, sir, are going to tell me exactly where my father is or the police is going to find a very bloodied you and copies of this very incriminating evidence at their door." Noah decided that he was done with the small talk.
"Like hell-" Brian started but was stopped when Noah suddenly slammed the bat against the table.
"I'm done fucking around with you Brian," his mobster act was less of an act now, "tell me where. He. Is."
"Alright," Brian knew that he was an in impossible situation. There was no more use to his blustering, "He's on Pine and Grove at the abandoned warehouse."
"You left a recovering heart patient in a warehouse?!" Noah raged.
"He's being taken of." Brian tried to reason
"You better hope so," Noah punched in a number in his cell phone, "hey it's me. There's an abandoned warehouse on Pine and Grove? That's where he's stashed. Call me when he's safe."
"What happens now?" Brian wondered anxiously.
"Now we wait. Once I get confirmation that my Dad is ok, you'll be free to go." Noah answered, "Oh but wait. First you get to sign these." Noah opened another folder with two documents inside.
"What is that?" Brian again wondered.
"Well these are annulment papers. I want to erase any trace of you in my life. And these are papers signing over 5 million dollars to me...from you." Noah smiled.
"What?!" Brian was shocked, "What the hell are you talking about?"
"What you don't know what an annulment is," Noah asked sarcastically, " Oh you mean the money? Yeah, see after I get my Dad he is still going to need a lot of care that I won't have the money for. I figure after marrying you, monetary compensation is an absolute must. It comes with the deal, Brian. My father, the annulment, and the money or you share cell with Bubba."
"I'll sign whatever you want." Brian said dejectedly.
"Good. I'm going to untie one hand so that you can sign the papers. And let me warn you," Noah got very close to his ear, "don't try anything stupid." Brian nodded in obedience.
Noah took out a key ring from his pocket containing 4 keys. He uncuffed Brian's right hand at which time the older man took the opportunity to swing and hit Noah on the cheek. However, the hit came across more as a slap due to poor circulation and the inability to move very far since his feet was also bound.
"What did I just say Brian," Noah yelled and struck Brian in the left shoulder with the bat. He couldn't risk harming the man's right shoulder as he would need it to sign away Noah's freedom. Brian howled in pain as a response then put his head down on the table in tears. Noah felt bad, causing others pain was not something he enjoyed, but this had to be done, it just had to be, "Sign the papers."
Brian took a moment to collect himself before doing as he was told and gave his husband-ex-husband now apparently his freedom.
"Good man," Noah commented before taking Brian's arm and securing it to the chair once more. He then took the papers and placed them back in the folder and sat back down awaiting Luke's phone call.
"I loved you, you know." Brian said in haggard breaths.
"Yay for you." Noah said nonchalantly. He didn't need to hear his voice.
"I di-" Noah's phone rang before Brian could further declare his love.
"Hey. You found him? Great," Noah smiled his first genuine smile since he took Brian captive, "Looks like you came through on your promise." Noah congratulated Brian, walked behind Brian, and for the second time that day knocked him unconscious.
Noah was sitting in the hospital room at Oakdale Memorial watching the even breaths of his father as he slept. He was scared to leave his side. He sat there holding his hand when he heard the opening of the door and saw a familiar blonde head poke through.
"Luke," Noah got up and enveloped the man in a kiss.
"Hey, so looks like everything worked out. I bet Brian was shocked as hell to wake up in a holding cell at the Oakdale Police Station, huh?" Luke asked smilingly.
"Yeah well if he was stupid enough to think he'd walk away scot free then he had another think coming." Noah said as he led Luke out of the room.
"I don't know how I could ever repay you. But thank you so much Luke. I don't know how many ways to say it or show you." Noah said.
"Hmmmm," Luke looked Noah seductively, "I could think of a few things you could do." With that, Luke grabbed Noah by the back of the neck and kissed him.