“You’re a good girl. You’re so smart. Maybe we can enter the local competitions with you in a while.”
“You want to enter the show jumping tournament with her?” Holden asked his son while grooming his own horse.
“Yeah maybe, she seems to like it.” Luke said and shrugged.
“You two would make a good team. You looked good together out there. It’s been ages since I’ve seen you on a horse for more than 10 minutes.”
“Yeah well.. I’ve been busy.. with the move and everything. But it felt good to go riding again. We should do it more often dad. Now we’re back here it’s easier to take the horses out. Maybe I can even convince Noah to come along.”
“Yeah maybe.” He said, knowing the boy most likely wouldn’t be joining them on their riding trips.
“Are you almost done dad?” Luke asked after giving his horse one last pat.
“Ah no, I think I’ll stay back here for a while. Want to keep me company?”
Luke checked his watch.
“It’s getting late and I’m pretty wiped. I think I’ll just have a shower and get some sleep. Big day tomorrow,
I have to look my best.”
“Like Noah will care what you look like. You could show up like this and he wouldn’t mind. I wish Carly was that easy to please.” Jack said, only half joking as he walked into the barn. “And you might want to go save him, they’re getting your baby photos out again in there.”
“Alright, I was on my way inside anyway. Good night dad. Night uncle Jack.”
“Good night kiddo.”
“Good night Luke.” Jack said and waited until the barn door closed before turning to Holden. “So hiding in the barn again and going riding? What’s up?”
“Who said anything about hiding? I just wanted to spend some quality time with my son now he’s finally back home again after living on the other side of the country for almost 3 years.”
“But he’s not alone this time.”
“Oh come on Jack, you know I love Noah like a son. He makes Luke happy. That’s all that matters to me.”
“You’re just saying that because Noah is a good kid. Not some insane biker like Sage’s last boyfriend.” Jack said and sighed. “Or Parker’s girlfriend.. Estella, the Mexican girl that barely speaks English.”
“Well isn’t that the perfect excuse to learn the language? So you can understand your future daughter in law better?”
“Don’t... use that word..” Jack said, pinching the bridge of his nose as he sat down on a bale of hay. “Are you sure Noah doesn’t have any nice, normal siblings?”
“Sorry, you’re out of luck there. Pretty sure Luke got the only one.”
“I was kind of hoping you weren’t going to say that.”
“Oh come on, it might not be so bad. Remember when we had that conversation right here when I suspected Luke was gay?”
“Of course, I’m not senile yet. And I still say you got lucky with Noah.”
“We did. It could’ve been Kevin Davis.. or the thing with Jade could’ve been real.”
“Yeah Margo got Jade.. which was way less of a train wreck than I thought it would be. Who knew Jade and Casey would be so good together?”
“Lots of things happened the past few years that I never thought would happen.” Holden admitted.
“Like what?” Jack asked.
“Noah.” Holden said. “Noah happened and I’m thankful for that every day. Luke was miserable before he met him. I
was worried he’d do something crazy.”
“What? You think he was suicidal?”
“I don’t know. But he wasn’t happy. He was drinking to forget his problems, he hid in his room or down here.. he never saw his friends.. definitely didn’t talk to me or Lily.”
“And you were wondering if you should just ask him if he was gay.”
“I’m still glad I didn’t do that. He would’ve hated me for pushing him.” Holden said. “But the first time I met Noah and saw that smile on his face.. on both their faces. I think I was happier than the two of them together.”
“He’s come a long way. And I haven’t had to arrest him in years.” He said jokingly.
“I think we have Noah to thank for that too. He’s the only one that can control Luke when he’s on his missions to change the world.”
“He’s a good kid though Luke. He’s smart and stands up for what he believes in.”
“Like we always told him to. If only he didn’t get himself arrested while doing that.”
“They stayed out of trouble in LA though.. mostly. I know some people in the LAPD.. I might have made a phone call once or twice.”
“You did? What did you find out?”
“Nothing major. Couple of noise complaints from their neighbours and one time he got himself arrested at a rally turned riot but the charges were dropped when it turned out he didn’t do anything.”
“And Noah?” Holden asked, his curiosity getting the better of him.
“Just that rally and something with paperwork on one of his film sets.” Jack replied. “I don’t even want to think about how many rules I broke getting that info.”
“It’s a Snyder thing, breaking rules.”
“Yeah I don’t think Margo will see it that way. I’m just hoping she’ll never find out.”
“Ah Margo is too busy preparing for the baby and driving Jade crazy.”
“Please don’t say that B-word. I heard Parker and J.J. talk about being parents.. and I’m definitely not ready to be a grandfather yet.”
“It’s not so bad really, you get used to it. Having a grandchild to spoil does make up for the feeling old part.”
“Yeah well..you can have your fun with Aaron’s little one.. but not just yet for me, thanks.” Jack said and they sat in silence for a few minutes. “Do you think they’ll adopt now they moved back here?”
“Luke and Noah? I don’t know.. neither of them have said anything. But then again.. they have a habit of telling us things at the last minute.”
“My point exactly. How long have you known about tomorrow? A few weeks?”
“Nah, longer than that. Noah asked me for permission.” Holden said smiling, reliving the moment in his mind.
“He did? Do you think Luke would mind if we made a couple of clones?” Jack asked laughingly.
“Yeah it was on their last visit. He was so desperate to get me alone he even went riding with me while Luke was in a foundation meeting.”
“I would’ve paid good money to see that. Noah on a horse..”
“He’s not so bad when he relaxes and lets himself trust the horse.” Holden said. “We took the same trail I usually take with Luke.. I think it was a little too much for him but he never complained. He sat me down and asked for my permission when we stopped to let the horses drink down by the river.”
“I’m lucky if Sage’s boyfriends so much as acknowledge me and your son’s boyfriend asks you for your son’s hand in marriage.” Jack complained.
“I know.” Holden smiled. “Who would’ve thought that Luke would be the first of the family to get married?”
“I’m surprised they got that law passed so quickly. I mean this is Illinois. We’re not exactly New York or California.”
“You’re forgetting who was involved in the campaign. Luke himself went to talk with some of the people blocking the law. Inspired by Harvey Milk.” Holden said, not even trying to hide the pride in his voice.
“Inspired by Harvey Milk? He told you that?”
“No I read his blog and the foundation’s email newsletter.” Holden said and both men laughed.
“Come on, it’s getting late. We should head back inside. Your son is getting married tomorrow and even though I’m not sure on the etiquette of gay weddings.. I think falling asleep would be considered impolite.”
“Yeah I guess you’re right about that.”
When Luke got out of the shower and walked into his old bedroom he saw Noah sitting in bed reading something on his computer.
“I thought we were going to sleep apart tonight? Tradition and everything.”
“I changed my mind. I sleep better when you’re around. I don’t want to look like a zombie on our wedding day.” Noah explained.
“I’m a bad influence on you. Caring about your looks and breaking rules. You’re becoming a real Snyder.”
“That doesn’t sound like such a bad thing to me.” Noah said and kissed Luke as he snuggled up to him. “I can’t wait until it’s official.”
“Same here.” Luke said with a grin. “What are you reading?”
“Your blog, I want to make sure you say nice things about me.”
“Don’t worry, I haven’t told anyone that you talk in your sleep and snore when you’ve had too much to drink.” Luke teased.
“I do no such thing.” Noah protested. “And you kick in your sleep, and you’re a cover hog.”
“And yet you still love me enough to marry me.”
“Yeah, yeah I guess I do.” Noah said jokingly as he closed the laptop and turned off the light. “Get some sleep Luciano, tomorrow is our big day.”
“I can’t wait to officially call you my husband.” Luke said as he got comfortable in the bed and let Noah wrap his arms around him. “I love you so much.”
“I love you too baby” Noah replied softly.
“You know.. before I met you.. during the whole mess with Kevin.. I was so sure I’d never be happy.. that I’d never find someone who liked me as much as I liked them.. but then you came along..”
“And turned the whole thing into a bigger mess.” Noah stated.
“Only for a little while.” Luke said. “You.. you’ve made me happier than I ever thought I would be. I love you
“Luke? Same here.” He said and laughed when Luke punched him in the chest.
“Do you want to spend our wedding night on the sofa?” Luke threatened.
“I’d sleep on a park bench if you’d be there with me.” Noah said and stole a small kiss. “I’m in this for the long run. I love you more than you will ever know.”
“More than I’ll ever know? Why don’t you try to let me know.. to show me?” Luke said suggestively.
“We’re breaking all the rules now?”
“Do you have a problem with that?” Luke asked, rolling on top of his fiancÚ.
“As long as that door is locked.. not at all.”
“So father of the groom, how do you feel now?” Jack asked Holden when he saw him watching the happy couple on the dance floor.
“Hmm? Oh. Yes, I’m good. I’m glad. They look happy don’t they?”
“They do, they really do.”
“Makes you think there’s hope for the rest of us.”
“Hey you and Lily are ok now aren’t you?”
“Yes, yes, everything is fine.” Holden assured him. “I
just hope their marriage won’t be as.. rollercoaster-like as ours.” He said and tapped the side of his glass with a spoon to get everyone’s attention.
The guests stopped talking and turned to look at Holden.
“Don’t worry everyone, I’ll make it quick.” Holden said and turned to the boys. “Luke, Noah, congratulations guys, I hope you two are enjoying the day as much as I am. Seeing you two together like this makes me very happy. And Noah, welcome to the family, son.”