September 17, 2010
Noah Mayer didn't so much have a headache. It would be more accurate to say he felt like anchored chains had been maliciously wrapped around his ankles, then blithely tossed into the deepest ocean. As he sunk further and further into the icy depths, the pain of pressure building in his head was nothing sort of vicious.
Luke. The single word, a handful of letters that once again commanded his every thought, every feeling, every action. As he lay sprawled face-up in the middle of his bed, Noah realized almost incredulously that he was going to cry. Again.
If he hadn't been so fucking miserable, he might've laughed. Noah Mayer, the Prince of Avoidance, was suddenly so damn in touch with his emotions he could choke on them. He thought back to the very recent past, remembering that when the going got tough, all he did was push his feelings away, with every last ounce of his strength.
Of course, doing that meant he'd had to push Luke away, too. Because what was Luke, if not the primary object of so damn many of his feelings? And when he wouldn't deal with them, he couldn't deal with Luke.
Noah's throat actually burned from swallowing the sob that fought to surface at that thought. After spending his first day in L.A. endlessly reproaching himself for every last thing he'd ever done wrong with Luke, not only was he exhausted; he was physically raw. Yet somehow a sore throat and throbbing head were welcome. They distracted him from the overwhelming heartbreak, if only a little.
And there was no doubt about it. Reid Oliver was dead, and in a twist so surreal he couldn't have dreamed it up for a film, Noah's heart was unquestionably broken. Now there was another thought he normally would've laughed at.
He couldn't help but wonder if wherever Reid was, he was amused, anyway. Noah hoped so. The idea gave him a small sense of comfort. Like somehow, if Reid was some sort of bizarre angel, sitting on high and tossing out his customary barbs as he watched the world below, then Luke wouldn't have completely lost the man he loved.
Reid. The man Luke loved. Not Noah. GOD, how that hurt to admit; though now, for different reasons. When Reid was alive, Noah could lie to himself. So easily he'd allowed himself to believe that what was between Luke and Reid was just a rebound romance. A passing phase; just another pesky obstacle in the epic love story of Luke and Noah.
In that scenario, no matter what Luke said, Noah had a chance with him. In Noah's mind, Luke was still in love with him, but Noah had pushed him so far away, it was going to take more time, effort, and patience than ever before to get him back. While Noah wasn't happy with the state of things, he could tell himself it was ok because eventually, he would win Luke back.
Then Reid pulled the ace out of his sleeve. Though admittedly, Noah doubted he'd see it that way. Dr. Reid Oliver, in a race against time to save a dying man, pulled his car out in front of a train. Noah knew there was no way around it; Reid died heroically.
A part of Noah wished he'd already left Oakdale before it happened. That he'd broken contact with everyone, and never even known about it. Because when that train hit Reid's car, Noah's shit hit the fan. When he got the news, every pathetic lie Noah had told himself, every last self-deception crumbled spectacularly. His immediate reaction to Reid's death was abject horror. Because he knew. He knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt; Luke loved the man.
And in knowing that, or at least finally acknowledging it, Noah saw the enormity of what had happened. When he'd heard the news, Noah didn't take time to mourn for himself, for the realization that Luke's love was lost to him. Without trying, for once Noah Mayer uncharacteristically got over himself, because he recognized what the hell had just happened to Luke.
The man Luke loved, the man Luke was in love with, had just been killed. Just like that. Allison had told Noah that Luke needed him, and he'd wanted to go to him. To at least be there; to just offer Luke the unwavering support he needed and deserved. Still, Noah had hesitated. He hadn't known how Luke would react to his presence; whether Luke could even stand the sight of him now. Would Luke wish it was Noah who'd died instead?
Noah had immediately chastised himself for the grotesque thought. Luke wasn't like that. Luke was good and kind and loving … and hurting, dammit! Even momentarily entertaining the idea that Luke would wish him dead was sickening. Noah knew it had only sprung from his jealousy; that apparently hadn't died with Reid Oliver. He still felt bitter envy towards the doctor, even now.
Recognizing that he begrudged a dead man the love Luke had given him instead of Noah, Noah couldn't help but feel so damn... petty.