Spoilers: none, if you're up to date with current episodes
There was tension in the air as Holden indicated for Noah to take a seat. He did, but Holden remained standing, looking towards the opposite wall.
He turned to look at Noah, hands on his hips.
“Are you all right? Lucinda told us what happened with your father.”
Noah nodded. “I’m alright. He didn’t hurt me. But I’m worried about Luke, he –“
Holden interrupted him. “Like I told you, Luke’s fine. He’s asleep right now.”
The older man sat across from Noah, leaning forward.
“Mr. Snyder, if you don’t mind me asking, are you alright?” His worried expression hadn’t eased and Noah was almost sure that if he looked above them there would be a black cloud floating around.
“About Luke?” Noah’s heart started to beat faster.
“Partly. And partly about you. This is the second time that something like this has happened.”
They were both quiet for a moment, remembering. Noah heard the soft swish of wheelchair wheels passing with muted footsteps following. The first sound was eerily familiar.
“I… I don’t know what to say sir,” Noah started, “I don’t know how my father got free and I don’t know how he convinced Ameera to leave Oakdale with him and I don’t know why they came to
“No.” And Noah didn’t know how to feel about that. “I guess I’ll never know what he was doing here, or what he was thinking.”
Both of Holden’s hands came up to Noah’s shoulders then. “I don’t want you to beat yourself up about what your father has done. You’ll only drive yourself insane trying to guess at the who, what, when where, why and how. The best thing you can do for yourself is to try and move on. Start fresh.”
Noah looked up at him and nodded earnestly. Holden sat back.
“That’s what I’m planning on doing. Luke and I need to talk and sort some things out but I know that we want to be together. As long as I have Luke I can look forward to my future and he -“
The hesitant look in Holden’s eyes stopped him. “What? Is there a problem with trying to have a future with Luke?”
Holden sighed and looked away from Noah. He looked back and stood up before moving away. Noah couldn’t help but feel that the physical distance Holden was creating represented the next emotional step he was going to take. He wasn’t far off. After a long moment, Holden turned to look at him straight on again. And then he spoke.
“I’m sorry Noah, but I have to protect my son. He keeps getting hurt and I know that you’ve been put in these impossible situations… but still, I have to stop it somehow. And the only way I know how to do that is to ask you to stay away from Luke.”
His breath had been knocked from his body upon hearing that Luke was injured. Now what little he had managed to regain was being stolen. The room seemed to press in on him, the space around him becoming smaller and smaller with every wheezing gasp he drew.
“You want me to… stay away from Luke?”
He was barely able to say the words. Even if he’d come to this conclusion by himself he wouldn’t have had the strength to separate himself, his life, from Luke’s. How could he draw apart something that had become so intertwined, so intrinsically drawn together?
Holden sighed and took hesitant steps forward to put a hand on Noah’s shoulder as he looked down at the boy. Noah could barely feel it, and idly wondered if he would ever know the loving touch of a father again.
“Noah, I want you to break up with Luke.”
Luke opened his eyes, closing them immediately after being faced with the bright glare of florescent lights. He moaned and opened them again slowly, blinking a few times.
“Luke, honey? Can you hear me?”
His mom’s voice. She sounded worried. Where was Noah?
“Mom? What’s going on?”
He was trying to lift his head, to sit up, to look around the room. He was trying to do too many things at once and made himself dizzy. As the feeling washed over him he flashed back to the scene at the docks.
After Noah had brushed by him the few remaining cops had followed until it was only Luke and Lucinda left on the dock. He had stood looking out over the water, trying to wrap his head around this newest adventure that he’d been on. When had his life turned into such a soap opera? He rubbed at his temples, trying to fight back the headache that had begun to pound without him noticing. He sighed and turned to face Lucinda.
“I’m sorry about all of this Grandmother. I shouldn’t have dragged you into my problems.”
She just looked at him for a moment, quietly considering.
“Luke, darling, listen to me. First of all, you’re my grandson and I love you so you could never drag me into anything. I come willingly.”
As he smiled sheepishly and accepted that fact she lifted her arms and placed them around his shoulders, clasping her hands behind his neck.
“And second of all, I’m starting to wonder about your choice in boyfriends.”