Time Is Not On Our Side - Luke x Reader
A/N: Thank you for the request @charliegillespiewife, I kind of got a little bit carried away with this one but I hope you like it. Also anything in italics is a flash back.
1995 - Night of the Orpheum Show
She could feel Luke’s eyes on her as she rummaged through her wardrobe to find something to wear tonight, he had been staring for the past five minutes and she knew when she turned around that she would find him pouting at her in hopes of changing her mind.
“I know what you’re doing Luke and it’s not going to work” she told him with a slight shake of her head, finally deciding on her favourite shirt that she hangs on the wardrobe door before she turns to face him, finding him just as she’d expected. “Luke you know I love watching you guys perform but I really can’t get out of this tonight, it’s not often we see my grandparents” she says with a small smile and Luke nods.
“I know, I know it’s just,” he sighs, getting up and making his way over to her, “this could be our big break and I really want you to be there to see it” he admits, wrapping his arms loosely around her waist.
“And I will be but just not tonight,” she says, pushing up on her toes so that she could press a sweet kiss to his lips and seeing a smile on his face when she pulls back, “besides it’s only one night and we have the rest of our lives for me to watch you guys take over the world” she jokes, getting a laugh out of the boy.
It wasn’t uncommon for either of them to talk about their future together, they were always coming up with plans for the future, where they wanted to live; how they pictured their wedding and even kids. Some people would say that they were too young to think about these things but when you knew you’d found the one, these discussions just felt as natural as talking about what you wanted to do tomorrow.
“Okay, fine but can we do something before then?” he asks, “like I don’t care what as long as I’m with you” he adds quickly before she can say anything. Smiling when she nods, he takes her hand pulling her along behind him.
“So sweetheart, how’s school?” her grandpa asks, as they all sit around the table eating the dinner her mum had made specially for their visit.
“It’s okay just a lot of work now that finals are coming up” she tells her with a smile, it was always the same questions with them and it was always the same answers but she didn’t mind.
“And what about that boyfriend of yours, still treating you right I hope” her grandma questions, surprising her so much that she almost chokes on her food. That wasn’t a question she expected, especially after they found out Luke had no plans for the future except for the band making it big and then it kinda became an unspoken rule not to mention him to avoid arguments.
When she told her that he was, she smiled seemingly satisfied with the answer and she wondered whether they were actually starting to like him. As her grandma turned to her mom to tell her some story about something that happened last week, the thought of them starting to like Luke made her happy as she didn’t plan on leaving him although the happiness was short lived when a knock on the front door echoed into the room.
“I’ll get it” she offered, standing up from the table and checking the time on the clock as she made her way to the front door.
The walk to the door was short and through the frosted glass panes on the door she could see the figure of a boy on the other side, a figure that looked familiar but not at the same time. “Bobby?” she questioned as the door opened, causing him to look up at her and that's when she saw his red rimmed eyes, “What-what are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be on stage right now?” her voice shaking as she spoke. If he was here without the boys then something had to be wrong, especially tonight of all nights.
“The boys-Luke-y/n I’m sorry they’re gone” he stumbles over the words, his voice quiet as his hands grip the bottom of his jacket tightly as he speaks.
A wave of nausea washes over her as his words sink in, “No,no, no” she gasps, closing her eyes tightly as she breathes deeply, “I don’t-I don’t believe you” she sobs, feeling a pair of arms wrap around her and she opens her eyes to find her face pressed against Bobby’s chest. She can hear him talking but the only things she registers are ‘bad hot dogs’ and ‘dead’
She pulls away, lip quivering as she wipes her eyes and tries to pull herself together when she realises how long she’s been out here and she knows it will only be a matter of time before someone comes looking for her but she really doesn’t want to talk to anyone right now. Bobby stands awkwardly on the doorstep, looking a little lost as if he doesn’t know where to go but when he slowly begins to turn she reaches out to stop him.
“Hey if-if you ever need anything you know where I am” she offers and he gives her a small smile as he curtly nods before disappearing into the night.
Closing the door, she leans against it while trying to compose herself and even goes as far to check her reflection in the mirror to check her crying had not left any noticeable marks. Noting her eyes were a little red she hoped no one would mention it as she made her way back to her family.
“Everything okay” her mom asks as she takes a seat at the table again. No, everything was not okay, her best friends, her boyfriend was dead and here she was pretending. She plasters a fake smile on her face as she nods, watching as her mom’s brow furrows clearly not believing her although she doesn’t say anything as they go back to their food.
“Actually, I’m not feeling well, could I be excused” she mutters, waiting for an answer before she pushes her chair back. Ignoring the worried stares from her family as she makes her way to her room, only letting out a sigh of relief once the door is closed and she has collapsed onto her bed.
She couldn’t believe how the day had changed, she had started it with the feeling of happiness and excitement and now here she was with an overwhelming feeling of sadness, the weight of it pushing down on her chest making it hard to breathe. Heaving in a breath she rolled over onto her side coming face to face with the collection of polaroids on the wall above her bed, pictures of her and Luke; her and the band all looking so happy almost as if they were mocking her.
Without realising it, she was already leaning over and pulling the pictures down off the wall, a sob escaping her as they fluttered to the ground around her. By the time there were no pictures left on the wall, her face was wet with tears and she’d exhausted what little energy she’d had in her body as she crumpled to the floor to join the pictures. Through her tear filled eyes her gaze hazily landed on a polaroid of her and Luke, he had an arm draped over her shoulders as they sat on the couch in Bobby’s garage while she was mid laugh and Luke was fondly watching her.
It was the day after her birthday, before she and Luke had gotten together, and the boys had invited her over claiming they had a surprise for her. She had taken the new camera she had gotten for her birthday in hopes of getting some photos of them all for her memory wall which consisted of photos of her family, tickets from trips they had been on and anything that she remembered fondly. The only thing that was missing was her best friends.
“Y/n” Reggie cheered as she entered the garage, a wide smile on his face as he rushed towards her and engulfed her in a hug. They were soon joined by the other three boys resulting in a group hug by the door.
“As nice as this is, I can’t breathe” she chuckles, squirming slightly in their hold and she exaggeratingly takes a deep breath as they let her go.
“Okay” Alex mutters with a roll of his eyes but the smile on his face lets her know he’s only joking as they move to the couch, she sits in the middle with Luke on her left and Alex on her right whilst Bobby and Reggie take a seat on the floor in front of them.
“So what’s the surprise, did you guys manage to get a new gig or something” she asks, looking around at the four boys who were all watching her, all with smiles on their faces which made her suspicious but before she could say anything Bobby spoke.
“So we know you told us that you didn’t want anything for your birthday” he started.
“But we didn’t listen” Reggie grins, fidgeting excitedly as his gaze slides to Luke before back to her as she begins to protest.
“Y/n we wanted too” Alex interrupts her as the other boys chorus their agreement.
She feels movement next to her and she turns to find Luke leaning over the side of the couch next to him. When he returns he has a paper gift bag in his hands and a playful smile on his face, “Happy Birthday Y/n” he says handing her the bag.
She takes the bag from him and sits with it on her lap, she looks to each of the boys in turn before returning to the bag on her lap, biting her lip to stop the face splitting grin that she can feel working its way onto her face while she wonders how she ended up so lucky to get these boys as her friends.
“Well, are you going to open it?”
Reggie’s voice cuts through the silence and she looks over at him to find him staring at her almost nervously. Smiling, she nods at him, reaching a hand to pull the tissue paper out of the top of the bag and looking down she sees what looks like white fabric. Pulling it out she watches it unfold, letting out an excited shriek and she feels Alex flinch next to her at the unexpected sound.
“You guys, you got your own merch” she yells, unable to keep her excitement under control as she looks back down at the tshirt in her hands with the Sunset Curve logo on the front, “this is amazing” she sighs.
“So you like it?” Bobby asks teasingly and she sticks her tongue out in response.
“I hope you guys know I’ll be wearing this everyday” she tells them and they chuckle at her response.
“We were counting on that, y’know free advertising and everything” Luke jokes, reaching an arm around the back of her and pulling her into his side as she laughs.
She hadn’t even realised the other boys had taken the camera until the flash of it caught her off guard and she whipped her head round to find them looking down at the polaroid in Reggie’s hand as they waited for it to develop. It was the first of many pictures they all took that day but it was her favourite out of them all.
“Y/n, sweetheart your grandparents are leav-” her mom’s voice sounded as she let herself into her room although it soon faded when she caught sight of her teary eyed daughter on the floor surrounded by the polaroid's that were once on the wall. “What happened?” she asks, rushing to her side and crouching beside her, a hand gently coming up to brush the tears from her face.
The tenderness of her touch causes her to break. The tears stream from her eyes again as her body is wracked with sobs as her mom wraps her in a hug, a hand brushing soothingly against her hair as she holds her while she cries. When the tears ease and she’s no longer gasping for each breath she manages to get the words out to tell her mom what happened.
“Sweetheart, I know it hurts but give it time and the pain will lessen and your heart will heal but until then lean on those that you love, we will help you through this” her mom tells her, softly.
25 Year Later
If there was one thing that made Luke happier than playing music to an audience, it was writing music with Julie. Everything just seemed to come together when they wrote together, whether it was because they always seemed to be on the same wavelength or the fact that she had a way of making his jumbled thoughts into lyrics that flowed so much quicker than he could.
Either way their writing sessions always ended in songs that he was really proud of and he couldn’t wait to show the boys the new one that they had just about finished but Julie being called to dinner meant that it was going to have to wait.
“That looks like it for tonight but we can finish it after school tomorrow” Julie offers and Luke nods, it didn’t matter that they hadn’t finished it yet as they had time. It wasn’t like they had any gigs to prepare for just yet as they had put a hold on them now it was coming to finals for Julie and they all wanted to make sure that she had all the time she needed to prepare for them but that didn’t mean they couldn’t do a little bit of writing in her spare time.
Agreeing, Luke closes his journal and stands going to put his guitar away. He’d promised to meet up with the boys after they’d finished when they mentioned something about a bonfire at the beach which he’d always enjoyed when they were alive as there was always someone with a guitar which meant music and it always led to a great night.
He was crouched down by his guitar case when Julie called his name, he noticed that she had what looked like a strip of paper in her hand which she was holding out to him.
“This fell out of your book” she states and he stands making his way over to her, smile faltering when he realised just what she had hold of, a strip of photo booth pictures that he completely forgot was tucked into the back of his book along with a special something that he’d been working on that he never got to share.
“She’s pretty” Julie comments, trying to carry the conversation on like she hadn’t been called to dinner but it’s not like Luke could talk if he wanted to. His gaze was locked on the girl in the photo, the girl who he had left behind when he died, who he never got to say goodbye to and who he hadn’t even thought about since they returned.
Guilt washed over him as he mumbled to Julie that he had to go and he poofed out, his thoughts drifting right back to the night the photos were taken.
“Luke no, no more games I have curfew remember” she pouted as Luke pulled her over to the claw machine. She raised her eyebrows at him in question, everyone always said these machines were rigged and it was probably true as the claw always dropped the prize before it could reach the chute allowing the player to take it. They were all about luck and from the determined look on Luke’s face he thought he was going to win something.
“One go y/n please, I just want to win something for you” Luke pleaded, turning on his signature puppy dog eyes and pout that no one was able to resist.
Sighing she let go of his arm and let him move to take position in front of the machine. Inserting the money and watching as he expertly moved the claw. “Have you been practicing?” She teases as he drops the claw down and the metal closes around one of the stuffed animals, the only response she gets is a smirk as Luke continues focusing on the game. She has to admit, he does look like he’s going to win but then right at the last second the claw lets go, dropping the prize back into the mountain inside the machine.
Luke shouts in frustration, earning them a couple of stares from those around them as he moves to put more money into the machine before she stops him, “How about we do something else instead?” she asks, getting a confused look from him but he follows her anyway as they weave through the different arcade machines towards the back where they come to a stop in front of the photo booth.
“Really” he asks but she notices that he looks amused more than anything.
“Yeah, you wanted me to have something from tonight so this is it but this way we both get something and we get to have a little fun doing it” she says, leaning in to press a kiss to his cheek before sliding behind the curtain and into the photo booth.
It’s a squeeze to fit them both in when he joins her a couple of seconds later but he solves that by getting her to sit sideways on his lap, “Yeah this is so much better than the claw machine” he says making her laugh as she thinks he’s joking but he means it as he loves being close to her. Leaning forward carefully so as not to push her off his lap he places the money into the slot and sits back so they can get ready.
She moves to press a kiss to Luke’s cheek and she feels his cheeks move under her lips as he smiles. Once the flash has gone off letting them know the picture has been taken, Luke moves to return the gesture and places his lips against her own cheek which makes her smile in return. Although he surprises her when he moves to blow a raspberry on her cheek making her eyes widen and a shocked laugh escape her lips which in turn makes Luke laugh just as the camera flashes.
“I’m sorry baby, I had to” Luke defends but the grin still on his face let’s her know that he’s not really sorry.
“It’s okay, I love you anyway” she sighs contentedly, a smile on her face as she rests her head on his shoulder, her gaze forwards as she focuses on the screen in front of her watching it count down. It also means she gets to see Luke’s reaction, watching as he looks down at her with a smile on his face as the camera flashes, capturing what she thinks is a perfect moment.
“I can’t believe this is the first time you say it and you somehow manage to get it on camera” he says, gently moving her head from his shoulder and once she’s facing him he holds her face gently, “I love you too” he smiles, leaning forward and connecting his lips to hers. Both of them forget about the last picture until the flash of the camera goes off which makes her giggle against his lips.
“We should probably get those before somebody else does” she urges but makes no effort to move at the same time but then again neither does Luke, who is quite content to sit there with his girl in his arms.
After school the next day Julie enters the studio hoping to find Luke as he hadn’t been there this morning when she’d gone to check that he was okay after yesterday but instead she found Alex pacing the studio and a nervous looking Reggie on the couch. Both boys turned to look at her as she entered, the hopeful look on their faces fading to one of disappointment when they saw that it was just her.
“Well nice to see you guys too” Julie muttered when Alex went back to his pacing and Reggie dropped his head again.
“Sorry we’re just worried” Reggie states causing Julie to sigh, that much she had worked out by herself, but she didn’t say anything as she didn’t want to upset the boy anymore than he already was.
“Have you seen Luke?” Alex asks, his pacing slowing but not stopping completely.
“Umm, not since yesterday” she says, slowly starting to put the pieces together. Luke was missing and she bet it had something to do with those pictures that hopefully the boys knew something about. “There was a set of pictures of Luke and a girl, they fell out of his journal while we were writing and he took one look at them and disappeared, he was pretty upset” she explained, watching as Alex finally came to a stop, sharing a look with Reggie before turning back to Julie.
“The girl, what did she look like?”
Julie described the girl carefully from what she could remember from the quick look at the picture before she handed them to Luke. Reggie says a name quietly, looking over at Alex who nods in understanding.
“She was his girlfriend wasn’t she?” Julie asks and both boys look at her.
Alex nods, “Yeah, I’m surprised she hasn’t come up in conversation already because we were all friends, she was part of the band even though she wasn’t actually in the band, y’know” he shrugs.
“She came to every show except the night we died” Reggie says sadly, “we should go look for him” he says turning to Alex who nods in agreement before they both poof out. At least they had more of an idea of where he’d be now.
On the other hand, Julie stayed where she was, her mind was working over time as she thought about Luke. Her mind drifting back to the song he had written for his mom, was it possible he had written a song for y/n as well. If he had she had to find it because maybe, just maybe this could work a second time.
She headed straight for where Luke usually kept his journal in hopes that it would be there now and when she found it, she took it as a sign that this was meant to be. However, she hesitated before opening the book, all her speeches about boundaries and respecting each other's privacy flooded her mind until she reminded herself that she was doing this for Luke, to help him and that was all it took before she was opening the book.
Looking through every page for any sign that that song was for y/n, she was beginning to lose hope until she came to the very last page of the book. The writing style was Luke but as she read through it, it was completely different to anything he had ever shown her before so she knew this had to be it and the little ‘For Y/n’ scrawled along the bottom of the page confirmed her suspicions. Maybe Luke was a romantic after all, she chuckled at the thought as she very carefully removed the page from the book as she had done with the song for his mom.
Now all that was left to do was find y/n and for that she needed Flynn’s help.
It had taken most of the week but Julie and Flynn had finally found her and luckily for them she lived in the same neighbourhood. When they had found the right y/n it had brought a sigh of relief from Julie because ever since Alex and Reggie had gotten Luke back to the studio, he hadn’t said much, he didn’t want to write and his passion for everything had just disappeared so she really hoped that this plan would work.
On Saturday she’d found him on the couch in the studio, photos of him and y/n in his hand and a clouded look in his eyes. She waited a moment by the door trying to decide whether to disturb him or not but she took a step towards him, she had to do this, she had to try and help him.
She said his name softly so as not to startle him but when she got no response she said it again only this time a little bit louder. He blinked a couple of times before tuning to look at her, greeting her with a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes as it usually would have done.
“I thought we could go out, there’s a place I found that I think you’ll like,” she suggests, frowning when he shakes his head mumbling something about not feeling like it. She sighs as she sits next to him, deciding that the only possible way to get him to come with her is to tell him what she has planned.
“I’ve found Y/n,” she states and just like she expected he looks at her expectantly, “that’s where I wanted to take you, I figured that maybe we could give her the song you wrote and maybe it would help just like with your mom” she explains and Luke finally nods, letting her lead him.
It takes about fifteen minutes to get to the house, they’ve walked in silence and if Julie didn’t know any better she’d have said Luke looked as if he was about to be sick. Julie presses the doorbell as she turns to Luke, assuring him that everything will be okay when a woman answers the door looking a little confused to see Julie there.
“Y/n L/n?” Julie asks at the same time that she hears Luke say y/n’s name so she knows that she was right and y/n confirms it by nodding. “I believe you knew Luke Patterson” she says and y/n looks at her with a mixture of confusion and hurt which she knows Luke must see as he moves towards her but then seems to remember that he’s a ghost.
“I did but I’ve not heard that name in a long time, may I ask what this is about?”
“I’m sorry, I’m Julie and my family lives in the house where the garage is that the band used to practice in” Julie explains and y/n nods in understanding but doesn’t say anything so Julie continues, “We were clearing out the garage and well I found some pictures and a song that Luke wrote with your name on it and figured you’d be interested in it”
Y/n’s eyes widen at Julie’s words and she invites her in, offering her a drink which Julie politely declines and they make small talk, which mainly consists of Julie relaying questions from Luke without trying like she’s trying to pry too much into her life.
“So you mentioned a song?” Y/n asks and Julie nods, reaching into her back pocket to pull out the sheet of paper that she’d carefully folded and sneaking a glance at Luke, she hands the paper over to y/n.
Y/n takes it with shaking hands and as she unfolds it, Julie notices her eyes are already filling with tears. This must mean as much to her as it does to Luke, she thinks watching quietly as y/n reads and every now and then she can hear what sounds like mumbled lyrics from Luke although not enough to be sure.
“Thank you for this” y/n says when she looks up from the paper in her trembling hands and that's when Julie notices the tear stains trailing down her face, “I can’t tell you how much this means to me” she says with a sniffle but a smile works its way onto her face. She moves a hand to wipe away another tear that escapes her eyes but before she can, Julie spots Luke moving out of the corner of her eye reaching over to wipe it away for her. Her eyes widen in surprise at the feel of his touch and she looks over at Julie who just smiles when she hears Luke begin to speak even though he knows that she can’t hear him.
“I will always love you y/n” He says softly, his hand still against her cheek and for a split second her eyes glance upwards looking directly into his but it doesn’t last long before she’s turning back to Julie and Luke’s gone.
When Julie gets back home, she finds Luke out on the porch waiting for her. He’s fiddling with the chain on his jeans and Julie can’t help but smile at how familiar this scene is. When he realises that she’s there he looks up with a genuine smile on his face and it’s the first one Julie’s seen all week as he thanks her yet again for helping connect with those that he left behind without a proper goodbye.
“It’s no problem Luke, we all just wanted you to feel better again” Julie shrugs, as she walks up the path to meet him.
“No it’s more than that, no matter what we’ve put you through since we got back, even when you were dealing with your own things, you’ve been there for us and we-I couldn’t wish for a better friend than you Julie” Luke says, pulling her in for a hug.
“Anytime” she says, simply as they stand on the porch together, lost in their own thoughts as the night falls around them.
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