Disclaimer: dont own anything, not oth or nothing. dedicated to nem, love ya girly, you are the bratty to my broody. the title is totally inspired by another article here, i think by eka but its been so long that i cant exactly remember.
Chapter One – Counting
It has been two years, eight months, three weeks and two days since I was last in Tree Hill.
I’ve been counting.
There were many reasons why I left and cut contact with my friends, the main one being is I didn’t like the person I was becoming. I use to be strong and independent and I had found myself depending too much on others at the expense of myself, I was reverting back into a different me, one I didn’t like very much, a girl who was too self pitying, too reliant, too whiny, too selfish, too many things I didn’t want to be.
Returning to Tree Hill had seemed the best idea at the time with my life falling apart in the city, but then I had started to think it was the worst idea. And a part of me wondered if I was returning to the safety of a life that wasn’t mine anymore because the one I was living wasn’t turning out the way I wanted, but the life that I was returning to didn’t exist any longer. High school was over, some people weren’t there and there was new faces around, Lucas was not mine anymore instead he was with Lindsay, Haley and Nathan had their own family and were so different even though I found myself connecting with Haley like I never had before, and Brooke… the girl who was my best friend, well, at what point did she rise above me? Is that horrible to think. In high school she was always a step behind in figuring out life, she was a party animal and was vain, selfish, loud and had slept with what seemed like half the male population in Tree Hill, she was a mess. Now she was the one who was living her dreams, had her own company, going for what she wanted, so moral and nice and so damn perfect at times, when did Brooke become the giver of advice, the girl who had figured out life. And there was me, living in her house, starting a business with her money, leaning on her shoulder as I pined for a man who I just couldn’t believe didn’t love me anymore.
How ironic, considering he’d stopped loving Brooke too, sometimes it was easy to forget Brooke and Lucas had once dated, she’d done what I had failed to do, she managed to move on.
Maybe I was immature and a bitch, maybe I was selfish and too late, yet I had known deep in my heart that Lucas was the guy for me, the one for me, if I got him back and rediscovered our love everything would be okay. I was so certain he loved me too… I’m still certain he did, even after nearly three years I am sure Lucas Scott was still in love with me and not Lindsay, yet he kept pushing me away. I guess I deserved it after the way I acted in the past, after all the times I pushed him away.
But this love was self destructive, stopping me from moving on and as I watched Lucas I realised what I kept doing to him as well. Nobody said I had to let go or move on, no one said the words, in fact most of the time it was the opposite, everyone saying that we should be together and I should fight for him, so no one said the words out loud that I should move on and let him go, but sometimes I saw it in their eyes. Most of all I saw it in his eyes.
He still was in love with me, but I had to let him go, after all if you love something let it go and if it’s meant to be it’ll come back. I had to believe that.
I gave it one last chance; I poured my heart out with that comet on the river court and he still was not ready, so I left, so I booked the ticket out of Tree Hill and walked away.
I hadn’t meant to not return for so long, or maybe I did, I don’t know.
And I definitely hadn’t meant to loose contact with everyone however just like after high school, before everyone moved back to town, the distance damaged the friendships and turned me into a stranger.
One year, one month, one week and five days after I left Tree Hill I received the last piece of news from there.
That’s left one year, seven months, one week and four days that I don’t know about, that I wasn’t a part of.
I thought of them all when I had a spare second, when I lay in bed at night or as I got my coffee in the morning, so many things would remind me of one of my friends or of the town where we were raised. But life had a way of just taking me over, distracting me, I hadn’t meant to loose contact but I did.
That’s life I guess, with time you just move on.
It has been two years, eight months, three weeks and two days since I was last in Tree Hill.
And now I am going back.
Because in two years, eight months, three weeks and two days I’ve continued to miss them whenever I had a moment to think about home, or Lucas, and finally a moment came where I thought about them and missed them which lasted more than just a moment, that moment was allowed to grow long enough for me to do something about it. So I booked the ticket and got on the plane.
I have my life in order now, a successful recording company, a gorgeous home, Kelly and Fiona my friends, my brother Derek and his family are near by, Nick and I broke up last month both agreeing we weren’t going anywhere, and I was content, I was happy. I had let go of Lucas.
And then I got off the plane.
Then I drove into Tree Hill and it hit me… I hadn’t let go, I still loved him.
If you love something let it go, if it is meant to be it’ll come back.
That saying taunts me as I return to Tree Hill, all this time what had I expected? Really Peyton, hit yourself, all this time I’ve been gone thinking that if it is meant to be it’ll just happen. When did I turn into that girl, it can’t happen if I don’t let it happen, if I am not willing to make the first move how will it happen, huh, how will it happen if I’m on the other side of the country?
It hits me now, all this time with that saying in the back of my head I never realised that Lucas was still in Tree Hill, probably thinking the same thing, I was the one who left and I was the one who had to come back. It was me.
And here I am, I’ve come back, finally, I am home, I am back for Lucas Scott, my soul mate, the man who understood me from the beginning like nobody else, who could look into my soul, the man who always saved me, was always there and never left me. Why did I leave him? I was stupid, but I’m back now because it is meant to be.
I feel giddy, I feel young again and like I have purpose, as if I’ve been just floating through life and going through the motions these past years.
What do I do?
Should I go see him right now?
I can’t wait, I feel like jumping for joy. But no I can control myself, there are people I can see first, things I can do.
I’m driving the hired car through town and I drive pass his place, I don’t stop, I keep driving, I don’t know where I am going.
Then I find myself in front of my old house.
When I returned to Tree Hill last time I had come back to this house, another teenage girl had been living there then, I wonder if she still does? She’d been such a sweet girl, yet it had been weird seeing that idealistic young girl the same age as I’d once been living in my old room, the room where Lucas and my name was still there together, true love always, I miss those days in that room.
I can’t resist. I find myself out of the car and knocking on the door.
The girl who opens it does not have a friendly look on her face, she looks at me expectantly and slightly bored, well I am a stranger I guess “Hi my names Peyton Sawyer, I use to live in this house, this may seem strange but would you mind if I just have a look around, for old time’s sake?”
This girl can’t be more than seventeen, she’s short with long dark hair and eyes that had just the slightest green to them, she was wearing a pair of ripped jeans that clung to her waist yet were otherwise baggy, her feet poked out from beneath her two long jeans, she was wearing just socks but they didn’t match, one was white the other a dark grey, and she wore a grey tank top under an unbuttoned red tartan mans shirt rolled up to her elbows. She pulled the door open wide with a careless “why not” and a roll of the eyes.
I walked through the house with the teenager following me as if I would steal the silver, eventually I came to my old room’s door. I paused and looked at the girl “this use to be my room, do you mind?”
“Sure go ahead, don’t mind the mess, it’s my room now and I’ve never been one for wardrobes” she replies and I open the door and walk into what use to be my room.
Nothing is the same, it is completely different. The walls are a rough blue, pictures scattered everywhere, smiling faces of the girl who now lived in it and what I assume are her friends, and clothes are thrown everywhere. The bed was unmade, a single that was covered with papers and files. The walls are decorated to my surprise with pictures and messages in chalk, a talented artist had gotten hold of the chalk, and then there were some that were clearly not so talented, quotes covered the walls as well as personal messages. One entire wall was half filled with life sized cartoon images standing together, I recognised them from the pictures and the young teenager before me was also noticeably in the drawn picture. I walked by her desk and noticed the open sketch book, pencils and erasers scattered around, so she’s the artist.
Eventually I come to my old wardrobe.
My heart breaks a little bit. It is full of books, hundreds and hundreds of books, I think there is one pair of black boots that look like they’ve never been worn tucked away in one corner, two jackets hung up and a pair of pants poking out, a shirt was hanging on the door.
What was no longer there was my Lucas and Peyton TLA, it was gone, painted over like it was never there. In fact in its exact place was written in chalk in bold wavy letters ‘Findrid, I will never forget our bathroom conversations, you are more than just a friend for life, you are my sister, love J p.s. Ummmm’
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I do neither; instead I thank the girl and leave.
It’s a struggle to not cry as I drive through Tree Hill again, why am I surprised its gone I don’t know, surely I knew chances were those words will be. Doesn’t mean what they stand for is gone too though, true love always.
Not until the car is parked at the river court do I realise I am here. I guess I needed to come here to the last place I was sure about my love for Lucas and his love for me. But walking onto the court I get another blow.
This one shocks me to my very bones.
It is gone; my proclamation to the world, my way of telling Lucas I loved him and always will was gone. The last time I stood here I’d just finished painting the comet and lyrics that stood for my relationship with Lucas, it had been fresh and covered the whole court and now it was completely gone.
I start to laugh, uncontrollably and I have no idea why, but the laughing won’t stop.
And then I fall to the court and tears start to fall, but I don’t stop laughing.
Did I expect it all to be the same?
Truthfully, yes I did.
Doesn’t make it hurt any less.
I just hope some things haven’t changed, I hope its not too late to get my friends back and to tell Lucas I love him.
Maybe I should take a step back.
Jesus, the river court threw me.
I need to find my feet again.
Half an hour later I find myself outside Nathan and Haley’s house, I’m more nervous than excited though I am still very excited. Will it be weird seeing them after so long? Will Jamie remember me? Of course he will, and most importantly Nathan and Haley will remember you, no matter how much time passes they are still your friends, that’s right, friendships like ours don’t just end. We just took a detour, well I took a detour and I am back now on the right road and I know where I am going.
I knock on the door and immediately hear voices from inside.
“Peyton!” Haley whispers in shock, then her eyes widened and she still in shock opened the door further, she looked nervous as well, but then she pulls me into a hug.
Pulling away I give her the biggest warmest smile I could, it was easier than I expected “hey Hales, long time no see”
“That is an understatement, oh my god, Peyton, I can’t believe you’re back. Come in, come in” and she ushers me inside.
It looks practically the same and Haley leads me through into the living room as she talks “we have to be quiet, the twins were just put down for their nap, they were driving me crazy anyway…I still can’t believe you are actually here, Nathan will flip. You have to tell me everything” and I stopped looking around to look at me.
Twins, did she just say twins? Things really have changed.
We came to a stop in the living room and Haley turned to look at me, she still seemed shocked and had an emotion in her face that I couldn’t quite decipher, the silence became awkward “twins?” I asked still reeling from the discovery.
Haley sat down and motioned for me to do so as well “that’s right you wouldn’t know-” she smiled a dreamy smile “- there are two new Scott’s in town, yeah twins came a surprise to me too. Nathan was ecstatic. Another two boys, Brian and Wade”
“How old are they?”
“Nine months last week. So what has happened in your life? I know your record label is doing well’
I manage to fill her in on the past two years quickly, she mentions how much I haven’t changed and how much I have, then when I’ve said everything I could possibly think of about my new life I finally asked the question I’d been dying to ask “so how bout Tree Hill? Anything new?” subtle maybe to subtle, I can’t look her in the eye but I hear her voice, there’s something about it but I can’t put my finger on it “it has been nearly three years, a lot has changed” I already knew that, why is it I feel she doesn’t want to talk to me, am I being paranoid, I look at her
“And Lucas?” time for subtlety is over. I want to know everything about him.
Her mouth opened but no sound comes out, she looks at me sadly, and I feel fear clench my body, but before anything can happen a cry pierces the silence of the house, Haley looks to the ceiling “that is Wade, I better go get him, be back in a moment” and she leaves me alone.
I look awkwardly around my surroundings, sitting gets boring quickly and I can’t stay seated so I stand and start walking around the room. I notice the photo frames around, I walk over to a family portrait and smile, it must be recent and Jamie looks so much older than I remember, he must be close to eight now, and the twin baby boys were practically identical and both resembled Nathan so much but one I could see had Haley’s eyes. Smiling, it was a beautiful family, I turned my head and another picture caught my gaze.
In that second my breath was stolen and I froze, it was Lucas.
After a minute I found my nerve and I picked the framed photo up, he looked so happy, but he wasn’t smiling at the camera, his handsome face was killing me, I hate that damn smile.
I close my eyes and try to blot out the photo but it is burned into my mind, so I reopen my eyes and glare at it instead.
Brooke looked as beautiful as ever, and happy, so damn happy in the arms of the man I love, the man I had come home for.
I had expected for some things to be different, for some things to have changed.
I had not expected this. Three years ago I had returned to find Lucas with another woman, but Lindsay had been a stranger, and I had prepared myself that Lucas might be with someone else after all its been years, but the stupid part of me had believed he has been waiting. Obviously not. Not only had the jerk not waited but he’d moved on with my god damn best friend. Damn you Brooke, why did it have to be you? Damn you Lucas Scott for not waiting. Damn me. Damn bloody me for leaving it to too late.
But it is not too late.
Really this changed nothing, Lucas and I are meant to be together, I know that with everything I am and I came back prepared to fight for the man I love, I never fought for him before and now I had to before it was too late.
But Brooke changes things, doesn’t she?
She knows all about me and Lucas, she knows we are meant to be together, doesn’t it make it easier? I mean she let Lucas go once, she was happy when we got together, she was happy for us, she can be happy for us again.
Are you crazy Peyton! You don’t know it’ll be the same, last time it nearly cost you your friendship, are you willing to do that again.
Yes, yes I am, if I don’t it was all for nothing. Lucas and I are meant to be, nothing has changed.
I put the photo frame back just as Haley appears with a little drowsy boy on her hip, she looks at me and for the first time since I got back I finally put a name to that elusive emotion that had been out of my grasp, with Haley looking at me with her big brown eyes now I recognise it.
It was fear.
Her eyes briefly flicker to the photo frame, I noticed and moved away, with a controlled smile I ask politely “so is this little cutie Ryan or Wayne?”
She steps into the room and with a nervous smile answers me “I’d like you to meet my son Wade”.
We sat back down, we didn’t talk about them, we kept to the subjects of our own lives, when I got the nerve to get too close to Lucas or Brooke she quickly changed the subject, and when she got to close to them I changed the subject.
I wanted to know everything but at the same time I didn’t want to know anything.
Why you Brooke, why did it have to be you?
One year, three months, two weeks and six days.
I’ve been counting.
One year, three months, two weeks and six days since Lucas and I got back together, the best time of my life, I have never been happier than the last year.
One year, three months, two weeks and six days of waiting for something to go wrong, nothing ever did. Until now.
I knew it, I just knew it, life was too perfect, I am too happy, something had to go wrong.
Haley’s words still ring in my ear, I hadn’t been able to say anything, with those words my heart already began to break, I saw the future and it was not pretty. Haley had repeated my name and asked me if I was okay, I had mumbled something and hung up.
Typical. Does she have some sort of alarm? I should be happy that she’s back, for half my life she was my best friend. But I can’t be happy, she might have been my best friend but she was also the girl who had taken the only guy I ever loved twice, the same guy I’m with now, and she’s come back. No, I am not happy.
I am scared.
I am worried.
I am freaking out.
Maybe I shouldn’t be, Lucas would tell me I’m crazy, that I have no reason to be insecure, but I can’t help it, I’ve been in this position before and both times I lost out.
The thing is I love him, more than anything or anyone I love Lucas, life just wasn’t the same without him, I was empty inside, with him I feel complete.
I know with complete confidence, in the deepest part of my heart and bones that Lucas Scott is the only guy for me, the only guy I’ll ever be able to be in love with. For me he’s it.
He is my other half, my counter balance, my soul mate. He is the reason my heart beats, the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about at night.
I would do anything for my Broody, but I can’t, I just can’t, let him go again. I don’t think my heart could take it.
One year, three months, two weeks and six days of waiting and it has finally happened.
And just like I had known back in high school I know now, this is the beginning of the end, only this time I am not bowing out.
Brooke, don’t be so insecure, don’t be paranoid or judge too quickly, just because Peyton’s here doesn’t mean she is back for Lucas, for all you know she’s married.
She probably has her Lucas stealing face on right now, well guess what Blondie, it won’t be so easy this time, I am not backing down and I am not going to let the man I love go again without a fight. I didn’t fight for him before - I won’t make the same mistake again.
We are not in high school anymore.
You are not my best friend anymore.
And Lucas… my Broody is more than just my first love and boyfriend, he’s my only love, he’s my everything, my future, he’s my heart. He’s mine.
Damn you P Sawyer, I was finally feeling safe.
Damn you for making what should be a happy occasion into something to be feared.
Damn you Lucas Scott for not being here to hold my hand.
Damn you for not kissing me goodbye this morning and leaving before I woke up.
Damn you both for making me love you.
I wonder what Brooke is thinking right now, she’s probably sitting on the couch cross legged with her latest design in front of her, I can picture it so clearly. Her nose will be crinkled in concentration, her eyes peaceful, her hair down and over her shoulder in that way I like, that spot on her neck for show. She will be frustrated and tired but she won’t give up.
She’s probably smiling at something right now, a program on TV that is on for background noise, or her design turning out better than she expected, or maybe Eli is doing something to distract her, wanting to play when Brooke should be working and trying to annoy Brooke enough that she will get up but Brooke won’t she’ll just laugh at Eli’s antics.
She’s probably doing all that.
I can see her beautiful smile. I wish I could go home right now.
One hour, twenty four minutes and fifty eight seconds to go.
I know it is lame, but I’ve been counting. She’s the reason I get through the day, I never thought I could be happy again but Brooke showed me I could. She gave me back my smile and stole my heart all over again.
One hour, twenty four minutes and thr-two seconds to go.
I should be working, but all I can think about is Brooke and the way she looked this morning as I left her in our bed, she hadn't even stirred when I kissed her softly on the lips and whispered to her the same thing I said to her every morning as I left.
I love you Pretty Girl.