|Love Lost, Love Found
Author: bendecida82 PM
After 4.21. What if Peyton never made it to California the summer after graduation? Leyton fic *hiatus*Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Lucas S. & Peyton S. - Chapters: 18 - Words: 54,502 - Reviews: 531 - Favs: 54 - Follows: 70 - Updated: 07-24-09 - Published: 04-17-09 - id: 5001915
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Leyton with kids! Gotta love them!
Chapter 18 Never Letting Go
Lucas smiled, the look on her face priceless- a new memory to add to the old ones.
He wondered if this was how her parents felt the first time they had taken her to the beach, watching her gorgeous green eyes widen, her hands clap together, and her body wiggle in the seat, unable to contain her joy. Of course, she was probably a toddler at the time, but if he needed a visual of how she would've been back then, he just had to look in the back seat to get it. Which is what he did.
"Anna. Keith. Wake up, kiddos." Lucas said, gently shaking them awake. It was early, dawn barely breaking outside; Lucas and Peyton had simply transferred them from the bed to the car without disturbing their slumber when they left that morning. It was worth the tiptoeing in the house and lack of conversation during the drive to watch them stir, rubbing the sleep out of their eyes and looking around, before taking in their surroundings. Anna figured it out first.
"We're at the beach!" Anna squealed gleefully.
"The beach?" Keith said sleepily. "But wheah's the watah?"
"Let's get out and see, shall we?" Lucas said, grinning madly.
Peyton just shook her head, eyes shining, unable to contain her joy. They had been on several dates since they went line dancing, but this one definitely topped the list. He had called her the night before, letting her know he would be coming for her and the kids in the early morning, but refused to tell her where they were going. She assumed they were going on a road trip since he suggested putting travelable pj's on the kids for when he picked them up. When she opened the door, protesting that she didn't know what type of clothes to pack, he just smiled, pressed a kiss to her lips and whispered, "Just leave it to me."
Having been mostly on her own the past four years, it felt kind of good to let things go and let someone else take control for a moment; it said a lot about Lucas that she let him do so. So she transferred her sleeping kids to the backseat, put on the blindfold he instructed her to wear, and went back to sleep, not noticing him come out of the house with pre-packed bags for everyone (courtesy of Brooke), or the look of love he gave the three of them as they slumbered in the driveway. When the car stopped and she was shaken awake by Lucas, her first words were "Are we here?" followed by, "How long have we been traveling?"
At his answer of "Oh, about 15 minutes," she snatched the blindfold off to look at him, thinking maybe he was kidding.
"Lucas, come on, tell me the truth, it has not been 15 minutes!" she said, only to halt, glancing around her and taking in the grey skies that made the sand look brown instead of the light tan it was in the daylight, the water just a dark mass in the horizon.
"You remembered!" she breathed, feeling her heart fill with untamed emotion at the lengths he had gone through to give her something said in an offhand conversation.
"Yup." Lucas said, grinning, unable to contain his joy at being able to share with her a heart's desire.
Not just the beach, but the beach at daybreak. Something she'd always wanted to see but never had the chance.
Lucas grabbed Anna, and Peyton unstrapped Keith, who wiggled to be let down when he saw that Lucas had let Anna down on the sand as well. They giggled as the sand slid between their toes, reaching down to let it do the same in their hands, as Lucas opened the trunk and pulled out the supplies.
"Need any help?" Peyton said as he made his way back to the car.
"Nope" Lucas said, disappearing behind the trunk hood. He reappeared shortly after with a blanket and a picnic basket.
"I thought we'd eat breakfast and watch the sunrise." He said softly.
"And then?" she said, touched by his gesture.
"And then, we enjoy the beach." Lucas said opening his arm out to take in the expanse of sand that stretched deserted on both sides of them.
The twins were beside themselves. Karen had packed pancake wrapped sausages and had filled sippy cups with apple juice for convenience, as well as homemade donuts and a carafe of mimosas for the adults. They lay on their stomachs on the blankets, munching on their breakfasts and holding their sippy cups, digging their toes in the sand at the edges of the blankets as the sky got lighter and lighter.
When Lucas saw the sun begin to peek over the horizon, he called their attention to it. He and Peyton had long since finished their breakfasts, the twins still working on theirs, whispering about their plans for their time at the beach more than actually eating. Lucas had pulled Peyton over to sit between his legs, her back resting against his chest, as he poured them each a glass, clinking her glass with his in a silent toast to the day. It was there they remained, watching the world change color as they sipped their beverages, until Lucas called the twins over to watch the sunrise.
Keith scrambled onto his mother's lap, but Anna chose instead to stand behind Lucas, wrapping her tiny arms around his neck and resting her head next to his.
"Oh Daddy, it beautiful!" She said, her curls tickling his ear.
Lucas absorbed the feel of her body pressed tight against his back as she leaned against him, Peyton's with Keith's extra weight pressing more closely against his front as he leaned back to say something in her ear, and he closed his eyes, savoring the moment with his family. He envisioned what they must look like to a passerby, knowing to them they would see a family, and slowly he grabbed the picture, and clicked the shutter of his memory, to hold onto that image forever.
They had changed into their beach attire, courtesy of the bags Brooke packed for them. Anna was fearless, splashing gleefully in the waves under Peyton's watchful eye, but Keith was a little more wary. He had yet to make it into the water, standing on the edge with his water wings untouched by everything but the sun.
"Hey buddy, what's up?" Lucas said, kneeling down in front of Keith.
"It's too big." Keith whispered, glancing fearfully around Lucas' shoulder at the waves crashing out in the horizon.
Lucas followed his gaze. "Hmmm." He said thoughtfully. "I see what you mean." He turned back to Keith. "The ocean is pretty big out there. But look down." Keith's gaze followed him to wear the water gently lapped at the sand. "It's not so big here, is it?"
Keith shook his head, but still looked unconvinced. "I don't want to, daddy." He said, face downcast as he peeked at Lucas between his eyelashes.
"That's okay." Lucas gathered Keith into a hug. "I tell you what. You and I can just play here, and you let me know if you change your mind."
Keith hugged him back, relieved. "Okay, daddy."
Keith plopped down where the sand was dry, content to watch Anna and Peyton play in the waves. Lucas let him be for the moment, and turned his attention to the other wonders of the beach. Lucas taught him how to comb the beach for shells, and looked for little tide pools to show him.
Eventually, Lucas was able to get him close to the water by performing little tricks, like placing a footprint in the sand and watching the waves wash it away. He managed to convince Keith to allow him to pick him up, so that he could place his footprint in the wet sand before the water rose back up on the beach. Keith was so entertained by the idea that it wasn't long before he was placing his own footprint in the sand, running back to safety before the water had a chance to reach him.
It gave Lucas an idea, and he picked Keith up, walking with him towards the water until it ran around his ankles, swirling and creating patterns in its attempt to make it to shore.
"Keith, look down." Lucas said softly.
Keith stared, entranced by the swirling motion of the water. Lucas wiggled and Keith giggled as the water reacted to his motions. "You want to try?" Lucas asked, gratified when Keith nodded eagerly. Lucas placed him down in the water at a place where the water level only reached his ankles, holding tight until Keith loosened his grip.
Keith watched as the water did the same to him, giggling at the feel of the swirls against his tiny legs. Lucas knelt in front of him, running his fingers through the water and Keith did the same. Together they made patterns in the sand and water, never noticing the glances Peyton gave them as she held onto Anna, swinging her in the waves.
It warmed Peyton's heart to see his patience with Keith, to see a father teaching his son. She had been wrestling with a decision she knew she had to make all week, and even though no one had mentioned it, she knew it was weighing on everyone's mind. Brooke had been inquiring into rental properties around town, stating oh so casually how Tree Hill needed a Clothes over Bro's Store, and wasn't it a shame that there was no portrait studio anywhere in the county?
Tonya had taken to spending every available moment with Skills, who had no problem planning Tony-friendly dates since he'd spent so much time with Jamie as a toddler.
Even Jamie and Lily had contributed their opinions, on several occasions stating how much they 'loved' their new cousins, and how awesome it would be if they lived in Tree Hill with them 'forever and ever.'
It would be nice for the twins to be surrounded by so much family. Not to mention having their father less than 20 hours away. And if she were completely honest with herself she had known what she was going to do from the moment she left Honey Grove, and she chuckled to herself as she thought back to the conversation she had with Delores. Maybe she wasn't the only one who had known how this story would end.
Keith never did get very far into the water alone, but eventually he was able to venture out a little further in Lucas' embrace, his tiny arms and legs in a death grip around Lucas' neck and torso as he said over and over, "don' let me go, daddy, ok? Don' let me go."
Never once did Lucas say anything but "I've got you, son. I won't let go."
And in the twilight, as they made their way home, Anna and Keith slumbering in the back seat, Peyton grabbed his free hand and raised it to her lips, gently pressing a kiss to his palm.
"What was that for?" Lucas said, glancing briefly over at their intertwined hands.
Peyton simply smiled, keeping her hand laced in his. "For never letting go."
Keith's reaction to water courtesy of my 3 year old nephew, who inspired this chapter when I took him to the pool and it took over an hour to get him to move down to the third step in the kiddie pool (which put the water at his waist). He never did get past the third step, but he had a good time getting out of the pool and walking back into it, clapping his hands and saying "I did it!" which is what I said to him every time he made it another step.
So everybody thank Sir for being a wonderful muse for a Leyton kiddie chapter.