She Don't Dream for Me
I do not own One Tree Hill or anything related to it.
Epilogue: Don't Dream
A few months later…
Nathan showed up at Brooke's doorstep just as the sun fell behind the tree line, bearing a bag of popcorn and some Milk Duds. He had called about an hour ago, and Brooke had been waiting impatiently for his arrival. She ushered him inside, playfully scolding him for being late.
"What did you want me to do?" he protested. "Fly over here? Traffic was a bitch."
"Okay, I've been to New York and all those big city places, remember?" Brooke said with a hand on her hip. "Traffic is pretty much nonexistent in Tree Hill."
"Well then there was just this huge, gigantic line of cars in between my house and yours. Sorry I couldn't push them out of my way."
"If you really cared about me and my needs, you would have done it," Brooke accused.
Nathan snorted. "What needs? The kind that require constant attention and superhuman abilities?"
"Tom Welling does it for his girlfriend," Brooke said stubbornly.
"Point proven," Nathan said. "Mine, if you want to get specific. Tom Welling plays freaking Superman on Smallville."
Brooke cocked her head. "You watch Smallville?"
"No!" Nathan said forcefully. "I just…"
Brooke's lips curved in delighted amusement. "You watch Smallville! I've got the DVDs from, like, every season. We can watch them together."
"I didn't think you were into all that sci-fi, comic geek stuff, Brooke," Nathan recovered, teasing.
"You know you find it endearing," she waved him off. "Besides, I'd do anything for Tom Welling."
"…Should I feel threatened?"
"Once again, Nathan, we live in Tree Hill. The chances of a hot, shirtless Tom Welling flying into the local airport and sweeping me off my feet is pretty much none."
"Somehow that didn't have quite the same effect as 'No, Nathan! You're way hotter than that pretty-boy Superman,'" Nathan remarked dryly.
"I've always thought honesty was an integral part of any relationship," Brooke said with a careless shrug.
Nathan rolled his eyes. "One, that's bullshit. You told me we were going to the mall last week just to pick up one pair of shoes…"
"I didn't know there was going to be a sale at Nordstrom!" Brooke interjected.
"…And two, I told you to stop watching Dr. Phil when you got home from school."
"I didn't know I had such a bossy boyfriend," Brooke pouted.
"Oh, yeah. I'm absolutely terrible to you," Nathan scoffed.
Brooke nodded solemnly. "You should go buy me flowers or something to make it up to me."
"Um, how about some Milk Duds?"
"I guess those work too," Brooke said, taking the proffered box. "What're they for anyway?"
"I'm kinda wiped from practice this week," Nathan said. "I was hoping we could stick this popcorn in the microwave and just watch some T.V. tonight."
"My boyfriend never takes me anywhere nice," Brooke grumbled. At his disgruntled look, she laughed, reaching up to ruffle his hair. "Kidding, kidding. That sounds good. You deserve a break after working so hard to become a big NBA star so you can buy me lots of pretty things when we get older."
"That's exactly why I'm doing it," Nathan said wryly.
"What other reason is there?" Brooke said. She stood on her tiptoes to give him a quick peck on the lips. "I'll go put this in the microwave. You can go to the living room and pick out which Smallville DVD you wanna watch."
"That was a cop-out," Nathan growled playfully as he pulled back in for a kiss he deemed much more satisfying. She moaned against his mouth as he slipped his fingers just below the waistband of her jeans and pulled her flush against him, and he took the opportunity to slide his tongue in, colliding against hers. They clashed and fought and circled teasingly, and Nathan marveled at the change. There had been a time when this had been forbidden territory, something that would have made her retreat away from him out of fear of being too close, too fast. He had confronted the problem and assured her that they would be careful and take things slow. The wary trust in her eyes had held him to his promise ever since then, and they hadn't gotten much farther than this.
He wasn't complaining. This was incredible. They had plenty of time for everything else that came in a relationship. He didn't plan on letting her go any time soon. Definitely not.
"That tickles, Nate," Brooke giggled as his lips trailed down her neck. Nathan grinned wolfishly and lifted his hands off her waist…
"Nate!" Brooke shrieked. "No tickling!"
"Now look who's being bossy," he chuckled.
Brooke narrowed her eyes. "I'm going to take this popcorn into the kitchen now, and that'll be the last nice thing I do for you tonight."
Nathan stuck out his lower lip in a fair impression of her puppy-dog face that had coerced him into buying shoes, chocolate, and Cosmopolitans at eleven o'clock at night. She crossed her arms in front of her chest. "That's not how you do it at all."
"No?" Nathan said. "I thought I was getting pretty good."
Brooke shook her head. "You're going to have to get some extra lessons in, Hot Shot."
"I'm not sure if I can," Nathan said earnestly, fighting the smile struggling at the corner of his lips. "You see, I've got this girlfriend, and she's pretty demanding…"
"I am not!" Brooke exclaimed. At his lifted eyebrow, she retracted gamely enough. "Okay, maybe a little. But you need guidance in your life, Nate. Somebody to mold you…"
"Into a shopping-bag-carrying, flower-buying, prep-boy Brooke slave?" Nathan said brightly.
"I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that," Brooke said. "Now you go into the living room before I decide to go all Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider on you."
"That would be pretty hot," Nathan remarked.
"You got to say it about Tom Welling!" Nathan protested. She remained immobile. He sighed. "Brooke, you are way hotter than Angelina Jolie, and I will never watch Tomb Raider again if it makes you happy."
"And…" Brooke prompted.
"And?" Nathan repeated.
Brooke sighed dramatically. "We've been through this before Nathan. You're supposed to say something bad about her now."
"Oh yeah," Nathan said. She waited expectantly. "Um, her lips are too big?"
"That was good, but…"
"She's a cheating whore who stole Brad away from Jen?"
"Much better!" Brooke said with a big smile. "I'll go make your popcorn now."
Nathan shook his head as he walked into the living room and plopped down on the couch. He really needed to stay way from Brooke's tabloid magazines. If the guys on the team knew…
"So what do you wanna watch?" Brooke asked as she handed him his popcorn and bounced onto the couch beside him. He shrugged noncommittally.
"I thought we had decided on Smallville."
"Nah," Brooke said. "I don't feel like staring at Tom Welling tonight. My boyfriend's way hotter."
Nathan caught her eye, and she smiled that classic Brooke smile that even he rarely saw anymore. But now that he thought about it, it had made its appearance more often in the past couple of weeks. He smiled back. It had been a challenging number of months for them, but she was healing.
"I heard there was a basketball game between Duke and NC State on today," Brooke suggested, breaking into his thoughts.
Nathan grinned and kissed her forehead affectionately. "You'll be bored out of your mind."
"But you want to watch it. I can tell. Besides, I think I'll appreciate something mindless tonight."
He studied her with shrewd eyes. "If you're sure…"
Later on, specifically in the last three minutes of a very close game, Nathan muted the television and looked down at the girl resting her head on his shoulder. She looked up at him questioningly. He smiled.
"There were some days when I'd never thought we'd get this far."
Brooke cocked her head, confused. He continued.
"I don't know if I told you this before, but you're pretty amazing, Brooke."
She felt a flush of warmth grow inside her. It often did when he was around. "You have," she said. "But I still like hearing it."
"Good," Nathan said. "Because it's the truth. After everything you've been through, you were still strong enough to bounce back and…"
Brooke silenced him with a finger on his lips. "I can't take all the credit for that one, Nate. You're pretty amazing too."
"You were the one that had to deal with all that stuff," Nathan shook his head. "I was just there."
"That meant more to me than anything, Nathan," Brooke said. "I've told you that."
"Yeah," Nathan said.
Brooke smiled and leaned back against him. "I guess we just make a pretty amazing pair, Hot Shot. Now, turn the volume back up. Duke's got the ball, and there's only thirty seconds left. I think they can pull it out."
"You're a Duke fan?" Nathan said with a raised brow.
Brooke shrugged. "If I had to pick, then yeah, sure."
Nathan shook his head. "The girl of my dreams definitely doesn't go for them."
Brooke smiled. "Well, the boy of my dreams lets me like whoever I want." She fell into a pensive silence. "Actually, you were in my dreams a while ago."
"Really?" Nathan said.
She smirked. "It was more of a nightmare actually."
"Should I be offended?"
"I guess not. You were the only good thing about it."
"Well, I guess I'm okay with that then," Nathan said, circling his arms around her waist. "Have you had any more of those nightmares lately?"
Brooke shook her head and nestled closer against him. "I really don't dream all that much anymore. According to Dr. Phil, this means I'm moving on from whatever loose end was hanging over my mind and manifesting itself in my unconscious state."
"Do you really think you're moving on from it, Brooke?" Nathan asked her gently.
"Maybe not moving on from it," Brooke said, choosing her words carefully. "But more like with it, if that makes sense. It'll always be there. I'm sure it'll pop up every now and then and throw me off. Remember when I saw that women with her kid in the grocery store?"
"He was screaming his head off," Nathan said. "And I looked over at you, and it looked like you wanted to start crying too."
"Yeah," Brooke said. "Like that. Some days I still think, you know, what if? Would it have been a boy or girl? Would they have been crazy like me or really shy? And then I realize that thinking about that kind of stuff isn't going to help me any. I have to keep going and look to the future. Some day, I'll be ready for a kid. Not now. But after I go to college and get married and hopefully have a job…
"But even then, it comes back to the one I didn't have, you know? I'll still feel guilty about it, but that's the decision I made. I have to trust that I did what was best in my situation. I have to keep thinking that even though a lot of people would probably disapprove of what I did, that I'm the one that knows me best and was the one who was best suited to make the choice."
"Quite a speech there," Nathan commented mildly.
"Yeah," Brooke said. "I got a little carried away. I've been thinking a lot about this stuff."
Nathan gave her a reassuring squeeze. "I'm glad you figured all of that out for yourself. And if you want to tell me about it, then I definitely want to listen."
Brooke rested her head against his chest with a contented sigh. "How did I manage to snag such a great boyfriend?"
He shrugged. "You're just lucky, I guess."
Brooke tilted her head and stuck her tongue out at him. Nathan laughed and ruffled her hair. With a scowl, she sat up and combed her fingers through the strands to try and untangle them. Nathan leaned in close behind her, still chuckling. She was about to turn around and lecture him again on keeping his hands away from her perfectly brushed hair when he laid a kiss on her neck that sent shivers tingling down her spine.
"I'm pretty lucky too," he murmured.
Author's Note: The end. Thanks to all of you who have stuck with me so far, and if you're new, thanks for checking my story out. I hope everybody liked it. About the epilogue – I went a few months into the future because I really wanted to end this story writing Nathan and Brooke how I love to write them – playful and bantering. It's just the way I picture them, and it seems that a lot of you guys see it that way too. So, remember to leave a review, and if you wanna check out my other stories (including the already posted, new BL Carve Your Heart Out Yourself and for LP fans, Wasteland which hasn't really gotten much response) and tell me what you think of them, then please go ahead! Thanks again, guys!