Coming Home

Disclaimer: Don't own anything.

Rating: PG

Spoiler: The Trick is To Keep Breathing

Song: "When The Stars Go Blue" Bryan Adams.

Where do you go when you're lonely?

Where do you go when you're blue?

Glancing to her right, Peyton looked at the alarm clock that didn't ring when it was supposed to. It was Sunday morning but she didn't feel like it was going to be a day of relaxation. Perhaps it was the awful gnawing feeling of loneliness that didn't fully disappear from the night before. Maybe it was because out of the corner of her eye she could see the hem of the ruined dress sticking out of the hamper.

Or maybe it was a combination of those things, like she'd told Anna the night before, "That and everything else." She didn't mean to be dramatic or make anyone feel sorry for her, but as life would have it lately she was only setting herself up for pitying stares, and lack of attention to her wounds was driving her insane.

She'd always been the brooding individual, whether in her friendship with Brooke or her volatile relationship with Nathan, and even when Lucas came into the picture Peyton always set herself up. Except when she was around Jake.

Dancin' where the stars go blue

Dancin' where the evening fell

Dancin' in your wooden shoes

In a wedding gown

When she was around Jake all she felt was happiness or anything close to that emotion, around him and Jenny she felt like she was pulled into their protective bubble of love, that both of them brought her into their family, and nothing else mattered.

Peyton sighed in her reprieve and turned to one side, away from the soiled dress and the reminder that she almost did a line of coke not six hours ago. It was so painful sometimes just to breathe, if losing any sense of vitality wasn't enough; she had to almost screw up this club that she worked so hard to build with Karen.

Imagining what it'd have been life if she followed the fatal path of narcotics Peyton closed her eyes and tried to imagine a different scenario. Her blank stare turned into a shuteye and she ignored the backlash of tears forming somewhere inside her head, threatening to make their presence known sooner rather than later.

Up until that point Peyton didn't wonder where Anna had gone, and the phone rang just as that thought crossed her mind.

Dancin' out on 7th street

Dancin' through the underground

Dancin' little marionette

Are you happy now?

"Hello." She didn't bother checking the caller ID, her head was suddenly throbbing with a migraine and the erratic ringing of the phone was like a hammer at her head.

"Hey it's me."

Suddenly, the headache, and the cocaine, and the soiled dress and the awful feeling of emptiness left her, Peyton sat up immediately, staring straight ahead and trying to summon her thoughts together. The silence on the other end of the line was soothing and almost familiar, and Peyton couldn't help but wonder if she was dreaming.

" Jake?"

"Yeah…"

Hearing his voice reaffirmed the rush of emotions settling in the pit of her stomach, Peyton didn't know whether to laugh or cry or shrug off this feeling of ethereal hope, because after all it was only a phone call.

"Listen, I'm sorry I haven't been returning your emails. It's just my lawyer, the one I'm in contact with, advised me to cut off all unnecessary ties with Tree Hill in case Nikki was back there after coming up on a dead end, which by the way was thanks to you."

Peyton didn't hear much of his well thought out apology as her heart sank.

"…unnecessary ties…"

Laughing with your pretty mouth

Laughing with your broken eyes

Laughing with your lover's tongue

In a lullaby

It was just as well, what had she been expecting? Pausing for a moment to answer her own question Peyton came up short, and pressed the phone closer to her ear, wondering if she could distinguish anything in the background.

Maybe Jenny crying or a lullaby playing, but she heard nothing except the steady breathing that reminded her just how much she missed the single dad.

"Except the last couple of months, everything has been quiet, and I had a lot of time to mule over the predicament that I'm in and I started to realize there is only one thing I regret about leaving the way I did."

Peyton remained silent the entire time, and though she wondered if Jake was worried that she'd fainted or was simply ignoring his words, she couldn't form a single coherent thought.

Where do you go when you're lonely?

Where do you go when you're blue?

Where do you go when you're lonely?

"I regret not kissing you good bye."

And as if a big weight was lifted off her shoulders Peyton Sawyer finally let herself be sucked into the bottomless abyss that she was so frightened off, the one she thought held no promise and nothing but eternity of pain.

Now as she hit rock bottom she wasn't so scared anymore, and she wasn't afraid of drugs, or losing friends, or always being lonely, and she knew Jake was strong, strong enough to summon the courage to admit his feelings, and the least she could do was return the favor…

I'll follow you

When the stars go blue

The stars go blue stars go blue