Here it is.The last chapter of 'Hidden Weeds Flower', and so for the final time - I hope you all enjoy it.
Chapter Forty-Five: This Is Your Life
There must have been something in the air that morning in May when Brooke sat on the roof of THHS watching the sun go down. Cuddling beside her was Haley and Nathan who, just a few hours earlier, had been named 'Cutest Married Couple' in the yearbook. Haley was giggling at something Nathan was whispering in her ear and he held his arms around his wife, burying his head into the nape of her neck as he too descended into giggles.
On the other side of Brooke, sat Jake and Peyton, both leaning against each other and gently mouthing the words to the song currently playing on the radio that they'd brought up with them. Jake was gently drawing circles with his thumb on Peyton's hand and she gave him a small grin in return.
Brooke wrapped her arms around her knees and rested her chin in between them, letting out a small sigh as she looked out at the view.
Haley and Nathan were both staying in Tree Hill where Haley wanted to continue pursuing her music and Nathan had found a job as an assistant coach to the junior basketball team at Tree Hill Elementary. Brooke could make out parts of their conversation; Nathan was talking about children. Not theirs obviously, but the ones he would be coaching, and about how cute they were. Brooke knew that within a year or two, she'd get a phone call about a new Scott on its way – and the thought made her grin. Haley and Nathan would make great parents.
Jake, Peyton and Jenny were also staying in Tree Hill, opting to go to Tree Hill's Community College so Peyton to focus on her art, Jake could do whatever he wanted to do and Jenny would be taken care of by the two of them as a family.
As for Brooke?
Well, she wasn't as lucky as to have her whole life sorted out for her. There was nobody she'd be returning to at night, no children to look after and no parents.
She was alone.
As she sat quietly staring at the disappearing sun, she couldn't help but envy the two girls she was flanked by.
Finally having enough of the lovey-dovey crap she was surrounded by, she got up off the picnic blanket and brushed herself off before mumbling a goodbye and making her way off the roof.
Haley quickly followed her.
"Brooke, wait," she begged as she raced behind the fleeing brunette. "Are you okay?"
Brooke slowed down to a stop and turned around, plastering on a big grin.
"You left in a pretty big hurry." Haley told her. "And this whole 'sitting on the roof, watching the sunset' was your idea. You've planned it for a week."
"I know." Brooke shrugged, "But the sun went down and now it's time to leave." She turned.
"Brooke, don't do that. I hate it when you do that." Haley sighed.
"Do what?" Brooke turned back.
"That thing where you make some comment and turn around and leave again, pretending you're okay when you're not. What's wrong?"
"Nothing, Haley. I just…" Brooke let out a deep breath, "It's just that being up there reminded me that I don't have anyone or anything. I wanted to be up there talking about what we used to do at school and lie about how much we're not going to miss it – and instead everyone just started talking about their futures and I don't have one!" her eyes began to fill up with tears. "You know, I am so pleased that you and Nathan and Peyton, Jake and Jenny are all happy and content and have everything sorted out for you, but I don't. This whole month has been a constant reminder of that fact. Graduation, prom, the senior poll… everything."
"Well… You got 'Most Beautiful'." Haley offered. Brooke scoffed.
"So what? Am I supposed to jump into the nearest beauty contest? Or am I supposed to just accept that that is all I'm good at."
"You know you're good at other things." Haley reassured.
"So how come I didn't get into any of the colleges I applied to?" Brooke asked.
"There's Tree Hill Community College…" Brooke laughed dryly.
"You don't get it, Haley. I don't want Tree Hill. I don't want to be here anymore."
"I thought you liked it." She replied quietly.
"I do. There's just nothing keeping me here."
"What about us?" Haley seemed offended now.
"Of course there are you guys, but it just doesn't seem enough for me." Brooke sniffed. "Look, just forget about me, Haley. Go back to the others and enjoy the rest of the evening. I'm just feeling sorry for myself."
"We can all leave."
"No, Haley, don't do that. Just enjoy it. Don't let me and my self-centered thoughts ruin it. I'll be okay. I'm just going to go back to Peyton's and-"
"You don't call it home," Haley interrupted and Brooke stared at her questioningly. "You never say 'home', you call it 'Peyton's'," Haley rubbed the back of her neck and added, "Just an observation."
"You forget," Brooke offered a tight smile, "I don't have a home."
Before Haley could say anymore, the brunette turned around again and left the school grounds.
Brooke threw her keys haphazardly on the coffee table and pulled off her jacket as she checked the mail. Most of it was for Peyton or Larry Sawyer, but Karen often brought by Brooke's mail that had been delivered to the Scott household.
This time she had three.
One credit card bill, a piece of junk mail, and one large white envelope which bore the Duke emblem.
She tore it open.
"Dear Miss Davis, congratulations you have been chosen…" Brooke read aloud as her eyes widened and the girl jumped around the living room in joy. "I got in!" she squealed as she took the rest of her mail and ran up the stairs to her room.
Rereading the letter at last another half a dozen times to make sure she wasn't dreaming.
"Brooke!" Peyton cried forty minutes later as she entered the house. Brooke could hear the blonde's footsteps coming up the stairs and making her way to the guest bedroom. "Brooke, Haley told me you were upset so I-" Peyton stopped when she saw the grinning girl. "Okay, well, obviously 'upset' is a good look for you. What's happened?" Peyton asked.
"I got in!" Brooke gave her a hug.
"Congratulations!" Peyton replied, "Got in where? I thought all the colleges you applied to rejected you."
"Well, apparently Duke didn't!" she said.
"You applied to Duke?" Peyton seemed surprised and a little apprehensive.
"Yeah, but they rejected me ages ago. This," she showed off the letter, "is an acceptance letter to their summer program. They liked my designs when I went for an interview-"
"You went to an interview?"
"Focus, please." Brooke dismissed Peyton's questions, "And though they rejected me at first, they want to offer me a place where I will be doing their fashion program as well as working in a boutique for experience. The top five students over the summer will be given a place on the actual degree course starting this fall." She made a 'yay' motion with her hands.
"Wow, Brooke. That sounds amazing." Peyton took the letter to read for herself. "Why didn't you tell any of us about it?"
Brooke shrugged, "I guess I was afraid of getting my hopes up. Plus, it's Duke," she glanced at Peyton, "and I was afraid you'd all think I was going there for a whole other reason…" she laughed nervously. Peyton got the hint.
"Are you?" she asked Brooke raised an eyebrow.
"No, I'm not." Brooke said firmly. "But it's nearby and I like North Carolina. I'd much rather stay in state rather than go back to New York. Plus, I love you guys and I can never stay away for too long."
"Good," Peyton seemed pleased, "This is such a great opportunity for you." As her eyes scanned the rest of the letter, she gulped.
"What's wrong?" Brooke sensed the anxiety coming from her friend.
"Um… have you read the letter properly?" Peyton asked.
"Of course I have!" came the indignant reply.
"Even the part where they tell you that you need to find your own accommodation?" Her eyebrows raised.
"What? No!" she snatched the letter away and scanned it urgently, "Where is it?" she asked.
Peyton pointed to a paragraph near the end, "Since your application went in late, they don't have enough time to organize and clear a room for you. See?"
"That sucks!" Brooke groaned. "How am I supposed to find a place to stay for three months in a week?" Peyton simply shrugged.
"There is one option…"
"You haven't even heard it."
"The answer is still the same. I know what you're getting at."
"Yes, and it would involve someone beginning with L, ending with S and has UCA in the middle." She sighed, "I'll just get a hotel room and find something when I'm there."
"That's going to be expensive."
"I have a trust fund."
"Brooke, you can't live at a hotel. It's silly. It's lonely."
"I've always been a loner," Brooke responded. "Besides, despite how good things between Lucas and me have been lately, it makes no sense to disrupt it all by turning up at his door. And he's probably already got a place and sharing it with some friends. I don't want to live with a bunch of horny guys. Although…" she winked and Peyton shook her head.
"It's worth a shot." Peyton tried.
"No. And we're not telling him about this either. He's coming back to Tree Hill for summer and so it's pointless anyway."
"So how are we supposed to explain your absence?"
"Uh… lie?" Brooke gave her a 'duh' face.
"He'll find out and he won't be happy." Peyton crossed her arms, "This is a huge deal for you."
"Peyton, please. I think I've got this one." Brooke told her confidently. Peyton gave in.
"Fine. But since you leave in a week, I'd suggest packing because I may have dragged your crap from Karen's to this place, but there's no way in hell I'm dragging it all the way to Durham!"
Brooke's cellphone buzzed loudly on her nightstand making an annoying, drilling sound as the plastic and metal hit against the wood. Picking it up quickly, she barely had a chance to read the caller I.D. label.
"Hello, Brooke speaking." She greeted as she folded a tank top and put it to one side.
"Hey, Brooke. It's me," Lucas' voice spoke clearly into the phone. Since their night of confessions the day Sarah Ford revealed the truth, phone calls between the two had become more frequent and they both looked forward to them.
"Hey, Lucas. How are you?" she asked. "Are you done for the summer?"
"Yeah, classes ended today."
"Cool. When are you coming back?" she wondered.
"Uh, actually I'm not." Lucas bit his lip as Brooke frowned on the other end of the line. Forgetting all about her packing she turned her focus to Lucas.
"What do you mean?"
"Well I've decided I'm spending most of the summer here… in Durham."
No, no, no! She thought to herself. He couldn't do that!
"Oh…" a pause, "Did you get a job or something? What about your mom?"
"Well obviously I'll pop down for a few days or something in between, but I think I'm going to spend most of it here."
"It must be a nice place," Brooke commented.
"That," he agreed, "And I heard you'd be here."
"How did you hear that?" she asked, trying her best to remain calm.
"Nathan told me."
Nathan was going to get it.
"What I don't get is why you didn't tell me. You found out five days ago and you never bothered to pick up the phone and call the one person you know in Durham?"
Boy, he sounded mad.
"I was going to do it." She argued.
"When? Your summer thing starts in two days and I'm sure you're busy packing. Plus, you have all those goodbyes to say."
"I wasn't sure if you were coming back. And if you were, I'd prefer to tell you in person."
"Well I know now and I'm not coming back. Not if you're coming here." Lucas sighed.
"Lucas, my being there doesn't mean you can't be here in Tree Hill. I didn't want to obligate you into doing whatever just because I may be spending the summer in the same town you've been in for the last year."
"Nathan also told me you need a place to stay."
Okay, now Nathan was really going to get it.
"Lucas, it's sorted. I'm checking into a hotel."
"Don't be an idiot, Brooke." Lucas huffed, "You're staying with me."
"But term is over. You don't have a dorm room anymore."
"I know, but when I heard you were coming down, I signed a lease for a two bedroom apartment."
"You did what?"
"You heard me. My mom paid the deposit because she thought it was a good idea."
"Um, thanks for telling me!" Brooke sighed in exasperation. "Listen, Lucas, thanks but no thanks. I just don't think it's a good idea."
"Because I don't think living together is the best for either of us right now. Besides, wouldn't you rather live with Matthew or another friend? I'll just be in your way."
"Brooke, I lived with you for, like, a year. I'm pretty much used to your bathroom habits. Plus, Matthew has other arrangements. It's a really nice apartment."
"You'll love the view."
"I'll let you pick out the furniture!"
"I'll put locks on every single door! I'll get cable so you get all your fashion channels! Come on, Brooke! You know it makes sense."
"Lucas, after everything we've been through in the last year and a half, do you really want to go back to the way it was at the beginning?"
"It won't be like that and you know it. We can stand each other and we have no parents."
"Which is exactly my point!"
"Oh!" it clicked to Lucas. "You think that if we live together eventually…"
"And you wonder why I didn't tell you."
"To be honest, I'd be lying if I said the thought hadn't crossed my mind. But, Brooke, we're friends who would be sharing a house. There's no ulterior motive in this. I just want to make you comfortable. This is a new town, a new atmosphere. I just want to make sure you're okay and that you have someone who knows the place. I don't want you to be alone."
This made Brooke contemplate it but she refused to let herself accept his offer.
"I'm sorry, Lucas. My answer is still 'no'." She hung up the phone before he could answer.
Trees. Trees of green. Red roses too. She saw them bloom. Brooke smiled as she walked through a luscious, vibrant and green garden scattered with flowers of all sorts of colors.
She looked at the bluebird perched neatly on her shoulder, whistling a familiar tune. Brooke closed her eyes to listen to the melody, the words suddenly forming and becoming clearer.
And I think to myself… what a wonderful world.
Brooke jerked awake as she heard the lyrics being sung wildly off key. Her neck hurt like hell and she rubbed her eyes to try and make sense of her surroundings.
There were no trees or flowers. And the bluebird was Lucas.
Brooke looked at the young man besides her singing along to the song playing on the radio. He noticed she was awake.
"Morning sunshine," he greeted with a smile. "Coffee?" he handed her a flask that was half-filled with the caffeinated substance. The smell filled her nose and she pushed it away to keep herself from gagging.
Only then was it when she noticed that she was in his car and on the road.
And that she was wearing her unicorn pajamas.
"Please tell me this is some sort of a nightmare," she begged as she tried pinching herself.
"Only the good kind," Lucas replied before smirking. "Nice hair."
Brooke immediately checked her reflection in the passenger mirror and cringed at the sight of her extremely bad case of bed hair.
"What the hell-" she began before she covered her mouth with a hand, realizing she also had a case of morning breath.
"Relax, you look fine." Lucas reassured, handing her a stick of gum which she quickly stuffed into her mouth.
That solved one problem.
"What the hell is happening?" she asked, chewing furiously on the gum.
"What's happening is that Mohammed is coming to the mountain." Lucas declared with a satisfied grin. "I'm taking you to see the apartment so you can decide whether or not you want to move in."
Brooke groaned, "Lucas, we've gone through this. I'm not going to move in with you."
"You say that now, but I know you and your stubborn ass. You'll love this place. Trust me. You just need to see it."
"And that justifies kidnapping?" she challenged.
"It was Nathan's idea." Lucas explained.
"Oh, I'm not really liking Nathan right about now." Brooke muttered. "And so what? He told you to break in during the night, kidnap me and drive me back to your new apartment?"
"I didn't break in," he clarified, "Peyton let me in."
"Peyton knew!" Brooke exclaimed.
"Have I mentioned just how much I hate all of you?" she stared out of the window. "Just take me home."
"Brooke, we're half an hour away; it's pointless to turn back now." Lucas argued. Brooke rolled her eyes.
"Fine," she relented, "But I'm pouting the whole way there, and if I don't like it you have to take me home. No more convincing me to stay." She demanded. He nodded his head.
Brooke's eyes wondered to the back of the car, which was filled with boxes and suitcases. She frowned and eyed Lucas suspiciously as she reached to open the nearest box to see what was inside.
She gasped, "Lucas Scott!" she cried, "Why are there boxes full of my stuff in your car?"
"Well you'll need them if you're moving…"
Brooke punched Lucas hard in the arm and he protested. "You took my stuff too?"
"I figured that since you're moving down here anyway, I'll bring them up just in case you decide to stay. It'll save you time."
"What if I don't want to stay? What about saying goodbye to everyone in Tree Hill?" she gasped again – this time more dramatically, "What about my car!"
"I kind of already invited Nathan, Jake, Haley and Peyton up for dinner with us next weekend so they'll bring it over with them." He replied. "See? I have it all planned out." Lucas gave her a confident smile. "All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride."
Brooke sat back in her seat, crossing her arms over her chest and pouting like a petulant child. Lucas glanced at her out of the corner of his eyes.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"What's wrong is my friends are suddenly all ganging up on me. Can't I make my own decisions anymore? It seems like lately everyone else is making plans for me."
Lucas bit his lip, "You mean, like what happened at prom?" he questioned.
She nodded and purposely looked away.
He shook his head slightly, "About that. It was Nathan's idea and that was only because Haley was complaining about how sad it was that you didn't want to go."
Brooke turned to face him, "So that's why you drove all the way to Tree Hill the day of the prom? Because of Haley and Nathan?" her eyebrows raised skeptically.
"Kind of. I mean, it was getting to Haley that you didn't have a date and you were really uninterested in going."
"I wasn't uninterested. And it wasn't because I didn't have a date." Brooke defended.
"Why didn't you want to go then?" She sighed.
"Because it was the end." She replied simply. "And I didn't want high school to end because then I'd have to figure out what I wanted to do and I just don't know."
"What about this fashion program?"
"I like clothes. That's about the only thing I really know and I just saw it and it looked okay. I didn't think I'd actually get in, hence the late application. I just stared at it for a few weeks until I finally got enough courage to post the damn thing. And then when I didn't hear from them, I figured I didn't get it…"
"Well," Lucas patted her knee, "You're in now, and you're on your way to building a future for yourself. You should be proud."
"What about when the summer's over? Everyone else will be going to college and I'll just be back where I stared."
Lucas chuckled, "Oh, come on, Brooke! You know you're going to be in the top five of the class."
She crossed her arms again, "And how do you know that, Einstein?"
He looked across at her and gave her an encouraging smile, "I just know." She shook her head to hide the smirk forming on her lips.
"Thanks for taking me to the prom." She told him. "It really was a great nice – even if it was the end of an era."
Lucas shrugged, "Don't worry about it. Besides, as one door closes; another one opens, right?"
A little under an hour later, the two pulled up to a small block of apartments. Lucas brought his car to a stop by the curb and turned off the engine.
"Here it is," he told her as the two of them looked up, "This is Henderson Heights and it – potentially – could be your new home." He pointed up at the third floor up. "It's that one."
"Lucas…" she began. "I still don't think this is a good idea." Brooke repeated for what felt the thousandth time. Little did Lucas know that, during the course of their drive down, Brooke had slowly been coming around to the idea of living with him again.
Of course, she'd never admit it.
She still was unsure of what might happen and what Haley, Peyton and everyone would think of the two exes shacking up together.
But, admittedly, it did look nice from the outside. She thought, and hoped, that maybe it was a craphole on the inside.
"All that's left is for you to check it out." Lucas interrupted her thoughts.
"Lucas… I'm not going out dressed like this."
"Nobody will see you."
"You say that now, but I can almost guarantee that the moment I step out in this delightful little number, a coach full of high school students or something will drive past. It's inevitable. And so I'm not getting out."
"So what do I do know? Go up and take polariods of the house and bring them back to you?"
"That's not a bad idea-"
"Brooke!" Lucas wanted to scream. Her stubbornness was really starting to get to him. "Are you going to get out of this car or am I going to have to carry you up there?"
Brooke refused to get out of the car, or answer the question, and the two sat in silence.
Lucas sighed and climbed out of the car, making sure he took his keys with him. Brooke watched curiously at what he was doing. He moved around the car and stopped outside the passenger, opening the door forcefully and letting in a huge gust of wind.
"Lucas, it's freezing!" she complained. But he didn't heed her protests as he undid her seatbelt and pulled her out of the car. The tall, athletic teenager was much stronger than the girl, but she put up one hell of a fight. Eventually able to dragged most of her body out of the vehicle, Lucas gathered her up in his arms and took her kicking and screaming into the apartment complex.
"Lucas, you put me down right now or I will scream this place down and I mean it!" Brooke warned. Lucas merely rolled his eyes and threw her over his shoulder so he could press the elevator button.
He was still carrying her in the elevator as they went up two floors to the top of the complex. A man sharing the same elevator gave the two a questioning look, which Lucas responded to with an apologetic tip of the head.
Finally, the two reached their destination and Lucas stopped in front of a door marked '3a'. He let her down off his shoulder and she growled at him, checking her reflection in the mirror in the hallway and cursing him.
The door was unlocked and Lucas pushed it open slightly, calling Brooke over. She hesitated at first but Lucas grabbed her wrist and gently pulled her closer. Before Brooke could even peek inside the house, Lucas' hands covered her eyes.
"Lucas…" she began.
"Just go along with it. I want to show you something first, before you see the rest of the house." He explained as he guided her into the apartment and they walked across the floor.
Brooke heard another door open and they walked into that room; and though she couldn't see what it looked like yet, the smell was familiar.
"And open!" Lucas removed his hands so Brooke could see. She gasped. "This is your room." He announced.
Brooke's mouth fell open. He had completely pimped out her room. There was a nice big bed, pictures on her dresser of all the gang, and a few bare mannequin dummies in an area big enough for her to also draw her designs. He'd also put a pile of fashion magazines on her desk and there were already a few books and DVDs filling up a small space on the shelves.
In all, it had the beginnings of a place that was just made for Brooke.
"The rest of the house apartment isn't furnished yet; I figured that we could decorate it together… if you want. I just wanted you to know that there's a place here and it would be great if you'd agree…" Lucas' voice drifted off as he began explaining to her about how when he saw the apartment, he thought of her and had decorated her room first. "Your room is the only place that actually has furniture in it at the moment but I have a bed being delivered tomorrow and maybe we could go shopping for a couch, a TV… we only have enough food for two days in the fridge so we'll need to do food shopping."
Lucas stopped talking when he saw that Brooke was still staring dumbfounded at the room he had shown her. A small smile formed on his lips as he strode towards her and rested his head lightly on her shoulder. He held her shoulders from behind, noticing she was almost rigid with shock.
In a whisper, he told her, "Welcome home."
She didn't reply. It seemed that those were the magic words she needed to hear and had been waiting for.
Brooke - though unwashed and so not a morning person - stood in front of the room in her unicorn pajamas and very bad case of bed hair.
With a turn of her head, she looked Lucas in the eye and broke out into a big, dimpled grin.
He was right - she was home.
Wow. So that's really and truly the end. I hope everyone enjoyed it and were satisfied with the ending.
I know what you're thinking; did they get back together? Are they still just friends? Did Brooke get into the top five? Did Brooke ever change out of those unicorn pajamas!
I think instead of writing a sequel, I'll let you all come to your own conclusions. That and I'm far too lazy (and quite frankly sick of this fic) to write a sequel. Plus, I think that the Hidden Weeds Flower versions of Brooke and Lucas have been through a hell of a lot this past year.
It's been a great journey though. I never thought that this fic would get the response that it did and it's fantastic. I know nobody ever reads the author's notes, but this is where I tell you all that I love each and every one of you who bothered to click that 'review' button, and the 166 of you who have added this on your favorites.
Special thanks go to Cari just because she's frickin' awesome and she put up with me bugging her about what should happen for the last few months. Same goes for Kels who, I know, pissed off a couple of chapters back. And Aleah too, for not spoiling the ending because of my own stupidity of accidentally telling her the ending (I made an honest mistake, I swear I thought you were Cari!).
Anyway, since nobody does read these notes, I'll stop now before you think I'm all crazy. I hope you all check out Strings and Fairytales since those will soon be coming to an end, and after those are finished, I have two new OTH fics (yes, they are BL) coming out very soon. So please stay tuned.
Thank you all again.