Disclaimer: One Tree Hill is not mine. If I had enough money I'd probably buy it just so I could get rid of half the characters on the show.
Summary: "Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up." - James Baldwin. The sequel to This Time Around.
1: Weird World
Hey, hey, hey-- the sun is over the city, but it's an orange day
There is reason for looking up, but I'm feeling down
You see I've got to catch a plane, won't buy a ticket
Cause it's hard to just stop, when you're spinning around
"Come on Lucas we have to go!" Brooke insisted trying to rush him out of the gift shop. "I swear you're like a kid in a candy store, it's an airport gift shop for Christ sake, and there is nothing in here to see. Now come on before we miss this airplane!"
"I'm coming; we're not going to miss the plane Brooke." Lucas placated.
Brooke glared at him and rushed to the ticket counter to show the air stewardess their tickets to New York. "We haven't seen the rest of the gang in such a long time. I'm just excited…!"
He snorted. "It's not like we all left each other on the best of terms."
"Our group of friends never had it easy." Brooke said shrugging. "Besides, it must not have been that big of a fight if all of us agreed on this reunion."
"B, it's been almost a year and a half. I'm sure everyone is just curious about how bad we screwed up since we've left high school."
"Glad to report nothing major has happened to us right?" Brooke said grinning.
"Well we didn't have distance separating us like Kali and Jake, vindictive ex-best friends like Peyton around, or a marriage hanging over our heads like Nathan and Haley. I can pretty much see why we made it." Lucas responded sarcastically.
She punched him on the arm as they made their way to their seats. They were on a plane to New York from Boston after receiving a plane ticket in the mail from Kali Morris, one of their friends from high school. She had left Tree Hill High the summer before senior year and although she and Lucas kept in contact occasionally it wasn't nearly enough to know what was going on in her life.
As for the rest of the gang, senior year's pressures had wrecked havoc on their relationships. Peyton's malicious streak reared its ugly head effectively destroying Kali and Jake's relationship, Nathan and Haley went through fight after fight, and Brooke and Lucas had to battle to keep their relationship alive in the midst of their friends' anger. It got so bad that Lucas had enough of living his life around his friends and cut them off—it wasn't long until Brooke followed.
Ironically, they had to lose their friends to keep their relationship and to both of them it had been more than worth it.
"This is just going to be crazy you know?" Brooke said, for the first time a tremor of apprehension in her voice. "It's been a year and half, they must have changed a lot in that time."
Lucas shrugged. "I'm not worried about it and neither should you. We've changed as well."
They had changed, for the better Brooke decided. Lucas had always been serious, the product of a broken home he had to be but now he was even more focused on his future and what he wanted to do with his life. His father's death had been a wake up call he had explained to her one day. It wasn't something clichéd like "never take anything in life for granted," but it was just as deep. Dan's death had made him realize that he needed to get his life in order so he never made the mistake of regretting what took place. That's why he dropped basketball and took up his real passion—writing.
Brooke admired that, Lucas's strength. If it had been her, with all of his talent, she would have taken the easy way out. Playing basketball equaled automatic fame and fortune something that Brooke craved but not for Lucas, he was studying to become an English professor and she was proud of him.
And for herself? She was doing what she did best: show business. She was majoring in acting with the hopes that she would be the next Gwyneth Paltrow or Cameron Diaz. She had never really thought about her future before but now she wanted to be somebody, not just a rich girl playing the role of socialite.
"Earth to Brooke?" Lucas said snapping his fingers in front of her face. "You were spacing out again."
"Was I? I'm sorry." Brooke said sheepishly. "I was thinking."
"How everything has turned out so far." She locked her hands in his. "I'm really happy right now; I just hope this trip doesn't change anything."
"I doubt it." Lucas said. "You were strong-willed before but now you're like a damn bull. You're stubborn and I bet you're not going to let anything they say change how your life is going B." He said confidently.
She gave him a wry grin. "I'm glad you have so much faith in me."
"I'm the boyfriend, I'm supposed to." He joked. "But seriously B, stop stressing we'll be fine. And if we're not we'll leave. Our life doesn't revolve around their happiness anymore."
"Thank god." She muttered. "The way we were going before I thought we'd never get out of the Tree Hill bubble."
He squeezed her hand and closed his eyes. "Get some sleep B; we're going to need it."
I'm closing my eyes, but I'm starting to see
While he's looking at you, she's looking at me
The only thing it does is just keep me away from you
Kali opened the door to her mother's penthouse and the bright smile she had on her face immediately froze. When she had invited all of her old friends to New York for a little reunion she didn't really think about what had gone down in Tree Hill after her departure. She had kept in touch with Lucas and Jake throughout the year but slowly their correspondence had begun to die out and she had let it go as something that just happened.
But seeing Jake and Peyton in front of her door playing the part of the happy couple was making her physically sick to her stomach. It was taking everything in her to not throw up on Peyton's way too perky face. But living in New York under her mother's tutelage had groomed Kali into a more refined woman, and she'd be damned if some Tree Hill gutter slut was going to shake that image.
"Peyton! Jake! It's been a long time." She said smiling. "Come in, how are both of you doing?"
"Good!" Peyton said just as happily. "You look like you're doing well also Kali. Is this your mother's apartment?"
Kali nodded taking them on a tour of the two story, five bedroom penthouse. "My mom's business flourished after she divorced my father."
"Is she around?" Jake asked.
"She's out on business for the week." Kali said. "With all the outsourcing going on in America right now she has to make sure the employees are performing up to par."
Jake nodded in understanding. "So when is everyone else going to be here?"
"Well I talked to Brooke and Lucas a couple of hours ago so they should be coming any minute now, they're catching a cab and Nathan is driving up so he'll be a little later."
"What about Haley?" Peyton asked.
"Haley will be here after work." Kali said going into the kitchen. "She lives in New York now you know."
"We haven't really kept in touch with anyone." Peyton said slightly uncomfortable. "Did Lucas tell you anything about the second half of senior year?"
Kali shook her head confused. "Not really, I mean that was after Jake and I stopped…" Kali paused. "Stopped…going out I guess and it wasn't really the same between us. Lucas and I haven't really talked since then."
Kali watched Jake closely noting the way he looked confused with the classification of their relationship but decided to drop it. It wasn't the time to rehash what exactly happened to them. "So how is Jenny?" Kali asked changing the subject.
Peyton smiled and Jake tightened his grip around her waist. "She's doing great. She's almost four now." He said grinning. "She's giving my parents hell."
"You don't take care of her anymore?" Kali asked confused.
"We do, but since Peyton and I decided to stay so close to home my parents keep her a lot if we're busy."
"You both go to Duke right?"
Peyton nodded. "Jake's majoring in Law while I'm doing Art History."
Kali raised an eyebrow. "Law?"
He blushed. "I got interested in it when I had to go through all the legal stuff with Nikki and Jenny." He explained.
"Are you still playing basketball?" She asked.
She grinned. "I'm always up for a game."
"We'll have to start one when Luke and Nate get here."
Peyton looked left out and made everyone aware of it when she abruptly changed the subject. "So Kali, what are you doing these days? Not just playing the rich girl I hope."
Kali's eyes narrowed but she let it go, she wasn't in high school anymore. "I go to Columbia and I'm majoring in Psychology."
"I could see you as a psychologist." Jake said softly. "You always had a knack for seeing straight through people."
"It was a pity I couldn't see through you." She said her statement heavy with innuendo. "I guess sometimes the people we thought we knew turn out to be somebody completely different."
Jake had the good grace to look slightly guilty but he didn't look away from her. "I guess so."
There was a knock on the door jarring Jake and Kali out of there staring match. Kali cleared her throat uncomfortable and made her way to the door. "That's probably Lucas and Brooke now."
Kali opened the door, and smiled when she saw who was behind it. "Well, well, well…" She said. "If it isn't Broody and Cheery."
"Nice to see you to K." Brooke said stepping inside. She raised her eye at the lavish penthouse. "Someone's living it large."
Kali managed to grin. "I'm a rich girl a heart."
Lucas cleared his throat and smiled at the girl he still considered to be one of his best friends. "Kali Morris, look at you."
Her smile widened. "Lucas Scott, still as handsome as ever." She hugged him tightly, a few tears escaping. "I'm so glad to see you."
It's a weird world, don't you know it?
It's a weird world and it won't slow down
It's a weird world, no matter how you want it
Haley James-Scott hurried to finish her shift up. It wasn't easy being a college student when you weren't rich. Sure she had more scholarships than the average student but extra money was hard to come by and a necessity. Working as a nursing assistant wasn't the most desirable of jobs, especially not in one of New York's worst hospitals, but it paid the rent for her modest apartment.
Glancing at her clock she cursed loudly. Kali hadn't given her a specific time to be there—some time between 5 and 7 was as specific as she'd get—but Haley wanted to see her friends who she really did miss. Yeah, things had become crappy between them senior year but they had history that you couldn't just throw away. No matter how hard you tried, and Haley had tried her hardest.
She even went as far as filing for a divorce from Nathan Scott, the man she thought had been the love of her life. Now, she looked back on it as a stupid, foolish mistake she had made while thinking she was in love.
She stopped her frantic attempt at getting a taxi to amend that line of thinking, she had loved Nathan no matter how hard she tried to deny it the past couple of months. He had been her first love, and up to now her only love even if at the present time she was trying out a relationship with the other man that had facilitated in the breaking up of her marriage—Chris Keller.
Her cell phone rang, cutting off the train of thought before it could get to her exact reasoning of being with such a bastard. "Hello?" She said finally sinking into the seat of a taxi.
"Hey, it's Chris." Haley cringed managing to suppress her aggravated groan.
"What's up?" She said.
"Are you still going to this reunion thing Kali's putting on?" He asked. "I thought we could go out to dinner with a couple of record execs I met today."
She rolled her eyes. "No thank you, I'd rather go see my friends."
"Hales, this could be the chance of a lifetime!" He protested.
"It's always the chance of a lifetime until they figure out how much of a chance it is to take one two untrained singers." Haley scoffed. "Chris, go get a real job and stop chasing after a dream that isn't going to happen."
"You see, these friends of yours haven't even touched down in New York and they're already starting to sap the hope out of you."
Haley laughed harshly. "Are you kidding me Chris? If I had listened to them in the first place I wouldn't have had to risk not graduating high school. Listening to you and your half-assed promises almost got me being one of the people I hated the most."
"Hales stop being so dramatic. I tried to help you! It's not my fault you were to focused on your ex-husbands feelings to get that recording deal. And look where you are now? Still divorced."
"Go to hell Chris." Haley growled.
"It's the truth Haley."
"Kiss my ass Chris." Haley hissed. "You're just pissed off because without me, there is no Chris Keller. No companies want you without me and if I don't deliver you don't' get to live you little dream. Well start job hunting Chris, I'm done with music and with you."
"You're bluffing, just like you always do." He said cockily.
"I want your shit out of my apartment." Haley coolly replied. "By the time I get home or you'll see if I'm bluffing or not."
She disconnected the call and sucked in a calming breath. Now if she had only done that a year and half sooner.
"Oh well" She muttered watching the city lights. "Better late than never."
Hey, hey, hey- sweet baby- there's no way to stand up and fight it
Hey, hey, hey, never give up and don't let it wear out your love
Music Credits: Backstreet Boys – Weird World
A/N: Finally right? For the fans of This Time Around, Warring Emotions is the much anticipated sequel. Everyone's different now, so let's see how this story plays out hmm? Review please.