To Maggie.

I do believe you once said that only we're crazy enough for this. This is me, proving you absolutely right. So damn you, damn me, and damn our crazy passion for this couple. Love ya, girlie

Hard To Find

Prologue: Usually Something Sucky or Mean

The song always took her back.

The time wasn't so long ago, but it might as well have been an entirely different lifetime. Sometimes it felt like it happened to someone other than Peyton Sawyer. But sometimes Peyton didn't even feel like she was Peyton Sawyer. Peyton Sawyer could smile for the crowds; wave her pom-poms high as she squealed with delight, the cheering of the crowd and the screeching of rubber on highly polished wood prominent in the background. But Peyton would sit in her room, angry vinyl being scratched away at, blaring from the closet as she sat sketching out her day in her computer chair, her torment visualized in charcoal as she hid in plain view.

But the delicate strains of the violin still sent shivers down her spine, reminding her of times where the cheerleader and the human and the artist and the teenager all met, a blending of emotions that overwhelmed her. Entire months where she felt she was drowning, coupled with a deep desire to never breathe again.

She panted, her breath coming in short gasps as her bare chest heaved with exertion. Just a little bit, a voice from deep within would remind, as her pale skin glistened, her golden curls mussed and matted to her forehead. But none of that mattered now, not with him. Writhing above her, he would move quickly as her hands caressed his toned back. Feelings exploded in his light eyes, her fingers tugging through his dark locks, as he collapsed above her, spent now.

And she would continue to lie there, long after he had fallen asleep. His hand clutched hers loosely, their fingers intimately threaded together as he burrowed into the crook her neck. She would wait then, for a declaration she was certain would never come. Tortured artist Peyton was waiting for a love to fill her, to show her what she had always been missing. Cheerleader Peyton was thrilled to be wrapped around a basketball star. Teenager Peyton could almost feel the insecurities begin to rebuild, the walls that had crumbled restoring themselves so quickly she almost missed it.


But Human Peyton waited just a little bit longer, waiting for him to say what they both knew. Waiting for a reason why he chose her of all people, to make her such a large part of his life. She was waiting for him to tell her how he felt, so she could reciprocate, and feel a little less dirty. Or maybe she was just waiting for him to get up so they could do it again, and she could feel a little less lonely. She could push the guilt off for a while, to shed that skin when she found it convenient. Peyton Sawyer was a girl of many different layers, but they were all in agreement on him. She wanted him, with every part of her, and she had for as long as she had gotten to know him. The real him. Each layer cried out for him when he was so close, but so far away. She snuggled in closer to his side, the familiar scent of him surrounding her as she tried to lull herself to sleep.

Each night, the many parts of Peyton Sawyer would lay awake, waiting to be told that they were loved.

Waiting for words he could never say.

And then the song would end. The violin would swell out and away, leaving her alone and longing for its return. Long ago, she had stopped changing the song to this one. She found it was much better when it came of its own accord. Somewhere along the line, the song had become him, and manipulating him was a game she never could play. And so she would wait as her player shuffled the music, secretly praying for this particular number, to wait for the haunting melodies to sweep her away again.

It had been so many months since then. It was even longer since he had truly belonged to her. For every time in her life, Peyton's made herself a soundtrack. She's got hundreds of mix tapes from the times of him and her, and sometimes she pops them in, just for old time's sake. She's got heartbreak and elation, first time and first break up. It makes sense, because they're all for her first love. And it's only been around eight months since then, and yet she's fallen in love twice after. Hell, he's gotten married. And both of them got clobbered. So sometimes she likes to hang out in her bedroom and think about those times when the worst way someone could hurt her was to spit cruel words with no feeling behind them.

She was pissed. No, pissed didn't even describe it. It couldn't even begin to describe it. As she plucked her rare import C.D. from the grass near the River Court, his truck's exhaust fumes filled her lungs. The tires squealed as he got further and further away from her. She stomped her foot in agitation, yelling something about her records before stopping. How pathetic had she gotten? Her boyfriend just tossed her from his car and she was pissed that her music hit the ground? She had miles to walk before she was by her house. Not to mention, she looked like a complete hoe, standing there in a Tree Hill Ravens cheerleading uniform, which was arguably disheveled due to their previous activities. A faint blush crawled her up neck, settling somewhere around her cheeks. She felt the anger within her grow stronger. Only thoughts of him could arouse her when she was feeling so otherwise enraged. Hearing a ball bounce somewhere on the courts behind her, she knew without a doubt who she would find there. And if he was good for nothing else, Lucas Scott would always be a reliable ride home.

No, no, no. She could live without memories of being stranded. She's been left alone too many times to count, and if she wanted memories of abandonment, she could draw on much more recent ones. She flips the C.D., knowing that better memories are attached.

"It smells like sex in here," she remarked, trying to hold in the laughter at the horrified expression on Haley James's face. This was back when she was a brunette, with straight hair, a tutor with the last name James. Back when she could still stand her. Back when she still called Tree Hill home. On a runway onto feet to their left, stood an immaculately sculpted Nathan Scott in only a pair of basketball shorts, him having stripped off the jacket and warm ups that had previously clothed him. He flexed, hamming it up for the crowd. That was Nathan for you—milking the spotlight for all that its worth. She tried not to get jealous, but the expressions on just about everyone in the room (excluding Nathan's mother Deb, but including all her friends standing around her) could only be described in one way—hunger. Nathan Scott was as Nathan Scott always was: hot. And it was times like these where it was hard to remember that things between them were a thing of the past.

"Bet on Nathan!" her doe eyes were wide and pleading, and Peyton jolted from her thoughts.

"What?" she asked incredulously. Honestly, out of all the people Haley wanted her boyfriend to spend the night with, it was the one he actually confirmed that he'd slept with? Peyton would never understand her friend's train of thought. Actually, she turned to her left to make a snippy comment about exactly that. That's where Brooke would usually be standing. This was when she remembered exactly why Brooke wasn't standing with her, or speaking to her for that matter, and suddenly hanging out with Nathan seemed like a very, very bad idea. Still, she couldn't resist the pleading tone in Haley's voice, and as her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend was the only friend she had at the moment, who was she to resist?

"I knew you still wanted me," he grinned at her, and she tuned out the rest of his sentence, preferring to give an exaggerated eye roll at his hubris. He hugged his girlfriend goodbye and they exchanged promises to see each other later.

"Alright, let's get this over with," he grumbled at her, beginning to walk off. She raised a pale eyebrow in his direction.

"Funny. That's what he used to say before we'd have sex," Peyton quipped, watching the expression on her new friend's face fall with a suppressed laugh as she began to run, jumping on top of Tree Hill's star basketball player.

That night was the most fun she'd had in a long, long time. She was a little on edge for most of it, trying hard not to make all the same mistakes she'd made with Brooke and Lucas regarding Nathan and Haley, given all the double entendres in his speech that night. But honestly, she had missed this. She missed Nathan. They were close long before drama seeped in, and once upon a time, they used to have fun. There were nights at Wrightsville Beach, where it was just them and the stars, nights that she couldn't forget even if she wanted to. Peyton Sawyer's new goal was to not live in the past, especially when she wasn't even that same person who'd lived it. Still, she couldn't help wallowing in misery's memories every once in a while. She knew that she'd better get a move on if she wanted to make it through all her depressing mix CDs tonight… she still had the Lucas and Jake volumes to go, and there were multiple in each category. Peyton was someone who believed that it wasn't enough to be miserable, but your pain had to be exquisitely sound tracked. She did a damn good job. But even though she had so many to choose from, Peyton Sawyer always found herself selecting the soundtrack of Nathan Scott. She always found herself missing him.

So I know what you're thinking... who is the person on the board with the least right to start a new story? Yes, that would be me. But I promise that all my stories will be updated more frequently now, as one of them is ending, and I've got a lot more time on my hands. But anyway, please review and let me know what you think, because this is really new territory for me.

Thanks for reading!

x Sam