"Okay," Brooke stares at her friends who are all crammed into a booth at Karen's, "and here's the entire plan of attack," Brooke holds up a pink folder as a demonstration.
"Plan of attack?" Peyton asks, "Brooke..."
"Don't Brooke me P. Sawyer," Brooke cuts off, "we have to have a plan of attack."
"Brooke, it's just prom," Haley attempts to reason with her this time.
"Just prom? Correction Tutor-Wife, it's not just prom. It's senior prom. The last big night of our high school careers, before you and your husband jet off to Stanford and Luke and I leave for New York and Miss Idaho over there..."
"O-hi-o, Brooke," Peyton carefully sounds the state name out for her, "Ohio, and it's a good school."
"Whatever," Brooke waves this off, "my point is that pretty soon we're all going to go off to the colleges we want to go to, but they're taking us all in different directions. This is our last chance."
"Brooke, we've still got graduation and the summer," Lucas attempts to soothe his girlfriends fears.
"It's prom!" Brooke insists throwing her hands in the air in frustration, "doesn't anyone else see that? We're all happy. Tutor-wife and Nathan are back to being happily married now that they've got the college thing worked out. Lucas and I are good. Peyton's good, right?"
"We're all happy Brooke, so why does prom have to be such a big deal?" Peyton asks.
"Guys," surprisingly it's Nathan who comes to Brooke's rescue, "it's prom. Doesn't everything in high school lead up to prom?" At the blank looks he receives from everyone, with the exception of Brooke, at the table he sighs, "guys. It's a dance, that everyone in high school gets excited about, and Brooke's right it's the last time that any of us will probably be completely free to just have fun. We start different lives in the fall..."
Haley rests her head on Nathan's shoulder and Brooke knows that she's got Haley on board for the fabulous prom she has planned as well, "so is everyone else in?" There are mumbles of agreement, but Brooke knows that Lucas and Peyton are less sure of her plan for the prom. Which included them heading the prom committee as well. But Brooke had this feeling, that everything would be over for her group of friends when they went their separate ways in the fall and even though she'd spent most of her high school career not holding on to too much she knew that her friends meant more to her then she even realized.
"Great," Brooke grins, "girl's we're heading to Charlotte next weekend to find some the perfect dresses and if we can't find dresses there we'll head to Raleigh...and boys here's a list of great tux shops." She pulls pages of computer paper out of her pink folder for Lucas and Nathan, "and here's a list of limo rental places we have to decide on, and of course we need to start making plans for the actual prom...I mean we have the place and the date reserved and the theme..."
"Brooke," Peyton cuts her off quickly, "we've been here, for about an hour listening to why we have to help you with prom, and why we should make a big deal about prom. Can we just give it a rest? Please?"
"Fine," Brooke sighs, "I'll g I've it a rest until tomorrow and then we've got to start planning. At 3:30."
"What's at 3:30?" Haley questions.
"We've got a prom committee meeting after school," Brooke can't help but smirk slightly at the groans that go around the table. Standing up she states, "listen, I'll buy lunch on me because you're just fantastic friends, even if you do complain a lot." This seems to cheer up the restless crowd and once she's taken orders Lucas stands as well with an offer to help.
"You okay Brooke?" Lucas asks once they've placed their order, waiting for Karen's newest hire to return with their drinks.
Brooke shrugs, "I don't know, it's just hard to think that everyone is going to be going away next year. And I'll have you but...I mean Peyton and I have been best friends since elementary school and..." Brooke can feel the tears well up in her eyes and she's glad that her back is facing her friends, she couldn't let them see her cry. "I dunno, I guess I just don't like change."
"Hey," Lucas wraps his arms around Brooke tightly, "it'll be okay, everyone will come back for holiday's and it's not like everyone's going to completely loose contact with each other."
"I know," Brooke nods pulling away, "but I just want one perfect night. Everyone's happy, for once. After all the drama of the last two years is it really to much to ask that we have one night that's just perfect?"
"Of course not," Lucas shakes his head, "but you can't just create a perfect night, it just has to happen that way."
"I'm trying to hard, aren't I?"
"Just a little," Lucas spreads his thumb and first finger apart to demonstrate.
"Just a little?"
"Okay a lot, you kind of went Nazi on Peyton when she asked if she could skip prom all together," Lucas informs.
"I'll try and lighten up, it's just that," Brooke takes a deep breath, "I've dreamed about prom since day one of high school."
"It'll be amazing, I promise," Luke states as the girl with the drinks returns. "Just relax."
"I'll relax," Brooke responds with a smile as she accepts two iced coffees, "but that doesn't get you guys out of the prom committee. As student body president I have to coordinate and I'm not going to coordinate some losers who have..." Brooke stops as her eyes land on a young man at the entrance of the café, she stumbles backwards as if the air has been knocked out of her both ice coffees slipping out of her grip. "Jason?" Her voice is soft and Lucas barely catches the name, but her actions have drawn the attention of the entire café.
Peyton glances Brooke who has paled considerably and has iced coffee dripping down her bare legs and quickly she follows her gaze to the doorway and at that she moves quickly toward Brooke. But Brooke doesn't notice the appearance of her best friend or her boyfriend's question, her eyes are still locked on the man, an apparition from a past she had long ago pushed into the depths of her soul. He hasn't changed much in the three years since she has last seen him, from his slightly shaggy jet black hair and olive skin to his worn jeans an simple green t-shirt.
"Peyton, who is he?" Lucas asks finally once he's realized that he won't be getting an answer from Brooke.
"Jason Theophilus," Peyton responds, "Brooke dated him freshman year."
Brooke ignores the exchange and crosses the distance between herself and Jason, he's taking her in as carefully as she had been him just moments ago, "what are you doing here?"
"I've moved back," Jason responds searching Brooke's face for any sign of anger or sadness, but all that is registered there, now is shock.
"What happened to college?" Brooke asks.
"Things changed," he lifts an arm and it's only now that Brooke realizes that he's holding a baby carrier.
"A baby?" Brooke's face turns a shade whiter.
"I didn't expect you to be here," Jason apologizes, "I wouldn't have sprung all of this on you if I had. I just got in town and needed some breakfast...I was going to let you know I was back in town. I'm sorry. We should talk."
"Not now," Brooke shakes her head, "I'm here with friends and...not now."
Jason looks over her shoulder and takes in Peyton and a blonde guy he doesn't know, "I understand. But there's some things I'd like to talk to you about...some things I need to apologize for."
"I'll call you," Brooke nods, "are you staying with your parents?"
Jason nods, "until I find another place, the number's the same."
A.N. So this is my new baby. But I promise to keep updating my other's. I hope you guys like this...it was uneventful but it'll get more interesting I promise! I'll be alternating between writing in the time that this chapter takes place and flashing back to when Jason and Brooke started dating and telling their story in flashbacks! Please review!