Sorry it has taken me so long to update, once again. I hope I still have a few readers left! Thank you so much for all the reviews. They mean the world to me, as I am always saying. I cannot say thank you enough. I have loved writing this story and am sad to say the next chapter will probably be the last. Don't worry though; I already have a new idea for a story, which I am going to try to write a lot of before I post so I can update more frequently. Anyways, thank you all again, and enjoy!
Chapter 17: Battlefield
"But, Dad…" She paused, her mouth dropping slightly. She was still taking all of this in and she didn't know exactly what to do. She was leaving. "I like it here." Her words were slow and her raspy voice spoke in a soft whisper.
"Brooke." He brought his hand to her shoulder in a somewhat, affectionate gesture. "You're going to like Chapel Hill, too." His lips curved into a smile, adding, "I promise."
She shook her head, trying to fight the tears that were forming. She hadn't dared to look at Nathan at all since her father broke the news. She knew if she did, it just might break her. "I have friends here." Her voice cracked at her words.
Finally, bringing her attention to the boy standing next to her, the tears she was so intent on fighting finally began to fall. Forcing her eyes away, she looked back at her dad, continuing, "People I care about are here."
His smiling features soon turned into a frown as he looked at his daughter. He had no idea why she was getting so upset; he hadn't seen her this way since her mother had past. "There's no need to get so upset, Brooke. This move will be good for us; for me. Especially after all that has happened…and besides, you're young. You'll be able to make new friends in no time."
"No, Brooke. Now, stop it." He grabbed the laptop that had been holding his attention before Brooke and Nathan had interrupted him. "We're moving, and that's final." And with that, he exited the kitchen, tension filling the air.
Brooke closed her eyes, the pain that filled her fathers eyes as he spoke to her began to take over her. The split with Deb had really taken a toll on him, whether he wanted to admit it or not. Brooke could see it; everyone could. However, tonight, as she looked at him, she saw it even more. Her father longed to get away, which is why he was so adamant about the move.
As much as she hated to admit it, she knew what she had to do, regardless of how badly it hurt.
"What are we going to do?" Nathan finally asked, after what seemed like hours of silence. They stood outside the house, on the driveway.
Brooke remained silent, slightly pacing back and forth. She had yet to look at Nathan since the few seconds her eyes met his in the kitchen during the "discussion".
Nathan grabbed a hold of her, not being able to take the silent treatment any longer. His strong hands forced her to finally look at him. "Brooke." He said, sternly.
"What?" Was all she could muster up the courage to say.
"What are we going to do?" He repeated, fully believing that she had zoned out, unable to hear him at the time; however, this was anything but true. She had heard him, but had wished she hadn't. We. The word killed her inside. It was the two of them, with one moving to a completely different city.
"Nothing." She whispered, a single tear streaming down her face. What could they possibly do? They were two kids in high school. Whether she liked it or not, her father called the shots. He was all she had left. So much pain had consumed him, and it terrified her. She couldn't beg him to stay when she knew just how much he needed to leave.
"Nothing?" Nathan asked, his voice had a confused undertone, and his facial expression revealed sadness. He brought his hands up to the appropriate sides of her face, making sure her eyes stayed with his. "I can't lose you."
And on key, the tears fell even more second by second; this time, she knew they wouldn't let up anytime soon. Pushing out of his grasp, she moved away from him. "What do you want from me, Nathan?" Her voice was rising with each word. "I'm moving….Moving. And there's nothing we can do about it."
"We can tell your dad about us. Maybe he'll change his mind."
Brooke couldn't help but laugh at the stupidity of his words. "You really think that's going to work? He finds out his only daughter and his ex-girlfriend's son slept together while they were, in fact, still together! Yeah, Nathan, he's really going to support our relationship."
Nathan shook his head, his temper quickly rising as she spoke to him in a very condescending tone; however, he refused to raise his voice like she had resorted to doing. "That's not what I meant, and you know it."
"Then what do you suppose we tell him?"
He smiled slightly to himself before moving forward, in her direction.
Her heart began to pound even harder with every step he took, not knowing what exactly he was going to do. And then, he finally reached her, her skin tingling, like always, as he brought his right hand to the left side of her face.
"That, I love you."
Her teary eyes, widened.
She wanted to kiss him. She wanted to say she loved him, too, a thousand times over, but, yet, she couldn't. It would just make things even more complicated than they already were.
Grabbing his hand from her cheek, she brought it down slowly until it reached his side, and then released her grasp.
His eyes watched her movement, intently, as he feared the words that were about to escape her lips.
"You shouldn't have fallen in love with me." She walked away from him abruptly, towards the house; refusing to look back.
Nathan slammed his fist down into his car that was parked beside him.
Unbeknownst to him, he and Brooke had been anything but alone, outside.
She hadn't slept; she couldn't. All she did was toss and turn, playing her conversation with Nathan over and over again as if it were a scene in a movie that was forever being put on rewind.
She loved him, more than he would ever know. And it scared her how quickly she had fallen for him, and him for her.
But, she also loved her father. After losing her mother, she made a promise that she would do whatever she could to keep her father with her. "Mom." She unconsciously spoke out into the darkness that filled her room.
Her mind went back to a moment she shared with her mother when she was younger, around the age twelve.
"Baby, can you set that box in my room for me?" Her mother asked as she walked into their new, smaller home, after leaving Tree Hill.
"Sure." Was all she mumbled before doing as she was asked. Once inside the bedroom, she put the box on her mother's bed. She could see several picture frames inside the box, peaking her interest.
Upon opening the box, she was consumed with images of her father and mother, happily in love. As usual, she fought back tears that surfaced. Dropping all frames but one, back into the box, she exited the room, finding her mother in the exact same location.
"What happened with you and dad?" She asked abruptly, causing her mother to bring her attention to her, rather quickly.
"Brooke…" Her mother warned her, spotting the picture frame in her smaller hands.
"I don't ever want to fall in love if this is what happens in the end." She dropped the picture, angrily before walking quickly to her new, empty bedroom.
Brooke's mom quickly followed suit, making her way towards her room. Upon entering, she found Brooke sitting on the floor, Indian style; she mimicked her actions. "I never want to hear you say that again, do you understand?"
Brooke's bowed head and slumped shoulders straightened. "Why? I never want to end up like you and dad…always fighting and miserable. Were you ever happy?"
Her mother smiled at her question. "Yes, very."
"Then why aren't you together anymore?" Brooke began to cry with this question, the pain of her parent's separation was too much for her.
"Because sometimes people fall out of love."
Brooke shook her head, causing her mother to add. "It's hard, baby. But you know what helps me sometimes? Thinking about all the happiness I shared with your father." Brooke was silent, so she continued, "Love can be a great thing, but it can also be messy and complicated. That's how you know its love, though. It doesn't make sense, but yet it does. It hurts, but it's also the best feeling you'll ever experience." She took a deep breath, "Even if I knew what I know now, I still wouldn't have done anything differently. Love always has a happy ending, whatever shape or form that might be, and whether you see it or not."
Brooke smiled sadly.
"Look at my ending." Brooke's mom suggested.
"You're divorced, Mom. That's what love brought you."
Her mother laughed before shaking her head slowly. "No." She moved closer to her child, pulling her into a hug. "Love brought me you."
The tears Brooke thought would be long gone by now, began to come again. Just as she sat up to grab a tissue from her bedside table, a knock on the door interrupted her.
Her eyes moved from the door, to the clock beside her, reading 1:30 A.M. Quirking an eyebrow, she spoke loudly without a second thought, "Come in."