This was written for the OTH Writers 911 Summer of Challenges. Also, while sleep deprived and medicated, so kindly don't hold it against me, lol.

And So Were You to Me

Accidents do happen, they've always said, and people will nod and smile until they believe it themselves. Sometimes truth is too hard to comprehend, so we tell lies to make it through the day. The only catch is that somewhere, somehow, there's always proof to the contrary. And somewhere, in the bottom drawer of a desk in the east wing of Thud Magazine's headquarters, beneath records dating from the last five years, lays a letter, faded with time, fraying at its corners. It is, by no means, an extraordinary piece of paper, as age yellows it steadily. Its message though was far different from any other Letters to the Editor that they had received.

Before you sigh, roll your eyes, or prepare for another squealing pseudo-badass's praises, I guess I should warn you that I'm about as far from badass as you once said Gwen Stefani is. In fact, I bought the new Beyonce CD. If that doesn't tip you off, God knows what will. But I suppose that I should re-introduce myself, because it's been a while. My name is Brooke Davis, and I'm a style icon. But before I was any of that, I was a Barbie, with a broad smile and plastic friends. I was a lonely child, who desperately needed a family. And so were you to me.

For my entire life, people have had these expectations of me. For my parents, I was supposed to be the perfect child, cute and docile, speaking only when spoken to. I needed glossy, flowing hair, deep dimples and a sparkle in my eye. And dammit, would you look at that, it seems that was all I ever needed. As I got older, I needed little more than a toned body and a suggestive wink. For the boys, I was supposed to be their goddess, untouchable but so often touched. It was probably the easiest part of my life, when you couple the lack of guilt with the escape it provided me. It was easy to forget exactly who was above me when their pounding echoed the pounding in my head, or the breaking of my heart.

Just when I thought I was doomed, that it would be empty forever, you came along. You were something else, something different completely, Peyton. You were so sad, and so lonely, and so afraid, and I could identify with you so well, because I had felt the same for so long. Neither one of us had a true family, people to come home to when the times got hard, so we became that for each other. I started to need you more than I could say, and I knew you understood, regardless of how flippant I would act. That's just my way, and for some reason, you accepted that with shocking ease. Hoes over bros, buds over studs. I couldn't imagine life any other way. Guys would come and go, but you would always be there, because what I'd built with you was what I saw as forever.

And then along came a boy by the name of Lucas Eugene Scott, the only man whose arms would ever feel like home. I guess the only problem is that you felt the same way. I wonder sometimes how the hell it's even possible that two girls, so different in both looks and tastes, could fall so hard for just one boy. I ponder more often how we could let him tear us apart.

The first time, he chose you. It stung. I'm not going to lie, as that's never been my way. It hurt like hell that the only boy I'd ever given a rat's ass about was yet another one to fall under the spell of the Peyton Sawyer. Maybe what hurt the most wasn't that he'd picked you over me, but that you'd picked him over me. Because that's exactly what you did, every damn time your lips met his and you forgot all about his sad little Brookie.

I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound so bitter over that. I know that I forgave you, and God, I hope you know that I really did forgive you then. It's just rehashing it, I suppose, that's become the mental equivalent of yanking off a Band-Aid at super-speed. Remember, how your dad did it once? It was so hard, and so fast, that I'm damn sure he yanked every hair out of its pore. The expression on his face was priceless though.

And do you remember that snow day, in sixth grade? I came over to your house, and we built a snow fort. It was the primadonna preteen in me that demanded we have a tunnel, but you know you loved it. We played in that thing for hours and hours. It felt like we had a world of our own, where nothing could ever possibly touch us. But then it got cold outside, and it finally started to seep in.

What the hell happened to us, Peyt? Before boys or booze, you were everything to me, a sister in all ways but blood. How could we let ourselves be torn apart, when it used to be us against the world?

You know that senior year started off with a bang. It seemed like everything was falling into place, even if it didn't quite make sense yet. Lucas loved me, even if I couldn't be with him, and Tutor Girl was back, even if no one was ready to accept her again as Tutor Wife, and you and I were cool. Everyone had their problems, but when don't we all have problems? That's what life is, problem after problem, figuring them out and fixing what you can. That's why I don't understand what I've become, why I can't seem to fix a damn thing. I had that ridiculous chart drawn up on your closet the night of the beach party. Sometimes, when it gets very quiet, I can still remember the last time we were really together. I can hear myself screaming "He's on the damn door under me", and I can see so vividly the look on your face.

The question I've always wanted answered, but I could never bring myself to ask it, is why. Why would you do that to me? You've seen me through my entire fucking life, you know that I was at my best when I was with him. I have no idea what it was about him, but he made me want to be different. When anyone else looked at me, if they saw a bitch or a slut, I could care less. But with him, I always wanted my heart on my sleeve, his for the taking. But there was always you, and I was always so damn insecure.

You told me that you had feelings for him, and something inside me snapped. I couldn't see you anymore, I couldn't see straight. All I could see was Lucas's bedroom out of the corner of my eye, you and him front and center on the webcam. It felt like a thousand knives, taking aim at my heart, and all I wanted was protection. I just wanted to be safe. You had told me over and over again before I left for California that you were over it, you were over him. You loved Jake, I know you did. Why couldn't you just stick with him? Why couldn't you just pick a fucking guy, Peyton, and spare us all?

As you know, that was the last time you and I spoke. It was junior year all over again, with you chasing after me, begging for forgiveness, and I equally disinclined to relent. You chose him over me again, and I figured it was time to get on board with that recent trend. This time though, shock of all shocks, the boy wanted me.

I'm not sure if you know, but Lucas and I went to Duke, as did Nathan and Haley. It didn't seem to make any sense to separate when it was so clear that we were all bound to be one big happy family. They were all so thrilled and delighted, and I could only fake it to try and keep up. I knew that there was only one person who would understand that I just didn't know how to do the family thing, and it was the one person who'd always understood. It was the one person I'd swore I'd cut out of my life. It was you.

I know that you went up to New York, through Bevin. She was always too scattered, God love her, to realize that I was pumping her for information. I also hear you're single now, for quite possibly the first time in ages. I don't want you to be unhappy or alone, Peyton, that's never what I'd want for you. However, if all that just means that you've finally learned how to stand up on your own two feet, good for you. Make me proud, P. Sawyer.

Now, this part, I'm fairly certain you don't know, but you're the only one who could understand. We were at Duke because the boys and Haley got scholarships, and Daddy would toss as much money as necessary at me to keep me "happy". But I don't know, I was sitting at this publicity event, and I had this sudden moment of clarity, thinking that maybe this was wrong. I had never questioned any of it before, knowing that being with Lucas, surrounded by the truest of love, was the simplest and most obvious right answer. Sitting there in my Valentino dress though, I couldn't help but think for the first time that maybe I was meant for something more. I decided right then and there that if my destiny was to be the trophy, the loving and supportive girlfriend/wife of Lucas Scott, than so be it. I just couldn't resign myself to it without knowing what else was out there.

I left that night, for an internship at a major fashion label that I'd been offered many months before, that they'd graciously extended. And it was such an amazing feeling, to do something that I loved and know that I was really and truly good at it. Nobody was going to cut me any breaks, or do me any favors just because I was Brooke Davis, because there were a million other rich girls who'd broken their own hearts who could just as easily fill my Jimmy Choos if I wasn't worth the risk. Whenever I was in New York, it was always first instinct to look you up. Some days, I wish I had. Now I run my own company, which I'm sure you've heard of. It's doing really well. I have everything I wanted, and everything I wished for. So naturally, I've lost even more.

Lucas doesn't understand. How could he? So he isn't taking my calls, and he's refusing to see me. It doesn't hurt as much as I'd thought it would, because I brought it on myself. You and I know all too well that anticipation of pain is always worse than the real thing. I'd spent months prepping myself for the greatest fall of all time, and he didn't leave me unfulfilled. He never had. It was never the same with anyone else, because I just didn't feel the same way when they kissed me. But he wouldn't do it anymore, so I just kept on kissing and kissing until it all started to blur together.

So here I am, twenty-five years old. You're the editor in chief of Thud, and I'm happy for you, Peyton. Beneath the ice and bitch, you have an amazing heart, and you deserve the world. And as for me… I'm back where I've started, a pointless journey to get back to the beginning. I'm surrounded by "frenemies", same as high school, only better dressed.

I'm paying dearly for promises broken so freely. But it's surprising, to you I know, and even to me, that the person I really long for now is you. We'd always had such an easy friendship, where everything just seemed to click, and all our differences faded away. That's what love is, you know? I've condemned you before, but I've been no angel, so maybe this is what's coming to me.

I'd just give up all these diamonds for the start of senior year, and just the slightest chance at happiness. Nothing can ever replace all that I've left behind, and not even this glamorous life can banish the aching in my head. Boys couldn't, booze couldn't, it's only fitting that bronze can't.

Send Nathan and Haley my love, please. Tell them that I wish them a lifetime of happiness, because no one could possibly be more deserving. They gave us all hope, even at their lowest points, and they have a true relationship, where they love and respect each other, so they work things out. Haley was my best friend, but she was never you. Did you know I missed you? Oh God, I missed you.

That's not the most bizarre of my requests, because I want this letter to come in the most B. Davis-oriented fashion possible. Not even I can believe I'm going to write this, but, uh… be with Lucas. I know that I've stood in the way for all this time, but if you guys can feel some deep and lasting connection, I want you to go for it. I want you to fight for it. Even more importantly, I want you to make sure that he's happy without me. We both know what it's like to be alone.

It's pathetic, because I'm so fucking wealthy. I'm gorgeous, and I'm smart, and I could have the world on a string. But all I have left are dreams of days that are so long gone, and memories that will never, ever fade. Just know that now, when I think of you, I don't see the last time we spoke, or the times we cried over boys, or laughed over beers. I see an eleven year old Peyton Elizabeth Sawyer, with bouncing bright curls, and pale cheeks gone bright red from the cold, as the snow fell all around us. I see the only real family I've ever known. Goodbye my sister-- that's what you were to me.

XO Brooke P. Davis

The anticipation of pain was always far greater than the pain itself, or so they'd always believed. Still, not even the eerie feeling, deep down in her gut that the world was about to be changed yet again was enough to lessen the pain for Peyton Sawyer, as headline news read the next day "The Search for Fashion Maven Brooke Davis Intensifies." Nor did it get any easier on the days when the papers read "Losing Hope" or when they finally starting searching for a body. The sensation her childhood best friend had described, of having a thousand knives with only you as a cutting board, was the most serious of understatement on the day when the papers read that fashion icon Brooke Davis's body had been found, along with her car, in a river two miles from her home. A tragic accident, to be sure.

The letter that would change that thought rested in Peyton's desk, even now. She couldn't bring it home, for fear that Lucas would find it, and a new can of worms would tear apart their tender group. As it was, their marriage was rocky. Still, she pulled it out from time to time, tracing her nail gingerly over the loopy script she'd watched her childhood best friend perfect over the years. She would absently count the tear drops on the page, wondering which Brooke's were and which were hers.

"Peyt, come on. Nate and Hales are here, with Brookie," she could hear her new husband call from downstairs, and hastily, she shook her head to clear her thoughts. She didn't have to see Lucas to be able to visualize the pain that had flitted through his eyes as he uttered that last name. She had long since stopped doing a double-take, but it had taken her longer than she'd care to admit to adjust to Nathan and Haley's first-born daughter, Brooke Elizabeth Scott, and how the sparkle in her eye could conjure up images of her namesake.

The only one who hadn't adjusted, in fact, was Lucas. It was easy to tell, by the husk of his voice or the pain in his eyes, that he hadn't forgotten, nor would he ever forgive himself. She would have picked up on it, she's sure, even if she hadn't stayed up many nights, listening to him silently cry. Or if she hadn't found his "Brooke box", full of pictures and letters and coasters and confetti. It didn't even hurt, really. By now, Peyton thought she'd long exceeded her capacity for feeling pain. Some nights, she'd cry along with him, leaving a gap between the two in the large bed. It was only fitting, as there were three in their relationship, there always had been, and now Brooke was so firmly engrained that to pretend otherwise would be easier than chewing off a limb.

When she closes her eyes at night, she wonders if it's a blessing or a curse that Brooke had bestowed upon her as her final wish. She was, it turns out, the only one to have gotten a letter from the beautiful brunette, a letter she'd long since come to realize was a suicide note. Brooke Davis's parting words to a world that had both adored and abused her were in the form of a letter to a girl who had also done both. She would carry them with her forever, sacred as they should be, because after all this time, she loved her. It wasn't Fashion Icon Brooke, or even Barbie Brooke. It was the little girl who wore a tiara out in public, and requested a tunnel in their fort, as her eyes morphed into the brightest of greens. It was the girl who'd come to her crying so many times, or who served as the shoulder for her when things got to be too much. It was her best friend, and neither years nor death would ever change that.