A/N: This fic is my second attempt at a long fic. The updates will not be as fast as What I Deserve...but I do promise at least once a week. This is a future fic. This first chapter will pretty much sum it up for you. Hope you like it! Please review!
Disclaimer: I don't own One Tree Hill.
Chapter One: Fake Smiles, Real Tears
Peyton Sawyer has been smiling for a very long time. She's been smiling so much her cheeks hurt. Long ago she was told she had a beautiful smile. She never believed it though. Because how could something so beautiful be something she forced herself to wear everyday. Peyton didn't smile because she was happy. She smiled because it was what everyone else wanted her to do. She smiled for her three children Elizabeth, Anna and Marissa. She smiled for her co-workers to pretend she had a perfect life. She even smiled for her husband. Because she didn't want him thinking he wasn't making her happy.
He was the reason she couldn't really smile. Her husband of six years. She had been in love with him since the moment they shared their first kiss. Not a moment went by that she ever doubted her love for him. But she didn't have his heart. Her husband was in love with someone else. Someone who had left him his senior year in high school never to return. Her husband, Lucas Scott, was still pining for her former best friend, Brooke Davis, after eight years.
Peyton never thought she'd ever date Lucas after she and Brooke had their falling out. In fact, she never thought she'd see him again. She was hell bent on packing up and heading to Savannah to live with Jake. She knew that she'd never love him like she loved Lucas, but he loved her and she hoped that eventually she'd feel the same. She had just gotten out her suitcase when Lucas showed up in her room, his eyes red and puffy. Brooke beat her to the punch, packing up and leaving for New York.
That's the thing. You can't deny the person you love. Even though her head knew that the best thing she could do was leave then, her heart told her not to leave. Not after everyone else had. She knew what it was like to be abandoned by someone you loved. So she stayed that night and held him as he cried. Eventually, the tears stopped. But the pain was still there. She could see it. She knew him better than anyone else. Even his precious Brooke.
She should have never married him. She knew that from the very beginning. She could still remember his unceremonious proposal. Had they even really dated? No. They just sort of hung out. They laughed and watched comedies. They went to basketball games and out shopping. Then one day, a hurricane hit. The storm was raging outside and he couldn't do anything but stare out the window. She studied him carefully from her couch. She had a feeling he was thinking about Brooke as his eyes traced the path of the drops down the window. She tentatively walked up to him and placed her hand on his shoulder.
"It's ok," she whispered softly. He turned his head to face her, staring deeply into her eyes. She felt her breath catch in her throat.
"I love you," he said turning his body away from the window. She knew he didn't mean it. Not like she wanted him to mean it. But it didn't stop her from responding.
"I love you too," she said trying to smile to reassure him. It would be the first of many forced smiles. She added in a barely audible voice, "I always will." That was all he needed to hear. Within seconds, his lips were on hers.
She knew it was wrong. She knew he wasn't thinking about her as those lips descended on her neck, as those hands pulled her shirt off and carried her to the bed. He wasn't very gentle. It was raw and passionate. She knew it was his anger at Brooke that fueled it all. He was thinking of her. But she accepted it. Because she had wanted this since junior year of high school. And she wasn't going to give it up. No matter how much rationality tried to make her see otherwise.
Afterwards, they lay in bed with her back facing him and their legs in a tangled mass. She could tell he was still awake. His breathing was hardly shallow and left a hot mark on her neck where his head was currently buried. He drew small circles on her stomach.
"Peyt," he croaked after a few hours of total silence.
"Yeah?" she responded, biting her lip. She figured he was ready to call her a mistake again.
"Marry me." She turned in his arms and stared up into his eyes. She saw the fear. She brought her hand up to trace his jaw line. She knew what she should have said. This wasn't her soul mate. She would never have his heart. And he was only asking because she was there. She could be anyone at this point.
"Sure," she said as her mind screamed no over and over again. It was something about those eyes which made it impossible to say no to.
Two months later she was sure that she shouldn't be engaged. Lucas spent most of his time brooding in their newly bought apartment. He hardly looked at her. Barely touched her. Even the kisses for company were empty. She felt sick to her stomach at the idea of spending the rest of her life with a man who didn't love her. So she planned to flee to Savannah like she had before vacation. She packed her bags and headed for the airport. But clearly, divine intervention kept her from stepping foot out of Tree Hill.
She didn't see the minivan turning left as she rolled off the stoplight. She was too busy thinking about how she was going to explain her sudden appearance to Jake. The minivan tore into the passenger side of her black convertible. She wasn't hurt, just cut up a bit. Still the paramedics had to take her to the hospital. She was waiting in the Emergency Room behind curtain three when Lucas arrived, tears in his eyes. The look of confusion in her eyes was quickly hidden in the crook of his neck as he swooped down to hug her.
"Are you ok?" he asked softly as he pulled back from their embrace and moved a curl from her face.
"I'm fine," she whispered, "Just a little shaken up."
"I was so afraid I was going to lose you. I can't lose you," he cried, "I can't loose another person." She felt a pang of guilt stab at her chest.
"It's ok, Luke. I'm fine," she plastered a smile on her face. He either didn't notice or didn't have enough energy to care how fake the smile was. They stayed in each other's embrace for a long time. He was afraid she'd disappear. She was afraid he'd never hold her again. He slowly pulled away.
"They said that you had some suitcases in your car," He brought his heavy gaze to her eyes. Her mouth opened up in shock. How could she explain it? How could she ignore the pain in those eyes?
"Luke, I-" Just as she went to explain herself, the doctor entered the room. And minutes later she learned that she was pregnant with Elizabeth. And she knew at that moment she was trapped with Lucas. They eloped the next day.
Her pregnancy wasn't that bad. Lucas was so happy to hear she was pregnant, he forgot all about the suitcases. He tended to her every need. Treated her like a total princess. And she almost forgot that he wasn't in love with her. That was of course until another rainstorm hit and she find him already in bed at night with his back to her. And just like she always did she's curl up behind him and hold him. Because she hated seeing him like this.
Once Elizabeth was born, the tenderness wore thin. He was still attentive, but not like a husband should be. She knew he did it out of duty and not out of wanting. He was a good father. She'd never deny that. He was the one who jumped out of bed for the one a.m. feedings and insisted on putting the baby to bed. And Peyton could only settle for the fact that she gave him something Brooke never did. A child. But would it ever be enough?
Two more children later, Peyton had her answer. She and Lucas could play the part very well now. But it was only that. Acting. They held hands and exchanged small kisses. But it was all empty. Because as soon as people stop watching, his arm would withdraw from her waist and her smile would fade. When they were home alone and the children were asleep, they'd sit or lay in silence. And occasionally when the urge moved them, they'd have sex. No words would escape from their mouth. When it was over, he'd look out the window, staring at nothing and she'd retreat back to her side of the bed and cry herself to sleep. And that's where Peyton Sawyer was at in her life. Married with three kids and yet somehow all alone.