A/N: Please keep in mind that throughout this story, there are jumps in time. I hope it's not confusing but if there are any questions, just let me know.
One last thing, season four never happened…so, there is no Derek/stalker. I am keeping the fact that Haley was pregnant (just not with Jamie). All the rest should be clarified as the story goes on. If there are any questions, feel free to ask me. Now read on! And review, please.
June 2012, New York City – New York Times Office Building
The night was growing late but New York City was just coming alive. The office workers were off the clock and were out on the streets relieving the stress of the day - well, most of them anyways. There were some, like Lucas Scott, who enjoyed the quiet office atmosphere when everyone was gone.
The lights in the building were dimmed but the bulb on his desk was shining bright. Only the tapping sounds of his keyboard was heard as he typed his thoughts. Lucas worked for the New York Times. He wasn't a writer, yet. He was just a lowly fact checker. Becoming a writer or reporter for the most widely read newspaper wasn't easy for an unknown writer. That honour had to be earned and that's exactly what Lucas was doing – working his way to the top.
That night, however, he grew tired of reading other people's work. He was working on something more important, to him anyways. It was his journal. It was a place where he could write his deepest thoughts and bear his soul. A place where he could think of her and wonder where she had been hiding all these years. He thought about her often and tried a number of times to find her, but each time he ended up right back to where he started – with nothing.
After saving his latest journal entry, 'x-ed' the window close. He rubbed his tired eyes before checking the time.
It wasn't really late at all – at least not New York time – but it was getting late for him. He had one article left to check over before it was due to his editor at midnight. The cursor opened the article and Lucas began to get to work.
The World Wide Web of Genetic Testing
…with a few mouse clicks, consumers can… trace their ancestry back to the time of Genghis Khan…to identify the sex of their fetus as few as five weeks into pregnancy and to give advice on diet or exercise...
It wasn't an interesting article but it was easy for Lucas to track down each source. Using his previous experience and connections, Lucas was able to finish it with ten minutes to spare. It was ready for its final round of editing before it could be sent to printers in two hours time. He sent the file attachment to his editor and sank back into his chair. Another day was done.
As he leaned back, the picture on his desk caught his eye. He couldn't help but smile at the old high school picture. It was taken the night of Peyton's breast cancer benefit concert for Ellie. Peyton stood in the middle beside Brooke and Haley. Nathan had his arm around his wife and Lucas stood beside his girlfriend. That was senior year, before the school shooting; before Keith's death; before Uncle Cooper's death; before Peyton revealed her true feelings…before everything changed for all of them.
Throughout everything over the years, Nathan and Haley's relationship only became stronger and their family became bigger. They were now the proud parents of three children – Cooper, Andrew and baby Lauren. Proud Uncle Lucas kept in touch with the Scott family through phone calls and emails.
Lucas didn't keep in touch with Brooke or rather she didn't keep in touch with him. No one could blame her. He had broken her heart – twice – and it was always because of the same reason. No matter how hard he tried, he just never could give Brooke his heart and soul. It just belonged to someone else - Peyton Elizabeth Sawyer.
He let his eyes focus on her face. The corner of his lips curled into a smile. He missed her dearly. What he would give just to see her again – to feel that electric shiver in his body when she was near. The last time Lucas saw her was five years ago and the last time he spoke with her was two years ago. In fact, no one had. Once she left Tree Hill, she never came back. She didn't keep in touch with anyone, no matter how hard they all tried to contact her. It was as if she disappeared on the face of the earth without a trace.
Trace…mouse click…the world wide web…searches…
Thoughts of the article Lucas had just fact checked flooded his mind. Abruptly, he sat up and reached for his mouse. He double clicked his internet browser and signed on. He quickly pulled up the Google search page. In the white rectangular box, where the black cursor blinked, Lucas typed in her name – Peyton Sawyer.
It was worth a shot. Throughout her teenage life, Peyton used the internet as an outlet. In junior year she created her own webpage and allowed viewers to watch her through her webcam. The webcam window was black. The page hadn't been updated since 2005. Lucas bookmarked the page before closing it.
Her old myspace page loaded onto his screen and few seconds later, the myspace player started to play, causing Lucas to jump. He quickly turned the volume of his speakers down after recognizing the song. It was an old Dashboard Confessional song – Rapid Hope Lost.
You called to say you wanted out.
Well, I can't say I blame you now.
Sometimes you've got to fold
Before you're found out.
Well thanks for waiting this long to show yourself.
Lucas turned the song off. He needed to concentrate on his search. He was looking for clues – anything that would help him track her down. His blue eyes scanned the page but his lips smiled at all the goofy high school pictures that were left on the page. Then he noticed the date of her last sign in page - June 18, 2010 – two years ago, which was the last time he ever spoke to her.
Another dead end. Lucas bookmarked the page and closed the page. He clicked on the next link. It was Peyton's Blogger page where she posted all of her podcasts. There were no new or updated podcasts.
Lucas sighed in defeat. As with the other pages, he bookmarked her page but he didn't close it. He moved his cursor over her podcast and began downloading her past and inner most thoughts.