"My Story" by Caley, a.k.a. Cayster and Kid-Loves-Indie.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own "One Tree Hill" or its characters, so don't sue me! I'm getting nothing from posting this piece of fanfiction.

Summary: Peyton analyzes her life during the aftermath of Derek's ambush and Lucas is there to help her on her path of an emotional recovery. Peyton centric, LP. One shot.

Author's notes: This story is told from first person perspective through Peyton's eyes.

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Ever since I could remember, I've been subconsciously risky. It started when my mom died when I was nine. I don't know why I started playing these makeshift games of Russian Roulette, I just did because the rush of blood to my head or the adrenaline that coursed through my body numbed my emotional pain.

It started off slow. I would hold my breath to the point of having a black out or I would jump in Brooke's pool-- when her parents weren't around, of course-- fully clothed and sink down to the bottom… just waiting for my mind to overcome my natural instincts. When I would resurface gasping for breath, I always enjoyed the pounding of my fresh headache and the burning of my lungs. Brooke just stared at me with a quiet, contemplative look as if she was witnessing beauty in the breakdown and she didn't have a voice or opinion that could save me. She knew I enjoyed the risk and self-deprecation because it helped me forget about my mom for once… my guilt for once.

Then when I became a teenager the risks started to pick up. I would go to a party and drink until I passed out. I didn't care if I woke with my head threatening to split in two or the painful blurred vision— I was drinking my sorrows away. Brooke was there to make sure no guys fondled me or took advantage of me, but I sometimes I secretly wished that she wouldn't just so the experience of waking up in someone else's bed would consume my thoughts more than the absence of my mom.

Other times, I would hitchhike on the highway. Brooke didn't know of this one though or else she would've stopped me from doing it. Rarely ever did someone pull over and offer a ride, and when they did, it was usually a minivan packed with a family. I felt the urge to say yes to middle-age single men though, but luckily my sixth sense would overcome my recklessness or else I probably would be a missing person by now.

By the time I was sixteen though, I started flirting with disaster in a very symbolic way. I would floor my gas pedal and run red lights, hoping that I would get hit just like my mom did when she was coming to pick me up from school. It never happened though, and each time it never happened, I became more and more angry with myself.

Anger was another addiction of mine: I would use any excuse to be angry just because it was better than feeling my heart sink lower and beat heavier than when I was sober with normalcy. Nathan and Brooke were the two people I used as my personal punching bags. They both understood why though and rarely ever yelled back; they just let me hit them verbally over and over again until I would reduce to tears before them.

Then Lucas came around. For some reason, he saw past my venomous anger and saw me as a broken soul just waiting for someone to save me from myself. He took the initiative and kept coming to me, talking about my art, my guarded walls, and my emotional distraught. He was honest, brutally honest sometimes, but he was very kind.

Soon I found myself falling in love with him. His savior-like mentality when it came to me made me see myself as beautiful and worth loving for once. It's not that Nathan and Brooke didn't do that, it's just that they let me become bitter and cynical and vengeful against myself. They thought that it would help me out with my issues, but it did the exact opposite— it made me hate myself.

It's been a year and half since Lucas entered my life and I'm still in love with him. He's still saving me even when I don't want him to. Maybe it's because he knows me better than I know myself. Or maybe it's because he's the only one who's ever cared to just stop and see the destruction I was causing myself to endure.

I've had to deal with the death of my biological mom, my short addiction with cocaine, and the loss of Brooke as my best friend. Things got messy when I told Brooke that I loved Lucas and she took it as a betrayal. I guess I couldn't blame her.

But something really amazing happened: when I thought I lost everything, a brother came into my life. I had a living relative besides my estranged father! His name was Derek and he was a few years older than me. He was an aspiring photographer with the same eclectic taste for music as me. We meshed really well, maybe too well for Lucas. You see, a few days after meeting Derek, Lucas started getting this weird vibe from him. He kept silent about it or cracked open some fresh sarcasm, but I never saw past the cookie-cutter brother I gained.

I was wrong though.

Lucas' suspicions were dead on, but I found out too late for my own good. Derek easily walked into my house, redecorated my bedroom with his numerously sick photographs of me since Junior year, and waited for my arrival outside. Luckily, Lucas called me in time to tell me that Derek was still on the loose and when I turned around, he was there.

I ran as fast as I could into my house and up the stairs and to my bedroom, locking it shut right in the nick of time. All of those years of risk and self-loathing led up to this moment. If I never had the urge to torture myself, I would've never installed a webcam or a podcast to let predators prowl my room and my life virtually. But the ecstasy of not knowing who was watching my every move gave me a thrill and drowned out my depressing memories. All of that shit came to a test that night-- I was finally feeling the repercussions of my deprecation.

For what seemed like hours upon hours, I was emotionally and mentally tortured by someone else other than myself. Derek would shout through the door about how much I teased him over the years by prancing around my room in nothing but my underwear or how much he loved it when I would wear my hair in a ponytail because the sight of my neck was a better feeling than that of lithium, cocaine, and sex put altogether. Hearing him exasperatedly cry about how we were meant to be together chilled me to the bone. Fear numbed me to the point where I couldn't move.

Everywhere I looked in my room instilled more fear in me because pictures of me through windows, or far away, or walking down the street, or even sitting at lunch tables in the court yard at school were everywhere.

"Peyton, open the door!" Derek pleaded as he banged on the door. "I know that you feel the same way—the way you look at me just proves it."

Tears slid down my cheeks silently. My body ached with fear and shivered with anxiety. I couldn't look anywhere because everything was incredibly hellish and depicted his obsession.

The kicking stopped, but his ragged breathing continued. "Peyton…when I first saw you on your webcam, you were looking straight at it and I felt like you were looking at me! You were promising to be mine… you promised me! So, so open the door and then we can be together!"

I didn't say a word or move an inch. My mind couldn't connect anything together.

"Damn it!" Derek shouted as he started to beat the door again. "Open the fucking door, Peyton! I know you love me—I know you want to be with me! Every time you hugged me, I felt your heart speed up and, and how your voice would crack when you talked to me. Those moments alone makes this moment all the more sweet, so give me what you promised me over the webcam— let me have you!"

Finally my cries were audible. The exertion of keeping them silent was finally too much for my body to handle.


Suddenly, Derek shouted something that I couldn't make out and red and blue lights started flashing from outside my window. I rushed over to the window and saw that the police were outside grouping together ready to sweep through and save me. Relief overcame me quicker than any other confusing emotion, but that was forgotten when my door finally gave in to the physical force Derek used on it.

Derek fell into my room and looked at me with tears shining in his eyes. My fear came back to me for a moment, but then someone ran in and kicked Derek in the stomach—Lucas!

"You fucking freak!" Lucas mumbled under his breath. He kept kicking and punching Derek until the cops finally found all three of them and pulled Lucas away from Derek.

Derek's face was unrecognizable because of the blood covering it.

What happened after that, I do not know. It's all a blur to me now. Lucas was by my side the entire time though. He said that he brought me down to the medics and they checked over me—they said I was shocked. No, really? Sorry, sometimes my sarcasm spills in unexpectedly. Then the cops took photos upon photos of my room for the report and file on this evasive crime. When they finally deemed that it was okay for us to reenter the house and said that it was no longer a crime scene, I was fast asleep against Lucas' shoulder.

Lucas brought me back to his house. Karen made a fuss over me for the next few days and Lucas rarely left me alone. I'm thankful for his silent understanding of me; the last thing I wanted to be was alone.

I remember the strong hugs, the whispers of sweet consolation, and the chaste forehead kisses Lucas would give me time after time he was near me. The forehead kisses were followed by bittersweet smiles. Those smiles affected me the most— I knew he felt so much guilt for not being there when it all went down, for not being there sooner. But God! If he only knew he was my savior in all of this… this shit that happened to me. During those days he was my only source of comfort. For that, I am eternally grateful for his unquestionable understanding and reservation.

Days rushed by quickly until it was finally two full weeks since the gruesome night. I started to feel less and less paranoid about someone watching me and smiled more often. Finally, I decided to move back into my house. Lucas gave me a short, simple nod, but I could tell in his ever truth bearing eyes that he didn't want me to go back there. That's when I told him he was allowed to make any safety renovations to in my house which he deemed necessary. I wanted to silence his worries by letting him satisfy them by doing all of those changes himself.

So he started in my bedroom.

"So," Lucas said looking at my room, eyeing my computers ominously. He gave me a side glance for permission and my response was only a timid smile. That was all he needed because two seconds later he aggressively tore the webcam out of all of its outlets and then dropped it in the trash bag he held in the other hand.

Neither of us spoke a word for at least ten minutes as Lucas started to close all of my sites down that gave away too much information about my life.

He didn't look at me when he announced, "If you want any of these sites back up, you'll have to make them private, like your Myspace. Okay?"

I nodded slowly as I sat down on my bed. I felt like a fish out of water since I hadn't been in my room since that night. It was surreal and unnerving.

Then Lucas got up and scratched the back of his neck. At that moment, he saw my shiftiness.

"You okay?" Lucas whispered as he walked over to me.

Trying to hold back the tears stinging my eyes, I lied and nodded my head. Lucas huffed sadly and crouched down in front of me. He embraced me in a strong hug of comfort, "I knew this would be too soon."

I shook my head and replied shakily, "I can't just abandon my home, Lucas. This is where I've lived ever since I was born."

Lucas broke the hug and looked me in the eye. I could tell that he was so exasperated with conviction on this issue. "I know, Peyt, don't get me wrong. I know how much this house means to you, but it's only been two weeks since that fucking--"

"Luke," I softly said to ask him not to bring him up.

"Sorry," he apologized hardly above a whisper. "It's just that I don't want you to feel unsafe here and you obviously do and, God, what I wouldn't give to have you safe in your own home!"

His compassion was so endearing to me. His honest eyes were fiery and loving; I didn't know what overcame me in that moment to want to just grab him by the back of the neck and kiss him, but I controlled myself... like countless times before.

I grabbed one of his hands and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "Y'know, I wouldn't know what I'd do if you weren't helping me through this."

Lucas smiled a small smile and blushed slightly. He shook his head as he entwined his fingers with mine. "You don't need me, Peyton. You're so strong and amazing!" My eyes looked down at our hands, but he drew my attention back up to his eyes, "If anything, you just need to see that in yourself 'cause I see it in you."

His eyes danced when he said this and my heart skipped when I saw his sincerity. Unlike a few moments ago, I didn't stop myself from doing what I felt I should do.

I slowly edged towards his lips and kissed him softly.

It would be cliché of me to say that time seemed to stand still at that moment, but to hell with the fear of overused lines because it did: time stood there placidly while we kissed.

I finally pulled back leisurely and opened my eyes just as slowly. What I found was Lucas kneeling up to bring me back into a kiss…this one more passionate and expressive.

I couldn't believe what was happening! Of course I daydreamed about that moment for at least half of the year, but I didn't actually realize it could happen so seamlessly. It was the best kiss I ever experienced.

He broke the emotionally-vamped kiss and again took both of my hands and entwined them with his. Lucas looked at me in the eye once more and smiled the biggest smile I've saw commandeer his lips ever since that night. "I love you and I've loved you ever since the end of Junior year, I just… I just didn't come to terms with my feelings until I finally realized that I could lose you."

I could just feel the life within me just burst open like a blooming flower when I heard those three words escape his lips. A smile emerged that matched his as I cupped his face and said, "I love you, too!"

Five minutes after our feelings for each other were revealed, and a small make out later, Lucas got back to work on making my life and house more secure. He installed another lock on my front and back door and gave me both sets of keys. Lucas even promised that if I ever felt uneasy that he would spend the night over here to keep watch until the crack of dawn.

But when Lucas started to leave my house and head back home, he turned around and said the sweetest thing:

"I hope someday you'll see yourself like I see you, Peyt." He smiled happily and then followed it with more of a bittersweet air, "Don't blame yourself for this…whatever it is because seeing you broken kills me."

Then he turned on his heel with that goofy smile I adore and walked over to his Mustang and waved goodbye.

Ever since he said that to me, I can honestly say that I've tried to quit my old habits of self-deprecation. I may catch myself in the middle of an enticing internal conflict of wanting to speed down residential streets, but at least I'm having the conflict now whereas two years ago I would've just done it.

Lucas comes by my place and has to ring the doorbell now. He has his own set of keys— I gave him his the next day after he installed the new locks— but he feels better just waiting out there on my stoop until I come and greet him at the door. I think he does it more than just making sure that I'm safe, I think he does it because he thinks it's sexy that I have to come let him into my house instead of him just walking in like he used to. He's such a guy sometimes, but I love him nonetheless.

I have nightmares every so often about Derek coming back and watching me in the shadows, but when I wake up, I always find a text from Lucas wishing me sweet dreams of him in the shower. Like I said, he can be such a guy, but those texts cheer me up quicker than any serious murmurs could. And he knows that those texts make it easier for me to fall asleep; he understands me far more than I give him credit for sometimes.

Brooke came around the other day, which was unexpected since she didn't come by after the whole traumatizing experience like I hoped she would. She apologized for not, but I wouldn't let her apologize past that— I knew Brooke was sorry, so I didn't need to hear her say it. She's my best friend and fellow hoe, after all. She even said that she was happy to see that Lucas was my rock through it all, and I couldn't sense any envy in her voice, which made me even happier.

Soon we'll all graduate and go to the colleges of our dreams. It's sad to think about: everyone going their separate ways. But Lucas said that if I decided to go to Savanna for art school, he would follow me down there. I know though, that his dream of becoming a Tarheel is bigger than my hopes of going to that charming art school I spotted down south, so I applied to UNC and just got my admittance letter today. I'm going to surprise Lucas tonight when comes by for our date tonight; he's going to be so amped!

All in all, I've learned to enjoy life like Ellie made me promise her and I've learned to see myself through Lucas' eyes like he hoped I someday would. By no means was the road easy and it had to take a crazed psychopath to open my eyes up to my depressing antics, but I finally saw the brighter side of life. Lucas is that brighter side, and now my best friend Brooke has again also become it as well.

A wise person once said that "the art of living is more like wrestling than dancing." That is so true for my life. I've wrestled more phantoms than I experienced good times, but that's life in its truest and purest form. You have to fight for your happiness and life is a struggle. But the real question is: are you letting that struggle ruin your life or make your life better? I hope the latter will always be my answer from now on because you're supposed to cherish the good times with the bad. Thanks to Lucas being by my side reminding me of that just by his presence alone, I am.

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Author's notes: Wow, I just felt compelled to write, so I did. I hope you all liked it! Please drop me your thoughts on it, whether it's praises or not, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading, by the way!

Songs played in the making of this fic: "Summer Skin" by Death Cab for Cutie, "Come Back Alive" by Ester Drang, "Silver Bullets" acoustic by Hawthorne Heights, "Laughing City" by Eisley (check Eisley out, they're my favorite band), "I Could Be There For You" by Eisley, "The Scientist" by Coldplay, "Poison Oak" by Bright Eyes, "We Are Nowhere and It's Now" by Bright Eyes, "The Road I'm On" by 3 Doors Down.