A/N: This chapter is dedicated to the Jess (kaos2405), one of my favorite Brucasers, because today is her birthday and only for someone as special as her would I force myself out of my OTH fic hiatus and write an update. So enjoy! All of you! And please review...to prove that I didn't lose all the readers I had. lol. I promise an update faster than this last one took. After all, this chapter is the turning point of the fic. Oh and did I mention...this chapter is all Brathan... ;)

Disclaimer: In the words of Chris Keller, "Dude totally not mine…"

Chapter Fourteen: The Girl in the Red Dress

There are certain people you just keep coming back to

She is right in front of you

Nathan Scott stared in the small square mirror above his bathroom sink. The man staring back at him, while good looking in his own right, was not the man he ever remembered seeing. For the past sixteen years, he had rarely paid attention to his own reflection. He needed to look good, but he never felt as though there was someone he needed to impress. And then this date with Brooke Davis came along and changed everything because, today was the wedding, and he had to look perfect. Basically, he felt like a teenage girl.

"Oh Haley, if you could see me now," Nathan muttered, buttoning the top button of his collar.

"Dad?"

Nathan spun around and sure enough there was Abigail looking at him as though he'd grown an extra head.

"Hey sweetheart. What's up?"

"I think I should be asking you that," Abigail grinned, "What's with the suit?"

"You really don't want to know," Nathan sighed.

"Ooh, someone's being cryptic." Abigail narrowed her eyes. "Are you going on a date?"

"No," Nathan blurted out quickly, too fast to make it seem as though it were the truth. But honestly, he and Brooke hadn't talked about whether or not they were going to tell Abigail and Evelyn about their date, and he didn't want to have Abigail running off to tell Evelyn if Evelyn wasn't supposed to know. Maybe he was over thinking it, but it was better safe than sorry.

"That seemed highly defensive on your part."

"Abigail…"

"Abby."

"I think I know your name."

"You do know my name. I'm just asking you nicely to use my nickname."

"You didn't ask. You demanded it."

"Technically, I just said 'Abby.' What I meant by it was entirely up to interpretation on your part."

"But you just admitted that you wanted me to use your nickname."

"Right. Did you have a point to this?" Abigail asked, placing her hands on her hips and trying hard not to smirk.

Nathan opened his mouth, but soon realized no words were exiting, "I thought I did, but now I don't remember what we were talking about."

"Mission accomplished," Abigail muttered under her breath.

"Huh?"

"Nothing," Abigail said, fixing his tie, "Why can't men tie ties, right?"

"Because women are always fixing them before we get the chance," Nathan smirked, "Are you going to be okay tonight?"

"Uh yeah," Abigail shrugged, "I think I might visit Janice for awhile. I was hoping to see Eve since she and I having talked in forever, but she has plans with David."

"Okay well if you need me, you have my cell. Remember no call is silly."

Abigail couldn't resist rolling her eyes. "You are so overprotective."

"Whatever, you know you wouldn't have it any other way," Nathan said, pinching her cheek affectionately.

"Gah! I hate when you do that."

"I'd love to stay here and listen to you scold me, but I'm running late." He wrapped an arm around her and planted a small kiss on her forehead. "Be good."

"Have fun on your secret rendezvous, James Bond."

"Funny!" Nathan said over his shoulder as he exited the bathroom.

Abigail couldn't help throwing one last comment his way. "Remember, you take your martinis shaken not stirred."

His laugh echoed through the hall.

------

"Evelyn Peyton Scott! Where the hell did I put my red strappy heels?"

"Which red strappy heels?"

"The ones that our three and a quarter inches high!"

"Do I look like I carry around a ruler?"

"Eyeball it!"

"I'm not you, Mom. I haven't spent my life around fashion!"

"Okay well-"

"Can you stop yelling?" Evelyn said as she turned the corner into Brooke's room.

"I guess," Brooke muttered as she threw a pair of boots across the room, barely missing Evelyn.

"Were you aiming for me just now?"

"No!"

"Okay calm down," Evelyn said, rolling her eyes, "This is no need to panic."

"Yes! It is! The shoes make the outfit. Have I taught you nothing?"

"Do you remember who you're talking to? I wear sneakers and maybe the occasional combat boot."

"Yes, and that completes your look," Brooke nodded, "Now imagine you dressed like a normal teenage girl. You'd be looking for heels with me."

"You're the reason American girls have low self esteem," Evelyn deadpanned, "And I'll have you know, I'll be wearing a dress to the wedding, and I actually know where my shoes are." She sent one last smirk her mother's way before exiting the room.

"Ugh, useless child," Brooke mumbled reaching for her phone. She quickly dialed Peyton's number. She didn't even give Peyton a second to answer.

"Red strappy heels. Where are they?"

"Peyton," Lucas yelled up the stairs, "Did we kidnap Brooke's shoes?"

"Lucas, put her on the phone!"

"I'm here," Peyton sighed picking up the phone in her room.

"Good luck with her," Lucas muttered hanging up.

"Your shoes are in the bottom left hand corner of your closet, underneath the Italian scarf you snagged from me."

Brooke sprinted back into her closet and sure enough there were the heels underneath her favorite scarf. "Oh God! Thank you, Peyton. You are a lifesaver!"

"You're welcome. Now, I may not know a lot about fashion, but I do know that red heels and a navy blue dress don't seem like the most obvious match. Is this a new trend you're starting?"

"Nope," Brooke said simply, "I changed my mind about the dress. I'm wearing my red one."

"Your red one?"

"The one I wore when I was sixteen. Surprisingly, I'm still the same shape as I was back then and it fits like a glove. The style's still in too."

"Any reason for that dress?"

"Just feeling nostalgic."

"Aww wasn't that the dress you were wearing when Lucas and I had our first kiss?"

"Yes," Brooke said, "But more importantly, it's the dress I was wearing when I realized Nathan Scott was not an ass."

"Wait, what?" Peyton said, the shock echoed in her voice, "I don't remember hearing this."

"That's because you never did," Brooke said, offhandedly, "And you won't now because I'm running late."

Brooke hung up the phone without another word leaving Peyton still speechless.

-----

Nathan paced the front steps of Brooke's house, debating whether or not to push the doorbell. He was anxious and nervous and all the other things that he used to get whenever a pretty girl like Brooke Davis used to accept his invitation to go out when he was a teen. It was silly, really. He was thirty-three years old, and here he was acting like a giddy sixteen-year old.

He was saved the trouble of ringing the doorbell as Evelyn swung the door open and stared at him with an amused grin on her face.

"You, Uncle Nathan, have been standing outside for ten minutes now," Evelyn said, giving him a playful glare.

"Sorry. I must have zoned out." Nathan's cheeks were tinged an uncharacteristic shade of pink.

"Uh huh," Evelyn said rolling her eyes, "Well come on in. Mom's just grabbing her purse."

Nathan slid into the house as Evelyn slammed the door shut causing him to jump. Evelyn circled him, her bright blue eyes scanning his appearance. Nathan had never felt so self conscious before in his life and it was all from his niece's calculating gaze.

She was just like her mother.

"So, Mr. Scott," Evelyn said as she came back to facing him, "what are your intentions with my mother?"

"Evelyn Peyton Scott! You did not just ask your uncle that!" Brooke hissed as she charged down the stairs.

"Hey! It's a reasonable question."

"Just go."

"Ugh fine," Evelyn said, rolling her eyes, "Have fun you two." Evelyn sent them both a wink before slipping out the front door. Brooke turned back to face Nathan.

"I'm sorry about that. She's just being weird…We'll blame it on her father," Brooke smiled, then noticed Nathan was staring at her as if she had two heads. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," Nathan said shaking himself out of his trance, "You look beautiful."

"Thanks," Brooke said, smiling sheepishly.

"That's not the dress you showed me."

"I know."

"I remember this dress," Nathan smiled.

"I didn't think you would," Brooke admitted, "But I hoped you would."

Brooke felt as though there was an anvil plopped on top of her head. She cracked her eyes open and found a steady stream of light pouring towards her as the sun rose. It burned like a bitch, and soon the string of curses flowing from her lips was muffled by a hand, a male hand to be exact.

"Quiet, Davis. You'll wake-up Tim."

"Oh God," Brooke moaned, "Please tell me you and I didn't have a threesome with Tim."

"No!" Nathan chuckled, "I wasn't that drunk. You, on the other hand, drank enough Vodka to satisfy the army."

"Ha, ha," Brooke murmured, "You're so funny. Now where's Peyton?"

"Off screwing Lucas I guess," Nathan shrugged, "I guess your little dare paid off."

"You've got to be kidding me…"

"Oh come on, Davis! You really didn't see it coming? Those two have more sexual tension than-"

"Enough analogies from you," Brooke pouted, her arms folded over her chest. Nathan stared at her curiously. At that moment, she looked so fragile, as if the whole world would come crashing down just because his idiot brother picked Peyton over her.

"Look, I'm not saying it to be mean," Nathan sighed, "I just don't think it's cool for you to be getting your hopes up on Lucas when he's clearly head over heels for Peyton."

"Ugh whatever," Brooke said rolling her eyes, her façade slipping naturally back onto her face, "Why do you even care Nathan?"

"I've known you since we were in diapers, Brooke. Before Peyton. Before Tim. No matter how much of a bitch you are, part of me will always care."

Brooke didn't say anything just scoffed like she was supposed to, but neither of them really forgot that moment. It was the first time Nathan admitted he cared about someone and really meant it, and both of them knew it.

-------

"You look really beautiful."

"I think I got that the first six times you said it," Brooke blushed as they entered the church.

"Well you do. I'm the luckiest guy here."

"You keep this up, and my cheeks will be redder than my dress."

Nathan just smiled as they both took their seat. The wedding was taking place in the large gothic church on Oakwood Ave. It was the oldest church in the county, and while most of the seating and framework had been restored, it still was adorned like the churches of the 18th century. The air was stale and musty, but there was something incredibly rustic about it. The pews were adorned with white and yellow roses draped in ivory sashes.

Brooke couldn't keep the grin off her face as the ceremony began. Weddings were her element. She loved every bit of them, from the magic they represented to the aura that surrounded the whole ceremony. She was a romantic at heart, believing firmly in the idea that you could spend the rest of your life with one person and be happy. She loved watching how other people interacted at weddings; how old couples would hold hands for the first time in years, how young lovers would whisper in each others ear and stifle giggles, how single people's eyes darted around the room praying that there was someone here who wanted to answer the call of love.

Nathan, on the other hand, wasn't the biggest fan of weddings. Sure he believed in the whole concept of love, honor and cherish, and until death do us part, but he also remembered the two weddings of his own. Weddings brought him back to Haley and the promises they made each other. They reminded him how marrying someone didn't promise that they'd be there forever. It was that scary thought which made him reach out for Brooke's hand.

And it was at that moment that both of them actually took a moment to catch the end of Chris Keller's vow to Rachel.

"…She and I were never meant to be together. I mean, on the grand scale of things, we both expected to be here with someone else. Or hell, maybe not here at all, but sometimes things don't happen the way you expect them too. Sometimes a person comes along and they make you see what's going on right in front of you. They change you. They complete you, and all the while you don't realize it because you're so busy grieving over something else. Love, well, it takes you by surprise. I'm glad she took me by surprise, and I'm glad I'll always have her by my side. Because I know that no matter what happens, she'll be there to face it with me."

"So I guess what I'm saying is, life happens, and as long as you find someone to share it with, to overcome it with, you'll be happy. And Rachel is my someone."

Nathan and Brooke looked at each other. Suddenly, it was as if everything was moving in slow motion. There was a palpable tension between them which beat at a steady rhythm in time with their heartbeats. It drummed in their ears.

They felt as though they were on fire. As if each moment they had spent apart, spent fighting their attraction had been all in vain, just gasoline added to the pile of wood. The match, Chris Keller's vow which struck a cord in them, spoke for everything they had ever felt and never realized. And now they burned only for each other.

The rest of the service they spent in a daze, eyes locked. Each of their chests filled with desire. It was a feeling deeper than lust, stronger than primal urge. Something solid and tangible, and yet, shifting and magical all at once. A dull ache. A bottomless pit. An unquenchable thirst. A tug and a pull.

Love. Brooke was the first to put a name to it in her head. She was falling in love with Nathan Scott. She loved him, and it was love like she never experienced before. It was love that grew from friendship. Love that built over time and had flourished out of nowhere, out of nothing.

Nathan knew what it was too, but he couldn't bring himself to say it; that four letter word. He had only felt it once before with Haley, and he had been so sure that he'd never feel it again. Never would it be this strong. But, he had been wrong. There was no denying it. He was falling.

He wanted nothing more than to reach over and kiss her, to hold her. He wanted to press her so close to him that he could feel her heart beat against his own chest. He wanted to absorb every detail about her body, her mind. He wanted to possess.

Damn it, he needed to get out of that church.

As soon as Chris and Rachel filed out, Nathan wasted no time acting on his urges. With his pulse drumming in his ear, he dragged Brooke by the hand out of the side door of the Church. Her heels clicked furiously as she tried to keep up with him, the thrill of the unknown making her giddy with anticipation.

Once Nathan was sure they were out of sight, he stopped without warning, turned and pulled Brooke flush against him, attaching his lips to hers. Brooke knew it would be cliché if she said the kiss swept her off her feet, but damn it, if Nathan wasn't holding her up by the elbows she would've been a puddle on the floor.

His tongue traced the seam of her lips, and she opened her mouth wide letting it in, submitting control to him as he pushed her back against the church's brick wall. The frantic pacing of his kisses was matched with his now wandering hands. While one settled in her hair, tugging her head back to deepen the kiss with every stroke of his tongue, the other was creeping up her thigh, massaging the smooth skin and lightly dragging his fingernails in the hopes of hearing her hiss in pleasure.

She broke the kissing, moaning in utter delight while at the same time trying to take in another breath before she plunged back in, ready to give him a run for his money. She hooked her leg over his waist and rocked into him, rolling her hips in a slow and calculated manner. She was rewarded with a startled gasp from his lips, which left hers to travel down her jaw and over her neck.

She tilted her head to the side, muttering his name and different deities mixed with interjections as he sucked on the junction between her shoulder and neck.

It was somewhere during this time Brooke realized that if she didn't stop this, they would be having sex against a church wall with her daughter no more than thirty feet away.

As Nathan began to nibble on a sensitive spot just below her ear, Brooke realized she didn't rightly care.

God, she loved this man.

Maybe you want her, maybe you need her

Maybe you've started to compare to someone not there

Maybe you want it, maybe you need it

Maybe it's all you're running from

Perfection will not come