Author's Note: I'm taking a little break from Pretty Girls to bring you a little look into the recent ponderings of my mind. This song is just so Lucas to me that I couldn't help but let it inspire me into a fic. As for the fact that it's from Peyton's POV... I can't really comment. I guess when I was trying to imagine this story, she was the one telling it, so maybe that helps. Anyway, this is what I think of the whole P/B/L triangle. Maybe some of you view it this way also. Obviously, these lyrics do not belong to me. They belong to Death Cab For Cutie. Additionally, I have no affiliation with David Lynch. Thanks.
Burn it down till the embers smoke on the ground
And start new when your heart is an empty room
With walls of the deepest blue
Home's face: how it ages when you're away
Spring blooms and you find the love that's true
But you don't know what now to do
Cause the chase is all you know
And she stopped running months ago
And all you see
Is where else you could be
When you're at home
Out on the street
Are so many possibilities
To not be alone
The flames and smoke climbed out of every window
And disappeared with everything that you held dear
And you shed not a single tear for the things that you didn't need
'Cause you knew you were finally free
'Cause all you see is where else you could be when you're at home
Out on the street are so many possibilities to not be alone
And all you see is where else you could be
When you're at home
There on the street are so many possibilities to not be alone
The thing about it that really gets her is how stupid she was. If she only blame the whole, rotten thing on him, she'd feel better. Unfortunately, though, she can't, because she knew from the beginning, and she said nothing. Now… now it's too late, and so many things are ruined. She mourns some more than others. If only she hadn't been so stupid.
Alarm bells had begun to ring only a couple of weeks into their relationship.
"Have you ever thought of going dark, Peyt?"
"Um... no," she answers honestly, reaching up to brush her hand over her curly locks. "Why? Do you think I should?"
"Oh, I don't know," he says, and his eyes look through her. "I just thought it might be cool to change things up, you know?"
Shortly after that, Lucas had taken up an extreme interest in the academic struggles of a certain dark haired cheerleader, and Peyton knew then too.
"Lucas, do you have to help her study every single night?" She sounds whiny, and she hates it.
"Peyt, you know how hard it is for her. She really needs our help right now. Do you want to see her held back? I mean, she's class president. She deserves to graduate with our class."
"I know, I just..."
"You're just jealous," he says bluntly, and she looks up, hurt.
"No, I mean... I..."
"It's okay, Peyt," he grins slowly at her, "it's perfectly natural to feel insecure in your relationship. God knows Brooke always did."
Somehow, that fails to comfort her.
He pulls her close, into his chest, and she wants to hit him.
She hadn't, though, and she hadn't said a word.
It's prom, and Peyton's fingers are drumming hard against the cheap folding table, ruining the manicure that Brooke had talked her into getting.
"They look happy, don't you think?" Haley plops down next to her, heavily pregnant and breathing hard.
Brooke's head is tilted towards Lucas', listening intently to what he's saying. His fingers are gripping her waist, the knuckles white. He looks like he's holding on for dear life.
"What's that supposed to mean?" she snaps at Haley suddenly. "He's just dancing with her because she doesn't have a date."
"I know," says Haley. "I know that. Does she, though?"
Peyton's eyes never leave the couple.
"She's had a really hard time this year, Peyton." Haley squeezes her shoulder. "Maybe you could ask him to give her a break, for once."
She gets up with a slight struggle, and walks away.
Peyton had asked him, later that night.
"Give her a break from what?" he asks, looking perplexed.
"I don't know... from us?" Peyton tries to make him understand. She grabs his hand, holding it to her cheek. "It's probably hard for her, Luke, to see us together. And anyway, you know, we need this time. We just got together a couple months ago, and I think..."
"I know it's hard for her," he cuts her off, effectively squelching any conversation not pertaining to the brunette. "That's why I've been making an extra effort. I don't want her to feel left out."
But she should feel left out, Peyton wanted to argue. She should feel left out because this relationship does not include her. She didn't say anything, though, because she hoped she wouldn't need to. She had hoped that once school was done, and Lucas no longer had an excuse to spend long hours alone with Brooke in her apartment, things would change. She had hoped that if she could just get through graduation, things would be better. Graduation had not been better.
"We did it, P. Sawyer!" Brooke screams, jumping on her and wrapping her long legs around Peyton's frame. Peyton laughs and collapses, bringing Brooke with her. They lay in the grass outside of the school, laughing, a tangled mass of blue robes and contrasting hair. For a moment, it feels like it used to.
Haley, tearing her husband away from an overly long high-five session with the basketball team, hands off her little blue bundle, leans over the girls with a digital camera, and snaps photo after photo. Finally, the flashing is too much for Peyton, and she reaches up and grabs the front of Haley's robe, dragging her down to lay with them.
They hold the camera above them, taking pictures. Some are silly, with Haley wrinkling her nose and Brooke giving Peyton bunny ears. Some are serious, with all three girls straightening their hats and trying to look like academics. Then the parents arrive, and taking pictures suddenly feels more like work than fun.
"Stand up, young ladies!" cries Brooke's mother, who has made a rare appearance. The girls struggle to their feet, and throw their arms around each other, smiling for the camera. "Brooke, suck in your stomach!"
Brooke, blushing slightly, struggles to stand up straighter.
Brooke's mother, along with Karen, Larry, and a newly rehabilitated Deb, snap picture after picture.
"Alright, now I want one with Brooke and her boyfriend," Mrs. Davis announces.
"Um… mom," says Brooke, shifting uncomfortably. "I…"
"Don't tell me you don't have a boyfriend!" says Mrs. Davis shrilly, looking around and laughing. "I don't know where you came from, Brooke. You're certainly nothing like me. When I was in high school…"
"She has a boyfriend," Lucas steps in, walking over to Brooke and slipping an arm around her shoulders. "Let's take some pictures."
Peyton looks around, mouth open, wondering if she's missing something here. No one looks shocked. Haley and Nathan are exchanging knowing looks, and Karen is smiling approvingly at Lucas. Even her father is looking at Lucas like he's a knight in shining armor.
She makes eye contact with Lucas. She knows what he's doing. He doesn't want Brooke's mom to embarrass her on graduation. He's just being a good friend. He winks at her ever so slightly, as if she understands, and they're in on something together.
She doesn't. She never will.
She should have told Lucas that day. She should have told him how uncomfortable it made her when he pretended to be Brooke's boyfriend, and when he invited Brooke to their joint, family only graduation dinner. She should have told him how it made her feel to watch Karen make a fuss over Brooke like she never had over her, and to see Brooke making faces at Lucas' new little sister. She hadn't, though. She never says things when she should, only when she shouldn't.
"I want you to stay away from Lucas." She's grasping at straws, and she knows it, but she can't help herself.
"I never asked you to," says Brooke nonchalantly, not looking up from her magazine. She's lying there on Peyton's bed, where Lucas should be, and she doesn't care at all. "And I'm much more trustworthy than you, so I don't see how you think you have the right."
"He's my boyfriend," says Peyton.
"He was mine first." Brooke is wriggling her toenails around, and Peyton guesses that Lucas would probably think it was adorable if he were here, but he's not, and it annoys her.
"Look, there's no point," Peyton tries. "I mean, Lucas and I are going to UNC in a couple months, and you won't be there, so..."
"Didn't Lucas tell you?" asks Brooke suddenly, looking up. "I got in."
Peyton just stares at her as all of her little fantasies about Brooke-free dorm rooms and long nights of "studying" die slow and painful deaths.
"I guess all that extra tutoring from Lucas really paid off," she says with a shrug, going back to her magazine. "I'm probably going to need lots of help in college, though. You know how hard school is for me."
Peyton swears that Brooke's lips are twitching.
"Why are you doing this to us?" she asks.
"Why did you do it to me?" Brooke replies, swinging her legs over the edge of the bed and staring at Peyton.
"I…" Peyton trails off.
Both girls look over to see the object of their conflict standing in the doorway.
"I went to your apartment, but you weren't there," Lucas informs Brooke.
"Here I am, all yours," she declares, standing up and adjusting her miniskirt.
"Oh, Peyton, I was going to tell you," says Lucas, looking at Peyton for the first time since he arrived. "Brooke and I are heading over to the David Lynch movie festival this afternoon. I didn't invite you because I know how you feel about 'Twin Peaks'."
"Brooke doesn't like David Lynch either." She feels like such a tool.
"Never heard of the guy," Brooke says breezily. "But Luke promises I'll love it. See you later, bff!"
Brooke grabs Lucas' arm and they prance from the room, Lucas raising a hand in departure.
"You'll hate it!" Peyton calls after them. "You'll think it's freaky, and stupid, and you'll have no idea what's going on!"
"Whatev!" Brooke's voice, as she calls up from the lower level, sounds positively gleeful.
Peyton hates that they're competing, she really does. She wishes that it didn't have to be this way, but it's hard. Lucas isn't the kind of guy that you just give up, and they both know it. She used to think their friendship wasn't the kind you gave up on either, but now she's not sure. They both seem to be doing a pretty good job of it.
Peyton leans back from Lucas' face, looking at his eyes intently. They slowly open, and he looks confused.
"What?" he asks.
"Who's a better kisser?" she asks, even though she knows she shouldn't.
He groans, falling back on the bed in exasperation, and the fact that he even knows what she's talking about tells her everything.
"Why do you always have to compare yourself to her?" he asks. "You're completely different. I won't answer questions like that."
All she had wanted was for him to say, "you are, Peyton." She didn't need an explanation. She didn't even need it to be true, because Brooke has kissed way more boys than she has, and she knows she probably doesn't come close in that department. All she had needed was for him to want her more, just that once. He hadn't.
"So Lucas and I have been talking about getting an apartment off campus," Brooke says one day as she and Peyton lie by the pool, making some sort of pretense of friendship. This whole summer has been one big fake smile after another, and Peyton's face is starting to crack under the effort. "We figure if we split the rent between the three of us, it will be way cheaper than paying for dorm rooms."
"Do you really think we could afford that?" asks Peyton, focusing on the very smallest of the numerous problems that idea poses.
"Well, probably not a three bedroom," says Brooke, adjusting her sunglasses. "Maybe a two, though. Lucas is researching today."
"When did you two come up with this idea?" asks Peyton, trying to sound casual.
"Last night," Brooke replies. "What were you doing, anyway?"
"At home, calling you," says Peyton, her voice a little higher than she would like. "You never picked up."
"Yeah, I had this weird craving for a churro at like ten, so Lucas and I went to that taco stand that's open super late. You know the one by the beach? And then, after I was too full to fight, he threw me in, and we went for a swim. Now I know what you're going to say…"
Peyton wonders if she does.
"We shouldn't have been swimming on full stomachs," Brooke says brightly, "but really, we had only eaten like three churros each, so…"
"Why didn't you guys call me?" Peyton cuts her off.
"Lucas said he did," Brooke shrugs. "You must have missed his call."
"I didn't have any missed calls on my cell phone," Peyton says, careful not to make eye contact.
"I don't know, maybe he called your home phone," says Brooke.
"We have caller ID," Peyton says.
"God, I don't know, okay, Peyton? He said he called you, and that's the end of my story," Brooke sounds exasperated. "Why don't you give him the third degree for a change? Anyway, it was just a late night run to a taco stand. It's not like we forgot to invite you to a Mighty Mouse concert or something."
"Modest Mouse," mumbles Peyton bitterly, slumping down in her chair in a way that she knows will give her hideous tan marks.
"What?" asks Brooke, a snap of irritation coloring her tone.
"Nothing," Peyton sighs.
Nothing at all.
She really hadn't been all that surprised when it happened. She knew they had kissed; could tell the very night it happened. She was just shocked he had lasted as long as he had. He had made it a full four months with her, managing her ruin her senior prom, her graduation, and the last summer of her childhood all in one fell swoop.
"Peyt, this is really hard for me to say," he says, looking mournful.
"Just say it, then," she says, her tone bored.
"I think we should breakup," he says in a rush, and then holds out his hands. As if she's going to fall to pieces. As if she's ever going to let a boy make her cry again. She's not.
"I do too," she says evenly, looking at him.
His shoulders slump with relief.
"Yeah," he breathes. "Yeah, I thought you would. I'm so glad this is a mutual decision. It will make living together a lot easier."
His eyes shift slightly at this.
"About that…" she hedges. "I've been thinking… maybe I would prefer dorm life after all."
"You know, that's probably for the best," he says quickly. "Don't worry about the down payment. Brooke's parents actually agreed to pay for everything, so you have no obligations at all."
No obligations. Nothing tying them together. No reason to even see each other. UNC has a big campus. They might never see each other again.
"But it's been fun, Peyton," he says, putting an arm around her. "We'll still be friends, right?"
"Right," she says. "Right."
She doesn't cry until after he leaves
She sees them now, from time to time, milling about the campus. Lucas is always touching Brooke in some little way. He'll have a finger in her back pocket, or an arm casually slung around her neck. They look happy. She knows better.
So she's really not surprised when, in October, she gets a call from a number she hasn't seen for awhile.
"Hey, Lucas. Wow, I haven't seen you guys forever!"
"Yeah, we've been pretty busy. How have you been?"
"Pretty good. I really like my roommate, and classes are hard, but good."
"Yeah, same here."
"So, what are you doing over break?"
"You know, I was thinking about going home, but I think I'm actually just going to stay here."
"Me too. Brooke's going to California to visit her parents. She left today."
"So, I was wondering if maybe you'd want to get together sometime. Maybe over break? We could catch up. It'd be just like old times."
It's that phrase that catches her, lifting her out of the haze that Lucas always puts her in, and bringing her sharply back to the present. Just like old times. She hates old times.
"No, I don't think so."
And all you see
Is where else you could be
When you're at home