Eek! Sorry no update the last few days…guess who got the stomach flu? gag Absolutely disgusting. But there's an update now, so yay!

Unfortunately, I don't know if I'll be updating the rest of the week. I'm trying to avoid the computer/internet/media as much as I can, and I fear that if I even log into I could stumble across a spoiler for the final HP book (something I'm anticipating more than LIFE ITSELF lol). I'm keep a safe distance from anything that could ruin this for me. I'll be getting the book at midnight on Friday and I'll be finished by early Saturday morning (I'm pulling an all-nighter), but for a few days after that I'll probably be in 'OMFG' mode about the book, so there might not be an update for a while. But who knows, maybe I will update this week.

Alrighty then…read away.

Ten minutes later Peyton had fallen into a quite restless sleep. Lucas had moved to the armchair beside her bed, watching her squirm and murmur incoherently, wondering what in the world was making her so uncomfortable. He assumed she was dreaming about the attack, and as horrible as it sounded, he was a little glad she was. He was sure if she dreamed about it she would remember it, and he could finally get the whole story on what had occurred the night before.

Peyton gave a small cough and muttered something that sounded like, "Stop." As she began to squirm again, Lucas placed a comforting hand on her shoulder and whispered soothingly, trying his best to calm her. After a few moments she fell still, her breathing becoming slow and steady again.

"You're okay," he whispered, still rubbing his hand up and down her arm. Noticing that she had calmed down, he sighed heavily and sat back against the chair. Twenty-four hours without sleep or a decent meal was finally starting to take a toll on Lucas. All night he'd deliberately put himself in uncomfortable positions just to ensure that he'd stay awake, but now he found himself lounging comfortably against the soft cloth that covered the chair, his eyes beginning to droop.

"Lucas Scott!"

Lucas's eyes flew open as a voice like a dagger ripped through the quiet room. He glanced at the door sleepily, his head pounding, wondering angrily who had yelled. But upon seeing who was in the door, he felt his eyes widen and immediately got to his feet.

Brooke stood in the doorway, but it was not merely the sight of her that had caused Lucas's reaction. It was rather the look on her face- one he'd seen many times before and knew all too well. Her dark eyes were narrowed, her forehead scrunched, her lips pursed and her cheeks sucked in every so slightly. She had her hand on her hips, her handbag swinging from on wrist, her shoulders at level with her chin. Lucas could tell in one glance that Brooke was angry- and clearly, it was with him.

Lucas pushed the armchair behind him a bit and began to step toward Brooke, looking apprehensive. "Hey, what's up-" he began, but the moment she opened her mouth, his voice faltered.

"She woke up?"

Brooke's voice was deadly quiet, and she stomped into the room, throwing her bag onto the floor, still glaring at him.

Lucas immediately felt his stomach drop. Shit. He knew he'd been forgetting something. He opened his mouth to speak, to try and explain, but she cut him off again.

"I asked one thing!" Brooke's voice rose to a yell now, and Lucas found himself putting a finger to his mouth, trying to shush her, while nodding his head back at Peyton's sleeping form. Brooke paid him no attention. "All I asked was for you to call me if anything happened! But no, you couldn't even do that! I had to have the nurse tell me before I came in here! She's my goddamn best friend, Luke, and you couldn't even call me?"

Lucas held his hands up as though trying to reason with her. "I'm sorry," he began, and he made sure to keep his voice down, once again nodding his head back at Peyton's bed. "I should've called, but in the mess of everything I forgot. I'm really sorry," he said again, and he truly meant it. Even though she was only showing anger, Lucas could tell that Brooke was truly as concerned as he was.

Brooke stared at him for a few moments, giving no reaction to anything he'd said. Instead, she continued in a low voice, "How long ago did she wake up?"

Lucas shrugged. "Half an hour?" he replied, to which Brooke's eyebrows rose and she opened her mouth to argue again, but he cut her off this time. "And obviously she's back asleep now," he said quickly, emphasizing each word but still being careful to keep his voice down, "so you really should keep your voice down."

He watched as she shut her mouth, pursing her lips again, her jaw tightening. She seemed to be struggling with herself, and whether she should continue to yell at him or let it go. After a moment she smacked her lips apart and let out a loud sigh, her expression softening. "Okay," she said quietly. "I'm just glad she's okay." And without saying another word to him, she hurried to Peyton's bedside, sinking into the chair beside it and placing a hand on the other girl's arm. Keeping her eyes on Peyton, she added, "But could you call Nathan and Haley to let them know?"

Lucas nodded without any thought, and then realizing she wasn't looking at him said, "Yeah, sure," in a soft voice. He reached into his pocket for his phone, but then remembered that it was still at the police station. "Can I use your phone?" he asked Brooke. She nodded toward her purse, which was thrown haphazardly on the hard floor near the door, and he hurried over to it, searching the various pockets for almost a full minute before finding it.

Exiting the room quietly, he began punching in Haley's cell number. It rang nearly five before she picked it up, sounding a little out of breath. "What's up?"

"Hey Hales," Lucas began, and he was about to continue talking but Haley spoke up.

"Oh my God, Luke!" she exclaimed, and he heard her yell for Nathan before putting the phone back to her ear. "Is it Peyton? Is she okay?" In the background he could hear the sound of a shower being turned off and a door being thrown open.

Lucas found himself smiling. "Yeah, she's fine," he began. "She's great actually- she woke up about half an hour ago." On the other end, he heard Haley begin to yell about him informing her so late, but spoke over her. "Brooke's already yelled at me about forgetting to call and I'm sorry. I was just caught up in the moment. Anyway, Peyton's asleep now, she was really tired, but hurry over here. She'll be really happy to see you guys when she wakes up."

There was a brief silence, but in the background Lucas was sure he could hear Haley giving Nathan a swift kiss. When she spoke again, she sounded positively ecstatic. "Oh, thank God," she said, "I was so worried. Nathan and I'll be over there in like fifteen minutes. See you then!"

"Yeah, see you-" Lucas began, but she'd already hung up.

He closed the phone softly, curling his hand around it, and turned on his heel back toward the room. He was a few inches away from the door when he heard voices from inside. Stopping in his tracks, Lucas glanced around the empty hall quickly, pursing his lips. The door of the room was open, covered halfway by a thin curtain. He leaned toward the cloth slightly, straining to hear what was being said inside.

"…wasn't here when you woke up." Brooke was speaking- he could tell from her usually raspy voice. She sounded a little upset.

"Don't, it wasn't a big deal. It's not like I was alone." Despite the fact that her voice was quiet and hoarse, Lucas could immediately tell it was Peyton. From the way she sounded, he could tell the two had been talking for at least a few minutes.

There was a brief silence. A young doctor in a white coat passed by Lucas in the hall- he straightened up and nodded at the man, giving a small smile, before leaning in to hear more of the conversation. The guilt of eavesdropping was already eating at his stomach, but he ignored it.

It seemed he hadn't missed anything- after a few seconds Brooke continued the talk. "Yeah, that's good…at least you had Luke. Was it…nice? Him being here for you, I mean?" She seemed to be choosing her words wisely, and despite what she was saying, her voice carried no hint of accusation; she sounded genuinely concerned.

Peyton, however, responded with an exasperated sigh. "Brooke," she said, her voice sounding like it hadn't been used in years.

Brooke cut across her. "No, Peyton, it's not a big deal," she began, and there was a slight pleading in her tone now. "Really, I don't care. He and I…we ended things last night, it just doesn't work for us, but you two-"

"Brooke, stop it," Peyton repeated, and she sounded utterly frustrated now more than ever. A long silence followed her words and Lucas found himself leaning even closer to the room, straining to hear every last breath from the two. His heart was racing, the sound of it pounding in his ears. He had a strangely empty feeling in his stomach.

"Peyton," Brooke started, and her voice was very gentle now. "I just want you to be happy. Both of you. And if this is what makes you happy then I'm fine with it."

There was another pause, and Lucas's heart was pounding more than ever now, waiting to hear a response from Peyton, but a loud voice sounded in his ear like a horn.

"Sir? What are you doing?"

He nearly jumped out of his skin. Turning sideways, Lucas found himself face-to-face with a stern looking woman. Her gray hair was pulled into a tight knot at the base of her neck and her thick-rimmed glasses had a silver chain hanging below her ears on each side. She was staring at Lucas with a confused and slightly angry expression, one hand on her hip. Inside the room, Lucas was sure he heard one of the girls gasp.

"Ah," he stuttered, "I was just about to go inside. Didn't want to interrupt anything." When the woman continued to stare, he smacked his lips loudly and gestured toward the entrance. "So I'll be going in now…to see my friend." He nodded awkwardly, gave the woman a forced smile, and hurried into the room, his face bright red.

Peyton and Brooke were both staring at him now. Peyton had her head resting against her pillows, which had been propped up a bit. Her mouth was open a bit in surprise but her eyes still looked tired. Brooke, however, had her mouth hanging open, her eyes extremely wide, looking both shocked and annoyed.

Lucas gave them both an awkward smile, stepping forward to hand Brooke her phone. She took it from him quickly, placing it in her lap, still staring at him with wide eyes. "I, uh, spoke to Haley," he told them. "She and Nathan will be here soon."

"Oh." Brooke quickly rearranged her face and nodded. "Well, that's good, right Peyton? I'll bet you're excited to see them."

Peyton nodded slowly, now doing her best to avoid Lucas's eyes. She turned her head away from him and shut her eyes, breathing in heavily. He stared at her for a moment, wondering if he should say something, but bit his tongue. Instead he found himself glancing back at Brooke, who also avoided her eyes and quickly got to her feet.

"Peyton?" she said softly, leaning over the bed. "I'm gonna go ask the nurse about that glass of water you asked for. Maybe you can have some now." She gave her friend a quick peck on the forehead. Straightening up, she gave Lucas a short but meaningful glance before leaving the room.

Lucas watched her leave the room before sinking into the chair she'd been sitting in before. He watched Peyton; he could tell immediately from the unevenness of her breathing that she was awake, but didn't say anything. He just continued to look at her, watching her chest rise and fall with every breath, her fingers tapping against the bar on her hospital bed with a slight rhythm.

And as guilty as it made him feel, he found his mind wandering back to the previous evening. Before the hospital. Before the phone call. Before he jumped in his car to meet Brooke at his house.

To the exact moment when his lips had been touching hers.