A/N: Okay, so to begin, I must say this work is my baby. I have been working on this fic for over a year. I had the entire thing written and then deleted it all, save a few parts that I actually liked. This is a Chris/Peyton/Lucas love triangle fic. It takes place after S3. The only difference from S3 is that Peyton never told Brooke about her feelings for Lucas. So, Brucas is still together.
So yeah, this is my baby, as I've stated previously. So I really would love reviews. I'm usually not a review whore, but for this fic…I kinda am.
Special thanks to Ellie (Elliemo-go read her BP oneshot!) She's my awesome beta. She's also a BLer, who's gonna beta this nonetheless. And that's why I love her. And why she needed a little praising in this extremely long Author's Note.
Disclaimer: I don't own OTH or Simple Plan's "Welcome to My Life"
Chapter One: Mutual Symbiosis
Are you stuck inside a world you hate?
Are you sick of everyone around?
With their big fake smiles and stupid lies
While deep inside you're bleeding
Have you ever felt a moment that defines where you are in life? That clarifies the meaning behind your existence. That makes everything you've suffered through and strived for clairvoyant. Maybe you've been walking along the street and you see an old married couple and all of the sudden you realize you and your fiancé are going to be that way fifty years from now. Or maybe you'll find a letter from your best friend from high school who you've long since parted ways with but that letter reminds you of the good times, and you realize how far you've come since then. Or maybe, just maybe you could be sitting on a poorly constructed bed on a stage before a crowd of sixty or seventy people when the boy sitting next to you mutters the words "I love you" and a flash of various moments barrel through your head. It's a montage, an epithet to your love. And it's those moments that bring you to the realization that you love him. You could probably sit there and revel in those moments, revel in the realization that you love this boy and it's only taken you two years to realize that. You'd sit next to him on the makeshift bed forever…if only you didn't have to deliver your line.
"I love you too."
The applause sounds. The curtain drops. You throw your head back and let out a small cry. The moment is over.
Peyton Sawyer hated her luck. She had ever since she was a little girl. It seemed whenever things were going her way something would pop up out of nowhere and go "Surprise! Take two steps back and land in the puddle." Take the day she had gotten accepted into the crowded art program at her grade school. Her mother died that night. Or how about when she finally got a comfortable relationship with someone who treated her right? Yeah, he left to hunt down his daughter. Or how about when she finally rekindled her relationship with her birth mother? Ellie had died. Not convinced yet? She hadn't even begun talking about Lucas.
Lucas Scott. She couldn't live with him. She couldn't live without him. It seemed that no matter how far she pushed him away; he always snuck his way back into her life. He was like a parasite that fed off of her angst and heartbreak. Although, maybe it was more like mutual symbiosis, two organisms co-existing and gaining from their interaction. It made sense seeing as she benefited from his nurture just like he gained something (she wasn't quite sure what) from helping her. Whatever the relationship could be classified as, whether parasitic or mutualism, it was not healthy. No matter what her biology book might tell her.
It sucked. Because love is not biology, okay? Bees don't fall in love with the flowers they help pollinate. Any guesses why? Bees know that flowers won't ever love bees back. Because bees sting. They're cold and unfeeling and they only want the flower for the sweetness it can give. They can't be all pretty and shiny for the flower. They can only give it what it needs and nothing more. Mutual symbiosis. And that's exactly what Peyton was. A bee. Lucas would never want to be with someone like her. Someone who couldn't give him more than a truckload of emotional problems to nurture. Nope. Not when he had a beautiful rose of a girlfriend in Brooke. Brooke who was, and would always be a flower. Full of light and joy and cheerfulness and love.
Flowers stick to flowers. Bees stick to bees. And once and awhile, flowers and bees lean on each other. But it can't be more. So then why did this bee have to fall in love with this stupid flower? Well that answer was simple. Peyton Sawyer had no luck.
"I've got to stop thinking about this," Peyton muttered as she flipped another page in her biology textbook. She had tried to cast away all thoughts of Lucas while she studied for her midterms, but that had ended in vain. It seemed no matter what she was reading; she could find a way to connect it to Lucas. Whether it was American Literature (Great Gatsby was Lucas's favorite novel), Math (he always furrowed his eyebrows when he tried to figure out Calculus) or Biology (that's where the mutual symbiosis came in), Lucas could be connected to anything if Peyton tried hard enough.
But that was the thing. Peyton wasn't trying at all. If anything, she was trying her best to disregard the feelings she had just discovered for the blonde haired boy…Then again, she had lied just there. She technically hadn't "just" discovered these feelings. It had been a little bit. Two weeks to be exact. But really that just made it worse because she now knew the feelings weren't a fluke. She hadn't seen him or talked to him for two weeks and yet he was all she could think about.
She was avoiding him. Well, him and Brooke for that matter. It hadn't been intentional. These two weeks had been hectic for everyone, most especially Brooke and Lucas. Nathan was still in the hospital after the accident as was Rachel. Lucas was still reeling over the fact that his baby brother almost didn't make it. Even without having said a word to him about it, Peyton knew he blamed himself for it. That's just who Lucas was and now, she had heard that he was spending most of his time brooding in his bedroom. Brooke, on the other hand, had been spending most of her time going back and forth between hospital rooms, comforting Haley over Nathan's impending surgery and helping Rachel get over Cooper who had skipped town the second he got discharged. Rachel had also lost the baby she was carrying, and while she tried to pretend it was a relief, everyone knew she was heartbroken, especially Peyton.
Peyton had managed to grab all this information from Rachel, herself. She had been sneaking visits to her and Nathan when she knew the other two thirds of her dreaded love triangle were at Karen's picking up food. She had learned to time it perfectly. It wasn't that she didn't want to talk to Lucas and Brooke. She just didn't know how to act around Lucas. She didn't know if Brooke would be able to sense her feelings. Brooke always had a sixth sense when it came to love. She could feel it in the air. And that scared Peyton.
"Screw it," Peyton muttered, frustrated, as she slammed her book shut. It was no use trying to study when all she could think about was her screwed up love life. Her screwed up friendship. Her screwed up life in general.
She needed to take a walk to clear her head, or at least to get out of the house for a little bit. She spared a glance at the clock as she slid her leather jacket on. 3:47. She could go visit Nathan and Rachel. Brooke and Lucas would probably still be at Karen's. Sighing, she head out the door, not bothering to lock it. It was Tree Hill after all. Breaking and entering wasn't exactly running rampant. The sudden burst of cool air against her skin made her pull her jacket close to her body. She had trouble reminding herself that it wasn't quite summer yet. They were stuck in spring, which in Tree Hill was as volatile and unpredictable as a drunk Mrs. Davis. The analogy brought a bitter smile to Peyton's face. She remembered the times Brooke had spent the night at her house trying to escape the humiliation her drunken mother brought upon her. Brooke had been hurt so many times and Peyton knew that if Brooke could read her thoughts right now, she'd be hurt once again.
She felt like scum for feeling this way. For betraying her friend yet again. It wasn't like she could help it though. The heart wants what it wants, as Haley would say, and her heart wanted Lucas, no matter how much she tried to deny it and pretend it didn't exist. Peyton Sawyer loved and would always love Lucas Scott…unfortunately…
6 billion souls and all you need is one. And Peyton's one belonged to someone else.
"Well, well, well, look who the cat dragged in," Nathan croaked, his voice groggy from sleep. Even through the grogginess though, there was a smirk always present on his face.
"Hey you," Peyton smiled, as she took a seat next to him, "What's up?"
"Not much," Nathan sighed, "My back hurts like you wouldn't believe. The nurses are starting to wean me off pain killers."
"Ooh, sounds like fun."
"Sarcasm is not necessary, Sawyer. You try feeling like this."
"Well you're the one who just had to play hero," Peyton said rolling her eyes.
"Yeah I should probably leave that to Lucas," Nathan sighed, "His body must be built for this shit. I jump in a river and wind up with a slipped disc in my back and a torn muscle. He walks into a school shooting and leaves without a scratch." Nathan looked at Peyton, who had her head cast down.
"True." It was all she could think to say.
"I'm sorry," Nathan said, frowning, "We should have a no Lucas talk rule."
"It's really okay," Peyton smiled.
"No it's not. You're in love with my idiot brother again."
Peyton's jaw dropped. "What did you say?"
"Well, unlike everyone else in Tree Hill, I have this thing called intuition. And my intuition is telling me you're in love with Lucas. That's why you don't come to visit when Lucas or Brooke are here. It's why Brooke keeps going 'Have you heard from Peyton?' why you broke down during the rehearsal skit, and most importantly, why you couldn't take your eyes off of him the whole wedding."
Peyton bit her lip so hard that it almost bled. She didn't know what to say, how to deny it. Hell, if she couldn't just deny it to Nathan, how would she ever deny it to Lucas or Brooke?
"Where's Haley?" Ah, avoidance. Her old friend.
"She's at Karen's," Nathan chuckled. He decided not to press the matter. This was Peyton's way of admitting his intuition was right. "She's tutoring Brooke in calculus."
"Oh," Peyton nodded, "Well that's nice."
"I think that this conversation has turned awkward," Nathan teased. Peyton reached over and slapped him on the chest.
"Oh! Hey! Injured person! You do not slap the injured person."
"You deserved it for bringing up Lucas."
"Well, you deserve the awkwardness for being in love with the idiot."
"Nathan! He's your brother!"
"Yeah, and my brother does not deserve you. Not anymore."
Peyton got really silent, her fingers fiddling with the strap of her purse. If anything, she didn't think she deserved Lucas. He was so kind and loving and passionate. The perfect boyfriend. When he loved something, he'd put his whole heart into it. Every other taboo or relationship rule would go out the window. She admired that. She feared it. She didn't deserve that sort of thing.
"He deserves better than me," Peyton whispered, a sad smile gracing her face, "Brooke, for instance."
"Oh yes, Brooke," Nathan muttered, rolling his eyes.
"Hey! Brooke's a great, kind, caring person. And a wonderful, forgiving friend."
"Forgiving, eh?" Nathan snorted at the thought.
"If anything, I think Brooke is a whiny, insecure, manipulative bitch."
"Seriously?" Peyton gasped.
"Seriously," Nathan said, cringing as he shifted in bed, his back still sore from surgery.
"I thought you liked Brooke."
"I do," Nathan admitted, "I like a lot of things about her. She's beautiful. She's funny. She has a good heart. But what I don't like is Brooke when she's around you. Because she makes you lose your fire."
"Huh," Peyton noted, furling her eyebrows. She didn't know what to say.
"What can I say? I'm Team Peyton."
"Oh Lord," Peyton rolled her eyes, "There is no Team Peyton or Team Brooke. We're best friends."
"Until she finds out you're in love with her boyfriend…again. And then we'll all have to take sides. Lucas included."
"She won't find out," Peyton warned, her eyes locking with his. "And Lucas would choose Brooke. He loves her."
"Yeah, but Lucas can't deny you anything. He can't stay away. He's like a moth and you're a flame. Or a-"
"Bee and a flower?" Peyton smirked. Nathan quirked an eyebrow. "Never mind, Nate. Long story."
"Right," Nathan nodded.
"Well, I should get going," Peyton sighed, standing up, "I think I've had enough Team Brooke, Team Peyton talk."
"Just don't deny it," Nathan said as she leaned down and kissed his forehead.
"Deny what?" Peyton said, somewhat confused.
"If she asks or guesses that you love Lucas, don't deny it. It'll just make it worse."
"Easy for you to say, Nate. You're not in love with your best friend's boyfriend. Again."
"Wow lucky me," Nathan rolled his eyes, "You really don't realize how lucky you are, huh? You're not stuck in a hospital in pain all day."
"Dude, when I got shot in the leg, I had to last three hours in a library with no painkillers."
"I've got bills piling up at home," Nathan argued, "We'll probably lose the apartment."
"My dad works 2,000 miles away just to keep a house over our head."
"My wife almost left me."
"Both my moms died."
"I have Dan."
"Fine! You win," Peyton exclaimed throwing up her arms.
"I always win," Nathan said smugly.
"I'm telling Haley," Peyton said as she exited the room.
"Nice try, Peyt. You wouldn't do that," Nathan called after her, "Hey! Sawyer! You were joking, right?"
"Peyton Elizabeth, that's really not funny!"
Peyton chuckled the entire way to the elevator. She loved how easy it was to win with Nathan. You let him get away with his little games, and then you just threatened to tell Haley, and he got like a scared little puppy. He was whipped beyond belief, and she loved exploiting that.
The laughter, however, died on her lips as soon as the elevator door opened. There, in all his glory, was Lucas Scott. His crystal blue eyes locked with hers. Wow. This was so not what she needed right now.
"Hey you," Lucas ventured as he rubbed her shoulder, "Where've you been hiding?"
"Umm, around," she said, immediately cursing herself for the shakiness of her voice. It was just so hard to ignore the tingles that shot through her system whenever he touched her.
"Around?" Lucas said, furrowing his eyebrows in disbelief.
"Yeah well finals…and stuff. I've been busy studying." She was stuttering like a fool, but hell, whenever she lied, she always felt like a fish out of water. Her mouth even gasped kind of like a fish did when it was struggling for air.
"So you finally got time to see Nathan?"
"Huh?" Peyton asked, having been awaken from her trance.
"Well…" Lucas said trying to hide his amusement from her wackiness, "You've been MIA. I just assumed-"
"This is my ninth visit," Peyton corrected, having gained her confidence back, "I always come around this time which is probably why we never run into each other."
"I'm usually working at the café," Lucas nodded.
"Where's Brooke?" Peyton asked, looking around him as if the brunette had magically managed to hide behind him for the whole conversation.
"With Haley still. It seems someone was supposed to tutor her in calculus but since she's been MIA, she went to Haley."
"Oh," Peyton said, blinking once, "I forgot about that."
"Yeah, clearly," Lucas said, eyeing her strangely, "Peyt, are you okay?"
"I'm fine! Peachy! Dandy! Why wouldn't I be?"
"You're acting odd."
"It's all in your head."
"Well if you're sure…" Lucas trailed off, knowing he wasn't sure one bit.
"I am," Peyton said pushing past him so she could get into the elevator, "I should get home and study some more biology."
"Have you started the chapter on mutual symbiosis? That stuff's pretty hard."
"Actually," Peyton said as the doors' began to close, "That may be the only thing I comprehend."
"Huh," Lucas said, shrugging his shoulders. He placed his hands in his pockets and gave her a small, goofy smile as the doors closed.
Goal for today when Peyton Sawyer woke up: Avoid Lucas Eugene Scott.
Goal accomplished? No.
But when did things ever go her way?
To be hurt
To feel lost
To be left out in the dark
To be kicked when you're down
To feel like you've been pushed around
To be on the edge of breaking down
And no one's there to save you
No you don't know what it's like
Welcome to my life
So did I lose you with the mutual symbiosis? lol. No Chris yet, but he'll come in chapter three. Let me know what you think.