Chapter 8

It had been three weeks since all the drama. Lucas had stuck to his word and was staying away from Brooke. This was very hard for him to do. Especially since Brooke had been at his basketball practices frequently to get notes and interviews for more of her articles.

Her articles had been going very well. Lucas had managed to glance at some of them and he was very pleased. Brooke was a fantastic writer. He knew that she didn't particularly like writing about basketball since she only liked cheering for it, but she was very good at it.

He would see her sitting on the bleachers just writing away. The thing that worried him was he could see that she wasn't happy. Behind all the makeup and the fake smiles, she was hurting.

But it wasn't like he wasn't hurting too. He had to watch his brother get to talk to Brooke as much as he pleased. He knew nothing was going on between them, but he really wished he could be Nathan. Not to mention tolerating all the guys on the team that would hit on her constantly. He wanted to kill them. There was one in particular that he wanted to kill. Owen. Ever since the brunch he had seen him hanging around Brooke. Sometimes he would see Brooke looking so sad and then Owen would go over there, tell a joke and she would be alright. He wanted to be the one that made Brooke feel better.

The worse thing that was happening to him though, is that he could feel himself pulling away from Peyton. He wasn't trying to do it, it was just happening. He found himself avoiding her sometimes. They got into more arguments now, over little things. He could see Peyton's insecurities and it hurt his heart to know that he was doing this to her. He just didn't know what to do. They had a date later on today and he was going to do his best to show Peyton how much she meant to him.

It was Friday afternoon and Lucas had been practicing with his team all day and now they were on break. Brooke was there, so as usual all the guys were fawning over her.

Lucas glanced over at Brooke. She was laughing at one of the players. Owen was sitting beside her and had his arm around her waist. He looked content. Lucas couldn't help but get jealous.

"You ok Lucas?" Nathan asked as he walked over to where his brother was standing. He had seen Lucas watching Brooke and knew that it was hard for him to see her like that and act as if she didn't exist. Plus all the guys around her weren't helping.

"Yeah I'm fine," Lucas replied not once dropping his eyes.

"It's Brooke isn't it?" Nathan asked. It was still kind of hard for him to talk to his brother about Brooke, but he wanted to help Lucas out. God knows he needed it.

For the first time Lucas looked at Nathan. "How did you know?" he asked returning his gaze back to Brooke.

"It's kind of obvious bro. No offense, but your acting like a sick puppy." He grinned.

"Nate I just don't know what to do. I'm supposed to be with Peyton, but I can't get Brooke out of my head. She's all I think about. It's killing me!" He watched as Owen pushed a strand of Brooke's hair behind her ear and she smiled up at him.

"Well she looks happy man." Nathan said watching Brooke. "Why don't you try to be happy too, with Peyton? You were happy with her before Brooke came back, you can be happy with her now."

"I don't know man, it seems impossible with Brooke around, but she is happy." He said watching her. "I'll do it for her then. Peyton and I will be fine." He finished trying to reassure himself.

"Ok man. Now let's get this thing going. He said throwing the ball to his brother. Lucas smiled.

"Thanks Nate. It's nice to know I can count on you man."

"Anytime," he replied returning the smile.

Practice ended shortly after that.

Brooke had been gathering her stuff together when Coach Michael approached her.

"Ms. Davis you have really been doing a fantastic job with your articles." He said shaking her hand.

"Thanks Coach," she let out. She was glad that she had pleased the coach.

"Keep up the good work," He replied turning away. Then he turned back around. "Oh, I forgot to tell you and the team will be leaving tomorrow for an overnight away game. I expect you to be accompanying us on this trip. This will be a great article for you Ms. Davis. I wouldn't expect you to blow this off, right?" He looked at Brooke his expression saying 'if you say no, I'll kill you'.

Brooke didn't see any way out of this. "You know I'll be there coach." She said forcing a smile.

"I knew that's what you would say Davis. We load in the morning at nine. Don't be late." Then he turned around and left.

Brooke gathered her stuff and continued walking out of the gym. She was a little excited about going on the trip. She would get to spend time with Nathan and Owen. He had been wonderful to her; always making her laugh and making her feel special. She really needed that now more than ever.

As she walked out the door she walked past Lucas and their eyes locked. She forced a civilized smile, and he returned it before she turned away from him and continued walking to her car. Brooke's car had arrived two weeks ago and she was ecstatic. Her thoughts drifted back to Lucas. It was so hard for her to be around him. She was hurting like she had never hurt before. She lost the only thing that mattered to her; she was getting to the point where she couldn't take it anymore. The only way she survived the practices was to block him out completely, but then on the rare occasions when their eyes would meet, she'd be a wreck all over again.

Suddenly Brooke's thoughts were interrupted as she realized something. The overnight trip that she was going on, Lucas was going to be going too. Great, just great! I'm gonna need a drink. She thought as she got in her car and made her way to the bar.

Lucas had been at Peyton's for about two hours. They had been listening to their favorite albums and had just finished listening to Fall Out Boy, but Lucas had been in deep thought since he had arrived at Peyton's.

"Peyton, can I ask you a question?" Lucas asked.

Peyton looked up at him from where she was. "Of course babe, anything"

"How come we don't talk anymore?" this question had been on his mind lately. It caught Peyton off guard though.

"What do you mean? We talk all the time, Lucas."

"No, I mean really talk Peyton. Like have a meaningful conversation about something other than music and writing."

Peyton thought for a moment. "I don't know Lucas. I guess we just kind of stopped."

"But why, Peyton?" Lucas needed to know.

"I don't know Luke. I guess we just lost touch, but it's not too late to get it back Lucas. Relationships go through rough patches. This is just one of ours. We'll be fine."

Lucas wanted to believe her, he really did, but somewhere, deep down inside his heart, he didn't.

"I mean it Lucas," Peyton said scooting up to Lucas on her bed. "Things are gonna be fine." She pulled him in and gave him a kiss. He grabbed her neck and pulled her in closer. He needed to hold on to what was left.

"See, everything's going to be ok." She said giving him a quick kiss.

"Yeah," he let out, "I should go. I have an overnight trip for an away game tomorrow." He replied.

Peyton looked let down, but forced a smile. "Ok, call me when you get home, ok?"

"Of course," he replied as he enveloped her in a hug. She lifted her head from his chest and kissed him again. He smiled at her and left. He had a lot to think about.

Lucas drove down the street, his radio blasting. Sob song after sob song kept playing on the radio. This really fit his current state of mind. He was confused about what he wanted. He didn't want to hurt anyone, but he'd already ruined that by hurting Brooke.

He was about to drive past the bar, when he saw a familiar blue convertible. He only knew one person that drove one of those. He pulled into the parking lot, got out of his truck and went inside.

The place was crowded. There were so many people in there, it was ridiculous. He pushed his way through the crowds of people until he saw Brooke. She was dancing with some random guy. He had a beer in one hand and was using the other hand to grab her butt. Lucas could feel his anger rise just looking at the display in front of him. He marched up to Brooke.

"Brooke, what the hell are you doing?" he asked her.

She spun around dizzily to face him. "Luke, Lucas, is that you?" she asked squinting her eyes.

"Yes!" He screamed over the music. "You would know that if you weren't so drunk!" he added.

"I'm not drunk Lucas!" she retorted. "I'm just having fun. You know sometimes you just have to let your haaaiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrr dowwwn" she slurred.

"I'm going to get you out of here," he said leading her to the exit.

"Hold up Buddy! Where do you think you're taking her? We were just getting better acquainted." The guy that had been dancing with her yelled at Lucas pulling Brooke back to him.

Brooke laughed and stammered, "One at a time boys, one at a time."

"She's drunk for crying out loud! I'm taking her with me!" Lucas yelled at the guy.

"Oh I think she's fine where she is buddy," the guy replied pulling Brooke even closer to him.

Brooke smiled at the guy drunkenly. "Yeah Lucas, I'm fine right here!"

Lucas grabbed her hand. "We're leaving Brooke!" he started towards the exit again but was pulled back by a strong hand grabbing him.

"You're not going anywhere!" the other guy yelled. Lucas turned around and punched the guy with all the strength he had. The guy fell to the floor, and Lucas shook his now bruising hand before continuing to walk Brooke to his car.

She was completely oblivious to what had just happened. She did know that Lucas was ruining her fun and she pissed at him for that.

"I hate you, you know that?" she said hitting his arm as hard as she could.

"Well I hate when you're drunk," he replied. She frowned at him.

Lucas buckled her in on the passenger's side of his truck and then got in on the drivers side and buckled himself in before driving Brooke home.

When they got there, Lucas was surprised to see Brooke's frown still vividly across her face.

"Are you still mad at me?" he looked at her.

"Please don't talk to me! You're not allowed to, remember?" I guess she wasn't drunk enough to forget about that.

"Come on Brooke," he said as he opened her door and grabbed her hand to help her out.

"Don't touch me either, Lucas!" she said as she snatched her hand back. She got out of the car and opened her apartment door. "I'll be fine! You can leave now, Peyton's waiting."

He sighed.

Suddenly Brooke felt her stomach lurch. "Oh my gosh! I think I'm gonna be sick!" She ran to her bathroom and bent down to the toilet as her alcohol revisited her mouth. She felt a soft hand rub her back.

"You're going to be ok Brooke," he coaxed her.

"Why do you always have to be there?" she asked as she wiped her mouth.

"Because I have to," he replied smiling down at her.

She got up and went to the sink and brushed her teeth. She wiped her mouth with her wash cloth, and tried to make her way to her living room, but she stumbled.

"Whoa, take it easy!" he said grabbing Brooke's arm and helping her to her couch. "I see you're still a little drunk. He sat her down. "I'll be right back." He went to her room and got a blanket from her linen closet. Then he went back into the living room and wrapped it around her, taking a seat next to her.

She smiled at him. "It's really hard for me to say this and I probably won't even remember I did in the morning, but thank you," she replied as she rested her head on the arm of the couch.

He smiled back at her. "No problem Brooke." He looked at his watch. It was 1:30 am. "I should go; we have a big day ahead of us tomorrow." He got up and was about to grab his jacket and leave when he felt a warm hand grab his hand.

"No Lucas! Please don't leave me." Brooke begged. She looked as if she was close to tears.

He looked at her worried. She looked so fragile and weak. He sat down again and pulled her over to him. She laid her head on his chest. "Don't worry Brooke, I'll never leave you," he whispered in her in her ear. She smiled as she closed her eyes and let herself settle into him.

He rested his head on her hair and closed his eyes. He had missed this. He noticed Brooke's breathing become steadier. She was asleep.

Just then his phone vibrated. "Hello," he answered it in a whisper, not wanting to wake Brooke.

"Lucas, are you ok? You never called to let me know that you got home safely. You had me worried sick!" Peyton's worried voice came.

"Well actually I never made it home," Lucas truthfully told her.

"Well where the hell are you, Lucas?" Peyton said getting worried.

Lucas took a deep breath. He knew Peyton wasn't going to like his answer. "I'm at Brooke's, now before you freak out; she was drunk at a bar I had to bring her home."

"Well you can leave now, she's home!"

"I can't leave her. She's in no condition to be left alone Peyton." He argued.

Peyton was very pissed, but she didn't want to fight with Lucas, not after they had just agreed they were going to work on their relationship.

"Whatever Lucas, so when am I going to see you again?"

"I don't know, in three days I guess. You know the overnight game and everything," he replied rubbing his eyes. He was getting sleepy, plus his injured hand was on fire.

"Oh and I suppose Brookie will be going on this trip too?" she asked.

"Well yeah. She has too. It's her job to be there."

"Well this is just great isn't it? Try not to do anything stupid! I don't want to talk about this anymore. I'll see you when you come back, ok?" Her voice was softer now. She didn't want to fight with him.

"Ok," was all he said before they both hung up. He stroked Brooke's hair as he smiled down at her.

Gosh this is going to be some trip. He thought to himself.