"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."
- Maria Robinson
A first date between two strangers is uncomfortable. It's the beginning of getting to know someone, what they like, what they don't like, how many siblings they have, what they like to do in their spare time. You smile because you want to fill the silence, you laugh at jokes to make him/her feel more at ease. But as the evening goes on, you're confidence builds and you slowly divulge into a more in depth conversation. A first date between two friends is just plain awkward. You don't know whether you've crossed the line between friend and lover. The conversation never dulls but you're always aware of the proximity between the two of you, aware of the urge to hold their hand but unsure of whether you're supposed to. A date between two people who used to be in a relationship should be like riding a bike; you remember how to peddle but it takes you a while to get back into the rhythm. Peyton didn't think her date was like riding a bike, she didn't even think the date was awkward. It was uncomfortable. She had been in love with Lucas once upon a time, and probably still was but looking across the table at him, he seemed like a stranger. "So," She looked down at the candle burning away in the center of the table and then proceeded to look up into his watching baby blues – the same baby blues which had been watching her non-stop for the past twenty minutes. "This is weird, right…" The past four years had propelled her from the shy girl hiding behind an emotion barrier into a somewhat sassy, confident young woman who nearly always spoke her mind.
Lucas's fears of rejection had been wiped away when Peyton had opened the door to him earlier in the evening. He was sure that she was either going to call and cancel or just not open the door to him. It was like he was on a constant high from being satisfied that she hadn't done either of those. "What?" He asked lost in thought, well not so much thought as just being lost in those emerald coloured eyes he had written about in the past.
Peyton couldn't hide the smile that played at her lips, it had been obvious to her and whoever else was watching that Lucas was a little, well besotted with her. His eyes had never left hers once, not even when ordering his drink. "Never mind," A small sigh escaped her lips. It had been fifteen minutes since they had ordered their drinks, normally she wouldn't have minded waiting but suddenly she craved her vodka and coke, it was the perfect remedy to cure the knots in her stomach. She looked around the restaurant trying to locate their waiter, but it was busy. Of course it was busy, it was date night. And she was on a date. On a date with Lucas… "Do you wanna get out of here?"
He raised his brow, confused. It seemed like everything had been going fine, well at least he assumed it was. "You want to go home?" He asked, his voice not masking his disappointment at all.
"No," She answered a little too quickly and smiled, "It's just…" She looked around the busy restaurant again and looked at all of the couples who were all dressed to impress their dates. "It's not us," She spoke finally looking back at him. "We never really did the whole fancy date night thing," In fact in the two years that they had dated, not once did they go out on a date. They went to parties together, they had dinner at each other's houses but they had never got dressed up to the nines and gone out to a ridiculously overpriced restaurant for dinner. "And to be honest it's not really my thing." She paused, he had invited her out to dinner, he had suggested the restaurant, and he had wanted this. And now she was ruining his night. "But you, we can stay if you want…I really don't mind, I was just thinking out loud." Good job at backtracking Peyton, she thought sarcastically to herself.
Lucas let out a sigh of relief and lifted his hand to his tie, pulling it loose. She didn't want to end the date she simply wanted a change of scene which to be honest was a relief. "Peyton," He looked at her from under his dark lashes and smiled, "I don't care what we do or where we go just as long as I get to spend time with you." He admitted truthfully. Lucas had never been shy with showing his emotions; if anything he wore his heart on his sleeve and was never embarrassed by it. "I've got an idea," Pushing back on the chair, he stood up and walked around the table to Peyton. "Why don't we swap the ridiculously overpriced lobster for a hot dog and a walk on the pier?" He held out his hand and grinned hopefully down at her. If she had been trying to back out of the date in a subtle way then she was going to have to do it now…
Haley stood in the doorway to her living room with her arms folded across her chest. She leant her head against the wooden door frame and smiled contently at the sight before her eyes. Nathan was sprawled out across one of their sofas with Jamie resting on his chest. It was a picture perfect moment and she didn't want to ruin it but it was past Jamie's bedtime. "Hey little man," She smiled at her son who turned his head away from the television to her, "it's time for bed."
"Aww, just five more minutes, please mom!" He begged. "I don't have school tomorrow and daddy said I could stay up and watch the game," He countered, Jamie had learnt quickly that the best way to get what you want was to negotiate…or at least that was what Uncle Skills had said.
"Five minutes," Haley's voice was soft yet it rang with authority. "And I'll be inspecting those pearly white teeth before you go to bed, if they're not sparkling then I'll know you have brushed…" She pointed her finger at him accusingly and grinned, "And the same goes for you, dad!" Her eyes met her husbands, "Set a good example for your son!"
"I'll set a good example now," He grinned looking up at her. His hands reached down and wrapped around his son's waist. Sitting up he picked Jamie up and threw him over his shoulder and laughed as his son squealed out of excitement. "When mom says it's bed time, it's bed time…" He paused her turned his head slightly so that he was looking over his shoulder down at his son's little face. "And why's that?"
Jamie laughed, "'Cause momma knows best!"
Nathan stood up from the couch and kept his hold on Jamie, "That's right, momma knows best." Walking across the living room, Nathan stopped in the doorway and leaned towards Haley and planted a small kiss on the corner of her mouth. "Momma always knows best." He winked playfully at his wife and strolled out of the living room and into the hallway, carrying Jamie over his shoulder.
Less than five minutes later, Jamie sprinted into Nathan and Haley's bedroom and ran around the double bed to stand in front of his mother who was tucked in bed and reading a book. He grinned, showing off all of his teeth. "See momma, sparkling!"
Haley leant forward and lifting her hand to her son's chin so that she could inspect his teeth, she grinned. "Sparkling," She confirmed quickly leaning forward and planting a kiss on her son's lips. "Now get to bed, daddy will be in a few minutes to tuck you in."
"Night momma…" Jamie turned on his bare feet and ran out of the bedroom as quickly as he had entered the room.
Haley watched as her son disappeared from the bedroom and felt a sense of ease rush over her. It was easy not to be anxious about the baby that was growing inside of her when she had a perfect, stable family life. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Nathan enter the bedroom from their on suite and grinned, he was in his pyjama bottoms showing off his perfectly sculptured abs. A part of her envied him and his perfectly toned body. "You know it's not fair…for the next nine months, I'll be getting fatter and you'll stay looking like that." She waved her hand in his direction and scowled, "I'll be the fat cow walking around with the too-perfect-could-be-airbrushed husband. It's bad enough now when we go to beach or down to the mini mart, where those anorexic, big boobed blonde bimbos drool after you and then look at me…" She sighed, it had to be the hormones, she thought to herself. Normally she didn't care what the anorexic big boobed blonde bimbos thought of her, after all she had what a lot of people would consider the full package, a blossoming career, a beautiful and intelligent son and an incredibly handsome husband.
Nathan laughed, "Well…" He made his way over to their double bed and sat down on his side of the bed, leaning over to his beautiful wife, planting a kiss on the side of her neck. "Firstly you won't be fat, you'll be pregnant…" He kissed slowly up her neck to the corner of her mouth and grinned, "And secondly, when you're pregnant you look if it's possible even more beautiful than you normally do…" He moved his lips to hers and planted a soft kiss on hers and smiled as he pulled away.
Haley rolled her eyes, "What a bunch of crap!" She grinned and pulled on his arms to bring his body closer to hers, "But thank you for saying it." Her lips met his once again as their son called out impatiently for his dad to come and tuck him in.
On the pier she stood leaning against the wooden barrier staring out into the darkness. The sound of the waves beating against the rocks below could have very well been from one of those peaceful, melodic CD's. As the cold wind brushed against her face but was kept a bay from the rest of her body by his black suit jacket. She leaned forward on her elbows which were resting against the wooden fence and smelt the arm of his jacket.
Quickly she pulled back from the wooden barrier and pulled her arm down from her face, there was no need for her to look like a lustful freak sniffing her date's jacket. Turning around she looked at him, he had completely discarded his black tie and the top four buttons of his shirt undone. Her eyes scanned down to his hands and eyed the two loaded hot dogs and she grinned. "Perfect…" Pulling back on the too long jacket sleeves she took one of the hot dogs from his grasp and held onto it. The mixture of meat and tomato sauce steamed up to her nose. Her stomach grumbled in response. Lifting the hot dog to her mouth she took a bite from it and savoured the moment. It tasted much better than an overpriced lobster, or at least she figured it did. "Mmm, this is soo good!" Leaning her back against the wooden barrier she looked across the empty pier.
Lucas joined her side and leant back against the wooden barrier, taking a bite from his hot dog. "So where were we?" He asked in between bites. Before he had wandered off to get the hot dogs they had been talking about past relationships, well past relationships being those that happened after they had been together. He had confessed that other than Holly his editor, he hadn't really dated anyone. Peyton on the other hand, seemed to have a string of relationships which awaked the little green eyed monster in his head, thankfully though, he had been put back to sleep by her admission that the relationships she had been in hadn't been relationships as such. "Right, Eric…the drummer?"
Peyton nodded, "Ah Eric," Peyton sighed and pulled the hot dog down from her mouth. Swallowing the food in her mouth she grinned, "He was a little more consistent than the others," She tilted her head trying to think back to how long the two of them had 'dated' for. "That so called relationship lasted about …three months?" She questioned herself, "Yeah three months, we actually broke up the day of Brooke's engagement party…" She paused, it had been a little over a month since Brooke's engagement party, and she wondered if he remembered that night as clearly as she did.
"Brooke's engagement party, you mean the night where you, my mom and practically every woman in the gazebo threw themselves at George Clooney." It was a rhetorical question.
So he did remember. Finishing her hot dog she felt her stomach rumble again only this time it was a satisfactory rumble. She turned and watched him eat his hot dog and couldn't help but smile. At the beginning of the night she had felt uncomfortable but after leaving the restaurant and just talking with him, she felt at ease, it felt right. Turning around on her heels she looked back out across the dark water and stared into the darkness.
Lucas turned his head and watched her, he couldn't help himself. "So on a scale of one to ten, how bad has this date been?" He asked, "Be honest…"
"One being not so bad and ten being incredibly sucky…" She turned and met his baby blues and grinned, "Definitely a ten, possibly even an eleven" She joked in true Peyton Sawyer fashion. If it had been anyone else, they would have mistaken her sarcasm but Lucas knew her, probably knew her better than anyone else…even after two years of being separated. "Honestly, at the restaurant it was an easy eight…but now it's a one."
Lucas grimaced, "I'm sorry about the restaurant, I guess I was just trying…"
"Too hard…" Peyton interrupted him.
"I just wanted to get it right," He admitted turning on his black soles and leaning against the wooden barrier looking out into the darkness. "The past couple of weeks have been…" He paused debating whether to be truthful or whether to sugar coat his feelings so that he wouldn't scare her off. "Being with you again, it just feels right." Okay, so he was going for truthful. He turned his body to face hers and reached out so that he gripped her arms so that she would turn and face him. "Peyton, I know you and I know that my feelings for you make you want to run away screaming from me," He grinned, knowing exactly what was going through her mind. "But I'm willing to be friends or to take this, whatever this is, as slow or as fast as you want to go." His right hand reached up and brushed away a strand of blonde curly hair from the side of her face. "I just want you to know I'm here and I'm not going anywhere."
Peyton sighed, "And the date was going so well…" Why did he always have to go two steps too far? Sure he was giving her the option to just be friends but she knew that he would always want more…and she would too, but to declare it on a first date was just classic Lucas. "Why do you do that Luke?" She stared up into his baby blues trying her best not to get lost in them.
"Do what?" He asked confused.
"You put your heart out there on display for everyone to see," She took his hand in hers and looked up at him and smiled kindly, "It's an easy way to get it broken." Peyton had learned from past mistakes, she had given her heart too easily in the past and had in return got it broken, she couldn't understand why Lucas was always so willing to get his broken.
He twisted their hands so that hers were now resting in his, "Sometimes it's worth the risk…"