A/N: I'm back again, bringing you a little oneshot to enjoy. And by little, I mean 5,000+ words. lol. I'm currently working on an update for The Art of Selflessness, but this little oneshot has been stuck in my head. I've been itching to write it. Anyways, it takes place after the four year skip. It's quite angsty and there's some sexual stuff. If that bugs you, don't read this. I didn't think it was bad enough to earn an M rating. A big thanks to Ellie for beta'ing. She's the best BLer ever. lol.
Hope you enjoy it! And if you're feeling charitable, review! I love getting feedback.
Disclaimer: I don't own One Tree Hill.
I'm gonna love you forever, Lucas Scott.
Those seven words would haunt him until the day he died.
See…Lucas Scott is a broken man.
He spends most of his time in bars, throwing back shots of tequila. Sometimes, he'll get so drunk that he passes out on the stool, and Haley will be called to bring him home. She'll scold him all night and the next morning when his head is pounding. She'll tell him he's wasting his life. She'll tell him he should start working on his next book. She'll tell him it would be better if he moved on. He listens, but he doesn't hear a thing. Because the next night, he'll be back on that barstool. Haley knows this is all in vain, but try as she might she can't turn him away. So, she'll keep picking him up at that bar and ranting at him until she's blue in the face.
Sometimes, he's not quite drunk enough to pass out and he'll gather enough strength to find a pretty girl to take home. Girls love him, the whole brooding thing he has going. They all think they can fix him. Or if they don't, they figure they can get a good lay out of him. They're always blondes, curly blondes who smirk rather than smile. But no matter how many times he sinks into another girl, it'll never be her underneath him. It'll never be her curls surrounding his face. It'll never be her screaming his name or digging her fingernails into his back. And when morning comes, he'll leave the girl without a glance back because he knows that it's not her he's turning his back on. As much as he'd like to pretend…because for one moment, he'd love to turn his back on her like she did to him.
Sometimes, when he just doesn't feel like drinking, he'll nurse the same scotch all night, and he'll ramble to the bartender who's heard his story so many times before. The bartender feels like he knows Peyton Sawyer personally. He could tell the story backwards if he liked. Most people would cut the rambling man sitting at the bar off, but he can't bring himself to. The boy looks so broken, barely twenty-two and lost. Undoubtedly lost. Heartbreak isn't supposed to happen to kids their age. He tells the boy this over and over, but the boy just smiles up at him sardonically.
"You've never been in love with Peyton Sawyer."
"So that's everything," Lucas said as he packed her things into the back of her trunk. He watched as she sighed dramatically. Her face was still lit up with a beauty he had only ever seen in her. Something so innocent and pure.
"I really don't want to go," she said, tugging at the lapels of his coat.
"I know," he sighed, "But you need to go. This will make you happy." His words sounded like they were meant to convince him and not her.
"You make me happy." She stressed the 'you' dramatically, and he couldn't help giving her a tiny prideful grin.
"Not as happy as music," he said, "Besides, you'll be back at the end of summer and you'll be thanking me profusely for making you go."
"Whatever you say," she said softly. And it was at that moment Lucas knew something had changed, shifted if you will. She forced a smile on her face and leaned up and kissed him. "I love you."
"I love you too," he said quickly, watching her slide into her car.
"I'll call you when Brooke and I get there."
"Okay. Don't forget."
"I won't," she almost whispered as she shut the door. He watched her drive off into the distance, her eyes lingering on his in the rearview mirror before he could no longer distinguish the emerald dots.
Deep down he knew he had lost her right then and there.
She had called once after she arrived in California. Not another phone call after that.
"She's coming back," Haley says softly, her voice is trembling afraid of Lucas's reaction. His temper is so unpredictable nowadays that Nathan's demanded they keep James away from him. In fact, it's been a whole year since Nathan talked to Lucas. And Haley would be a fool if she didn't think her friendship with Nathan's brother wasn't more of a burden on their already weak and fragile marriage.
"She being who?" he says coldly. He knows the answer, but he wants to hear it. He's so sick of being misled. She used to do it all the time. For four years of high school in fact.
"Peyton," Haley says quickly, "Peyton is coming back to Tree Hill. Your mother booked one of her bands at TRIC."
Lucas hasn't spoken to Karen since he showed up at one thirty in the morning and cursed at his sister Lily. He apologized the next day, but Karen had had enough of him. She had to look out for the impressionable little girl she was raising. Lucas took her basic abandonment in stride. He was getting used to it by now.
Peyton may have coined the term "People always leave" but Lucas was the one who was actually living it. Because most people who left Peyton didn't have a choice. They died or had duties they had to uphold. People left Lucas because they just didn't have the energy to deal with him.
"So why should I care that Peyton's coming back?" he hissed, running a hand through his shaggy hair. He hates the length, but he's too hung over most of the time to go get it cut. And when he's sober, he has a lot more pressing matters to take care of like paying bills.
"You should go see her, talk to her maybe," Haley suggests meekly. Lucas doesn't respond, rather lies back down in bed. Suddenly, he wishes he could disappear. He wishes he could erase Peyton Sawyer from his memory banks, just like he did with Nathan Scott and Brooke Davis and anyone else who had just made his life a living hell.
But Peyton's everywhere.
She looks gorgeous. It's the first word that pops into his head as he watches her glide between groups on the dance floor. "Gorgeous." That doesn't even sum it up. Her hair is curly, tight curls like early in their junior year. It's wild, splaying over her shoulders and down her back. Her eyes are still that brilliant shade of emerald green. They still shine brilliantly, but he can tell they're missing that spark. He won't be a fool and assume that has anything to do with him. Her body looks slimmer than he remembers, her skintight mint green dress doing wonders for his imagination. As she shifts her weight, he watches the tight material reveal more of her lower thigh. And when she reaches up to pat the shoulder of the man next to her, he can trace the outline of the underside of her breast.
He watches her carefully from his spot at the bar while she chatters aimlessly, a rueful, yet empty smile on her fragile, porcelain face. It's a Friday night and he promised himself he'd stay sober for once. He didn't want her to see what a miserable wreck he'd become. But he didn't keep that promise for long. As soon as he saw her walk in, he lost all the courage he had.
She looked almost happy and that made him feel sick. Here, he had been pining for four years and she can just smile. Smile. She's not a fucking drunk. She hasn't lost her family and friends. She's happy and moving forward. Still graceful and elegant. And he's broken and lost. And it's not fair.
He was the one who built her up, who made her who she is. He had pushed her to open up and show the world her talents. He told her that her art mattered. He sent her to California to take that internship. He put her on her pedestal, showed her to the world. All he wanted in return was her love.
She couldn't even give him that.
And now she sits here, merely twenty to thirty feet in front of him, unable to recognize him (or maybe she's not bothering to look for him). So he threw back his first drink, muttering 'here's to Peyton Sawyer,' and he hasn't looked back since.
Anger's coursing through his veins and he's never felt so much venom towards one person. So much hate and love mixed together. It's like a fire someone lit under his skin. It started in his chest and has spread to his arms and legs. He can't think straight. All he knows is that he could murder right there. Murder and not care, and all because that guy was touching his girl's waist.
She was his. He didn't remember ever being so possessive about someone. He had always been so liberal in his beliefs. His mother had taught him to respect women, and he did. But, love, the unrequited kind he was feeling right now, made him want to yell to the whole crowd, the whole world and most importantly the slimy man next to her that she was his. His girlfriend. His lover. His forever. She was his, first. Before Jake, before Pete, before all those musicians she had dated these past four years, before that slimy man to her right.
He downs another beer. She isn't his now, though. His anger dulls for a moment, replaced by pain, sorrow. He tries to breath, but it's as if his chest is collapsing upon itself. He feels tears blinding him. His eyes are blurred and he furiously wipes at them. He glances up, masochist that he is, he wants to see her, watch her, as much as it hurts.
He turns his gaze back to her and their eyes meet. For the first time tonight, she sees him. His eyes flicker with burning desire. She still makes him weak when she looks at him. He sees the sorrow that echoes in her hazel orbs. The shame and disappointment. He feels cold all over, when she breaks their eye contact, looking down at the floor. His eyes narrow, and he quickly turns around throwing a couple twenties on the bar to pay for his drinks and flees the bar.
All the while, those green eyes follow him.
He doesn't bother checking his answering machine, which is blinking with two new messages for him to hear. He knows both are probably from Haley, checking if he actually went to see Peyton. He could care less though. He just wants to sleep…or drown himself in the shower. It all depends on how much energy he has.
He does manage to take a shower, though he stumbles into it. Showering drunk is never a good idea. You aren't guaranteed to get clean. In fact, you are more than likely prone to puke in the shower, just making more of a mess for yourself in the morning. Or you'd pass out in the middle and wake up in a flooded bathroom the next morning. Somehow though, Lucas manages to keep himself alert and awake. He is acutely aware that this shower is not helping him feel any better. He still feels dirty, but he has a feeling that wouldn't change no matter how many showers he took.
He exits the shower, wrapping a towel around his waist, and muttering about his luck. Of course, the air condition had to go on as soon as he stepped out, covering his body in a cold blast. He feels chilled to the bone. He glances in the mirror, shaking the water out of his hair. His stubble has grown and it was now slowly starting to look like a full beard. He scratches it idly. He wants to shave it, but shaving drunk is almost as stupid as showering drunk.
He decides that before bed he should grab a drink from the fridge. He remembers stocking the thing with beers yesterday and he hopes one more drink before bed will lead to him passing him out. Otherwise, there's no way he'll sleep.
He nearly dies of shock when he reaches the living room. He's sure a few curse words tumble over his lips as he blindly grabs for the light switch to his right. There's a woman in his house, sitting on his couch, staring out his window.
And that woman is Peyton.
As soon as the light encases the room, Peyton turns to look at him, a soft smile rising on her face, though her lips remain motionless. He can see it in her eyes.
"You haven't changed your locks," she says amusedly, dangling the keys in front of her face.
"There was no need to," he says coldly, "I hardly thought you'd be back." Inside, he's wondering why she bothered keeping them anyways. He watches as the amusement slides from her face and is replaced by a somber expression.
"Well, here I am." She shrugged, standing up, crossing her arms over her chest. She taps her foot impatiently.
"Yeah," he says, sarcasm in his voice, "I see that."
"Whatever." One word. It brings him back to their last face-to-face confrontation. She tries to brush past him, but as soon as her arm touches his, he knows he can't let her go just yet. He grabs her wrist pulling her back so that she's flush with him now. Blue meets green and their both locked in an embrace. Their body language stiff, filled with anger and frustration, neither wanting to let go and melt into the other.
"Where are you going?" Lucas breathes, his lips inches from her ear. He can feel her tremble beneath him and that makes the butterflies in his stomach turn even more.
"I can see when I'm not wanted," she says as firmly as she can, but he can feel her shaking beneath him. He can hear the fear in her voice.
She has to know that her words are the biggest lie she's ever spoken, and she's told many lies. He wants her. He has wanted her since they were fourteen years old. He continued to want her all through high school and the four years they were apart. No matter what girl he claimed to love or made love to, he only wanted her. And even when he had her, he always felt like he was craving more.
He wants it all. He always has.
His hands let go of her wrists and immediately grab the sides of her head pulling her lips to his. Her lips move furiously against his, responding immediately, fueling his passion. His tongue runs across the seam of her lips. She doesn't budge at first, but as soon as his thumb begins stroking her cheek, she relaxes. His tongue cracks her mouth open, forcing its way inside. Her arms circle his neck, stroking the wisps of hair at the back of his neck. He pushes her against the nearest living room wall, and his hands wander down her curves, one settling at her hip, the other pulling her leg against his bare side.
Suddenly, it's as though a bucket of ice water has been poured over her, and she shoves him away. Harsh, ragged breaths are all that can be heard; as they try to replace the oxygen they sorely deprived themselves of. Then, out of nowhere, Lucas feels his cheek stinging and he looks up to see Peyton's hand dangling in mid air.
"Did you just slap me?"
"You're drunk," she says.
"Very astute assumption," he slurs, not helping his case at all, "You always were a smart one."
"You never get drunk," Peyton says sadly, "Or at least…"
"I never did." He shrugs. "But a lot changed when you left."
"How often does this happen?"
He feels the response 'How often does the sun rise?' on the tip of his tongue but he can't bring himself to say the words. As much as it makes him ill, he still hates the thought of disappointing her. Of letting her know that she got under his skin. She made him like this. He doesn't want to give her any more power than she already has.
"That's none of your business, Peyton."
"Why didn't you say hello tonight? How long were you at TRIC?" The questions just sort of tumble out of her mouth, and Lucas can notice how her cheeks color in embarrassment just for asking him.
"I didn't want to interrupt you and your boyfriend." He sounds like a petty little child, but he could care less. His anger, goaded by the alcohol coursing through his veins, is trumping all other rationale at this point.
She lets out a mirthless laugh. "He's not my boyfriend."
"Well he sure was touching you like you were his."
"Oh please…" She rolls her eyes and lets out another small laugh, which immediately dies down when she feels his hands on her hips.
"I know it's crazy," Lucas whispers, pulling her against him again, "Because no matter what happens you are mine."
"More like you're mine," she says venomously, "I leave for four years and come back to find you a pathetic drunk who doesn't even have the courage to say hello to me, still pining over me." She immediately regrets it.
"Leave." He pushes off of her and turns away. Tears trying to work their way into his eyes. Even when he thinks she can't hurt him anymore than she already has, she finds a way.
"Lucas…I didn't mean-"
"LEAVE!" Lucas roars, turning around, not caring if she sees his tears. He almost hopes it would hurt her maybe to see how much he cared, still, after all of this. He still loves her.
"No," she says softly, "no I won't leave."
"But you're so good at it," he mumbles, wiping his eyes, "It's the one thing you've perfected. You've seen it done so many times before. It's only natural that you know how to do it so well. So go! Walk away. You've done your damage." His voice never piques above a whisper, and as he speaks, he feels the tears rolling down his cheeks. He should care about crying in front of her, about wanting to look strong. But he doesn't.
She steps forward and touches his cheek, causing him to flinch. Seeing his reaction, she pulls her hand back as if burned. "I'm sorry, Luke. I didn't realize…"
"That it's the truth?" he said sardonically, "Because it is, Peyton. I'm a pathetic drunk who can't let go of what we had. I lost my brother and my mother because I'm so bitter and it's been at least a year since I saw my little sister or my nephew. I treat Haley like shit even though she's the only one who's here to make sure I'm still breathing in the morning. And if you want a cause of all of that, there's a mirror in my bathroom. Go take a look."
"You can't blame me for your drinking," she whispers, "I didn't force the bottle to your mouth."
"Well if you hadn't skipped off to California, I wouldn't have started drinking."
"So this is my fault?" she says, her voice picking up steam, "You're the one who couldn't even give me a reason to stay!"
"I didn't think that your departure would be a permanent thing!"
"All you needed to do was show me that you cared! The whole time we were together I felt as if I was pulling teeth to try and get your feelings out. By the time I left, I was positive you cared about me as a friend only and we were forcing this relationship."
"How can you possibly have thought that?" Lucas grits out, "I've been in love with you since the day you almost ran me over with your car. All of high school I spent pining for you, chasing after you, taking care of you. Every girl I was ever with never could compare to you and every relationship I had ended because you had this!" He pointed to his heart dramatically before throwing his hands up in frustration, "Even when I tried to tell myself you didn't. Even when I rationalized that there were others who I could love forever, I'd walk into my closet and see that stupid Peyton box, and I'd know I was a fool for thinking otherwise."
Lucas pauses to take a deep breath and run his hands through his hair.
"I was in love with you when you left and I'm still in love with you now."
A deafening silence hangs in the air as Peyton soaks in his words. Her arms are now hanging loosely at her sides.
"Then why didn't you tell me that before?"
"What?" Lucas asks, genuinely confused.
"You never said you were in love with me."
"Not once, Luke. You said 'I love you' like it was nothing and for a while it was enough, but whenever I said 'in love' it was as if you went deaf. Eventually, I thought something of it."
"You're a stupid woman then," he hisses, "If you gave up what we had on speculation. You sound like Brooke, in fact."
"Well, Brooke was right, wasn't she? You were in love with me and that's why she broke up with you."
"Stupid," he mutters, turning his back on her. He hears her approach before she even takes a step and he can feel her ice-cold hands on his back before she even touches him. Her hands settle on his sides, running up and down against his bare skin, causing him to shift his stance, as he feels increasingly uncomfortable. She stands on her tippy toes so that her lips are even with his ears.
"I am stupid and incredibly insecure," she says softly, each word causing her lips to stroke his ear, filling it with her warm breath. "But I left you because I thought I was making you unhappy. I thought you wanted me to go." She felt his muscles tense beneath her hands so she quickly continued, "It was a mistake. One I'll regret until the day I die, but there's nothing saying we can't fix that now."
"You'll be on a plane tomorrow," he says, trying to ignore the sensations she's invoking as her hands slide around his waist, teasing the skin on his lower abdomen with her nails.
"I love you." She doesn't answer his accusation, but somehow those three words soothe his fears. He pulls her around in front of him and their eyes meet.
A moment later he lowers his lips to hers. Unlike their first kiss, this one is softer, their lips barely brushing. He pulls back, kissing her cheek, then her chin, down her jaw line and finally on her neck. The kisses are chaste and sweet.
"I love you too," he murmurs against the skin of her neck. And as soon as the words are out of his mouth, the passion and anger still lingering inside of him take over and he smashes his lips against hers, hardly giving her a moment to prepare herself. His hands curl around her thighs and he pulls her up against his waist, being sure to not break the kiss in the process.
His hands work the material of her skirt higher and higher, trying to grab hold of as much bare skin as possible. Her legs had always been his weakness, and he's missed the feeling of them wrapped tightly against his torso. His lips detach from hers and she sucks in a large breath as she feels him move to her neck, sucking gently on the spot just below her ear. They're now pushed against the wall again, his left hand is sitting gingerly on the back of her thigh to keep her in place while his right is palming her breast through the tight material of her dress.
He needs more. Now. He removes his hand from her chest causing her to let out a small whine, that he immediately drowns out with his kiss to keep her occupied. Reaching around her, he finds the zipper to her dress and drags it down her back. Once it's all the way down, he pulls at the material frantically until it's gathered at her waist. She tries to untangle her legs so that she can step out of it, but he stops her.
"Leave it for now," he whispers in a hurried voice before kissing his way around the outline of her bra.
Any protest she might have had dies when his lips find the new territory. She uses her leverage against the wall to arch her back. Her hands are buried in his hair, pushing him forward as she feels him marking the spot just over her heart with his lips and tongue. His hands are now working on the clasp of her bra.
"Bedroom," she gasps out as he pulls the bra off of her and flings it somewhere near the coffee table.
He doesn't respond. Mainly because he's too busy trailing kisses over her now exposed breasts. Besides that, he'd love to just take her there. But he feels her fingernails dig into his back and he knows that's her way of getting his attention so he trails his kisses back up to her mouth, kissing her as if to say "bedroom it is then." He pulls her down the small hallway to his bedroom and drops her on the bed unceremoniously.
He crouches over her, for a moment just taking in the sight in front of him. A half naked Peyton Sawyer. This is something that he didn't think he'd see again, so he cherishes it. He drinks in the sight and allows his hands to touch everything. He wants to remember it all, every curve, every texture, every color. She knows his minds is drifting off, as his hands ghost over her body, not committing to one place and his eyes are fixed intently on her stomach.
"Where's your head at, Luke?" she asks softly, tipping his chin up with her index finger. He just smiles softly at her and shakes his head. Unlike all the bitter ones she's seen from him tonight, she can almost see a piece of the old Luke now in his smile. He drops his head to her stomach placing a few butterfly kisses just below her navel, before sliding her dress down her long legs, taking her underwear with it.
He kisses the inside of her ankle, working his way up her leg until he reaches the top of her inner thigh, before doing the same to the other leg. Once he's done there his lips touch the corner of her hip, the top of her stomach, the underside of her breast. Any place he can think of. Each kiss is a soft brush of his lips, but the pressure is enough to make Peyton's mind spin.
She gains enough control of her body to bring her hands to the towel, still resting along his hips. Feeling her hands slide along the underside of it before pulling it off, he wonders briefly how that towel stayed in place all this time, but soon his thoughts are cut off as he feels himself pressed up against her thigh. He shifts himself so that he is right there at her center, the tip of him grazing her. And he feels her shudder, and arch her back trying to create more contact, but he holds her down.
"Please Luke," she begs, her body craving a release from this torture he's assaulted upon her. Her eyes have shut and he drops kiss on each of the lids.
"No, not just yet."
"Lucas…" she whines, but he cuts her off with a swift kiss.
"Say it, Peyton," he whispers huskily in her ear, pushing forward a bit, but not enough to give any kind of relief. If anything it makes it worse.
"You're mine," he pulls back to see her eyes have now darted open and are staring at him intently. Knowing he's got her attention, he continues. "Say you're mine and that no one will ever love you like I do."
He thinks, by the look on her face, that she's going to push him off of her and flee the house. She looks utterly shocked and scared. He doesn't think he's ever seen her so confused before, but he doesn't back down. He won't make love to her until he knows that she's been faithful, if not in body, then in mind.
"I'm yours," she breathes, her eyes fluttering shut again, "I've always been yours and there is no other person on this earth who's gonna love me like you do." As soon as the words are out of her mouth, she crumbles beneath him as if the last of her walls have been broken. It's taken six years, but Lucas Scott has finally conquered Peyton Sawyer.
He buries himself deep inside of her, and as he does he finds his face against her neck, buried in her curls. He lets out a groan of relief. This is what he's been searching for…
He wakes up a couple hours later to find her still in his arms. He thinks this is all a dream, but one sniff of her hair, lavender scented with hint of pineapple, and he's reassured that she's real. Last night was real.
Unfortunately, one night with Peyton, as beautiful as it was, can't erase the four years of anger and bitterness he's had to endure. Now, he's completely sober, and all the painful, lonely nights she's put him through are slowly creeping into his memory. He has the strongest urge to get up and leave. It has been his goal to one-day walk away from her and now was his chance. He wonders how wonderful it would feel to get that revenge.
But then she turns in his arms, a smile on her sleeping face, and she snuggles close to him. Call him weak, but he can't walk away from her. He never could. So he just sighs and closes his eyes and lets himself drift off into a peaceful sleep. The first he's had in four years.
When he wakes five hours later, she's gone just like he expects. She's left her underwear though, and he chuckles at how Peyton like it is for her to leave them. Back when they were together, she always left one item of clothing in his room after they did the deed. It wasn't intentional at first, more like she was forgetful. But after Lucas mentioned it to her, she began leaving them on purpose.
He feels sick at the fact that she's used him yet again. How could she just say those words and not mean them? Was she just horny or maybe nostalgic even? Did she not realize how much he loved her? Or did she just assume he was lying again? All of the possibilities leave him hurting more than he ever thought possible before last night. She walked away again and once again, she didn't even really say goodbye.
He wants to break down and cry. He wants to call up Haley and tell her the whole story. He wants to apologize to his mother and brother for messing up his relationship with them over someone who could give two shits about him. Most of all, he wants a beer.
After all, he's still a pathetic drunk pining over her. Nothing has changed.
He reaches the fridge, swinging the door open and is shocked to find a note taped to the front of his beer. His eyebrows furrow and he immediately wonders if Haley is taking new measures to prevent him from drinking. For a moment, he considers throwing out the note, but he reluctantly opens it up, and discovers it's not from Haley.
Lucas- Get your act together. It doesn't matter if it takes months or years, because I'll wait for you to fix things. I meant what I said that night in the gardens. I'm gonna love you forever, Lucas Scott.
Those seven words would haunt him until the day he died.
Lucas Scott is a broken man…for now, that is.