It is a beautiful day in Tree Hill. It is one of those perfect summer days when the temperature is just hot enough to stay comfortable, the breeze coming off the ocean is nothing short of delicious, and the sky is as blue as God intended it to be, with a few puffy clouds lazily making their way across it. This weather is made for picnics on the beach, cookouts, hammocks, pink lemonade, and pick-up baseball games on the green. It's perfection.
I've been back in town for four days now, quietly settling myself in. No one knows I'm here and I want to keep it that way for awhile. My career has never been better and it is true I have no shortage of friends in the big city, but when the man you are living with packs his bags and moves out, what is left for a 27 year old girl to do, but move back to her home town and lick her wounds?
It's embarrassment really that keeps me from calling everyone. He and I had been together since the end of high school. He'd been waiting for me with open arms after I returned from LA. I don't know where exactly it all went wrong, but it did, and I'm alone again. Somewhere along the way I lost myself once again in him and I know that coming back here, coming back home, is my way of getting myself back.
I make my way down the beach, weaving in and out of tourists and locals sunning themselves and enjoying the weather. I don't want to be around a lot of people right now and I know exactly where to go to avoid the big crowds. I idly wonder if Nathan and Haley are here and how they have been. I'm also guilty of not keeping in contact.
My life is so fast paced I barely have time for myself, let alone calling old friends to see how they are. James had to be at least eight or nine years old now.
I stop and place my beach blanket on the sand. There are only a few people scattered on this part of the beach. Only a few locals know about it. I pull off my shorts and tank top to reveal the black bikini I chose to wear today. I've gotta say, I look damn good. I don't look a day over twenty four. Somehow despite my hectic lifestyle, I still managed to make it to the gym five times a week.
My eyes scan the beach and stop on the form of a man coming out of the water. He's beautiful, skin perfectly tanned, water sluicing down and between every well defined muscle on his chest and beautiful arms. His abs made my mouth water. A smile tugs at my lips as I once again thank God for beaches and the gym.
I can't see his face yet since his arm is raised in front of it and he is turned off to the side. I furrow my brows though when I see a familiar tattoo and then he drops his arm. Oh my god. Lucas.
He is beautiful. The years have been extremely good to him. I hadn't thought that if I came home he would be here too. The thought never even occurred to me, yet here he is in Tree Hill, tan, buff and as beautiful as ever.
"Daddy! Daddy spin me!" A blonde little girl of about four, in a pink bathing suit runs full tilt up to him and he scoops her up into his arms with ease, tossing her into the air, much to the child's delight. A sad smile falls on my face. So he was a father…a daddy. I knew he would be one some day and a great one.
I watch as he swings the screaming little girl around a few times before he stops and holds her up in the air. I watch her arms spread and her little body arch as she continues to giggle dizzily and then I see the sun glint off of his wedding band and feel myself sadden.
Lucas Scott would always be the one that got away. He would always be that boy. The one that for better or for worse changed your life.
I watch him walk up the beach with his daughter on his strong broad shoulders to a blanket, two beach chairs and a big blue umbrella where a little boy stands on uncertain, little legs, ready to run. I gasp. I see those familiar blue eyes on the cherubic face from here and I know that he is Lucas's son and I know already who his mother is. A hand shoots out to grab the baby by the backs of his little swim trunks, just as he tries to take off. One long slender leg appears from behind the beach chair and then another. Yes I know these children's mother. If the beautiful blondes curls on the little boy weren't clue enough, then the beautiful blonde curls on the head of the woman who appears from behind the beach chair do it for me. I'm not utterly shocked to see that she was the one Lucas decided to spend his life with. But I am, mildly.
Lucas and Peyton were the love story that was never supposed to end this way. Yet here she was, all killer long legs, curly locks, married to the love of our lives, and mother of his children.
I watch her kneel to hold onto her son who is jumping up and down impatiently. His little hands are opening and closing in the direction of Lucas and it is clear that his children adore him and by the big smile that breaks out on his face I can tell Lucas is in absolute love with his children.
Their children are beautiful. Anna is a carbon copy of her mother, except her hair is straight and thick like her father's. They are messily French braided into pigtails on both sides of her head. William looks like Lucas, having acquired his father's 'broken' upturned nose, very big and very serious blue eyes, and dimples. His crowning glory really are those curls on top of his head, though. I'm guessing he's not quite two yet.
He lifts the little girl from off his shoulders and drops her on her feet in the sand, careful not to let go of her hand. They stop a short ways from the mother and baby and Lucas crouches down holding his hands out to the child who is letting out an impatient litany of "Dada!". The mother, with a smirk lets the baby go and he toddles quickly into his father's waiting arms.
"Just don't forget who carried you around for nine months and three weeks, kid," his mother warns. Lucas looks up at her and winks.
"Peyton I don't think any of us will forget you carried him around for nine months and three weeks." He deftly avoided the sponge basketball she threw at him and laughed.
"Mommy!" The little girl runs up to her mother with wide eyes and wags her finger at her. "No, throwing. You say so!" This, causing Lucas to chuckle.
"Anna, you are absolutely right, my love," Peyton amends loudly. She pulls her daughter into a hug and sticks her tongue out at Lucas. In response he waggles his back at her, causing them both to laugh. The look in their eyes is making me sick. The look those lucky few people get when everything falls into place and their lives are everything they wanted them to be and more. What's the word for that? Oh yeah….bliss.
I told him once that I had stopped missing him. That, by no means meant I never stopped loving him. But he had moved on to or back to Peyton and I had found Chase. I loved Chase, I did. He was good for me and he was exactly what I needed after breaking up with Lucas. But, I let her have him. I had bowed out, because I knew our time had passed and it was now their time. But like most epic romances, I expected them to fizzle,
I had seen the way Lucas was around Peyton those last few months of high school. He was barely around, caught up with proving Dan had murdered Keith, hardly taking care of himself. Lucas Scott was as closed off as ever. It was as if Lucas had mentally checked out somewhere between midterms and graduation. Lucas and Peyton had lost that spark I had been so jealous of and truth be told, I was kinda glad. Glad that it had not just been me being unable to crack through Lucas's shell, glad that maybe he and Peyton weren't what everyone seemed to think they were.
I thought that summer in LA would be the end of them, because he had just let her go, like it was nothing, like he expected her to leave. That was not the case of course. A month later, Lucas showed up on our doorstep, it was pouring rain, 11:30 on a Tuesday night and I was shocked to find him standing there when I opened the door in my robe.
"Lucas?" I had asked, as though I hadn't seen him in years and not just a few weeks earlier. His eyes had been bright and more alert than I had seen them in months. His response had been to ask where Peyton was.
I'd ushered him in, looking around behind him. "Where's your luggage."
He'd blushed and shrugged his shoulders. It was then I realized he was wearing some old jeans and a tee shirt. He'd looked as though he'd just dropped what he was doing and hopped a plane to LA. Which is exactly what he'd done, only to come here and look Peyton Sawyer, who had just come out of the living room looking for me, in the eyes to tell her, "I am gonna love you forever Peyton Sawyer. And I'm gonna be in love with you for a lot longer than that."
Lucas had stayed for a week after that and although I know they really tried to keep quiet, I knew Lucas really didn't have any need for more clothing than what he'd showed up in…or any clothing at all.
It was after I ran into Lucas one night wearing nothing but a sheet around his waist and a yawn, while I was on my way to the bathroom, that I realized I still had feelings for him.
A week after he'd left I'd blurted it out to Peyton and our friendship slowly began to fizzle. We never fought about it and Peyton never voiced any angry feelings towards me, which I believe she wouldn't have had a right to do anyways, but it was something unspoken. As long as that boy was between us we could never be the same and that boy would always be between us.
We went through the motions of being friends for a few months. I talked her ear off about Chase and New York, while she never mentioned Lucas to me. We eventually stopped talking around both our college graduations.
Not once in the few times Haley and Nathan had spoken to me did they mention Lucas and Peyton getting married or even still dating. I knew Lucas was a published writer. I had a few of his books, although I had yet to read them all. One of them had been dedicated to My precious Anna. Perhaps, I had thought he had married someone named Anna. Now I know it was dedicated to his daughter…his daughter with Peyton.
"William, don't eat sand," Lucas admonishes, grabbing the baby's hand and loosening the fist that is indeed full of sand and was well on its way to his mouth. William, I think after the Bard himself. I smile. It's just so Lucas. The child, William looks down at the sand, his father, back down at the sand, and then up at his mother for answers with big inquisitive eyes.
"That's yucky," Peyton explains, while she hands Lucas a wet nap to wipe his hand with.
"Ucky!" The baby echoes. "Yucky," Peyton says again, making a face, which causes William to giggle.
Lucas stands with the boy and blows a giant raspberry into his stomach causing the baby to dissolve into sweet baby laughter that makes me wonder when I would find someone who would want to give me children. Peyton smiles and stands, holding their smiling daughter whispering things into her ear that I nor Lucas can hear. Lucas walks towards them smiling at Peyton over his son's hair.
"My ladies," he grins causing my stomach to flip.
"My men," Peyton says in reply. They both scoot their children to opposite hips and Lucas dips he head down to capture Peyton's waiting mouth. It is not a peck by any means and I would rate it PG, it being open mouth and all. The children actually look bored, like they've been stuck between their parents making out before.
"Daddy," Anna reaches out and taps her father on the shoulder. "Daddy can you stop kissing Mommy now. We have to go play," the child, God bless her, says plaintively. Lucas and Peyton pull away grinning. He taps his daughter on the nose and says,
"Would you rather I kiss you?" Lucas plants a long loud wet kiss on his daughter's neck that dissolves her into infectious giggles. He takes her from Peyton holding her in one strong arm and pulls back to grin at her.
"Daddy I'll kiss you later. We have to go play," Anna says.
"Honey, they have to go play," Peyton echoes, an amused grin on her face. Lucas's face holds the same amount of amusement.
"Okay, Anna banana, you play with your brother right here where we can see you. Mind him," Lucas says to the young girl, setting her and her brother down. "And for the record, baby girl, I will never stop kissing your mommy." This makes Peyton smile, softly and me, my stomach turns again.
Anna looks up and puts her hands on her hips, "I know dat! It's 'mazing you guys have time for anyfingk."
Lucas's eyes widen and Peyton nearly chokes. I'm pretty surprised myself. That is one sassy little girl they're raising.
Anna just shrugs her little shoulders and says, "Uncold Nate says so." She plops down in the sand where her brother is chewing on the head of one of her dolls. She calmly wrangles it away from him and replaces the confiscated toy with a truck. "An Gramma," she adds as an after thought.
I can see Peyton turning red from here and Lucas's mouth is hanging open as he gapes at his daughter.
"We don't make out that much do we?" This comes from Peyton. Yes, I think, do you make out that much? Lucas turns to Peyton with a decidedly wolfish grin.
"I wouldn't call it making out."
"Oh wouldn't you?"
"No. I call it showing my sexy wife affection."
"What's sexy?" Anna's little voice chirps.
"Nothing," Lucas says quickly, bashfully meeting Peyton's raised eyebrow.
"Besides," he continues, sidling up to her and pressing that hard body flush against Peyton's. "It's not my fault you are so fine." He ends this statement by pressing his face into her neck.
"Fine? You've been hanging out with Skills too long," Peyton teases, but her shoulders raise and she bites her lip as Lucas goes to work on her neck. She weakly slaps his shoulder.
"No hickies in front of the kids," she admonishes, glancing over at them, briefly.
The children aren't but an arms length away from them and well in their line of vision.
She wraps an arm around his neck while the other moves up and down the arm that is wrapped around her waist.
I don't hear his low reply. He has abandoned her neck to whisper in her ear and by the look on her face, it's dirty. I don't hear the words that pass between them, but the conversation ends as Lucas nips her bottom lip and they melt into a kiss that is easily going from PG-13 to R in a matter of seconds. Lucas turns them away from the kids and slips his tongue into her mouth, his hands moving with lightening speed, from her hair to her ass, pulling her hips closer to his own.
I can see their tongues wrestling for dominance as Lucas opens his mouth wide against Peyton's. Her leg creeps up over his hip. I hear her whimper, he groans. His hands are shaking as he presses her hips hard against his own, trying to bring some relief to the massive hard on I can clearly see he acquired from their mini-makeout session. Just as quickly as it began it ends. They'd brought it back down to PG, minus the hard on that they were trying to hide.
Peyton's arms were wrapped around Lucas's neck and Lucas's arms were wrapped around her waist. They were still standing so close it was like they were one person, but still, at least they weren't still practically doing it.
I think Peyton is suddenly well aware that they were practically doing it, because she begins to look around at the few other occupants of the beach. And then her eyes land on me.
We stare at each other for a moment and I wonder if she will come over here or alert Lucas to my presence. Her gaze isn't threatened, she never once was and watching them now and the family they made together I see that she will never have to be. His eyes are focused on her and their children. Lucas pulls back and murmurs something into her ear that I can't hear. She tightens her hold on her husband and whispers back to him. I don't need to be able to hear her to know the words are "I love you too."