CHAPTER 26 – The Best Is YetTo Come
For six days she's been walking on air, feeling like she's going to break out in unexplained giggles every other second. It's like her insides are full of champagne, bubbling and fizzing with happiness. Because six days ago Lucas Scott asked her to marry him.
And she said yes.
How big is that? Brooke Penelope Davis–high school party slut and cynic extraordinaire–is going to be Lucas' wife.
It's all she wants, all she's dreamed about since high school, and to her, his proposal couldn't have been more beautiful. The random moment out there above the lit Manhattan streets, the spontaneous way in which he blurted it out as if he couldn't contain himself, and the complete sincerity in his voice. It all made the moment so emotional that she's still surprised that she managed to choke out her answer.
Lucas, however, still thinks that he messed the whole thing up. That she deserved the 'big' moment he had apparently spent over a month planning, and Rachel still teases him about it every chance she gets. Once her squeals of joy had brought Rachel and Owen out on the balcony that evening, Rachel hadn't been able to stop laughing.
In fact she's still laughing now, almost a week later.
"Luke? Did you call and cancel the whole 'closing the street'-thing?" she hears her friend tease from the living room. "Oh, and what about the restaurant?" A loud giggle erupts and Lucas mutters something that vaguely sounds like "Screw you, Rach…"
"Rachel," she chastises from where she stands in her bedroom, pulling her dress down carefully from the hanger, "Stop fucking with him! I love how he asked me!"
"Thank you!" Lucas yells back from the living room and another burst of giggles from the redhead filters in before Rachel shows up in the doorway.
"I'm sorry," her friend laughs. "It's just so funny! He planned this out so meticulously and he was so fucking nervous about it… and then he ruined the whole damn thing. Nathan is going to mock him with this for the rest of his life. You know that!"
She smiles as she remembers the expression on Lucas' face when he called his brother to tell him that she had said yes. The blush that made him look like a teenager when he protested, "I couldn't help it," into the receiver, a wide grin stretched over his face, "she looked so damn beautiful, Nate. Seriously! I was helpless, I swear!"
"Okay," she giggles back at Rachel while unzipping the garment in her hands, "I agree that it is funny. But stop teasing him, please? I don't want him to be insecure when the whole damn thing couldn't have been more perfect. I love how it played out."
"Of course you do," her friend smirks and snickers, "You're both such sappy romantics, it makes me want to barf."
"Oh, shut up, whore!"
"Right back at you, you Audrey Hepurn-wannabe."
It's New Year's Eve and they have about an hour before they're supposed to leave for the big gala down at Waldorf Astoria, but it's too much fun to engage in the good ol' back and forth banter and she doesn't feel stressed even though she hasn't even started doing her make-up.
"So when is Owen coming over?" she teases with a sing-song lilt to her voice. "You know, the date that you're bringing tonight, Miss 'I'm-not-in-love-with-him'?"
Rachel's face falls and the giggle gets stuck halfway down the redhead's throat. "Shut up," she mumbles while her cheeks tint red, "He's just my escort."
And now it's her turn to bend over with laughter.
"Sure, slutface. No one believes that. Not even you."
It's still nine hours left of the year and there's still time for Lucas to win his bet with Nathan. For her boyfriend's sake, just as much as for Rachel's, she really hopes that the night will end with a big bang.
The bubbles in the glasses fizz and sparkle and for once there are more reasons than usual to why he wishes that he wasn't a recovering alcoholic.
It's New Year's Eve party after all and he really wants to grab the Champagne and toast to so many things. Most of all to the glorious fact that Brooke accepted his proposal, that she said yes and that he's going to get to marry her. But in a bigger sense, he wants to propose a toast to them. To the fact that they're both here together–at this ridiculously fancy party–healthy and happy, after all the shit that they've been through this last year alone.
Yeah, he really wants to toast to that.
For a second he wonders if maybe one sip would be okay and his hand instinctively lifts to grab a champagne flute from the passing waiter, but then it falls back to its place at his side, twitching just slightly.
Brooke is worth more than him taking unnecessary chances with his frail sobriety.
"Good job, man," Owen praises behind him and momentarily he feels ashamed to have been caught even thinking about it. But his sponsor clasps a hand on his shoulder and squeezes. "Seriously. Don't underestimate yourself, Luke. That was all you. You didn't even know I was watching you."
"Yeah?" he mumbles and his eyes unconsciously seek Brooke's form over the crowded room ballroom. "I shouldn't need you watching me. I don't even know why I reached for it. It's not like I wanted to get drunk."
He keeps his voice low because a party like this is full of 'ears' and he's been prepped good by Philip. After over five months with the AA he has leveled with the fact that he has an alcohol problem but it's not a good thing to have that shit leaked to the media. Especially not when it's just a matter of time before the press gets the news about his and Brooke's engagement. They haven't announced it yet but she is wearing his ring after all.
Owen chuckles next to him and rakes his fingers through his unruly dark hair. "Luke, loosen up, okay? Believe me when I say that it will take years for that reflex to go away completely. You're at a New Year's party and a waiter walks past you with a tray full of Champagne glasses. It's natural to grab for one. It's what everyone normally does." Owen grins. "But you checked yourself and decided against it. So be proud, dude."
He takes a deep breath and when he finally locates his girlfriend among that many people in the room, he lets the air out in relief. It's almost magic the way she can calm him down, just by being near.
"Look at her," he breathes and greedily lets himself take in the image of her. "Can you fucking believe that I'm getting married to her? I'm marrying her."
Owen laughs and slaps his back.
"Good catch, bro," his friend teases, "she must be blind as a bat for picking you though."
It's funny because for six whole days, he's been thinking exactly that. And not in a self-pitying kind of way or in a broody 'I don't deserve her' way either. He's just amazed. Amazed and utterly fucking happy.
Screw everything else like babies or normalcy or being followed by the paparazzi. Once they're married he's determined to be the best husband she could ever ask for. In an hour, a new year will start, one that will begin the way it should be with the both of them together, and it's going to be such a grand year too.
"So what's your plan with Rachel?" he asks, finally turning to look at Owen instead of at his beautiful girlfriend. "You have an hour left before you cost me 500 bucks."
Owen cringes and shrugs. "I'm sorry, Luke. You should probably count that money as lost already."
"Lost what?" Brooke's redheaded friend has made it back to them while they were talking and now she's eyeing them curiously. "If it's on blackjack, then don't sweat it. It's for charity so it's okay to lose big."
Just at the right moment, Brooke makes a whirlwind entrance and excitedly starts telling Rachel about some actor that wants to check out the B. Davis line. He breathes out thankfully and Owen seems to feels the same. Saved by the bell, but the matter still stands. One more hour and Nathan will be the winner.
Why was so damn hard for Rachel just to confess that she loved the guy? She doesn't even have to say those three words, all he needs is for her to openly refer to Owen as her boyfriend and he'll beat Nathan in this bet. It would be a nice change from all the ass-whippings he's received from his brother at the basketball court the last couple of years.
He glances at Owen and the guy stares at Rachel much in the same way that he himself stares at Brooke. And in the middle of the fancy party, he suddenly wants to tell Owen that Rachel deserves this. To have someone who is devoted to her and her alone because Rachel has spent so much time taking care of his broken girlfriend and its time that someone did that for her.
But when the redhead unconsciously leans towards his sponsor's shoulder, laughing at Brooke's animated story about the actor–some Robert guy who plays a vampire in some teen movie –, Owen's lips stretch into a smile and he watches as the dark haired guy bends his head and kisses Rachel's temple.
Feeling a little stupid, he realizes that Owen already knows these things. That the former bartender is already stepping up to the plate and that Rachel, beneath that almost innocent looking grin, looks uncharacteristically calm and content.
And that's what he wants for Brooke's best friend. To feel happy. Who cares about a stupid bet and 500 dollars? He has no problem swopping some of his pride for Rachel's happiness.
"One hour and counting…" Brooke's raspy voice suddenly chimes in his ear and he looks down to find her grinning widely. He pulls her into his side, forcing himself not to maul her in front of hundreds of people and settles for just skimming her collarbone with his lips.
"Yeah, I know," his whispers huskily. "But Owen seems to think it's a mission impossible." His hand unconsciously falls to the curve of her ass and she smirks.
"Really? And you're giving up as well?"
He glances over at the redhead and his sponsor, both now busy trying not to look completely love-struck.
"Look at them, Brooke. Who cares? They'll come around in their own time." His arms wrap tighter around her. "Plus, what can I do? It doesn't count if I tell her to say it."
"Oh, you just watch and learn, baby…" his fiancé whispers, creating delicious goose bumps when her warm breath fan over the skin of his neck. "I've got you covered. Rachel's going to walk right into it, believe me…"
The comforter is warm and fluffy and he pulls it tighter around him, sinking his head deeper into that pillow. It's been a perfect New Year's Eve. Just him, Haley and James together and being a family, without coaches, play-off's or press.
And he's merely fallen asleep, spooned against his pregnant wife, when the annoying sound of his cell phone wakes him back up.
He grabs it from the side of the bed, quickly so that it won't wake up his sleeping wife and child, and reads 'Brookie' on the flashing display. Why the hell is the little hellion calling him now for, when they exchanged 'Happy New Year' wishes an hour before midnight?
"This better be fucking good…" he mutters into the receiver with a voice gritty from sleep. "It's 1AM, B."
But it's not Brooke's raspy voice on the other end.
"Sorry for waking you up, little brother," Lucas apologizes, "but I just had to call."
Frowning, he untangles from Haley, sits up and swings his legs over the edge of the bed. "What's wrong?" he asks and gets up on his feet, walking silently out of the bedroom so that his voice won't wake up his family. Lucas sounds happy and okay but late night calls from his brother usually meant bad news and he hopes to God that the giddiness that Luke is displaying doesn't mean that he has slipped up.
It's New Year's night after all and the booze must be flowing at that celebrity party.
"Nothing's wrong," Lucas sooths but the mirth is now clearly dripping in his tone. "Actually it's quite the opposite. But you might be a bit disappointed."
At first he draws a complete blank because if Lucas had been drinking, he wouldn't call and make jokes about it. But then it hits him…
Groaning, he kicks at a toy car on the floor, because suddenly he knows exactly what this is about. And then he laughs, not able to be angry that he has lost, since the fact that his brother winning this bet is based on something good.
"How the hell did the guy pull it off?" he asks, feeling slightly impressed even in his newly awakened state. "He got her drunk, right?"
"Nope, no booze," Lucas snickers, "Actually, Owen didn't do anything. It was all thanks to–"
There's a struggle for the phone before Brooke's raspy laugh fills his ear.
"Nate?" she giggles, out of breath, "Nate, you should have seen it! Rachel clocked a girl right on the nose! It was hilarious!"
And now his own laughter booms in the dark hallway, so loudly that he hears Haley wake up and call for him from the bedroom, but he just can't help it.
"She did what?"
The jumbled mix of laughter and explanation isn't all that clear but he gets the important parts and that is enough to piece it all together.
"Oh, you sly little shit!" he chuckles, "B, you weren't supposed to interfere!"
He should have known that Brooke would make sure Lucas won this. And even more so, he should have foreseen that she knew just the way to do it too.
The only way to get Rachel Gatina to stake claim and call Owen 'boyfriend' was of course by having someone piss on her territory.
PEOPLE's magazine – Nr. 4, Jan 15th:
Wedding bells for Brooke and her high school sweetheart
At gourmet Japanese restaurant Nobu on Friday, Brooke Davis–fashion designer and model–was seen with a bunch of friends as she and her boyfriend Lucas Scott celebrated their recent engagement with a private dinner.
Among the guests were of course Davis' best friend and business partner Rachel Gatina, her soon to be brother in law, NBA-player Nathan Scott with wife, and former modeling colleagues Miranda Kerr and Charlie Kane. Brooke and Lucas were inseparable and the whole thing seemed to be a very joyous event.
"Brooke and her boyfriend are the cutest thing ever," one of the staff from the restaurant told PEOPLE. "She was at Lucas' side throughout the whole party. When Mr. Scott moved from the table, so did Ms. Davis."
And according to PEOPLE's sources, this is how it's been since the young author moved up to New York from their hometown in North Carolina. For months now, Brooke Davis, who have earlier been known to date most of New York's and Hollywood's eligible bachelors, have only had eyes for one man. And now the rumors of wedding bells that sprouted after the Waldorf Astoria New Year's party are being confirmed.
The ring in the picture is according to sources, vintage, and our favorite designer happily showed it off several times during the evening.
Clothes over Bro's as well as Brooke Davis' personal spokesperson Philip Sage has not confirmed when the alleged wedding is supposed to be held but says that Ms. Davis and Mr. Scott are in fact engaged and that they are very happy together.
PEOPLE's magazine are certain that if the wedding takes place, Brooke Davis will be the best dressed bride on the New York celebrity scene.
"What the hell do they mean 'if'?" Haley complains in annoyance over the phone. "That reporter is a frickin' moron, if you ask me. You should get Philip to have them make a public retraction."
She chuckles, phone stuck between chin and shoulder, as she flips through the sketches on her desk. "Why are you so pissed off, Tutor-mom?" she asks and pulls the one she's searched for out from the pile. "And did you seriously say 'frickin'?"
"Yes, I did. Because I have a frickin four year old with ears the size of frickin saucers, clinging to my leg. And his frickin father's bad language is frickin contagious, okay!"
"Mommy, what's frickin?"
The high-pitched voice in the background makes her heart melt and she puts her pen down on the pile of sketches and leans back in her office chair.
"Hales, you have to bring Jamie on your next trip up here. I miss the hell out of him."
"Mommy, Auntie Brooke said 'hell'…"
Haley groans and she chuckles into the phone as her friend tries to convince her godson to go outside and play for a bit. Unable to succeed Haley finally resorts to bribing and it's a fun thing to listen in on it all but it's also evident that her small-town friend is tired and worn out.
"Are you okay, Haley?" she asks in a gentle voice when Nathan's wife returns to the conversation. "You looked a little tired last weekend when you guys came up to visit. You know that you can tell me, right?"
There's a sigh on the other end and she's pretty sure that Haley nods even though she can't see it.
"Just a little tired," she mumbles, "Nothing other than that. So how're the wedding plans coming along?"
It's been like this pretty much since Nathan and Haley found out about her little 'problem' two and a half months ago. Nathan is honest and straightforward as always, usually saying exactly what's on his mind, but Haley always seems to tiptoe around the fact that she's now over six months pregnant.
It had saddened her to see her friend hide the growing bump at dinner when they all celebrated hers and Lucas' engagement and even though it is still painful to think about the fact that Haley is having another baby, the revelation at Christmas was still just as clear. She has Lucas. She's going to marry him and with him she'll be happy no matter what.
Having Haley try to hide the fact that she's tired because she's pregnant just feels weird and wrong. Because they are friends. And friends talked about these things.
"Brooke, we don't have to talk about me. Tell me about work. Are you still planning on promoting Millie?"
Sighing, she rubs a hand over her face.
"Listen to me, Haley James-Scott, I'm not going to break, okay?"
"I know that, Brooke. I just –"
"No, I'm serious. Remember when Nathan drove up to New York two months ago?" She chuckles dryly. "That was me hitting rock bottom. Now I'm feeling better, life is better, and you can't keep pretending that you're not having a baby. I'm not going to pretend that either, because frankly? It's ridiculous."
She knows that Haley means well but it has to stop.
"I'm coming to terms with the fact that it will be hard for me to get pregnant and that, worst case scenario? I might never be." Her voice is firm and her words bring a gasp from her friend on the other end. "But I won't let that fact become something that drives a wedge between you and me, okay Hales? I missed a lot of Jamie's first couple of years because of all my shit and I won't let that happen again…"
She stops for a second and Haley's breathing sounds shaky.
"Brooke… I just wish–"
"No, Haley. Seriously. This is how it's going to go;" she dictates sternly, "You are pregnant, and whether you're enjoying that fact or not – you're going to tell me how you feel about it. I am going to get married, and when I want to shoot Lucas for not helping out, or when the wedding planner drives me frickin' bonkers, I'm going to tell you about that."
The shaky breathing sounds like both a sob and a laugh and she smiles at how hormonal Haley is.
"We can't shove all this under the carpet, Haley-bug. See where the hell it took me when I did that last year?" She shakes her head to herself because it's utterly ridiculous that these words are actually coming from her own mouth when she had lived in denial for so long after the accident. "Positive thinking, remember Hales?" she then adds in a lighter tone, "The doctor told me and Lucas that a baby is still a possibility. And if I'm ever going to get knocked up, I have to think positive. I'm just questioning how the hell can I do that when you all act like the mere mention of diapers or pregnancies will make me break into tears?"
"I'm sorry, Tigger," Haley mumbles and the sound is muffled for a second, telling her that her friend is wiping her face on her sleeve. "I'm just still so worried about you, you know? I hate that you and Luke are up in New York… It's so far away."
"I know, sweetie," she sooths back, knowing that this is a sore point for her friend who still misses Lucas more than she says. "And I know that you're lonely when Nathan is away at games and stuff. Believe me, I wish you lived up here with us…"
They're both silent for a minute or two, because the thought of that–of them all being in the same city instead of hours apart–is bittersweet. But then reality pushes through when Jamie starts crying and Philip knocks on her office door.
"I love you, Hales," she says softly. "Tell Nate to behave and take you out to a nice dinner tonight, okay? I'll call you this weekend."
"Okay," her friend agrees and chuckles, "And don't forget to have Philip call that stupid magazine."
Then Haley curses loudly, stopping herself only when the curse-words are being echoed by a familiar high-pitched voice, and Haley groans.
"I swear to God, Brooke. If this frickin baby kicks me one more time, I'm going to go insane!"
She laughs and says bye before hanging up.
Insanity or not, its frickin nice to have friends such as Haley James-Scott.
All throughout January, everything feels giddy and new. His and Brooke's engagement had spread through the press like a fire and when Philip finally confirmed it–after their dinner party at Nobu–there was a couple of days when the paparazzi were basically camped out just outside their doorstep.
But it's okay. Not even having to sneak out the backdoor when heading to the gym, or have Owen pick him up downtown and drive him to his weekly AA meeting, could put the slightest dent in his mood.
It still can't.
"Brooke?" he calls from the bathroom, one Saturday morning when February is just around the bend. "Did you use my razor?"
"No," she calls back from kitchen. "Maybe Rachel did? Why? Can't you find it?"
Even though no one can see him, he rolls his eyes and slathers some shampoo in his hair. Living with two women, even in an apartment as big as this one, is sometimes very challenging. Beauty products everywhere, always having to wait for the shower–even with two bathrooms–and the joy of them always siding together against him in disagreements. But as of last night, Rachel no longer lives with them.
Rachel now lives just a couple of floors below them, equipped with her own bathroom and her own razor and she could've been nice enough to leave his alone.
"Can you get me one from the other bathroom?" he calls again, cursing as soap suds slide into his eyes. "Please?"
Sure, he's going to miss having Rachel around, especially on the few nights that Brooke still has trouble sleeping, but the crazy redhead will be close if they need her, and fact that Rachel is moving out opens so many new possibilities.
He smirks when he thinks about all the things that he can do now, that he couldn't do before. Like make love to Brooke on the kitchen table, right in the middle of breakfast, or take her on the hallway floor the second she walks through the door. Because some days he misses her so much when she's at work that he literally doesn't know what to do with his time.
Lately he's even thought about dusting off his laptop, and that is surely a sign that he's got too much time on his hands because the concept of writing still scares the shit out of him.
He can't wait to christen every room of the loft with her, repeatedly. Maybe he could even get her to be naked all the time…
The sound of the spray masks his girlfriend's footsteps and he jumps and lets out a loud "Jesus Christ!" when hands suddenly slide around his waist, heading towards a part of him that is already stiff due to his earlier line of thought.
"Hi," comes the raspy murmur in his ear, "Someone seems to be in need of a cold shower…"
He lets out a low groan of pleasure and brings his arm back to feel Brooke's naked body behind him. His hand slides over the wet curve of her hip and then around her waist to push her flush against his back.
"Mmm… Took you long enough, Ms. Davis."
"You think?" she retorts playfully as her lips touch his shoulder blade and she nips his skin with her teeth, "Well, you could have told me that you were having fun without me. I would have gotten here much sooner…"
She feels so damn good pressed against him like this and he bites his lip when her hand finds its goal and her fingers wrap around him to give him a gentle tug. His head lolls back and he simply enjoys the sensation for a moment before wrapping his own hand around her wrist and pulling it away so that he can turn towards her.
"You know you're in trouble, right?" he murmurs and pushes her in under the warm spray of water. The sight of her, naked, wet and smiling all innocently, is pretty damn glorious and he bends his head down to kiss her. But an inch from reaching her lips he stops. "Right?" he pushes again and this time she giggles.
"Right," she moans when his mouth makes a beeline for her neck instead. "You should punish me…"
He groans and bites down on her skin hard enough to make her gasp. "Jesus, Brooke, you can't say stuff like that," he near whines. Punish her? God, why doesn't she just kill him right away? Just the raspy sound of her voice is enough to make his dick grow twice its size and that last sentence created a whole line of mental pictures to aid that growth even further. She should be damn thankful that Rachel has moved out because if she keeps this up, he will punish her. And it's going to be one hell of a loud ordeal.
"You'd like that, huh?" he mumbles and presses open-mouthed kisses along her collarbone.
She tastes salty and flowery at the same time and he trails his tongue up the column of her neck and along the line of her jaw before he finally reaches her lips again. Her tongue greets him instantly, warm and wet and persistent, and he has to support himself with his palms against the wall when she cups his face and pulls him in closer, just so that he won't crush her with the way he wants to press against her.
Kissing Brooke is an experience he never gets tired of. Her kisses are so unrestrained, so arousing and so full of her. And there's just something so real in the way which they fit together. Even back in high school he always got this sense of 'connection' when they kissed, as if something just clicked into place the moment her lips met his and he tasted her mouth.
He must have been the world's most stupid person for not getting it back then. For letting her go.
"You better not have anything planned for today," he growls when she fists his hair and pulls his head back so that she can look at him. Her eyes twinkle in anticipation and he moves his body closer to hers, locking her in between his chest and the cold tiles, pressing himself against her. "This is going to take a while."
She smiles saucily and her teeth bite down her bottom lip. Her fingernails rake over his pectorals, down over his stomach and then her hands disappear around his back to slide down his ass. "Good," she murmurs with clear satisfaction, "I was hoping you'd say that."
He mimics her move but when his palms cup the perfect globes of her backside he can't restrain himself from pulling her up and off the floor. She's wet and slippery from the warm water but he grabs her thighs tightly and holds her up against the wall so that he can reach her breasts with his mouth. Months of living with Rachel in the next room has taught his girlfriend to stay mostly non-vocal but that crap ends today. Today he wants nothing but to have her begging for him. Loudly.
"Let me hear you," he mumbles against her chest while circling her nipple with his tongue. "I need to hear you, Brooke…"
One nip with his teeth and just like that, her moans pick up in volume and her breaths come out in quick gasps. Just as responsive as ever.
"You too," she breathes out. "I want to hear you too."
One of her hands fists his hair again while the other hand squeezes its way down between them, fumbling to find his hard length. Her brow furrows in disappointment when realizing that she won't be able to reach him while they're positioned like this and he almost chuckles.
She so damn impatient, but he loves her all the more for it. Because he understands her completely. He had her last night and he still feels like he's going to spontaneously combust. Just having her rock her hips against his is beautiful torture and he shifts his grip on her thighs, suddenly finding himself nestled right there.
"It's been… so long… since we did…this…" she breathes out between wet kisses and his head falls against her collarbone as he finally pushes inside of her, grunting out a jumbled mess of 'God', 'Fuck' and 'so good…'
He knows what she means. They make love all the time but the shower hasn't really been at the top of the list for most visited venues. However, that is about to change because now the apartment is theirs and theirs alone and this is too good not to be done every morning.
Her legs wrap around him tighter and he slides out slowly just to push back inside with more force. The friction feels so damn wonderful that he has to squeeze his eyes shut and concentrate on not letting go.
With a quick glance towards the built-in shower bench, he digs his fingers into her thighs and pulls her from the wall. Not because he can't take her in their standing position – hell, she weighs hardly anything and he could hold her up all day if he wanted to – but because he can't make it good enough for her like this.
He told her that this would take time and now he worries that he won't be able to live up to that promise, so he needs his hands. Needs to be able to touch her.
"Oh my god, Lucas," she whimpers as he settles them into the new position and she pulls on his hair hard enough for him to cringe, "I can't–, it's so…"
"That's it, baby," he encourages when his name falls from her lips in another urgent plea. "Don't hold back on me."
Sitting down, with her straddling him, he can get in so much deeper and he matches her loud moans with grunts of his own. "You're so beautiful… you're going to be the death of me, baby… Oh fuck, you're so tight…" He probably sounds like an idiot with all the things he mutters in her ear but all of it is true and the words just keeps coming out unconsciously. If he hadn't already proposed to her, he'd probably be doing it now, right in the middle of having sex with her. She's killing him with her sounds and her taste and the way she moves on top of him.
Little by little she's truly unraveling him at the seams and pushing him closer towards exploding. But then he hears a totally different sound coming from outside the still open door to the bathroom.
"Brooke? Owen and I are heading out for lunch. Do you guys wanna come with?"
Brooke stops mid-movement, tensing up and while doing so, clenching around him so deliciously that he involuntarily lets out a loud curse.
"Lucas? Was that you? Where the fuck are you guys?"
His eyes stray towards the sound and for a second he actually thinks about stopping. It would be the intelligent thing to do since the door is wide open and their recently flown-out roommate could walk in on them at any second. But then he looks back at the brunette sitting on top of him. Sees how incredibly sexy she looks with her dark hair in wet ringlets over her shoulders and her teeth dug deep into that plump lip of hers in order not to let the moans out.
So instead of letting her answer Rachel, he grabs her by the waist and pushes her down hard while meeting the motion with a jerk of his hips. And the beautiful sound she had been holding back erupts.
"Oh, fuck! Lucas!"
The chain of loud moans that follows as he speeds up, still holding her firmly against him, is only rivaled in volume by Rachel's laughter.
"Okay, Scott, I get it," the redhead shouts from the hallway before the front door slams shut again, "Call me later, B!"
"That's not… funny…Luke!" Brooke gasps. But it's also the last coherent thing she says. He makes sure of that.
This is their first day living together without a chaperone and he's damn well going to make it memorable for the both of them. Oh, and first thing he's going to do the next time he sees Rachel?
He's going to take back that spare key.
Life is good – awesome even–, yet he knows that they have one more metaphorical river that they have to cross. The day is marked both in his calendar and in his mind, and even though January passed by in a complete state of bliss, he hasn't forgotten.
February 17th marks the day of his girlfriend's car accident and he both fears it and wants it over with at the same time. Because even though Brooke refuses to even mention it in passing, and clearly pretends to have forgotten all about it, he still expects it to be bad.
Especially after having talked to Nathan and heard the recap of how the day went last year.
But Brooke seems to deal with it better than expected. She stays happy and calm through-out the week leading up to the dreaded anniversary and if it weren't for the tiniest of changes in her daily routines, he'd probably think she was perfectly fine.
But after being back in her life for over seven months he knows her better than ever. And the tiny clues are there if you know where to look. Like the fact that she doesn't want to go to bed until she's basically falling asleep standing up. Or the suddenly increased aversion to cars, that had almost disappeared completely during the past month. Her hours at the office increases slightly as well but he lets that one slide, knowing that fashion week has just started and that Rachel keeps an eye on her at work.
All in all, he's damn proud of how much progress she keeps making.
"Are you two doing anything special on Thursday?" Charlotte asks them halfway through their therapy session on the 15th– a joint session that he specifically scheduled because of the upcoming date.
"No," Brooke answers, confused, "I have the entire day packed back to back with preparations for runway shows. Why?"
"Well, I think that you should take that day off," Charlotte replies gently, "just spend it with each other. We've talked about this, Brooke, and denial is not your friend."
His fiancé clenches her jaw, looking like she's going burst out into an angry rant, and he slides his hand comfortingly up and down her thigh.
"I know that, Charlotte," she grits out after a deep breath, "but that doesn't mean that I want free time to dwell either, okay? I know what day Thursday is, but honestly? I just want to be so busy that I don't have to think about it at all."
Their therapist smile and he figures that it's because Brooke is being honest. They've come a long way since the first session when Brooke did nothing but to pretend that they were all there in vain.
"I understand that the day is a tough one and I'm not suggesting that you should sit down and wallow in the bad memories," she says and the woman's eyes flick over to him. "But you have to remember that this is hard on both of you. Do something fun together and create new memories." And then she looks back at Brooke, reaches over the low table and puts her hand on his girlfriend's in an attempt to offer some extra comfort. "It's not about forgetting, but sometimes it can be a way of making peace with what happens in our lives. A way to forgive."
For a couple of seconds it's very silent in the room and even Brooke seems to be holding her breath. But then she bites down hard on her bottom lip.
"Won't that feel like betrayal, though?" she asks in a voice that sounds so frail that he lifts his hand from her thigh and slides it around her shoulders instead.
"Betrayal towards who?" he whispers and places a kiss on the side of her head.
"Towards the baby. If it wasn't for the accident –"
She doesn't finish the sentence but he knows – and so does Charlotte Newman – that Brooke still feels very guilty about her own part in the car-crash. Getting her to understand that the truck would have hit her the same way, regardless of if she had been more focused while driving, is still a work in progress.
Charlotte asks for her attention but his girlfriend closes her eyes and leans against his shoulder.
"One thing at the time," he mumbles against her hair. "On Thursday we work on getting past the crash and only that. Okay?"
"I'll try," she whispers. "Just promise me you won't force me to do something 'fun' on the 23rd…"
He exchanges a quick look with the therapist over Brooke's head and Charlotte nods almost unnoticeably. She knows as well as he does that the day of losing the baby is far worse for Brooke than the day she got hit by a U-haul truck and almost died. While his worst memories are from the first days in the hospital when he almost lost her, and from the night that he left her behind in New York, her worst nightmares all stem from the 23rd.
It's all been dealt with at this table. Every misunderstanding, every fear, and now it's time to start the whole concept of 'moving past and moving on'. They just need to get past this one last hurdle.
"I promise, baby," he assures Brooke softly and pushes some locks of hair from her face so that he can see her eyes. "As long as you don't push me away, I won't force you to do anything."
She takes Charlotte's advice and spends February 17th at Central Park Zoo with Lucas. It's easier than she thought to deal with the day when she's with him and, halfway through it, she realizes that the accident in itself is already behind her. Lucas is the one that drifts away in thought and who appears to have 'darker' moments where he seems sad or lost.
When she asks him about it, while stopping for a coffee in the early spring sun, he tells her that he just can't forget seeing her bruised body that day in the ICU. "I might never forget that," he mumbles and his hand finds its way in under her jacket and top to brush over the scars on her abdomen for what is probably the tenth time that morning.
"It's not about forgetting," she quotes Charlotte and kisses Lucas pained face. "It's about accepting and moving on. So let's move on to the Tigers and the cotton candy. Or…"
She squirms a little so that his hand slides up to brush the underside of her breast. "Or you could move a little more to the left. I'm pretty sure the animals won't mind if you grope me properly."
She winks and when he finally breaks a smile, then her heart thuds wildly in her chest because she's actually happy on this fucked-up date in the calendar. She even allows herself to be, and it doesn't feel weird.
And for every hour it feels better. They laugh at the Chimpanzees, cuddle the kittens in at the baby-animal farm, stuff their faces with warm pretzels, sprinkled with cinnamon, and feed the leftover's to the Swans.
They have lunch at a cozy and intimate Italian restaurant in Tribeca and the afternoon is spent in bed making love. It's slow and tender and afterwards they lazily talk about their wedding plans, discussing possible dates and themes. By dinnertime, Rachel and Owen joins them and when they finally fall into bed again at close to midnight, she realizes that she hasn't cried once.
Not because she forced herself not to, but because there was nothing at all to cry about.
Entertainment Weekly – February 19th
Celebrity sighting in Central Park
Spring is around the corner and the Big Apple-celebrities take a day off just like us common people. Even Ms. Busy-B, Brooke Davis, and her beau Lucas Scott, who were sighted at Central Park Zoo on Thursday, laughing and monkey'ing around with each other. They seemed to have a great time, even voluntarily posing for pictures in front of tourists and media, and onlookers tell us that Scott had his hands on Davis almost constantly.
Three days into Fashion-week, it's a joy to see the famous designer and her fiancé being so carefree. Not that Davis and her empire have anything to worry about in the competition. Critics are already saying that her collection is well held together and even more creative than last year's, probably due to the obvious happiness in her life.
Entertainment Weekly eagerly awaits pictures from her runway shows. And of course we're hoping that we'll get an official wedding-date for these two lovebirds soon.
Nothing could have prepared him for the frenzy that is Mercedez Benz Fashion week in New York. It's crazy, hectic and loud and several times he feels the need to drag Brooke out of the many tents and exhibit areas, just to protect her.
He doesn't of course, because it's obvious to anyone –him in particular– that she loves it. Thrives in it, even though it coincides with a dark time, and that it gives her a break from therapy, emotions and painful 'healing'.
She's doing so good that he hardly even worries on the morning of the 23rd when she rushes through preparations and engages in 'last call' for her runway models. He doesn't dote on her, instead he proudly watches from the celebrity pit, squeezed in between Gossip Girl actress Leighton Meester and Twilight-star Ashley Green as she holds her final show and receives standing ovations.
It's all going gloriously and it's not until they get home to their own apartment that evening that the last week finally seems to weigh a little too heavy on her. Muttering something about needing a shower, she disappears into the bathroom, and he allows her the personal space. But the water never starts. So after giving her fifteen minutes of privacy he walks towards the closed door and calls her name.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Please don't come in here."
The voice is faint behind the wood and he frowns. "Why? What's wrong?"
"Nothing, Luke. I'm fine."
'Fine' is a ridiculous word to use in their home, especially on this day, and even more so with their past, so he reaches for the door handle without a second thought.
"I'm not doing the whole bathroom-door tango again, baby," he mumbles and turns the doorknob, surprisingly finding it unlocked. "If you're sad then I want you to tell–"
He stops when he sees her just sitting there on the closed toilet lid, makeup still perfectly in place and with no trace of tears on her cheeks. It's clear to him that something isn't right but she doesn't look upset, just tired. It had probably been too much for her to have the final runway show on the date of her miscarriage and now she was drained. But was that it?
"What's going on, pretty girl?" he asks softly and squats down in front of her to come level with her face. "You tired?"
She sighs and with a strange calm she reaches out and rakes her fingers through his hair. Its soothing and he loves the feeling of her fingertips massaging his scalp, the problem is just that he's not the one that needs to be soothed. She is the one with the blank expression, who closed herself into the bathroom instead of enjoying the adrenaline rush after a successful week.
"I just needed a minute," she says softly and leans in to press her lips against his forehead. "It's been a long day."
And five minutes ago, he would have bought that. Long day, hectic show – of course she's tired. But not now. There's something else, he can feel it.
"Was it something someone said?" he presses. "Someone from the Press? We both know what day today is, Brooke. You don't need to protect me."
She doesn't answer but unconsciously her eyes drift to the left, towards the wastebasket beneath the sink. And he follows her gaze, instantly seeing the tiny plastic stick thrown in there.
"Brooke?" he questions silently, not wanting to make it worse by assuming things.
"I'm fine," she repeats silently all while still running her fingers through his hair. "I just really thought that I was pregnant this time… I really thought I was."
Which means she isn't. If she was, then the stick would not be dumped in the trash bin.
"For how long did you think that?" he wonders softly and slides his palms up her thighs, wanting to add; "Why didn't you tell me?" but restraining himself from it.
"Just for a couple of days. It was just a feeling. I didn't want you to get your hopes up too."
He looks at the stick again and then up at Brooke's calm face. Waits for the crack in the façade but nothing comes.
Inside him disappointment fights to make itself known but he smiles towards her while pushing back mental images of them sharing the joy of a positive result. He hates that he wishes for that and he would rather cut his right arm off than have her know it.
"It'll happen," he says, keeping his voice encouraging and warm. "When we least expect it, baby, then it'll happen. Okay?"
"Yeah I know."
He still waits for tears – not because he wants her to be sad but because he thinks that she might need the outlet – but she pushes up from her seat and takes his hand, not giving the thrown away test a second glance.
Then she makes them tea while they take about her reviews from the critics, and it's starting to dawn on him that she is okay, she's not just pretending to be. The dreaded week is over, they made it past both the date of the accident and the loss of their baby, and she's dealing with this newest result of not being pregnant better than he could have ever hoped for.
Which is why he doesn't understand why it's so damn hard for him to fall asleep that night.
Long after Brooke drifts off, nestled close with her head on his chest, he still lies there staring at the ceiling. And finally, at a quarter to three, he gives up and gets out of bed.
A couple of minutes later he finds himself in the bathroom, holding her discarded test-stick in his hand, and he's not sure why he's reacting this strongly but suddenly tears pool in his eyes. It's not that he needs her to be pregnant, what he's been telling Brooke is the truth – he doesn't need kids, just her. But the stupid, bright blue, single line on the stick is such a sharp reminder of all the hurt they've experienced in the past. The baby they lost, the time they spent apart all in vain, even their pregnancy scare in high school.
Six years ago he had held another one of Brooke's pregnancy tests in his hand but that time the single line had been accompanied by a second one, just as brightly blue. He had been scared shitless back then. So young and naïve and afraid that a kid would ruin his life. And the thought of how much his seventeen year old self had wanted that test to be wrong hurts even more. It's all just so ironic because right now he would kill for a positive result.
His cheeks are wet with tears and he wipes them impatiently with the back of his hand. Sure, he's hurting–he tells himself that it's normal under the circumstances–but at least he doesn't feel an urge to drink or to stick his head in the sand.
Instead he washes his face, checks on the sleeping girl in the bed – the one that will soon be his wife – and then he retrieves his dusty laptop from the dresser. In the kitchen he opens it with shaky hands and presses the power button, determined to write down the thoughts that crowd his mind.
Because if Brooke is strong enough to deal with this– if she can push through all her demons and fears– then it's time for him to do the same. He can't keep being the coward forever and he needs to find out if he can still write, or if it's time to start thinking about a new career.
With everything that has happened the past two years, there should be writing material enough to last him a lifetime.
Authors note: It's been too long to even apologize for the time it took me to update, I know... :( I could come with a million excuses but that just seems unfair to those who have been waiting. All I can say is that writing fanfiction was a hobby that had to be kept on the backburner when life got too hectic but now I'm writing again. Hopefully someone is still reading...