I still own nothing, not even "I Will Be" by Leona Lewis.

This takes place the same day. By now I'm sure you know I'm recommending this song for you all. This is the last chapter for this story and it's a long one (over6,000 words)! There's an authors note at the bottom.

Thanks for all the reviews!

Warning: I wanted this chapter to go out with a bang and so do Lucas and Peyton haha.

There's nothing I could say to you
Nothing I could ever do to make you see
What you mean to me

All the pain, the tears I cried
Still you never said goodbye and now I know
How far you'd go

They awkwardly sat in the car. Her engine had been turned off a while ago and the only thing to be heard was their soft breaths. Lucas was sure his heart was beating so loudly she could hear it perfectly.

They were both still reeling from the aftershock of his earth quaking declaration. Peyton still hadn't said anything to him and Lucas was holding on to the tiniest, thinnest string of hope that she would. She sighed a sigh that let him know she was uncomfortable and it killed any high hopes he had. They worked so hard over the last few months at being friends and he had seemingly ruined it all.

He smoothed his hands over his jeans and looked around the car that had haunted his mind. He wasn't sure what it was about this classic car, but he could never fully escape it. Maybe it was because the history they shared had this car weaved into it.

"I'm sorry if what I said earlier made this . . . us awkward", he broke the uncomfortable silence with an uncomfortable statement.

She closed her eyes and groaned. Of course he had to bring it up again. "No, it's – I don't know", she whispered as she shook her head.

Lucas nodded and felt like the biggest jerk in the world. Sometimes he needed to keep his damn mouth shut. "Right, well I'm gonna go inside. Haley's probably waiting", he said as he used a thumb to point to the house.

She nodded and bit her lip. "I should get back too", she whispered. "I still wanna head over to TRIC; I would like to get home before it rains."

Lucas pursed his lips and cast his eyes up to the sky. It wasn't a bright blue, but it was blue none the less. There were hardly any clouds and the ones that were in the sky were perfectly white; not a dark one in the bunch.

"I don't think it's gonna rain", he said with a smirk.

She felt a rush of emotions flood her veins at the gesture. He opened the car door and stepped onto the curb. As he closed the door he rested his hands against the roof and peered in to look at her.

"Thanks for the ride", he said with a smile. Peyton nodded shyly.

He let out a breath and his eyes turned thoughtful. "I meant what I said before, I'm sorry if it scared you, but I just couldn't not tell you", he finished with a shrug and a boyish grin.

"I know the feeling", she mumbled with a smile. Lucas chuckled and Peyton felt her entire body tense with want.

"See ya, Peyt", he said with a quick wave. She watched him walk away and threw her head against the headrest.

Oh, I was definitely going to rain.

I know I let you down
But it's not like that now
This time I'll never let you go

Peyton walked into the house and threw her keys onto the small table that was placed beside the door. So far today had been a series of unexpected events and it wasn't even dinner time yet. She walked into the kitchen to find her best friend sitting at the counter, staring aimlessly into space while stirring her hot chocolate.

"Long day B. Davis?" the brunette snapped from her daze and set her brown eyes on her best friend. Her lip twitched and she scoffed under her breath.

"Something like that", she muttered. Her mind was still speaking the words she had read from the pages. The pages that he had only written within the last few months. The pages that were written about her best friend while he was with his fiancée.

Peyton furrowed her brows and stepped further into the room. "Thanks for cleaning up TRIC, sorry I couldn't get down there", she said with a smile.

"I bet", Brooke muttered. Peyton raised a brow and folded her arms over her chest.

"What was that?" she asked even though she heard the statement perfectly.

Brooke groaned inwardly. She was doing again. She feigned a smile and batted her eye lashes. "Nothing. Where are you coming from?" Brooke asked in hopes of changing the topic.

Peyton fixed her eyes to stare at the tiled floor. This was a conversation that she had wanted to avoid.

"I was dropping Luke off at Naley's", she said in a low voice. Brooke raised a brow and that said everything she wanted to. Peyton took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

"Lucas told me he's in love with me", she said in a rushed breath.

Brooke took note of the pained expression her friend used as the words left her mouth. Her tough, typical Brooke Davis composure crumbled and she felt her bottom lip quiver.

"I've been a bad best friend", Brooke whimpered out. Peyton blinked at the shock from the words before standing from the stool and rushing to her best friend's side.

"Brooke, that's insane", she said honestly. She wrapped her arms around the brunette's neck. "You're the best best friend in the entire world", she whispered when she heard Brooke's sniffle.

"No, it's true. You're so scared to love Lucas and that's my fault", she blubbered. Peyton shook her head and hugged Brooke closer.

"Nothing involving me and Lucas is your fault. It has everything to do with me and him and our constant ability to hurt each other", she said softly as her voice shook.

"Everyone's right in what they've been saying. Not about me still loving Lucas", she said quickly. "That ship sailed a long time ago . . . actually it was never even docked. It was always out to sea and I was kind of swimming to it and then your boat came along—"

"Brooke!" Peyton cut her friend off with a gentle smile.

"He loves you, Peyton. Probably more than any of us can even assume to know. It's the type of love that people rarely find and you had it, you deserve to keep it", Peyton felt her eyes water at the words that left her best friends mouth.

"I didn't trust him not to hurt you", Brooke said as a sob broke through her throat

"Brooke I . . ." she let her sentence hang in the air because she had no idea how to respond to it.

"You need to go to his house", Brooke said as she stood from the chair. She pulled Peyton off of her body and wiped the cheeks on both of their faces.

"He isn't there . . . remember?" she said with a laugh. Brooke continued to pull her to the door. Each step was as determined as the previous one.

"That's perfect", she said with a dimpled smile. It amazed Peyton how she could be hysterical crying one minute and genuinely smile the next.

"How is that perfect?" the blonde asked in confusion.

"Because, you need to read something and it will be a whole lot easier if he isn't there. I would have taken it, but that's a little crazy ex-girlfriend", Brooke said as she chuckled to herself. "But that shouldn't stop you from taking it", she added as she thought about their past.

"Take what? Brooke, what the hell are you talking about?" Peyton asked as she paused in front of the door.

"Just trust me, okay? I wouldn't steer you wrong", Brooke whispered with caring eyes. Peyton nodded and before she could grab her keys Brooke was shoving her away from the table. The front door opened and Peyton stopped in her tracks.

It smelled like rain.

I will be, all that you want
And gather myself together
Cause you keep me from falling apart
All my life, I'll be with you forever
To get you through the day
And make everything okay

Lucas sighed as he closed the door behind him. He walked into the house and groaned as he thought about the conversation he was going to have with Haley. He figured she would have questions about last night and this morning and she would definitely find a way to relate everything that happened to his book. It was a bad idea to ask her to read it.

He stepped into the living room and stopped short at the sight of Chris Keller sitting on the couch. "Why are you in my brother's house when he's not home?" he asked as he sat beside the spiky haired man.

Chris turned his head and smirked. "Me and Haley are giving it another shot", Lucas scoffed and Chris let out a chuckle. "I'm waiting for Carrie. She and Haley are upstairs, we have a date in a little bit", he said as casually as he could, but Lucas noticed the glint in his eyes when he brought up the dark haired woman.

"How are things with you and Carrie?" he asked in interest.

Lucas watched as Chris tensed before shrugging nonchalantly. "You know, we're having a good time", he said with a sly smirk and wiggled his brows suggestively.

If they were having this conversation a few months ago Lucas would have shook his head in disgust and left the room. But he knew better by now. Chris was hiding how he felt through his dependable slime ball attitude.

That realization made his shake his head. If anyone had ever told him he would be friends with Chris Keller, the man he once considered a scum upon the earth, he would have laughed. He would have laughed even harder because he had slept with Peyton, but once upon a time so had Nathan. Lucas grimaced; he needed to stop thinking so much.

"Chris, come on", Lucas prodded. The thinner man sighed before he spoke.

"I love her", he whispered with conviction. Lucas smiled a somewhat proud smile. Chris had certainly matured from what he used to be.

"You should tell her", Lucas encouraged with a clap on Chris's back. He immediately shook his head.

"What if it's too soon? What if I say it and she just stares at me like I randomly grew another head?"

Lucas snorted, mostly because he knew exactly what to do. You sit back down, watch a movie and eat some popcorn.

"What if I say it and she never says it back? Like ever", Chris stressed with a grave expression.

Lucas opened his mouth, but closed it quickly. What if Peyton never said it back? What if she had truly moved on from him in the time it had taken him to realize he had never truly moved on from her? What if he had really lost his chance?

"Awe damnit", Chris let a noise escape his mouth. "It's raining", he grumbled as he nodded to the window. Lucas's head snapped around and his eyes widened.

She was good.

I thought that I had everything
I didn't know what life could bring
But now I see, honestly

She sat in the Classic Mercury Comet. The rain pounded down against the windows and the top of her car, but none of it truly registered. Her mind was somewhere else; another day, another year, anywhere but at this moment.

Why did life have a way of taking every line you've set up for yourself and bending it? Blurring those words you swore to yourself. It made you question everything you made yourself to believe as truth. Peyton Sawyer had been on this earth for twenty two years and she still didn't have an answer for this.

She had been here for what felt like hours and it may have been, but she didn't know. Her eyes hadn't moved from staring straight ahead. She was on a seemingly insignificant street, twenty feet from a seemingly insignificant stop sign. To anyone else this would have been a place of passing, not even worth a second glance or thought.

But to her, this was the start of it all.

A loud, pounding; louder than and off beat from the rain caused her to snap her neck to the side of her car. She could vaguely make out the figure that stood outside. The voice that was muffled by the water caused her to flinch from surprise.

"Open the door, Sawyer."

Her hand moved to the automatic lock and the click that followed was like music to the man's ears. The passenger side door flew open and a drowned, dark haired Scott jumped in. He muttered a curse before turning fully to look at his former lover.

He had been out for a run; part of rehab when it started to rain. As he jogged past the street the stopped car caught his eyes. It wasn't moving, but its break lights weren't on. Concerned that someone might be stranded in this weather he changed directions and headed for the automobile. Once he realized he recognized the car he felt his heart speed up and he broke out into a sprint.

"Are you insane? You could get fucking kill out here doing this!" his deep voice bellowed, but Peyton didn't even flinch. "It's pouring rain out there. I can barely see two feet in front of me and you're sitting in your car, in the middle of the street!" he waited for a response and was about to yell some more until she opened her mouth.

"This isn't a major street, and with the rain I doubt people are going to be driving around", her voice was distant and her eyes were hollow.

She may have been in this car, but she was a million miles away from it.

He decided to let the silence linger and wait for her to speak. Nathan watched as the windows fogged from the breath's they were releasing mixed the sudden change in temperature. When they were sixteen the windows would have been fogged for a whole different reason. He smirked at the amount of times they'd had sex in the backseat . . . in the front seat . . . hell, just the driver's seat. He shook his head and let out a low, inaudible chuckle. He thought about the people they once were and who they were now and it amazed him that they were even friends.

"Lucas loves me", she whispered.

Nathan glanced at her before focusing his eyes ahead, trying to find what she was looking at. He furrowed his brows at the empty street and instead focused on her words. He didn't know where she had gotten that sudden epiphany from, but it was about damn time.

"Yeah", he said simply.

Peyton's eyes snapped to his, but he didn't change his position from staring out the windshield. She shook her head and gripped the steering wheel a little tighter. On some level she was hoping he would disagree with her, but at the same time that would break her already delicate heart. It would be easier though, if he didn't love her.

She wouldn't have to worry about her entire world crashing down around her . . . again.

The entire time she had this inner debate Nathan watched her. The confusion and questioning that past through her eyes pained his heart. She was lost and scared and he completely understood. Lucas was the one person who knew how to give Peyton the world.

And in turn, he was the one person who knew how to take it all away.

"You love Lucas", he stated.

Peyton felt her heart climb up into her throat before flip flopping back down. Her shoulders slumped and she let out a breath. Her eyes caught sight of the red cover of the soon to be published novel, hiding the words that were written with passion and optimism. The second book he had ever written. The book that was about yearning and longing and unbridled desire. The book that was about a scientist and a comet.

The book that was all about her.

"Yeah", she said in agreement.

You're the one thing I got right
The only one I let inside
Now I can breathe, cause you're here with me

He walked into his room from the hallway and shook his hair out in hopes of slightly drying it. Chris and Carrie had given him a ride back, but with the way it was coming down outside he was dripping wet. He took a step into his room before he jerked back in shock.

The mass of dispirited curls held his attention. And he moved with baited breaths. Like a naturalist that had just spotted the worlds most exotic creature. If he moved too fast he would scare her off. And he couldn't do that because he needed this.

He needed this badly.

She was lost in her own world. Sitting at his desk with her head bowed in thought. Her curls stuck to her head and her clothes were extra tight. She had obviously gotten caught in the rain. She shifted in his chair and a small strip of skin grabbed his attention. He applied his weight on the floorboard and was about to take another step until the creaking noise caused her body to stiffen.

"Peyton", he said frantically.

He was sure at any moment he would see the flash of blonde hair dart from his room. Leaving a path of smoke in her path as she flew past him. As the seconds ticked by and she remained seated he felt a bit of promise building in him.

And then she spoke;

"It was more than just a comet because of what it brought to his life; direction, beauty, meaning. There were many who couldn't understand and sometimes he walked among them, but even in his darkest hours he knew in his heart that someday it would return to him and his world would be whole again and his belief in God, and love, and art would be reawakened in his heart", she managed to finish without crying.

He closed his eyes and threw his head back. He had to hand it to his friends. They knew how to get involved.

"Peyton, I can explain", he said because he figured it was the right thing to say. He really couldn't explain anything. The emotions he felt for her were indescribable. Nobody had written about the passion and love they shared.

Actually, yes he had.

She stood from the chair and made a b-line for the side door. He followed quickly. He used his foot as a stopper so that the door couldn't open wide enough for a person to fit through. She clenched her hands and he could see the frustration etched into her face. Before either of them knew it, she was crying.

She pointed to the stack of papers on his desk and spoke. "How can I know that?" she questioned as the tears leaked from her eyes. "How do you know that even if we do get back together it will work?" she asked helplessly. "We've had so many chances", she said in exasperation and it was more to herself than an actual statement to the other blonde. She ran a hand through her dampened curls and bit her trembling lip. "Maybe our times run out", she justified. She wanted to believe her words, with every ounce she could, but they were Lucas and Peyton and they had been doing this dance since they were sixteen.

That's the past six years of their lives if either of them are counting.

And if I let you down
I'll turn it all around
Cause I would never let you go

Lucas stood in front of her with a furrowed brow. He was a writer. Words were his lifeline, but nothing seemed to fit this moment. She didn't need to hear any more heartfelt terms about how he cared for her and how he loved her. She needed proof. He reached for her hand – the hand that had grabbed for the doorknob earlier – and placed it on his chest.

"Do you feel this?" he questioned softly.

Peyton nodded unsurely. At this point she felt a ton of things. The furious thumping of his heart was burning against her palm. The heat radiating from his body through the thin material of his damp t-shirt seared her hand. That in and of itself was causing her to feel a whole mess of things. Things that would ultimately get them into trouble.

"It beats like this whenever you're around. Whenever someone says your name. Whenever I smell lavender or vanilla. If I hear a new song on the radio, or whenever I hear one of Mia's songs."

He stopped his words and clamped his larger hand tighter around hers. He wanted to make a point with what he was saying. He let the silence hang in the air and when he was sure that Peyton was soaking it all in he spoke again;

"I can feel it in my heart, Peyton. Can't you?"

As the words left his mouth she was brought back to another day. She could smell the smell that all high schools have. As she looked into his eyes a sixteen year old Lucas was looking back at her. The way he smelled, his touch, the way his lips felt against hers; they were still imprinted on her brain and she wasn't sure if she was having an incredibly realistic flashback or if this was really happening.

"Even if we could be together, what makes you think it would work?"

"Cause I feel it in my heart . . . don't you?"

She looked into his steel blue eyes and felt a safety wash over her that she had never felt before. Without hesitation she answered.

"Yes", she whispered.

He didn't dare stop the grin that spread to his perfect lips and before she could form a second thought about where this leaved them and where this might bring them, those perfect lips covered hers.

Kissing her probably wasn't the best idea right now, but he didn't care. The way he saw it if she decided she never wanted anything to do with him again he couldn't say he didn't try his hardest to be with her. Besides, kissing her in that moment made all the sense in the world.

I will be, all that you want
And gather myself together
Cause you keep me from falling apart
All my life, I'll be with you forever
To get you through the day
And make everything okay

She should have pushed him away. She should have slapped him hard against his cheek. She should have yelled that this wasn't going to end like that. She should have stormed from the house and left him standing there alone.

But she didn't.

She melted into the kiss and his body. It was different compared to the kiss they had shared all those months ago in her former office. This was a simple press of lips to lips, but they both relished in the feeling. She stood on the tips of her toes and rested her forehead against his.

She needed air. She desperately needed to breathe, but she didn't want to break the contact. When her body betrayed her and she took in a shuddered breath Lucas pulled back and watched as she gasped for air to fill her deflated lungs.

"I'm sorry I wasn—"

His sentence was cut short as Peyton's lips attacked his. She threw her arms around his neck and his hands automatically went to her hips. Her tongue skimmed the seam of his lips and without hesitation he allowed its entrance. Peyton moaned at the contact and it was the sweetest noise to fill his ears in years.

His hands roamed her body and Peyton delighted in the feeling. Her shirt had ridden up when she latched her arms around his neck and that strip of skin that Lucas spotted earlier felt even better then it looked. Her skin was hot compared to the wet shirt she was wearing.

Peyton's fingers trailed down his body and stopped at the hem of his shirt. She peeled the t-shirt from his torso and took the moment to appreciate his body. This was usually a male's priority and she knew that, but she didn't care. Lucas Scott had filled out nicely since the last time she had seen him and there was nothing wrong in letting him know that.

"You're so hot", she mumbled as she kissed his neck.

He chuckled from deep in his throat and the rumble tickled Peyton's lips as she kissed his Adam's apple. He threw his head back and savored the feeling of her lips against his body. She stopped suddenly and he looked down at her. Her lips hovered above his heart and instead of placing chaste, frantic kisses there she was frozen, almost in thought.

Cause without you I can't breathe
I'm not gonna ever, ever let you leave
You're all I've got, you're all I want

Her nose nuzzled against the spot. She thought about the times she almost lost him and she knew that if it were to ever happen again, she would be done for. She may have been his comet, but in the same sense he was hers. If she ever lost him, her life would lose its direction. She placed a long, almost pleading kiss to his heart; silently begging it to stay strong for as long as she was alive. Peyton could swear she felt it beat against her lips, but that may have been her own adrenaline pumping.

He could feel his eyes burning at her gestures and it made him want her even more. He placed both his hands on her shoulders and brought her back up to his eye level. He ripped her shirt from her body and she gasped in shock. Lucas's lips hit her neck and the force pushed her back. Slamming the side door shut in the process.

They were older than this. They were smarter than this, but right now they weren't them. They weren't a record executive and an accomplished novelist.

They were the tortured artist and the tortured athlete.

They were two teens who never got their fair chance at love.

"You're so fucking sexy", he said gruffly.

His hot breath tickled her ear and sent shivers throughout her entire body. She giggled at his words and it was nearly enough to make him explode. His head moved down and she let out an unexpected moan as he sucked on her collar bone. As he bit and licked the flesh she panted heavily.

Peyton hooked one leg around his waist and he took the hint. Lucas pulled back from the reddened mark and Peyton caught the smirk on his face. His hands skimmed her body; starting from her shoulders and working down. Tracing every curve he knew by heart, they traveled along the small of her back and settled on her bottom. He cupped it and easily brought her body off the floor.

He pushed her back against the door and Peyton ran her hands through his blonde hair. He nuzzled her neck and she squirmed at the light stubble she felt for the first time since they started. She arched her back and was more than aware of his excitement. He moved away from her neck and stared into her eyes. She leaned forward and kissed him deeply. Lucas moved from the door and spun the around.

He playfully threw her onto the bed and he watched as her body bounced with the motions of the bed. He hadn't taken the time to admire her before, but he was definitely dead on. She was fucking sexy. She smiled and sent him a come hither look that made him growl.

Lucas crawled up the length of her body and hovered above her, his weight resting on both his arms. He licked his lips before placing them on her stomach. Peyton moaned at the open mouth kisses he left as he passed her belly button. His fingers unsnapped her jeans and pulled the zipper down with ease. She helped him shimmy out of the water clung denims and in the process pulled her panties with them. He stood and threw the clothes to the side of his room.

The sight of this blonde angel, naked on his bed made him even harder – and he didn't think that was possible.

Considering she hadn't been naked in front of him in years, she wasn't the least bit self conscious. That was because whenever Lucas looked at her like that he wasn't judging or comparing her to someone else. He was truly admiring her beauty and that was an amazing feeling.

She sat up and quickly undid his best buckle. She purposely brushed against him and he let out a deep, throaty, groan. The button and zipper were next. The jeans fell to the floor and his boxers didn't take long to follow. She kissed along his happy trail and Lucas felt his body move on its own accord. She moved to his hip bones and licked a circular pattern. Lucas felt goose-bumps rise along his body. Her eyes rolled up to meet his and he gently pushed her down onto the bed.

Their frantic movements were gone and all that was left was slow, gentle movements. Peyton realized that this was how it should be. Yes, love was scary, but when wasn't it?

And without you I don't know what I'd do
I can never, ever live a day without you
Here with me, do you see,
You're all I need

"I love you", Peyton said as she looked into his eyes. He smiled the largest smile his mouth could handle and he let out a breath he had been unknowingly holding in for years. He leaned down to kiss her forehead.

"I love you too, Blondie", he whispered. Her heart soared at the words. The last thing she wanted to do was make this emotional, but she couldn't help it.

"Don't leave me again, okay?"

Her voice was fragile and it tore at Lucas's heart. The fact that he had ever made her this broken and scared absolutely killed him. He cupped her face with his large hands and nuzzled his nose against hers.

"A piece of me was always with you", he whispered. Before she could question it he kissed her again and she fell back into the pool of ecstasy. She lifted her hips to meet his. He grunted and nodded against her lips. They broke the kiss and took in breath before he positioned himself.

He entered her and time stood still. They stopped breathing and let the moment soak in. the feeling was so unbelievable that they couldn't believe they had ever been apart. They were made for each other in every single aspect.

Peyton shifted her hips and Lucas began a rhythm. Once, twice, a third time. Every thrust and every pump was like one step closer to home. They increased in frequency and Peyton felt her toes curling. Not moment later, she moaned out in pleasure. Lucas felt his stomach tighten at the noises that escaped her mouth and the look on her face, he quickly followed.

He rolled over and pulled her against his body. She curled into the crook of his arm and placed a kiss to the side of his neck. He sighed contently as she prolonged the kiss; a red spot formed and she smiled triumphantly.

Their breaths evened out and as Peyton drew and invisible circle on his chest her mind wandered back to his statement before they had made love. She maneuvered so that she was resting her weight on her elbows and she looked into his blue eyes.

"What did you mean when you said that I always had a piece of me with you?"

He smiled at her question and was surprised she waited this long to ask it. He craned his neck and placed a kiss to her temple. She closed her eyes and took in the feeling.

"You have my heart, Peyton. Always have and always will", he said matter of factly. She didn't know why, but that statement caused her eyes to burn. There was something about that that was so profound that it truly touched her very core. His scientifically flawed heart was hers. It beat for her. It pumped for her.

It kept him alive for her.

She didn't know when exactly it happened, but somewhere between his words and that last thought her body began to shake. Lucas wrapped his arms around her and held her as tight as he could without smothering her. The sobs continued to attack her body and Lucas continued to hold her.

"I love you so much", she said through the tears and strangled breaths.

He pulled her closer to him and smoothed out her hair. Her tears hit his bear chest and he felt his own eyes burning. She nestled closer to him. She needed to be closer to him. She was physically lying on top of him before she felt content.

"So, so much", she whimpered.

And I will be, all that you want
And gather myself together
Cause you keep me from falling apart
And all my life, I'll be with you forever
To get you through the day
And make everything okay

Hours passed and as he rolled over to pull her into his arms he grabbed on to nothing. He opened his eyes and glanced around the room. He smiled when he saw her hair. He grabbed his boxers from the side of the bed and stood to walk over to her.

"I guess rain isn't only Nathan and Haley's thing", he said with a chuckle. She met his eyes and laughed with him until she got the mental image of her best friends having sex; Lucas caught on and scrunched his nose.

"What are you doing?" he asked as he sat beside her. He watched as she stiffened slightly and that's when his eyes caught sight of the opened drawer.

"I was looking for a flashlight because with the way it was raining I was worried it was going to cut the power", he smiled at the look on her face; she hated the rain mixed with the darkness. "Instead of a junk drawer I found . . . well what did I find?" she asked delicately as she sorted through the various memories.

Lucas let out a breath. "You found my Peyton Drawer", he said with a cheeky smile. She smiled back at him and he was glad she wasn't freaked out.

"I knew you still had it", she said accusingly. He rubbed the back of his neck and shrugged sheepishly. She rolled her eyes and shook her head.

"I knew you still had it, but I can't believe you kept these things", she mumbled with a smile as she picked through the familiar items. An envelope caught her eye and she picked it up with a frown.

"I don't remember this", she said. He sucked in a breath and carefully took it from her.

"It's a letter my mom wrote . . . after I asked her for the ring", he said the last part quietly and she understood why. "Umm, it's also what ultimately broke up Lindsey and I", he whispered.

"Well, what's it say?" she asked in interest. He handed the letter down and she shook her head.

"Read it to me", she requested. She scooted closer to him and rested her head against his bare chest. He wrapped his arm around her waist and brought his face flush against the side of hers. He opened the flap and took out the white paper. He cleared his throat and spoke;

My Boy,

Words cannot describe how proud you've made. You're a strong minded and strong willed man. I know you're young and many people wouldn't agree to their child wanting to get married, but they don't have you for a son. You're smart and I know you'll do the right thing.

Besides, you don't need to marry right away. You could always wait a year.

Now, onto the real reason I'm even considering this. Peyton Sawyer is a beautiful woman; mind, features, and soul. Peyton is everything you've ever wanted in a woman and she's everything I could ever want in a daughter-in-law. She's a good one, Lucas.

Don't ever let her go, but if something ever does happen, don't worry. You two are meant to be together and I know that you will always find a way back. True love stories always have a happy ending. It may not be quick and it won't be easy, but it will happen. Believe in that.

Keith would be proud.

Love, mom.

Peyton wiped at the tears as Lucas re-folded the letter and tucked it away. He kissed her cheek and tasted the salty water on her face. He took in a breath and let it out slowly. He hadn't read that in years. It amazed him at just how well his mother knew him.

"I'm sorry", he said suddenly. She titled her head and looked up at him with questioning eyes. "For not waiting, for ambushing you, for—" she placed her finger to his lips and shushed him.

"Let's not focus on that", she said as she shook her head; her curls following her movements. He nodded and internally found a new level of respect for her that he didn't think was possible. She was putting all of it aside so that they could start over.

She reached forward and pulled something else from the drawer.

"What's this?" she asked as she held up the zip-lock bag with a dried flower in it. He blushed and took it from her. He didn't want to tell her the whole so instead he smirked and spoke;

"I'm gonna love you forever, Peyton Sawyer."

With his words and that flower she connected the dots and her love for this man grew. She knew they would have their fights; every couple did. She knew it wouldn't be easy; it never was. She knew they still had some things to sort through; every person has a set of baggage.

But at the end of the day, she knew they would be okay.

I will be, all that you want
And gather myself together
Cause you keep me from falling apart
And all my life, I'll be with you forever
To get you through the day
And make everything okay

Let me know what you think!

A/N: Sorry, this took so long. This could not have been done without you guys. The reviews kept me going and really let me know how you felt about the way things were going. The response I got for this story was better than any other's I've gotten (considering it's one of my shorter stories). I love you all and I hope you enjoyed this last installment.