Rating: (heavy towards the end) M

Spoiler: Post 5.12.

Pairing: Lucas/Brooke and others.

A/N: This takes place roughly a year since the last chapter. This has been quite a journey for both me and the characters, so I hope I did them justice with the ending. Enjoy!

Song: "Closer" by Dido.


Chapter 23: Resurfaced


"As writers, we'd like to believe that in the best of all possible worlds, our characters have meaning. They have layers, surfaces if you will, that when stripped from them, reveal naked pureness, expose raw emotion and everything that makes our readers connect to them, anything that will humanize the portraits we paint with our words. Whatever our method of extracting them, and no matter the finished product, it never seems real enough. The characters seem fake somehow, in some nuance, in some way they speak or react, and it never seems to be enough. I suppose that's why I write about what I know, even when I can't help it. For example, the protagonist's energetic and freakishly intelligent sidekick reminds me of my own best friend, Haley, even though I didn't intend it at all. And the old, wise man Ricky meets in the bar on his way through Texas, reminds me of my old basketball couch even though I didn't envisage him that way on purpose. As for the mysterious temptress with whom he falls in love; well I won't give away who inspired her character. However, I can assure you that she has many layers, many surfaces within her, and I enjoy peeling them away every day that I'm privileged to do so…"

The sound of quiet, professional applause and the subsequent scurry of movement in the university auditorium pulled Lucas out of his reverie and he shut the hardcover book he was reading. He stood in thought, tracing his finger down the elegant spine of the novel. He stared proudly at the front cover, which contains the title and his byline; but nothing compared to the small print on the book's spine, which boldly displayed the "Raven Publication" stamp.

Not only was this his second novel, completed, well accepted, and slowly climbing the best seller list, but it was also one of the several Raven Publication novels in circulation at the moment.

That was an insurmountable feeling of elation.

"Mr. Scott."

His head snapped up and he smiled warmly at the special events coordinator at NYU.

"Please Saundra, call me Lucas."

He replied and a soft blush reflected the dark haired woman's shy demeanor,

"No problem Mr. Sc-Lucas, I just wanted to let you know there will be a small press junket with questions in a few minutes, it will be on the other side of the hallway, would you like to follow me please?"

He listened to her, but his eyes scanned the crowd anxiously.

He swore he could spot her from a throng of people easily, but he was coming up empty and he frowned.

She promised to be here.

Where was she?

He looked at his watch, "Actually, do I have a few minutes? I know where the room is, I can find my way there."

"Certainly, it doesn't start till 12:30, so you have some time. If you need anything, let me know, the halls can be so confusing here." She smiled at him and Lucas thanked her before turning his attention to the auditorium and slipping into the crowd.

He checked his cell phone, but there were no missed calls, just a text message sent at 6:30 that morning, letting him know she'd landed safely in the states, but that she needed to return to the office immediately. She promised to meet him for the reading, but if she were here by now, wouldn't she have come found him.

He pushed his way through the crowd, lost in thought, until he accidentally elbowed someone. Turning around to apologize, the man grabbed his hand,

"Lucas Scott." He said, his brown eyes, a hint of mirth beneath them, shining inquisitively.

Lucas nodded, and for some reason he stopped as well, when the man reached out and shook his hand,

"Julian Baker, a huge fan."

"Oh thank you very much. If you'd like I can sign you a copy of the new book, but I'm kind of-…"

"Oh no, I don't need a signed copy of your book. As much as your recitation was enthralling and the new novel is great I'm sure, I am much more interested in your first work."

The man was being vague, but Lucas was intrigued. He was dressed too well to be a college student and too modernly to be a professor. He didn't have any visual equipment which meant he wasn't a photographer. That left pretty much no other option, considering this was a university sponsored event with a limited guest list.

Gauging Lucas's perplexed expression,

Julian smiled, "You're probably wondering how the hell I got in here, but I'm actually an NYU Film school alum. I got invited to your talk, through the alumni association and I thought, hey haven't seen New York in a while, should make the trip."

"You're not from around here?" Lucas asked, a bit exasperated.

He needed to find his girlfriend, who he hadn't seen for over three weeks, and if this guy was stalling…

"No I'm from LA. I run a small, independent production company and I'm very interested in Ravens."

So this guy wasn't bullshitting…

"For what?" Lucas asked, wondering if he was so sleep deprived from the book tour and the late nights editing that he was hallucinating the talk.

Meanwhile Julian seemed relaxed but brash,

"I think your first work has the potential to be an incredible movie. It has all the elements of honesty you mentioned, and considering it's inspired by real events, I think it would be a great venture."

Lucas didn't say anything, trying to wrap his mind around the idea of a Ravens movie. He reached behind him, scratching the back of his neck, in a way that always made Brooke tease him.

Julian wasn't in the least bit impatient. From what he had been told by a very reliable source, Lucas Scott might've been a renowned author, but he was a tough nugget to crack when it came to the Hollywood side of things, which if this movie was successful, would be inevitable.

"Look, I'm very much interested, and I'd love to have you on board, in any way you like. Although I think you'd make a great screenwriter for this since it is your novel-…"

"Screenwriter?" Lucas interrupted, mind still boggled at the incredulous proposal,

"Yes." Julian nodded enthusiastically, his smirk strategically in place, "I've read your work, and I think you'd be the best fit."

Lucas nodded unsurely.

Julian pulled his business card out of his jacket pocket and handed it to Lucas,

"Why don't you think about it and meet me tomorrow for a drink at the St. Francis on Lexington, I'm in town just until tomorrow night."

"Alright thanks." Lucas smiled politely and hung back to study the card Julian gave him.

The brunette man nodded at him, and began walking away. But he didn't even make it a foot, before a soft voice, a voice Lucas hadn't heard in years, filled his ears and the writer looked up, just in time to see Peyton Sawyer, the proverbial heroine in Ravens, his teenage obsession, and the cause of years of heartache and therapy, place a soft but deep kiss on Julian's cheek.

He stood rooted in his spot, a myriad of indescribable emotions rushing through him. Before he could process anything, their eyes met through the crowd and he had to smile, because she just looked so different from the last time he saw her, yet still the same.

She smiled at him softly and began walking back towards him, Julian besides her, averting his eye sheepishly now, as if Lucas had caught him in his deception.

She looked breathtaking as usual and effortlessly so. His eyes don't trace her body admiringly, partly because he only has eyes for one woman now and always had, and partly because he was more interested in the present whimsical look her green eyes so seldom carried when he knew her.

Beyond pretty, she just looked happy, relaxed, and the way she confidently held Julian's hand made Lucas think it has something to do with the smug producer.

"Lucas Scott, you still have a way with words I see."

She was already teasing him with a half smirk and a glint in her eyes and it took Lucas all of two seconds before he pulled her into a crushing hug. It had been too damn long since he'd seen her and for the life of him, he could understand why he was suddenly so elated.

Perhaps it was all the guilt he'd carried around for the last five years. He never wanted to be the cause of sorrow in her life and seeing her so content just by watching her interact with Julian made his heart swell and the weight on his shoulders deteriorate.

Peyton sank into his hug without resistance, feeling an almost identical relief at seeing him and feeling none of the bitterness she would've had if they'd run into each other even a year ago.

What a difference love makes, she mused, as she let go and stood back besides Julian.

He was her rock now and she let Lucas know this.

Lucas felt like introductions and small talk didn't apply to their trio, but he eyed Julian with apprehension,

"How've you been Peyton?" He asked, and Peyton can already tell he was sizing up her boyfriend.

God, some things never changed.

"I've been great. How about you? Though considering the amazing turn out today you can't be doing too badly." She teased and Lucas relaxed considerably.

"I'm not, although I just got an interesting offer from some big shot producer guy from LA; you wouldn't happen to know anything about it, would you?"

Peyton let out a small chuckle and looked at Julian somewhat apologetically, "Well Mr. Solo here insisted on introducing himself alone. He didn't want me to influence your decision."

Lucas laughed in spite himself, "And he thought it would influence my decision negatively?"

"Perhaps." Peyton replied cheekily, glancing at both men.

Julian shifted and cracked a smile, "I thought you'd think about it, come meet me for drinks, and then have Peyton as my secret weapon, but she decided to come with me." He said, looking down at her like she was the only person in the room.

Lucas had to smile at that.

"Couldn't miss it. Lucas Scott writing something else, especially a fiction novel, I had to see for myself." Peyton explained, "But anyway, I think it would be a great opportunity. You should think about it, talk it over with Brooke, and see what she says."

The way she spoke of Brooke so casually reminded Lucas that despite the lack of communication between himself and Peyton, her friendship with his girlfriend had only grown over the last year.

Brooke had been adamant about getting the two of them to make up and solve their problems, but there never seemed to be a reason for it. Selfishly, Lucas believed it would complicate matters if he and Peyton became friends again and now he knew it was a ludicrous thought, considering how happy she seemed with Julian.

"Where is Brooke?" Peyton asked when Lucas didn't say anything and proceeded to look around.

But he shook his head, "She was supposed to be-…"

Before Lucas could explain further, he felt a gust of wind pass him and he turned his head to find Brooke walking towards them, a huge smile on her face when she came to recognize the two people standing besides her boyfriend.

Now with Brooke, all he did was look at her.

From the gentle curve of her slender leg, accentuated by a leather boot, to the sweater dress that seemed to hug her curves in all the right places and expose the softness and creaminess of her cleavage, to finally her face, which was as gorgeous as usual, with dimples ever present, and sparking, hazel eyes.

God, he was so in love with her, it was embarrassing.

By the time Lucas registered Brooke's presence, she and Peyton had already shared a much overdue hug and when she turned to smile at him, he almost forgot how much he missed her in the last couple weeks.

"I'm sorry you didn't find me earlier Broody. I had to step out and make a call." She said smiling, as if she hadn't been in Paris for the last 20 days.

"So you made it." He asked quietly and Brooke arched an eyebrow,

"You don't actually think I'd miss your first public reading of Surfaces, did you?"

Her hand slipped into his as effortlessly as his arm wrapped around her waist, and before she could register what was happening, Lucas was already kissing her.

The feel of her lips and the familiar scent of her perfume intoxicated him, making him disregard the public setting in which they were. It wasn't professional and not very discreet, but he couldn't help himself.

He'd missed her.

Pulling away, Brooke looked at him with wide eyes.

Julian and Peyton chuckled behind them, but the rest of the room was thankfully oblivious.

"Luke…" She said quietly, tracing her hand over his cheek.

"I missed you." He whispered and Brooke softened immediately, "I did too." She replied warmly, hazel eyes mirroring his desires and longing.

"You and me, later." She kissed his cheek before turning around and sizing up her best friend's boyfriend.

"Well if it isn't the infamous Julian Baker, it's nice to put a face to the name." She quipped, crossing her arms over her chest.

"And you must be "the" Brooke Davis, it's nice to see you outside the myriad of pictures my lovely girlfriend has of you at her house." Julian didn't skip a beat and extended his hand.

"Well what can I say? P. Sawyer has always decorated tastefully."

Lucas chuckled at that, connecting eyes with the blond over Brooke's shoulder, and found her smiling at him warmly, a huge change from the last time he saw her. Before the conversation could proceed, Lucas spotted Saundra walking briskly towards him.

"Uh, I think I have to go to that press conference now." Lucas said, checking his watch.

"Oh I'll come with you?" Brooke asked.

"Yeah, I think we can all do that. It shouldn't take long, just a few questions."

"Okay great, are you guys staying for the press thing?" Brooke asked, directing her attention to the couple standing besides them.

"We were going to do a little sight seeing actually." Peyton explained,

"There's a really awesome record store on 5th St. I wanted to take her to." Julian said, smiling at the blonde.

"Oh! That's perfect." Brooke squealed, clasping her hands together, "That's right near the restaurant we're meeting Haley and Nathan at for lunch after this."

"That's right. They moved here a couple months ago huh?" Peyton spoke excitedly and Lucas felt like a reunion was formulating right under his nose.

"Yah, so why don't you guys head over there and I'll call you when Mr. Famous Author here finishes signing autographs." Brooke teased and glanced over at Lucas, who shook his head and almost blushed.

Some things definitely never changed, Peyton thought momentarily, before agreeing with Brooke.

"Hey, we'll see you guys soon. Thanks for talking to me Lucas, think about it." Julian extended his hand and Lucas took it, before the pair disappeared into the crowd.

"What did you guys talk about?" Brooke asked, stepping much closer to Lucas now that they were alone.

"I'll tell you tonight." He replied, wrapping his arm loosely around her waist and planting a kiss on her temple, "God I missed you."

"Me too Luke, me too" Brooke grasped his hand tighter as he pulled her towards the exit.

God it felt good to be home.


"Dad, aunt Brooke promised they'd be here by now."

Nathan turned to his son, sitting across the table from him and smiled.

Damn, but did Brooke Davis have to have an effect on all the Scott men?

"They'll be here soon honey. Meanwhile, can you hand me Emma's diaper bag I think she needs a change." Haley said from besides him, their barely year old bundle of joy in her arms.

Nathan watched as Jamie wrinkled his nose at the mention of his sister's diaper change, but handed the bag to his mom, and even quietly asked if she needed help.

Haley laughed and shook her head, "Nah, I got this one kiddo. Keep your daddy company, he's eyeing the appetizers on that table, make sure he doesn't try to eat them."

The brunette joked, before planting a kiss on Nathan's cheek, slinging the bag over her shoulder, and walking towards the bathroom.

Checking his watch, Nathan realized his brother and his girlfriend were indeed over 20 minutes late, and he was pretty hungry, his eyes shifted towards the table next to them,

"Don't even think about it dad." Jamie warned and Nathan broke out into a grin.

He was about to tease his son, when he saw Jamie's blue eyes light up as he scampered off his seat and ran toward the restaurant entrance, where Nathan saw the Lucas was holding the door for Brooke.

"Brooke you made it!" Jamie exclaimed, high fiving his godmother before she pulled him into a hug.

"Jeez, I'm totally feeling the love." Lucas grunted but Jamie just rolled his eyes,

"I just played basketball for two hours with you this morning Uncle Luke. I haven't seen Brooke in like I don't even know how long, plus she probably brought me presents."

The precocious 11 year old cast a sideways glance toward Brooke for confirmation and she nodded enthusiastically,

"I got piles and piles of presents for my two favorite godchildren, now where's your sister?" Brooke asked, ruffling his hair.

"Emma had to get her diaper changed. Babies are so gross." Jamie said, holding his nose dramatically and Lucas laughed, "I'll have you know that I used to change your dirty diapers when I babysat you."

Jamie's eyes widened but then he shrugged, "Sorry Uncle Luke."

Brooke nudged Lucas playfully as they made their way towards the restaurant.

A few minutes after they sat down, Haley came out with Emma and Brooke immediately focused her attention on the chubby baby.

The infant seemed to recognize her, because Emma reached out, grabbed a fist full of auburn hair, and tugged with all her strength.

"Sorry, she's in that stage right now, where she pulls on everything. She has such a strong grip too." Haley explained sheepishly as she took a sip of water.

"I don't even care, she's so cute." Brooke smiled, nuzzling Emma's tummy.

"Yah, my little girl has a strong arm; she's going to be one hell of a softball player." Nathan said bemusedly and everyone at the table laughed.

"Well, well, Nathan Scott, talking about sports. Why am I not surprised?" a voice behind him exclaimed and Haley almost chocked on her water,

"Peyton Sawyer?" She exclaimed, standing up and in the process almost knocking over the silver wear.

"Holy-…" Nathan said, before stopping himself and pulling Peyton into a hug, "it's been a fucking while." He murmured into her curls discreetly, so his son wouldn't scold him for saying the 'bad' words again.

Brooke and Lucas exchanged sheepish but amused faces and Haley slapped Brooke's free arm none too lightly;

"You knew they were coming and you didn't tell us! Give me my daughter back right this second." Haley admonished playfully, but before Brooke could extend Emma to her, the brunette was across the table, pulling Peyton into a deep hug.

"It's good to see you too Hales." Peyton said, releasing Haley from her hug, "motherhood agrees with you yet again." She smiled, "And you Mr. Hotshot Basketball player."

The blonde teased Nathan as he embraced her again.

Lucas and Brooke shared pleased glances over the exchange while Brooke cuddled Emma close to her chest. The infant had taken to her godmother immediately, despite the fact that due to a busy schedule, the visits to Nathan and Haley's were rare.

Lucas watched Brooke as she played with Emma and Jamie caught him staring, giving him a knowing smile ,which made Lucas slightly embarrassed but also happy. He had his favorite people all in one room together, and it seemed like all the pieces of his life were falling into place.

Turning his attention back to Brooke, he knew she was a big part of it.

Of course, there were difficulties in their relationship. Brooke wasn't easily accepting, only giving parts of her heart to him over their months together. She still worked insane hours, which coupled with his intense schedule at the publishing house and the book tour, resulted in most nights where he didn't see her until she crawled into bed besides him, asleep before her head hit the pillow.

Another sore spot for them had been her friendship with Peyton, which continued to grow after she moved down to New York City. While Brooke made frequent visits to LA for both work and leisure, Lucas thought it would be best if he and Peyton did not speak.

At that point, Brooke was weary of his intentions, questioning if maybe he didn't want to talk to her because of unresolved feelings, but Lucas knew he just didn't want to face the guilt and issues from the last time he saw her. He still carried the guilt from hurting Peyton like that for years, and was determined to avoid it for as long as possible, though now it appeared fate had other plans.

Perhaps it was time to put the past behind them, a chance to move on from the epic love story that seemed to disintegrate faster than it formed.

"What you thinking about Luke?" Brooke asked quietly from besides him and he smiled, leaning in to grasp Emma's extended finger,

"I'm thinking this baby is freaking adorable and that Julian probably feels like he's walked into the Ravens novel."

Brooke giggled when she looked up and realized that Julian, indeed, looked a bit star struck, especially when Nathan and Haley exchanged hellos with him.

"Peyton tells me he actually listens to Haley's records with her, ooh and secretly watches highlights from Nathan's games despite being a self proclaimed sports hater." Brooke whispered and Lucas smirked at the information.

At that point, Haley picked up Emma to introduce her to Peyton and Julian, after which the foursome sat down at the table and picked up their menus.

Brooke giddily picked up her glass of water, not waiting for the waiter to bring their drinks before making a toast,

"To all my favorite people, and yes Julian that includes you," She winked in the producer's direction and he saluted her with his glass, "To all of us being here and being together." Brooke said and everyone clinked glasses.

Lucas squeezed her hand under the table.


The cool Manhattan breeze blew past her curls as she stood outside the restaurant, trying to talk her assistant through a mini crisis at work.

She hadn't planned on this impromptu trip to New York so it didn't give her much time to debrief Charlotte on what she would have to take care of while Peyton was gone.

Thankfully, crisis averted, the blond shut her cell phone and turned to go back to the restaurant, almost bumping into Lucas as he walked up to her,

"Whoa, sorry Luke, I was just on my way inside." She said quietly, keeping her eyes down.

Studying her demure reaction, Lucas guessed he wasn't the only one feeling weird about seeing the other after so long.

"I actually came out here to talk to you if that's okay."

Peyton met his eyes unexpectedly, a mixed expression on her face, which surely held surprise.

"Yeah sure" She nodded gesturing to the stairway.

They stood in silence for some time, Lucas not sure what to say and Peyton studying her fingernails to avoid the tension.

"This is weird, isn't it?" He murmured suddenly, and judging by her expression, Peyton seemed to agree,

"Yah it is." She paused, studying him for a moment, "I loved Surfaces." She added quietly, and Lucas looked at her in awe.

"You did?"

"You seem surprised." Peyton smirked, but she obviously knew why he said it, "Just because it's inspired by my best friend, doesn't change how amazing it is, nor does it make me feel any different toward either of you. I honestly don't think I'm in any position to be upset or angry. We've been over for years Lucas; in some ways when I turned down your proposal I knew it was inevitable that we would part ways. I love Brooke and I want what's best for her, which happens to be you."

Lucas smiled at that, in some ways relieved Peyton finally acknowledged Brooke's relationship with him positively. Listening to her and seeing her so relaxed and smiling, Lucas felt even more upset about his actions. He supposed that's why maybe things with Peyton never worked out.

With her, it was always about worrying about what she thought and if she was okay and ya…his hero complex definitely acted up around the curly blonde, and it wasn't even her fault.

Residual feelings from his childhood and teen years spent watching her so unhappy probably had something to do with it though.

"It kind of hurt that you didn't want to visit with Brooke or even say hi over Skype."

Lucas looked up, shocked at the vulnerability in Peyton's voice, and the seeming reversal of roles. He'd asked her to talk but here she was telling him how she felt while he stood like a damn mute.

"Brooke didn't tell me. She always made excuses for you, but it wasn't hard to figure out you were avoiding me."

"I'm sorry Peyton." He said softly, digging his hands into his pant pockets as he turned his attention to the busy street instead of the blonde besides him.

"I guess and this is going to sound incredibly stupid and conceited, but I thought it'd be easier for both of us if we didn't have actual contact with each other. That way you wouldn't have to remember who Brooke was living with and I didn't have to face how we left things."

Peyton didn't respond right away, and when he cast a side glance at her, she seemed deep in thought, her slim arms crossed over the blue top she was wearing.

Her expression was stoic. He couldn't tell if she was mad or upset or surprised at his reasoning, but when she turned and he looked into her green eyes, he was met with calm.

"I know why you did it Luke." She said softly, making sure to keep eye contact, "I assume you came out here to tell me that, but I knew. I just wanted you to know that since we're going to be in each other's lives for good this time, that you don't do that, because as much as I hated you for those few years back in LA, I don't now. I'm okay, even happy and you don't need to worry. Focus on Brooke instead of on your guilt okay?"

Lucas could do nothing but nod.

Her words seemed to overpower his considerably and he didn't want to apologize again, because he knew she already understood him. At the same time, he couldn't help but marvel at the maturity he felt in Peyton's actions and heard in her words.

She didn't look older, perhaps just a polished version of her teenage self, but in her words, in her demeanor, in her expression lay grace, virtue, and brutal honesty.

It was incredible how subtle her transformation was, but it was there. Although, Lucas was glad to have known her before, in order that he could appreciate the woman she'd become.

"I love her you know." He said it while kicking a pebble, "I'm in love with her, have been since the day she came back to Tree Hill. I just didn't know it."

"I knew." Peyton admitted, "I watched you guys get closer and closer while she continued to encourage me and I don't know. You and I were supposed to last and we didn't and I'm glad, because it brought me to Julian, but I wish you and I weren't so blinded back then."

"Me too. If I had seen it for what it was, I wouldn't have spent so much time being so restless, and hurting the two of you. I'm done with that by the way." Lucas said, turning his body towards Peyton, leaning against the side of the stairway,

"I'm done being indecisive, hurting people I love, hurting Brooke especially. I know what I want and it's her and I am not going to hurt her again. I promise."

And his words struck a truce between the two old lovers. They stood in comfortable silence for a while. Unspoken words between them disappeared, the tension falling away with the gust of wind, until all that was left were fond memories, memories that both of them could look back on and not feel a twinge of guilt or the pang of hurt that previously dominated thoughts of the other.

"So…" Lucas's voice trailed off between them and Peyton laughed, "Tell me how you met Julian."


So leave your taxi waiting
And turn and close my door
And sit back down where you were sitting
A little closer than before

"God I missed you." Lucas whispered into her neck, brushing the hair from her nape and giving her a soft kiss, while she fumbled with the lock on their apartment door.

No sooner than it opened, Brooke pulled him into the apartment and lunged into his arms, kissing him furiously, exploring his mouth, and digging her fingers into his hair. Lucas reciprocated, pulling her smaller body against his, wishing her softness wasn't concealed by so many layers.

Brooke pulled back and smiled, "I missed you too."

Lucas brushed a few stands of hair from her face, "It's good to have you back home."

"Yeah it is. Paris was fun, but next time I think I'll be taking you along with me." She explained cheekily, hanging her coat on the rack by the door, while Lucas moved into the kitchen.

"If my schedule even allows it. We're swamped at work." He lamented, retrieving two beers and a can opener, before returning to the living room, where Brooke already sat on the couch, feet propped up on the coffee table.

"Thanks," She said, taking a beer from him.

They sat in silence for a few moments and Lucas could tell Brooke was dying to ask him about Peyton, so to spare her the torturous wait, he spoke,

"It was good to see Peyton again."

Brooke suddenly felt like a huge weight was lifted off her shoulders, she'd been having mixed feelings about the strain her boyfriend and best friend's relations, since she got back together with Lucas, and though a small part of her still felt insecure, she was mostly concerned with Lucas's avoidance of the issue. It was nice to see him respond to Peyton so positively.

"Oh yeah?" She asked nonchalantly, playing with her cuticles.

"Yeah" Lucas smirked, pretending not to notice how relieved she seemed.

She really was an incredibly selfless person, always worrying about every one else's well being except her own. It suddenly occurred to him that she must've been exhausted.

After a ten hour flight and a business meeting, followed by a busy lunch, and hours sightseeing with Peyton and Julian, she was probably dying for some shut eye.

"Hey, pretty girl, enough serious talk. Why don't you take a nap, while I cook dinner? You must be so tired." He sympathized, wrapping an arm around her shoulders as she leaned into him.

"I so am, but I have a date with Rachel on Skype in half an hour, so can we stay here for a little bit?"

She looked up at him with her dimples and hazel eyes and he couldn't say no, especially because he had no other place in the world he'd rather be.

"Sure thing" He said, pulling her closer, until she was in his lap, safely tucked in his arms.

"So tell me what Julian and you talked about." Brooke said, before yawning.

"Well I was going to tell you over dinner, but Julian wants to produce a movie based on An Unkindness of Ravens." He was busy playing with her wavy hair, so when she heard the news and jerked her head, he almost pulled a strand out.

"Ouch." Brooke exclaimed, and then squealed and gave him a huge hug, "Oh my god, Luke that's amazing. I've totally googled him before, he has an impressive resume, and this is such a great opportunity." Her voice trailed off as she grasped his face between her hands and let out a breath of air,

"God, I am so proud of you Lucas." She said, kissing his lips quickly.

When you look that serious
It just makes me want you more
And I've been needing to tell you

"So does that mean you think I should do it?" He asked, embarrassed that he was contemplating declining the offer.

Brooke studied him for a second, before replying, "Do you think you shouldn't?"

"I don't know." Lucas exhaled, detaching himself from her as he leaned on his elbows, closing his eyes, "I feel like making a movie about those events would be unfair to the people who experienced it. It doesn't seem fair to broadcast their emotions for the public to see. Besides, a huge part of that story is my relationship with Peyton and that's long gone."

"Luke, I know you're afraid." Brooke said, taking her turn to dote on him as he sat confused, "But your story was incredible and I think the world deserves to learn about what shaped you as a writer, what shaped all of us. It's a great story and because Peyton trusts Julian, I trust him as well, to do a tasteful portrayal of it."

Lucas looked at her, mesmerized by her ability to give advice without imposing, to put him in the right direction without being forceful, "He thinks I should do the screenplay."

"See!" Brooke perked up, "He's already making smart decisions, and this way you can control how much of the events you want exposed. You can have it your way Broody, but you should figure out first if you want to do it or not. Don't base your decision on my opinion or anyone else's. What does your heart tell you?"

She asked a loaded question, although Lucas was sure she didn't mean to. Nevertheless, he smiled and said, "My heart tells me I'm the luckiest man in the world."

Brooke let out a half chuckle, concealing her blushing at his flattery, "You charmer." She teased, as Lucas relaxed and leaned back on the couch, pulling her with him.

"I think I'll sleep on it. See what I decide to do tomorrow. He wanted me to meet him for drinks at the hotel they're staying at."

"That's good. Maybe I could steal P. Sawyer away for some girl time, while you guys talk business." Brooke said, fiddling with the hem of his button down.

"You really missed her didn't you?" Lucas asked, already the familiar sting of guilt inching itself closer to his gut.

Brooke turned and looked at him, hazel eyes narrowing to slits, "I missed you more these past few weeks." She averted the question with ease, but he could tell she was pleased to be closer to the skinny blonde again, and Lucas pledged that no matter what happened, he'd fight as hard as he could to keep her happy.

The closer you get, the better I feel
The closer you are, the more I see
Why everyone says that I look happier
When you're around
The closer you get, the better I feel


When her best friend's face came on screen, Brooke burst out laughing,

"Geez, why do you have to howl like a hyena?" Rachel groaned, taking another sip of water.

"Hangover much?" Brooke teased, "you look like shit Rach."

"Thanks you're so sweet. I do have to say I am never going to another one of those horribly boring business parties with Alex ever again. I mean they don't even deserve to be called parties."

"So you had to drink to weed the boredom out?" Brooke asked, raising her eyebrow.

"Yeah, so it's not like we've never done that before." Rachel defended, wiggling her finger at the screen,

"Anyway how was Paris? How was Luke's book reading?"

"Oh my god." Brooke exclaimed, "I completely forgot to tell you, you'll never guess who came down to New York."

Judging by the smile on her face, Rachel already knew the answer, so she smirked, "There're only two people who can put that smile on your face, besides me of course, and that's Sting and Peyton Sawyer, so which is it."

Brooke's eyes went wide as she tried to shush Rachel, "No one knows about my Police obsession and I'd like to keep it that way."

Rachel laughed it off, murmuring something about never getting drunk again when she felt a wave of nausea, then asked, "So it was Peyton then?"

"Yeah, and she brought Julian with her, who offered Lucas a freakin' movie deal for Ravens, can you believe that?"

"No way, does that mean I'm going to be famous?"

"You weren't even in the book dummy." Brooke reminded dryly and Rachel pretended to be hurt,

"So is he going to take it?"

Brooke shrugged, "I don't know. They're meeting for drinks tomorrow, before they go back to LA, so he said he'll decide tomorrow. He was worried about how personal that story is, he doesn't think it's fair to expose something like that on screen."

"Oh, well the better question then is how he is handling seeing his blast from the past. I mean it's been over five years huh?"

"Yeah." Brooke nodded, pulling her legs up to her chest, "I thought it would be worse, but they were pretty civil to each other, I think they talked out their issues at lunch today, so I think everything will be okay."

"I hope so, because you and Luke have been through too much shit to get to where you are to have anything ruin it." Rachel empathized.

Brooke smirked, "The only thing that can potentially ruin this is our fucking careers. Between his book tour, publishing duties, and my work, we barely see each other and I think it's taking a toll on him. It bothers me too, but I'm used to this workaholic thing, he's not and I'm a little worried about him."

It felt good to talk to someone about this, because it seemed like no one but Rachel could understand. Surely Haley and Nathan had a similar situation, but they'd been doing it for over ten years, so Brooke felt a little naïve talking to Haley about it. Rachel, on the other hand, just sympathized.

"It's tough, but a least at the end of the day you've got each other, I mean imagine spending all those nights coming home from work alone, with a bottle of wine, and Conan. That's enough to fucking depress anyone."

"Uh Rach, that's kind of what I did every night for like five years, except eventually I switched to tea, because no one likes the cliché fashion designer with a substance abuse problem." Brooke smiled, actually relieved she could think back on those lonely nights with nothing but relief.

She really was the luckiest woman in the world.

"Yeah because god knows there are enough of them out there." Rachel smirked, and then took a sip of water.

Just then Lucas called from the kitchen, signaling that dinner was ready and Brooke bit her lip, realizing she would be cutting their conversation off really early today,

"Hey Rach, I kind of have to go, we haven't seen each other in-…"

"Oh spare me the sob story." Rachel waved her off and Brooke once again understood why she loved the redhead so much.

You never had to watch what you said with her and she never judged, which was a lot more than Brooke could say for the share of fake friends she'd accumulated over the years.

"Thanks, I'll make it up to you tomorrow, same time?" Brooke asked, picking up her I-Phone to program the alarm.

"Yup, now go have great sex and let me be one with the silence."

"You home alone?" Brooke asked, furrowing her eyebrows.

"Only for a few more minutes, Alex is on his way home, don't worry mother bear." Rachel teased and Brooke rolled her eyes, "That's it, I'm gonna go, love you, tell Alex hi."

"I will, bye Brookie."

Brooke laughed and stuck her tongue out at the screen, before Rachel turned off her Skype and they disconnected.


And yes I know you're nervous
Never seen you so unsure
You haven't touched your food tonight
And you're drinking more and more

"Brooke what's taking so long?" Lucas called out, but his voice trailed off when he walked into the bedroom.

The dress she wore was draped over the vanity chair, while she stood with one foot on the bed, about to unclip her stocking from the garter belt.

After nearly three weeks of spending nights alone in their bed, with her scent on his pillow taunting him into the wee hours of the morning, the physical sight of her in nothing more than pink lingerie and stockings sparked a desire in him that had been escalating for days.

A frantic need seemed to escalate with every step he took towards her until he was pressed up against her back, his growing arousal fitting perfectly against her.

Brooke let out a soft moan, leaning her back into him as if on purpose to taunt him, as she unclipped one stocking and rolled it down leg, her body curling in a way that made Lucas shiver with desire.

Her movements were fluid, seductive, she was playing a game, tapping into the Brooke Davis he remembered in high school, who trusted no one and played with everyone.

Her hand moved to the other stocking but his callous fingers traced the rim of the belt and moved her hand away,

"Let me." He whispered in her hair and unclipped the second set of garters with ease, moving his fingers against her skin torturously slow as he pulled the stocking all the way down her leg and removed it.

Brooke trailed her hands behind her to his body, pulling him closer by his hip and turning her head to inhale his scent, "I missed you Luke." She purred and Lucas groaned, pressing his hips into her back, to let her know how much he in fact missed her.

Lucas pushed her hair out of the way and dropped soft kisses on her shoulder, while his hands roamed her body, tracing the side of her stomach, before running up her ribcage, and edging around the pink lace she wore.

"Luke." She moaned into his ear, her mind finally catching up with her body as it reacted to his touch, heating up all over.

Lucas didn't respond, instead his hand moved to the clasp of her pink bra and unsnapped it, the lace falling on the bed while Brooke swallowed air unconsciously when her skin reacted to the breeze in the room. She felt almost weak with desire, marveling as she felt his hands over the soft plains of her stomach, how she could have spent three weeks away from him and his touch.

And there's no need to hurry
Taking time I'll still be here
And I've been needing to tell you

The feeling of his fingers on her breasts almost made her buckle down and fall on the bed, but thankfully his strong arms encapsulated her, holding her against him as he palmed her breasts, twisting her nipples teasingly until her sounds escalated into groans and she felt herself arch into his arousal, his subsequent groan muffled as he sank his teeth into her shoulder.

He usually wasn't so rough with her but after so much time away, he couldn't control his body's reaction to her naked form.

His hands seemed to travel on their own accord down her body, until one disappeared into her warmth.

Brooke arched against him, fisting his shirt to control her erratic movement as he gently messaged her clit, and kissed her shoulder, holding her so tightly against him that when he shuddered, she gasped and let out a moan of satisfaction, realizing just how badly she was turning him on.

Lucas increased the pace of his ministrations, pinching her nipple to elicit a breathy moan and he couldn't help but tease her just a little.

"You think it's funny that you get me hard just by touching you don't you?" He asked, his voice particularly rough, but Brooke wasn't fazed,

"Maybe." She managed to breathe out through heavy pants, and Lucas just smirked, before pulling her into a deep kiss, while plunging two fingers inside of her simultaneously.

Brooke let out a loud yelp, but his kiss seemed to stifle her excitement.

She fell into the kiss effortlessly, her body already so close to release that the intimate nature of their kiss, filled with longing, desire, and inexplicably love only pushed her that much closer.

She pulled back a second later, but Lucas didn't stop twisting inside of her, her knee found itself on the edge of the bed and Lucas took the opportunity to move deeper inside her, the flat of his palm creating friction against her clit in the most delicious way, sending Brooke spiraling out of control as she collapsed against Lucas, riding out an orgasm that was entirely too overdue.

He felt her spasm against him just seconds before she clenched around him and Lucas welcomed the sight of her release. He swore there was nothing as sexy as seeing Brooke when she was coming, it was almost ethereal, the way she moved, the way her body curled and reacted to his touch and to think, he was the one to make her feel that…

Suddenly, his pants seemed too tight and he needed to have her.

Before he could even contemplate his next action, he looked down to see his girlfriend sitting on the bed topless, her chest heaving and slightly flushed from her orgasm, her eyes wild with a mix of content and desire and pulling him closer to her by his belt buckle, intent on returning the favor.

"I almost forgot how good you are at that." She teased, while his hands found themselves trembling in anticipation on her shoulders, running through the ends of her cropped tendrils, tracing her collarbone.

"Would you like me to remind you again?" He asked huskily, staring down at her with dark eyes while she slowly unbuckled his belt and rolled down his fly.

"Nah, I think I should remind you how good I am." She said cheekily, before her hand disappeared into his pants and wrapped around him.

On instinct, he pulled her closer, almost shoving her face into his crotch, and when he apologetically looked down, only half apologetic because her touch felt so good, he was welcomed by the sight of her perfect lips taking him into her mouth, her tongue doing ungodly things as it circled around his length, leaving a trailing heat in its wake.

The closer you get, the better I feel
The closer you are, the more I see
Why everyone says that I look happier
When you're around
better I feel

His hands tangled in her dark brown hair, his hips moving against her in tandem, while her hands roamed his torso, tweaking his nipples occasionally, feeling him twitch in her mouth at every sensitive spot she touched, both with her tongue and her fingers.

He felt hot in her mouth and incredibly hard and she felt herself get wetter at the thought of him buried deep inside her, so much so that she hesitated as she pulled him deeper in, because she just wanted to feel all of him.

Somehow, through the haze of pleasure, Lucas felt the impending orgasm and tried to hold off, wanting to feel her writhing underneath him before he finished.

His hand caressed her cheek, "Brooke." He murmured and when she looked up at him, he almost didn't stop her, but she smiled at him, pulling him out of her mouth and placing gentle kisses on his length before standing up and pulling his t-shirt over his head.

Lucas took advantage of their proximity and pulled her into a deep kiss, hooking his hands into her thong and pulling it off her.

She arched against him, as his reached between them and tweaked her nipple, teasing her so badly she pulled back and gave him a dark glance, before wrapping her small hand around him and pumping him quickly.

"Stop that." He instructed his jaw clenching as he felt himself lose control.

"Make me." She bit back and before she knew it, Lucas pulled her up and sank onto the bed with her in his lap.

Then, with one quick motion, he positioned himself at her entrance and pushed her hips down, both of them letting out simultaneous moans as she took him in completely.

Brooke squeezed her eyes at the feel of him inside of her, and then quickly snapped them open as he thrust up, his mouth closing in over her nipple as pressed his fingers into her hips, controlling her body as she writhed on top of him.

"Oh god, Luke…"

Her voice was so raspy, so inviting, and so warm like the rest of her that his eyes rolled to the back of his head in pleasure as he tried to concentrate on the sensation she was creating around him.

Feeling him grow inside of her, Brooke gently pushed him down until he was lying flat on his back.

Their eyes met in the darkness and he didn't miss her smirk, so he fought hard to stave off his orgasm, just so he could see her let go before him.

"Don't fight it Broody." She whispered, steadying herself against his chest, teasing him as she moved only slightly, hips gyrating over him, breasts seducing Lucas with their natural movement.

He gave her a signature squint and then relaxed into her touch, as she gripped his shoulders in effort to relieve the tension building inside her. It was obvious that she was close, perhaps closer than anticipated and Lucas decided to use this to his advantage.

After all, two could play that game, he thought, before running his fingers gently up her thighs, and gripping her hip tightly before traveling inward and brushing over her skin, which caused a spasm of movement in the brunette that sent a vibration of pleasure through Lucas's body.

It was in this physical reaction that he fully understood and committed to memory what it felt like to be so deeply connected to another individual that the pleasure you inflicted upon them, became yours. It was intoxicating and as Brooke's incoherent whispers and shallow moans became more prevalent, Lucas didn't waste anytime in giving her the pleasure he'd been waiting weeks to administer.

His left hand traveled over her rib cage and covered her breast, messaging the soft orb gently, ever so slightly tweaking her nipple as she bucked against him, this time her body arched so violently she steadied herself by grasping his calves, no longer able to control the shaking.

"God you are breathtaking." Lucas whispered, more to himself than Brooke, but she heard him and despite the closeness of her orgasm, she pushed forward, landing squarely on his chest, cropped locks teasing his chin.

The closer you get, better you see
The closer you are, more I see
Why everyone says that I look happier
When you're around
The closer you get, better I feel

"I want you to come with me." She explained her sudden halt through the darkness and she swore she felt Lucas smile as he pulled her into a deep kiss and flipped them over, settling his weight on top her as she rose to meet his thrust.

He groaned at the contact of their lower bodies meeting again, her heated softness consumed all his senses.

"Jesus Lucas just don't stop." Brooke moaned, gripping his shoulders tighter, trying hard not to leave marks on his skin, but failing to do so.

The sensation of her nails digging into his shoulders only encouraged him as Lucas snaked his hand down between them, pushing Brooke's leg upwards and grasping her clit, fingers slowly tracing the sensitive skin.

Brooke lost all control when he touched her, nerve endings so electrified, burning with the need for a reprieve of some sort that she couldn't hold out anymore.

Blush spread to her cheeks as she fluttered her eyes closed and whispered how close she was.

"You feel so fucking good, just come Brooke. I'm right here." Lucas replied, managing somehow to stay lucid while sensations suddenly overwhelmed him and before he knew it, he was burying his face in Brooke's neck as their bodies convulsed together for the first time that night, a feeling he thought he'd never get enough of.

"God." Brooke murmured, trying to catch her breath as Lucas placed gentle kisses on her cheeks.

"You're not leaving my bed." Lucas threatened playfully as he pushed back a strand of her hair lovingly.

"That's not a problem." Brooke replied, wrapping her legs tighter around his waist.

"I love you, you know" Lucas murmured into her hair, inhaling her scent as he played with loose strands.

"I love you too Broody." Brooke smiled softly, hands roaming the planes of his back.

Closing her eyes, she reveled in the feeling of him still inside her, his breath on her shoulder, and his weight on top of her, securing her against the bed and making her feel safe.

Lucas tried to roll off of her, but Brooke held on tighter, "Stay for a while, I missed this."

She explained, her eyes fluttering closed as she inhaled deeply.

Lucas obliged, maneuvering them around so Brooke was lying against his chest,

"I missed this too, pretty girl." He murmured, before drifting off to sleep…


We've been circling for time baby
We're coming down to land tonight
The wait is over and now it's easy
Everything is fine

She leaned against the railing, overlooking the water, and inhaled the remnants of summer air as a chilly September wind blew the lapel of her coat against her neck.

Pushing the material aside, her mind traveled to a different time and place, where she stood overlooking the water and thinking about a new chapter in her life.

She was thinking about a new chapter now as well, but this one had been written far before she anticipated and unlike the previous one, which she was glad to close, this chapter didn't involve her running from her fears, instead it was more about a boy and the love he brought into her life.

A boy, who stole her heart at 17 and now eleven years later, still hadn't given it back.

She'd hope he would, for many years, cursing the very existence of him, not because she hated him, but because she was angry and hurt. Upset that he betrayed her and still managed to evoke a sense of sympathy from her.

Now, she couldn't wait to see him, so she could take him out for an early lunch, celebrating the contract he signed to do a movie version of his very first novel.

She knew the book inside out and knew it would be a challenge for her to relive those moments with him, both on screen and on paper. To see other people cast in the roles she and her family played so many years back, but she was ready to face it with him, and help him through the challenges that awaited him, because that's what he had done for her.

In the last year, she'd let go of the painful past, let go of her attack, made peace with her lack of parenthood, and focused on the best aspects in her life, like her family, beautiful godchildren, and her fashion line.

He'd done that for her and now it was her turn to give back.

She squinted against the bright, mid-morning sun and turned just in time to see Lucas emerge from the publishing house.

Her breath caught in her throat as she walked him walk towards her in a white t-shirt and jeans, so goddamn reminiscent of the first time they ran into each other almost a year and a half ago, that she felt nostalgic all of the sudden.

If she hadn't run into him that day in San Francisco, who knows where they'd be now?

Where she'd be now?

But Brooke refused to dwell on the past, she refused to live on what ifs and maybes, she did that for too long already and it was time to start living her life. So instead of saying anything, she simply leaned up and gave him a soft kiss as he met her half way.

Little did she know that as she walked towards him, Lucas couldn't stop thinking about that day too, about the day he subconsciously knew changed everything, and suddenly he was propelled to another memory.

Another time when the brunette before him hid in the backseat of his truck and asked his naïve self the very same question; if he could talk to that bubbly, gorgeous, risk taking brunette now, he would tell her that the moment in his truck was just the beginning for them and that they had a long way to go.

And damn but was he glad that they reached a destination…

Why everyone says that I look happier
When you're around
The closer you get
Better I feel



I'd like to thank everyone who reviewed this story: BDavisLScott23, BrookeDavis23, tanya2byyour21, whiters, Liz457, Longlivebrucas, Allie, photobooth_romance, Tanya, Princesskarlita411, TeamSophia, bella, arygon199, evergloweyes, onetreefan, TaraFish, flipflopgal, brookenlucas4eva03, sunshine, Lindsay, catcat51092, crazygurl093, TeamxxBrucasxx, brucas224, jc4127, KCPrettyGurl, brucas1, Brucas10, Brucasfan23, Andrea Michelina, Cheerybroody3, awhero, albluvscbg, Ambrocoo, storyteller247, monkeyluver012, ichirukifan, PeterClaire, BrookeD, B., queen08, HHr4life, tripnfallbri, PrettyGirl1758, , BL-is-love, SV, Kate, silverfoxx01, Christine, missdenmark, ipodder.

-Thank you guys so much and a special thanks to those who remained loyal to the story through its entirety. You guys are the reason I was so inspired to continue, so thank you, thank you everyone for propelling this forward (God I feel like I'm accepting an award LOL), anyway, thank you, you guys kick major ass!!