Disclaimer: One Tree Hill and all it's characters and situations are property of Mark Schwahn and The WB/The CW. I do not own anything and will not make any profit from this story.

A/N: Takes place after 5.17. Just my take on things. I'm a Brucas fan, but if there's no hope for them, I'm all Leyton. Just so ya' know. xD

A/N: Voiceovers are in bold.


Peyton turned around. She saw Lucas' head lolling off to one side of his pillow.

"Yeah?" She replied. People always tell the truth when they're drunk.

She could practically hear Mia's voice in her head.

"I hate you."

She really wished Mia had never said that. People always tell the truth when they're drunk.

She didn't know what to say. In all honesty, she felt like crying. Luckily (well not really because what Lucas said broke her heart) Lucas spoke first.

"I wish you had never come back. You ruined my life."

Peyton just stood there, it was like someone had slapped her in the face and she didn't know what to do. Peyton usually had a way to deal with everything. She would respond with a retort, an action, anything. This time she had nothing.

Lucas turned his head away from her. He might've just felt uncomfortable in his previous position, but to Peyton it looked like he was trying to make clear that he really didn't want her in his life anymore.

She left the room silently.

She was ready to cry, rant, whine in Brooke's arms when she got home only to realize that Brooke was at the hospital with Angie.

She quickly picked up the phone and dialled Brooke's cell phone.

"Hey, P.Sawyer."

"Hey, B.Davis."

"What's wrong?" Brooke immediately asked. She knew Peyton well enough to gather from those two words that she was not okay.

"Nothing." Peyton said, holding back a tremble in her voice. She cleared it a couple of times before speaking again.

"How did Angie's surgery go?"

"It went fine. She's doing okay."

"I'm glad."

"Yeah. So, you gonna tell me what's up with you?"

"It's nothing. It can wait. You just look after that pretty little girl you got."

"You sure?"

"Yeah. Go on, Brooke."

"'Kay. Love you P.Sawyer."

"Love you too, B.Davis."

Peyton put down the phone. She was glad Angie was okay.

She headed for the fridge to get out the Ben&Jerry's but stopped herself.

Do I really want to spend the rest of my days working it off at the gym? Then I won't be able to hide out in my room for the rest of eternity. Okay, ice cream, bad idea.

She opted to make herself some tea instead. To most people, well girls, ice cream was the upper when you were down. But Peyton preferred tea. The only reason her first reaction had been ice cream was because she had taken that over from Brooke. But inwardly, she actually preferred tea.

"Chai, perfect." She muttered to herself as she took out the tea bag and started boiling the water.

She made for her room and went to put on her favourite PJs. She took her tea and got settled in bed with a box of Kleenexes next to her. She had been holding back the tears for nearly an hour. But now, with her favourite jammies on and her cup of tea, she could let her guard down.

And when she started to cry, she discovered something interesting, out of all the times she'd cried, and there had been many, she never actually realized that her tears tasted really salty.

Peyton was all set to spend the entire day in her room, like Howard Hughes, but nearly threw up when she realized she had to go to the studio to help with Haley's album. And today was a Sunday, which meant that Lucas might be there to support his best friend. If he wasn't too hung over, that is. Peyton dragged herself out of bed, she put on a jeans and t-shirt, not much caring about anything. She ate her breakfast at home and took her coffee with her. From now on, whatever could be done at home, would be done at home.

She knew she should've taken the car to the studio, but instead she decided to walk.

Lucas will be too hung over to get up this early, and hopefully we'll be done before he even has the chance to decide to come over or not.

She was wrong. Apparently, Lucas dealt with hang-overs, not by sleeping in, but by doing early morning runs.

Peyton was strolling along when she suddenly heard her name being called out. She turned around, and when she realized it was Lucas, she spun around and practically ran for Tric.

Maybe he doesn't remember. Yeah, well, I do. Maybe he just wants to forget about it. Yeah, well, I can't. Regardless, the best thing would be to ignore him from now on. As little contact as possible. Yep, that's what I'll do.

"I can do it, I can do it, I can do it..." She repeated that mantra the remaining way up to her office.

Lucas couldn't understand why Peyton had blown him off like that. He wanted to thank her for bringing him home last night. Maybe he had said something to her last night that he didn't remember. "Or maybe she just didn't see you." He reasoned to himself. Yeah, that's probably it, she didn't see me.

Peyton was very drawn-back the entire day. After being asked several times by Haley what was wrong she finally burst into tears. God, she hated herself. She didn't mean to make it a big drama.

"What's wrong?" Haley asked, comforting her by giving her a hug.

Peyton shook her head.

"It's nothing, Hales. I promise."

Haley didn't push it. "Well, if you need me, you know I'm here. You know where I live."

Peyton nodded.

Avoiding Lucas wasn't that hard, Peyton realized, after a week of doing so. She just avoided going to Clothes over Bro's, the river court, Mouth's place and Haley and Nathan's house. She met people at Tric, where she was careful not to be seen by Lucas. Or in other new little spots she found. New caf├ęs and hang-outs, places Lucas wouldn't generally go. And the school she avoided like the plague. She hadn't gone within twenty metres of the school.

As much as she thought she was being stealth, she wasn't really. Lucas noticed. He tried to get the truth out of Brooke, but she wouldn't tell. She knew why, but she told him to ask Peyton herself.

"I would if I could find her." He retorted. He thought they were friends after all of it. And now, suddenly, she was avoiding him like he was Kryptonite.

He tried asking Haley, but she didn't know. All she knew was that Peyton was unhappy. No one else had seen much of Peyton either so no one could really tell him much.

"Maybe she's just busy." Nathan told him.

"Yeah." Lucas replied disbelievingly.

So he did what any guy in his shoes would've done. He waited outside her office. He knew he could've just gone in, but in there she could pretend to be busy. Out here, she couldn't. He knew she didn't have anything to do, he had checked with Brooke.

Peyton walked down the stairs to go to her car. She should've looked down as soon as she emerged from the door and not when she was at the bottom of the stairs. Because, then she could've pretended to forget something and sneak out from another door. But now, now she was stuck. Which, she realized, was his plan all along.

Oh, what the hell.

She tried to make her way back up the stairs but Lucas caught up to her and held on to her arm. He pulled her back down 'till they were both standing on the ground and made her face him.

"What?" She asked him.

"What's wrong, Peyton?"

"Nothing's wrong." She replied.

"Cue the defence mechanism." Lucas thought.

"Oh, please, you've been avoiding me all week."

"I've been busy." Peyton lied blandly to his face.

"Busy my ass." Lucas replied. "You've been avoiding me. And the way you nearly ran back in just proves my point."

Peyton sighed. "Just let me go, Luke." He didn't release his grip.

"Look, Angie's coming home today. I wanna be home on time."

"I'll go with you."

"Maybe you could visit tomorrow. She'll be pretty tired."

Lucas smirked.

"What?" Peyton asked him.

"Avoiding me again?"

"What?! No!" She replied indignantly.

"You want me to visit tomorrow, because tomorrow you'll be 'out'. Coincidentally the entire time that I'm at the house."

Peyton was growing increasingly frustrated. "Look, you're the one who doesn't want me around. I'm doing you a favour. Now, please, let me go." She realized too late what she had blurted out.

"I don't want you around? I don't- Peyton, I thought we were friends. I thought we were okay."

"Yeah, so did I." She yanked her arm out of his grasp and quickly got into her car.

Lucas followed her and rapped on her window. "Get out, Peyton."

She turned the key in the ignition. Lucas quickly went to stand in front of her car.

"If you wanna leave without telling me what's going on you're gonna have to kill me first."

Peyton revved her car as a warning. But as much as they both could dish, they could take just as well. Lucas firmly stood his ground.

"Damn it!" Peyton thought as she turned off the ignition.

"Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!" She chastised herself for not being strong. She slammed her hands on the steering wheel at each 'damn it' and finally rested her head on the steering wheel. She wiped the few tears that had managed to work their way to the surface before getting out of the car. She was ready to fight now. She had tried avoiding him to please him, but he just kept sticking his head back in the picture.

"What do you want?!" She yelled at him, slamming her door. Lucas was taken aback by her sudden change in attitude.

"What do I want?!" He yelled back. He could match her at anything she tried.


"I want you to tell me why you're avoiding me!"

"It's what you want, so why does it matter what the reason is?! Besides, if I wanna avoid you, I damn well will. It's a free country."

"It's not what I want." Lucas threw back.

"Really?!" Peyton replied sarcastically.

"Yes, really." Lucas replied exasperatedly.

"Could've fooled me." Peyton muttered.



"No, nothing doesn't cut it, Peyton. I want the truth!"

"Fine." Peyton threw her hands up in the air.

"Fine! You want the truth? You want the fucking truth!?"

"Yes!" Lucas yelled back. He was pretty sure the neighbours could hear them.

"I'm avoiding you. That what you wanted to hear?!"

"Not really, I don't want you to avoid me, Peyton."

"Well, too bad."

"Could you at least tell me why?"

"You don't remember?" She asked him disbelievingly.

He shook his head.

"Maybe its better you don't know."

"Tell me."

Peyton couldn't take it anymore, all the stress, the drama. She started to cry.

"I came back because I realized I made a mistake. And I paid for my mistake. I paid everyday. I'm still paying. And I backed off, I let you and Lindsey be, and when she left, I felt really, really bad. I blamed myself." Peyton took a deep breath and tried to get her tears under control. "I even told both of you it was okay to blame me. And both of you assured me nothing was my fault, that I didn't do anything wrong. And then, last week, out of the blue, when I honestly thought we were okay, you said that you hated me."

Lucas' face fell when he heard what he'd said.

"You were drunk, and I was about to leave and you stopped me and said I'd ruined your life and you wished I'd never come back."

Lucas made to touch her arm to comfort her but she backed away.

"No!" She tried to calm down. "No. I tried avoiding you, thinking it would be better for everyone. I mean, I'd leave Tree Hill just so we could both get some peace, but my office and the studio are here, so I can't exactly pack up, but I promise, that from now on, I won't bother you again. I'm sorry I'm such a burden to you. I-"

"Peyton, stop."

Peyton shut up instantly.

"I didn't mean what I said." He told her gently.

"People always tell the truth when they're drunk." She quoted.

"That's not true."

"It is. You blame me for losing Lindsey."

"Looking, maybe, deep down I do blame you, but I don't hate you. If they had told me that that book made them believe I was still in love with Brooke I'd probably be feeling this way about Brooke and not you. It's not personal, Peyton."

Peyton scoffed. "Not personal, Luke? How more personal can it get?"

"Peyton, what I mean is, it's not your fault. All this drama concerns you only because of our history. Not because you're a bad person. Like I said before, if it had been Brooke people thought I was in love with, then I'd 'hate' Brooke."

"Great. So now that we've established that you hate me and that is isn't 'really' my fault, can I please go back to staying out of your way?"


"Damn it, Luke. Why not? It's easier that way."

"No one said life was easy Sawyer."

"I don't care what other people said, Scott."

"Peyton, I know things are tough for us now, but you gotta know, that even though maybe, deep, deep down, subconsciously, I might blame you, I don't hold you responsible, and I don't hate you. I could never hate you."

"Yeah, well, it doesn't exactly change much. Having heard what you said last week is kinda' hard to erase, and it only makes me blame and hate myself even more. So... I'll see you around." She walked away, got into her car and drove off before Lucas could say anything else.

So that last bit was a lie. I still will keep avoiding him. I can't just ignore what I heard last week. I don't care what he said right now. He blames me. He hates me. He has every right to. And he's right, it is all my fault. Well, P.Sawyer, out of all the stupid things you've done, moving back to Tree Hill might have been the most stupid. And that's saying a lot.

Lucas knew Peyton. He also knew that she blamed and hated herself. And that she was lying. She would still avoid him. He couldn't believe that in one night he had lost two of the most important women in his life. Lindsey had told him she was dating someone else, and he had single-handedly driven Peyton away.

Forgiveness is hard to come by. There are some things we can never forgive. The things that tore apart families and left lives ruined. There are some things we can easily forgive. The things that others do to you out of love, protection and devotion. There are some things we need to learn to forgive. The things that someone unintentionally did, but still ended up hurting you. And there are some things we think we can never forgive, things we need to learn to easily forgive.

The things you blame yourself for.

Please hit that awesome little review button down there. I know Lucas and Peyton might be a little OOC, but I'm used to writing for Veronica Mars, that's my thing, not really OTH. Still, I thought I'd give it a shot. Please tell me how I did. xD