A/N: Hello all! I'm back with yet another chapter after the impromptu hiatus. Thanks so much for all your feedback & reviews, they are love. Also, next chapter I'm going back to posting individual responses for the reviews. Anyways, hope you enjoy the next chapter! :))
The Promise Of A Ribbon In The Sky
~To share with me this special day, where a ribbon's in the sky for our love. (Stevie Wonder)
"Mom, you have to talk to her." Rachel paced the living room; phone clutched so tightly in her hand her knuckles were whitening. "This isn't right; she's trying to steal my daughter again." She paused, fuming as she listened to her mother's words. "No, she's not trying to do what's right, what's right is for Oriana to be with her mother and father. If you aren't with me then you are against me… no, fine!" The red head slammed the receiver into the holder. "Damn it!"
"Easy there slugger," the brunette from the doorway called out. "What did my phone ever do to you?"
"Brooke," the tension from her face immediately lessened. "I didn't think you'd be back yet."
"I could leave," she shrugged.
"Don't you dare," Rachel stepped forward to embrace her friend. "I'm so glad you're here."
"How are you holding up?" Brooke reached over to place a comforting hand on her friend's arm. "Where's Oriana?"
"She's with Owen," Rachel answered. "I thought they should spend some daddy-daughter time together, just in case."
"Hey," Brooke said firmly. "That's not going to happen Rach. No one, absolutely no one has the right to steal your child. No one's going to take away our power again, okay?" Her hazel green orbs met her friend's chestnut ones. "You remember what we said when we were right over there, after you brought Lucas to see me?"
Rachel nodded. "No fear," she shook her head. "Brooke if they take my baby again…" her eyes started to water. "I don't know how I'd get through it but I don't know if I'm strong enough to fight this…"
"You are," Brooke nodded before saying it more firmly this time, "You are. And if you feel like your strength is running out then you lean on me. We are going to get through this the way we always do, together. We're a family Rach and none of us: me, Lucas, Peyton, Mouth, Haley and Nathan, none of us are going to stand by and let them take your child without a fight." She gave her a soft smile, "Besides I have some pit bull lawyers on retainer. We're going to get through this, okay?"
"Okay," she nodded as a stray tear rolled down her cheek. "Thank you. I love you Brooke."
"I love you too. Come here," she held out her arms, allowing the red head to lean against her shoulder. "It's going to be okay, I promise." She exhaled deeply, knowing that was a promise she was going to do anything to keep.
Peyton leaned against her desk, flipping through her wallet as she fished for the money to tip the delivery guy. After she watched him leave, her attention was drawn back to a hidden picture in the back that she'd found herself looking at more and more since last night. She took it out, staring at the two smiling faces in the photograph, remembering the day it was taken.
"Wow," Peyton looked around the lavishly decorated banquet hall as they walked in. "I thought you said this was just a small gathering for work. I feel really underdressed."
"It is," Julian shrugged nonchalantly. "And you look beautiful Peyton." He leaned in closer to her. "Besides this is Hollywood, the worse you dress, the more important people assume you are."
"Then they must think I'm one of the Trumps," she rolled her eyes playfully.
"Julian," a man in a grey suit walked up and shook his hand. "The project looks great; you can officially consider me on board." He reached in his jacket before pulling out a check and handing it to the younger man.
"Thank you Mr. Brooks," he accepted it graciously with a nod. "Thanks for coming."
Peyton looked quizzically at the exchange before peering up at Julian as Mr. Brooks walked away. "Well, well; you didn't tell me it was your bar mitzvah."
Julian flashed her his famous grin before letting out a laugh. "It's just a little fundraiser for this movie I'm trying to get made."
"You're just full of surprises aren't you Mr. Baker?" she lifted a brow at him, her green eyes shining. "This is quite a second date."
"I assure you Miss Sawyer," he replied in a playful yet haughty tone, "you ain't seen nothing yet."
"Peyton, Peyton." Haley waved a hand in her friend's face.
The blonde shook her head, coming out of her memory. "Sorry Hales, hey."
"Hey," she looked at her friend curiously. "I think I called your name like five times. Where were you just now?" She stepped closer to the desk, leaning over to see the worn photograph in her friend's hand. "Who is that?"
"Just someone I use to know," she shook her head before returning the picture to its hidden place in her wallet and standing up. "Anyways, I think you're here for this." She picked up the small cardboard box on her desk. "Why don't you do the honors?"
"This is it," Haley said as she received the box, a smile plastered on her face. She sits it on the desk before reaching for the letter opener, cutting through the tape and lifting the flaps before pulling out one of the CD's. "Oh my god Peyton, they look amazing!"
"Yeah they do," the blonde agreed. "And they will be distributed all across the country tomorrow; Haley James Scott, Let The Fire Start."
"Wow," she stared at the cover of the album, her finger idly tracing the lettering. "It's been years, I was a kid the last time I had an album out. This is just," she shook her head, unable to find the words. "Wow, Peyton, thank you."
"Oh no," she returned the smile. "This is all you rock star; you ready for this?"
"You know what," she finally looked up from the CD, her liquid caramel eyes full of life, "I think I am."
Julian flipped through the bound pages, scanning certain parts while really reading others. "You did this all this morning?" He looked over at the man sitting across from him. "This is about a quarter of the script already. I'm impressed man."
"Thanks," Lucas replied.
"I really like both of Lucas's first encounters with Brooke and Peyton," he said.
"Speaking of," Lucas sighed heavily. This was not a conversation he wanted to have. He'd been so excited about the prospect of this movie but if it was all a ploy he knew he couldn't go through with it. "I need to ask you again, why my book? Why do you want to make this particular story into a movie?"
Julian furrowed his brows slightly, leaning back. "I told you Lucas, I relate to this world."
"Well that was before I knew who you were," he countered.
"Oh," he replied, his face still somewhat confused.
"Yeah," Lucas paused briefly. "Look, this book is not just a book to me. It's important; it's my life, it's the lives of people I love and if this is some kind of ploy to hurt Peyton…"
"I thought you two weren't together anymore," he interrupted.
"We're not," Lucas said, "but that doesn't mean I don't still care about her. If this is going to hurt her, then I can't, I won't do this movie."
"But you signed a contract," Julian tilted his head, his face looking slightly arrogant.
"Under false pretenses," Lucas crossed his arms over his chest, mimicking the same arrogant face.
"Listen Lucas, Peyton and I happened a long time ago. She was always reading your book and after things ended I guess I kinda resented it for a while but then I became curious I guess. I wanted to hate your book but I didn't," he shook his head. "Your words, your world was relatable and I thought it would make a good movie, that's it." He paused briefly. "I just want to make a piece of art on the big screen that will connect with people and make us both some money. So what do you say; still partners?" He held his hand over the table.
Lucas nodded thoughtfully, taking the hand he was being offered and shaking it. "Okay, just making a movie…"
"That's it," Julian grinned.
Lucas returned the smile but it didn't quite reach his eyes. Somehow he wasn't so sure a movie was all Julian was interested in.
Nathan got out of his car, walking towards The River Court. He watched from a distance the fluidity of the young player as he drove the ball into the hoop, making shot after continuous shot. Over the last few months before he was recruited by The Mad Ants, every Saturday morning was spent playing ball and training with the young man in front of him.
"You ready to get schooled by a real player or you want to keep losing to yourself," Nathan laughed from the sidelines.
"Well if it isn't the king of the comeback," Q laughed. "What up Nathan Scott?"
"Hey Q," Nathan hit his hand in a friendly handshake. "What's going on?"
"Nothing much," he shook his head. "You know me, just getting ready. We got the state championship coming up soon and you know what that means…"
"Scouts," he replied even though they both already knew that. "So, who are you hoping for?"
He shrugged. "Anywhere I can play ball really but my dream school," he pursed his lips to the side thoughtfully, "Duke."
"That was my dream school too," Nathan nodded. "Now don't get me wrong, I was lucky to play for The Cobras and then Maryland but I would've been at Duke if I hadn't made some major mistakes my senior year."
"I hear you," Q replied. "But it's all good because look where you are now man. You're living it…"
"I don't know about that," Nathan shook his head. "I do love playing though and I've got the most awesome kid and a smokin' wife…"
"Yeah that Mrs. James-Scott is something," Q laughed before holding his hands up in the air when Nathan sent him a look. "What? I'm just saying, that's what I want too; playing the game I love and a family although I want The NBA."
"You'll get there," Nathan nodded.
"So will you Nate," Q replied. "And when you do, just remember who was all about the comeback first."
Nathan smiled, "I'll remember; I promise." He paused briefly. "So, what do you say; you up for it?"
Q nodded before bouncing the ball in his friend's direction. "Check."
"Lucas, where are you?" Brooke huffed as she left Lucas a voicemail. "I've been waiting in front of Tree Hill High for ten minutes already. I don't even know why you wanted to meet here," she tapped her black Prada pump impatiently. "If you're not here in five more minutes I'm leaving." She closed her phone and dropped it in her purse before placing a hand over her belly as she felt fluttering. "I know you guys don't like when Mommy's mad at Daddy but he's late and I hate waiting." She pursed her lips as she looked up into the sea of sky, looking at the ribbon of cloud directly above her.
"Brooke Davis," she looked down to see a teenage boy in front of her. "I'm supposed to give you this." He held out a thick vanilla colored envelope.
"What is it," she quirked an eyebrow, "a subpoena?" She watched the confusion etched over the young brunette's face before taking the envelope he was offering her and opening it, her eyes scanning over the familiar hand writing. "I'm part of a gift that's given today, it could be something we did or might say; I can be big, small or hang from a wall. Find where I am and this much is true, a present awaits if you solve these five clues."
"Sounds like a scavenger hunt to me," the kid smiled. "The first clue is in that envelope too; good luck."
She watched, dumbfounded for a moment as the teen walked away before becoming utterly excited that Lucas had set this up for her. Brooke quickly pulled out the first clue. "Even though it's been changed and paved over for the better, this is the spot, the moment my life changed forever." Brooke stood for a few minutes, looking back at the gymnasium before looking ahead at the newly paved parking lot. There sitting in the same exact spot as his car sat junior year, sat the same red car. She rushed over to it, noticing the same kid was inside. "Hey, why didn't you just tell me where to go?"
"It's all part of the game," he smiled. "I'm Bobby by the way, I'm going to be your driver but you have to figure out the clues yourself."
"Well that's no fun," she laughed easily before sliding in the backseat, finding a box of Godiva chocolates along with another vanilla envelope. Brooke sat back, opening the next clue and reading it out loud. "Eighty-two letters, a rat's ass, and much more; many a moment were shared outside of this door."
"A rat's ass," Bobby repeated with a chuckle.
Brooke laughed, "1829 Wrightsville Ave please." She sat quietly as they drove up to Lucas' house. She quickly hoped out of the car and headed towards the entrance to his room, freezing at the sight on the porch. She moved slowly towards the small cardboard box the size of a shoe box, her eyes already beginning to fill with tears. Brooke opened the somewhat tattered lid before putting her hand over her mouth as she cried happy tears. After all those years, despite who Lucas was with, he'd kept her letters. She quickly picked up the box in one hand and the thick vanilla envelope beside it before hoping back in the car.
"Hey," Bobby turned around to look at her. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," she smiled through blurry tears. "I'm better than okay." Brooke reached up to wipe her eyes before she pulled out the next clue. "I knew I was the guy for you when you finally gave me your hand, it was written in the moonlight, written in the sand." Brooke smiled as that night after the dance came flooding back to her. "Let's go to the beach Bobby."
Once Bobby parked the car, she stepped out of her heels, leaving them in the backseat as she strolled towards the water. Sitting right at the edge of the shore was a small wicker basket, filled with a beautiful arrangement of Gerber Daises. She picked up a bright melon colored one and inhaled its fragrant scent before pulling out her next piece of paper. "There is a river here, trees, and flowers of course; and here you can also pick up horse." Brooke's brows furrowed as she strolled back to the car, plopping in the back seat.
"Where to now?" Bobby asked, quite curious himself.
"I'm thinking," she bit the corner of her lip. "Pick up horse; pick up horse…" a slow smile crept at the corners of her mouth. "Of course, a game of horse," she tapped him gently from behind. "Let's go Bobby, The River Court."
Brooke jumped out of the car as soon as they arrived; slightly disappointed that Lucas still wasn't there but still happy to find a white box with a big red bow under the basket. She quickly brought it back to the car, ripping the bow off. "Oh wow," she ran her hand over the deep red fabric, revealing how beautiful the dress inside was. She smiled when she also noticed a large Gucci bag with a post it that said "for all your treasures." She quickly put her box of letters and her clues in there, choosing to leave the chocolates in the flower basket before reading her final clue. "I asked what you'd miss and you answered from your core, you'd miss being the girl behind the red door." She smiled widely now, dimples in full affect as she said the final address. "We need to go to 2314 Tattersalls Dr."
"Hey," Jake said as he leaned out the sliding glass door towards the deck. "I come bearing gifts," he held up a bag. "Chinese?"
"Hey," Peyton smiled as she stood up from her seat on the swing. "I didn't hear you come in." She gave him a soft kiss before taking the bag from him and looking inside. "It smells great." She slid passed him, making her way to the kitchen. "What do you want to drink? I've got bottled water, soda, juice…"
"Soda's fine," he replied as he begun to take the items out of the bag, spreading the white containers around the table.
"Here," she handed him a can before plopping on the floor and reaching inside the almost empty plastic bag. "Chopsticks," she held them up with a smile.
"I remember how much you liked to use them," he said as he dug in.
"You have to hold them like this," she laughed, shaking her head at His display. "Here Julian," she reached over to adjust them in his hand.
"Can't I just use a fork?" he huffed.
"Absolutely not," she shook her blonde curls. "You're in LA now Mr. Baker and you're going to be going to all these Hollywood-esque parties; you should look like you're cultured."
"Peyton, who is seriously going to judge me on holding chopsticks," he grumbled as he dipped his utensils in the contained and struggled to
"I don't know," she shrugged as she easily used the wooden sticks to guide some fried rice to her mouth. "A Chinese, Japanese, or Korean investor."
"I think you just like torturing me," he said before lifting up the chopsticks in victory. "Look, I got…" he deadpanned as the sticks twisted and a piece of sweet and sour pork shot across the room and Peyton broke out in laughter. "You think that's funny…" He feigned a pout.
"Aww, come here." She held her arms out to him. "You're such a big baby," she laughed before bringing her lips to his in a kiss.
Peyton shook her head, trying to free her mind of the memories that seemed so intent on assaulting her today, refocusing on Jake's words.
"…it would be fun for Jenny," Jake paused briefly. "What do you think? Maybe we could take Jamie too and maybe Rachel's daughter; I think they'd have fun at the water park too."
"The water park," she repeated. "Yeah," she nodded. "Yeah, I don't have too much to do tomorrow." Even though she was fully involved in the conversation now, her eyes still had a faraway look in them and by the way Jake was looking at her she was sure he'd noticed.
"Hey Peyton," his brown orbs looked at her in concern. "Are you okay; you've hardly eaten anything?"
"I'm sorry," she answered. "I guess I'm just a little distracted today but I'm sure everything will be back to normal tomorrow."
"Are you sure you're okay?" Jake reached over to grasp her hand.
Peyton exhaled deeply. "There is something I should tell you. I guess it kind of has me distracted."
"Whatever it is, you can tell me Peyton." Jake said reassuringly.
"It's about the producer for Lucas' movie," she paused briefly. "I know him from LA; we were involved."
"Oh," he dropped his chopsticks.
"Yeah," she nodded, his silence deafening. "Jake, say something."
"Are you still in love with this guy?" he turned towards her.
"No, absolutely not." she shook her head as they fell into what she deemed another uncomfortable silence. "Do you want to say anything else?"
"Nope," he shook his head with a laugh before bringing his lips to hers for a deep kiss.
Rachel sat forward in the chair brushing Oriana's hair as she sat on the ottoman in front of her. It was moments like this that she felt had been robbed from her throughout her child's whole life by both her parents and her aunt. Although she knew she had to shoulder some of that blame, even if she were just a child at the time she knew she should've come back for her daughter long ago.
"Is Aunt Casey going to take me away from you and Owen?" Oriana turned back to look at her mother.
"What?" the red head's eyes grew wide. "Where did you hear that?"
"When Owen and I came back you were on the phone talking about custody," she said sadly. "I love Aunt Casey, I really do but I don't want to go back. I like it here, with you and Owen."
"And we like having you here," Rachel said as she pulled her hair back into a low ponytail. "Come here sweetie," she pulled the young girl into her lap. "Sometimes when a lot of grownups really love a kid they have to go see a judge and then he'll decide where that kid needs to live. It's just Aunt Casey really misses and loves you…"
"Don't you love me?" her blue eyes stared up into her mother's brown ones.
"Yes, of course I do and so does Owen. We're going to do our very best to make sure you get to stay with us so don't worry, okay." She tapped her on the nose before watching her nod solemnly. "I said okay," she smiled widely as she began to tickle Oriana, her heart bursting with joy at the sound of her child's giggles.
"Who is having a tickle party and didn't invite me?" Owen said as he walked in the door.
"Get him Ori," Rachel ordered as she got up and ran towards Owen, tackling him with her daughter's help. Owen fell back on the floor as they all tickled each other, erupting into a sea of laughs. Each of them knowing on some level these moments may not last forever but for tonight, they would concentrate on being a family and how much they love each other already.
Nathan and Haley both gave Jamie a kiss goodnight before exiting his room, leaving the door cracked slightly.
"Today was a good day," he slung his arm over his wife. "I'm so proud of you."
"Thanks," she smiled up at him as they walked into their bedroom. "I'm sot of proud of myself too. I'm really excited about this record but for it to do really well I may need to tour…"
"It's almost summer Hales," he wrapped his arms around her waist. "I had a very good friend tell me today that everything was going to work out and I think it will. You can take Jamie on tour with you during the summer and whenever I have free time between games and practice, instead of coming back to Tree Hill I'll fly to where you are."
"Have I told you lately how amazing of a husband you are?" she stood up on her tip toes to give him a soft kiss.
"I wouldn't mind you telling me again," he laughed as she began to trail kisses sup his neck. "I think I might need you to tell me here again," he reached up to point to his lips.
"That can definitely be arranged," she smiled before her lips meet his in a fiery kiss.
Nathan immediately put his hands under her thighs as she hopped up, her legs wrapping around his waist as he lead her towards their bed.
Brooke walked up the walkway to her former house, seeing the vanilla envelope waiting for her in the door handle. She sat down her flower filled basket that her dress now hung over before placing her Gucci bag on a table the was sitting on the porch. She slowly opened the envelope. "We've come to the end of our treasure troving hunt but I promise this is only the beginning for us," she read out loud, pausing to turn it over as the arrow instructed. "Come in through the back and change, then meet me in the living room. Don't cheat…Lucas." She smiled before picking up all her items and going around the side of the house, noticing Bobby had taken off. She quickly entered the unlocked back door and slipped into the red dress quickly, leaving the rest of her stuff there before following the rose petaled path to the living room.
"About time you got here Pretty Girl," Lucas said from his spot in the middle of the room. He dressed in a black suit with a deep red tie that seemed to match the color of her dress.
Brooke stood frozen for a minute as she took in the picture of Lucas standing in the center of the house she'd loved so much, surrounded by candles and rose petals. There was a small table off to the side covered in white linen with sparkling cider chilling and a small white carton. "Luke…" she exhaled deeply, rendered speechless by the scene. "I don't…I don't know what to say. This is… breathtaking."
"None of this compares to you," he said as he stepped closer to her and took her hands in his. "I actually have one more clue for you." He stepped towards the table, picking up the white Chinese box and giving it to her.
"I don't understand," she looked down at the box in her hands. "You got me rice," she kinked her brow. "Because I am hungry."
"No Brooke I didn't get you rice," he laughed before he looked up at her. "After you were attacked and you'd cut yourself off from almost everyone," he reached down and unhooked the flaps from each other as she held the carton on the sides, "it was when I saw Rachel at that Chinese place you liked so much that I found a way to reach you. When I saw you lying there hurt, I knew right then how much I loved you; that I'd never stopped." Lucas reached in and pulled out a Swarovski crystal encrusted gold fortune cookie. "It was the best fortune I could ask for."
"Oh Lucas, it's beautiful." A single tear rolled down her cheek as he gave her the fortune cookie and put the carton to the side.
"Open it," he prompted as he got down on one knee.
Brooke blinked hard a few times before she opened the lid, revealing a gorgeous 3ct. Tacori princess cut diamond, accent by a ruby on each side. "Oh my god, Lucas…" her hazel green orbs looked down to meet his ocean of blue.
"Brooke Penelope Davis," he paused briefly, unable to stop his own eyes from starting to water. "Love of my life, future mother of my children. When you first showed up naked in the backseat of my car, I didn't realize how much my life would indefinitely change for the better. You taught me how to laugh, how to have fun, how to truly live life. You gave me a direction, a purpose I never knew existed before I knew you. You entered my life so beautiful and brilliant just like a star…my comet." He swallow, his eyes shifting to the floor for a moment before returning to her adoring gaze. "I love you Brooke, so much. Will you, will you marry me…Pretty Girl?"
Brooke nodding happily as the candlelight glistened off of her tear streamed cheeks. "Yes Lucas Scott, I will marry you." She sunk down to the floor, throwing her arms around his neck as her lips meet his in an ardent kiss.
"The ring," he mumbled against her lips as they slowly pulled apart. "Here," he grasps her left hand, steadying it from her nervous shaking, before sliding the ring onto her fourth finger. He tilted her chin upwards so he could capture her lips in another kiss.
"This feels just like a fairytale," she replied.
Lucas held her firmly as he stood them up. "They always dance in fairytales, don't they?"
She nodded before she watched him walk over to the CD player in the corner, turning on Kyla's remake of "A Ribbon In The Sky" before he held his hand out to her. "May I have this dance?"
"Yeah," she said softly as she put her hand in his before he pulled her closer. "This is so perfect. How did you get them to let us use this house?"
"Oh, I guess I should have said I had two more gifts for you instead of one," Lucas replied.
"What?" she pulled back to look at him.
"It's ours Brooke," he smiled. "I just bought it."
She practically squealed before kissing him passionately, happy tears still running down her face as they glided around, totally in sync with the other in the amber light that the candles bestowed upon them.
Stevie Wonder wrote, "Oh so long for this night I prayed, that a star would guide you my way. To share with me this special day, where a ribbon's in the sky for our love... From now on it will be you and I. And our ribbon in the sky…Ribbon in the sky, a ribbon in the sky for our love."