A/N - I know I shouldn't be making a new story, 'cause I have my other two that I haven't updated in weeks, but this idea has been in my mind for a long time. And I've been thinking about it a lot lately. So I figured I'd give it a go. I'm not sure how good it is; that's up to you guys!

So if you'd like me to continue, you know what to do! Thanks!

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Straight From the Heart

Chapter 1 -

She had been staring intently at the same picture for a good few minutes. She figured that if she held her gaze constant, maybe the glassy frame would soon reflect her own picture. She would be one of the smiling faces out of three in the picture. The other two would be her daughter, and then a man in her life that made her as happy as the actual man in the photo made the actual woman. It wouldn't matter if he was the father of the little girl; just as long as he played the father figure and cared and loved her. But as she blinked her eyes, she gave up and sighed, sinking back down into the kitchen chair.

"Brooke, are you okay?" Brooke tore her eyes away from their previous position to focus on her best friend. She'd almost forgotten they had been in the middle of a discussion.

"Huh, what?" Brooke mumbled, then shrugged. "I'm sorry, Hales. I've just got a lot on my mind." She glanced quickly back at the photograph in its respected frame and all she saw was perfection. "New family portrait?" She asked her best friend.

"Yeah." Haley nodded, still unsure if her friend was really okay. "We took it a few weeks ago."

"It's beautiful." She offered a small smile and could feel a hint of jealously rise inside herself.

In Brooke's eyes, Haley had the perfect family. It consisted of her, her husband Nathan, and their little boy Jamie.

Haley and Nathan were amazing parents to Jamie, and all it did was make Brooke feel like she wasn't as amazing of a mother to her own child; her daughter. It just never felt like enough to her. Besides having to earn all their family's income by herself, cook and clean by herself, transport her daughter everywhere she pleased by herself, she also had to provide enough love for her daughter so that she never felt like her father didn't love her. Brooke would have to always remind her daughter that her daddy did love her. They were just different than most families.

But the truth was, Brooke hadn't even spoken to her daughter's father since he left; and that was over five years ago, nearly six.

For Brooke to say being a single mother didn't wear her out would be a lie. Because by the end of the day, she was utterly exhausted.

"Is there something going on, Brooke? 'Cause you know Nathan and I are always here if you ever need anything."

Brooke looked at Haley and nodded. She felt her eyes tear and she realized she couldn't lie to her friend. Haley could read her like a book; she could see right through her and could instantly know whether she was okay or not, and whether she was lying or telling the truth. And she could tell that right now, Brooke was not okay, and wasn't telling the truth either.

"I'm fine...It's just...Madison asked me about her father again." Haley's face fell and Brooke continued. "I'm okay...it's just...it always takes a lot out of me when I have to explain to her why Jamie has a daddy and she doesn't."

"Brooke..." Haley truly did not know what to say. It always killed her when Brooke told her stories like these.

"I just wish there was something I could do for her...to make her happier. She doesn't understand it fully and I know she probably thinks it's my fault, and I don't blame her."

"Don't say that." Haley shook her head. "She just doesn't get it, but she will someday. It's not your fault that he left you when you were pregnant with her, and someday, when Maddie's older, she'll get that. Don't ever blame yourself for something that's not in your control. I promise you, it'll be fine."

"Okay." Brooke found Haley's words comforting. "Thanks. You're right...I've just been stressed lately."

"About what?"

"My mother...oh wait, not my mother, I forgot. She's making me call her Victoria now."

"Oh god." Haley sighed and then bit back a laugh. "You've got some problems, Brooke Davis. Let me tell you."

Brooke smiled before replying. "Oh do I know it."

"What's it this time?"

"Well, Victoria, or Bitchtoria depending on what day of the week it is, is demanding that I have five new designs done by the end of the week. Like she can't see that I have a life and a daughter to take care of—or maybe she just doesn't want to take any notice." Brooke shrugged and rolled her eyes.

"Why do you put up with her, Brooke? You can do so much better by yourself."

"Well she owns the company so..." She trailed off. "Anyway, enough about my life, what's going on with you guys? Everything good?"

"Yeah, yeah. Well except for the fact that my genius husband agreed to let his brother stay in our house for god knows how long."

"Huh? I'm lost here, Hales. Please fill me in."

"You know Lucas, right? You met him at, like, James' first birthday or something..."

"Blonde hair, blue eyes? Looks like him and you could've had a wild night and Jamie came as a result from that?" She smirked.

"I'm gonna pretend you never said that and yes." Haley rolled her eyes. "Anyway, he lives in Charlotte but because of some personal problems, he needed to get out of town, hence why he'll be staying here. Nathan, without even consulting me, agreed to let him stay. So he arrives tomorrow."

"But if you guys haven't spoken to him in a while, why would Nathan agree?"

"I don't know." Haley shrugged. "I think he feels bad because they lost touch. And besides, his life seems really messy right now, he probably sounded desperate on the phone. Anyway, Jamie's excited to see him."

"Speaking of which. Our two monsters have been surprisingly quiet. Should I go check on them?"

"Mama!" A loud shrill came from upstairs and was then accompanied by two pairs of feet running down the stairs.

"Spoke to soon?"

"Jamie, what's with the screaming?" Haley asked her son once he and Madison reached their parents.

"Maddie kissed me again!" He replied with a disgusted look on his face while Madison stood next to him and giggled.

"One day you won't be complaining, buddy." Brooke joked.

"Brooke! Don't teach my baby things like that." Haley shook her head at Brooke.

"What does that mean, Aunt Brooke?" Jamie asked curiously.

"Nothing, sweetie. Maddie say you're sorry to Jamie."

"But I'm not sorry, Mama."

"Oh, she is your daughter, Brooke Davis."

"Hey! I resent that!" Brooke playfully hit Haley when her phone rang. "Excuse me." She said, pulling out her phone.

"Hello." She answered and rolled her eyes. She turned towards Haley and mouthed 'Bitchtoria'. "Okay, Victoria. I'm on my way." Brooke sighed as she closed her phone. "Haley, I'm really sorry, but I have to go to the office-"

"I can watch Maddie. It's fine, go."

"Thanks so much. Okay, Madison, I just have to go into work for a few hours and then I'm gonna come and get you."

"Okay, mama." Madison nodded and walked over to Brooke to give her a hug.

"Baby, just try not to kiss Jamie again." Brooke warned her and all four of them laughed.

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Brooke sighed as she checked the time. It was already much later than she thought she'd be getting out.

She heard stilettos click against the marble floor and cursed under her breath.

"Brooke, what do you think you're doing just sitting there?" Victoria darted her eyes at Brooke and gave her a disapproving look. "We have a deadline to finish by...you know."

"I'm sorry, Victoria." Brooke mumbled. She found it so pathetic that her own mother was forcing her to call her by her first name.

"Don't let it happen again."

"Look, Victoria. I have to get home– my daughter is there waiting. If you haven't forgotten about her."

"If you're implying that I'm a grandmother..." Victoria began with a shake of her head. "Please don't. I'm too young to be a grandmother. But you can tell little Madison that Victoria said hi...Now back to work, dear."

Her stilettos clicked once again and then she was gone. Brooke let out a breath before dialing a number on her cell phone.

Haley answered, like she expected, and Brooke gave her her sincere apologies. Haley told her not to worry about it and that Madison could just sleep over; it was no big deal. She'd see them in the morning.

But to Brooke, it was a big deal. She was letting her mother control her life. And when she wasn't under her mother's rule and was at home, she was constantly running around for Madison. She was having no time for herself, and as a result, she was losing who she truly was.

She moved the sketches and pencils out of the way and placed her head on the desk. Why was it that life came so easily to some people, almost like it was natural, but for Brooke, she was struggling to keep up?

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It was a good thing Haley had suggested that Madison just sleep over at the Scott house, because otherwise, Brooke would be picking her daughter up at almost two in the morning.

She didn't know why she was listening to Victoria. She had been for the past five years, so she guessed it just stuck. It was a routine. A bad habit that just couldn't be broken.

It was also stable, though. It provided Brooke with money for herself and her daughter. And though Victoria was harsh and cold, she would never have it in her to leave Brooke out in the world by herself, so Brooke knew that the job was very stable.

But what she was unsure of was whether it was worth sleepless nights spent in the office, and missing out on time with Madison.

Upon entering her house, she decided she would try to salvage whatever was left of the night and sleep because she was exhausted.

She dropped her keys on a side table and smiled as she looked at an old picture of her and Madison. It was taken the day Madison had learned to take her first steps. She had been so proud of her and it was that day she realized that being a mother definitely had its moments.

Brooke placed the picture back down. Thinking about moments like those made her realize that Madison didn't need a father in her life to be happy. Brooke was just fine raising her daughter by herself.

And Brooke realized life wasn't that bad. It could be tough; but all the happy moments made up for it all.

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A/N - I know there was absolutely no BL whatsoever in this first chapter, but that's coming up next! I also realize there wasn't much here in terms of what's going on, or maybe that's just me. But I really just wanted to introduce what Brooke's dealing with. It's just she and her daughter, and her mom's controlling her, and she feels really conflicted and blames herself for a lot of things. Well, that's what I hope you got out of the chapter. I tried to bring that across the best that I could.

Also, I wanna mention that I have not given up on my other stories, especially 'Searching For What We Lost'. That's way too close to the final chapter for me to give up on. I've just really been stuck in terms of where to go from there. But I'm trying. Also, with the total lack of BL on the show right now, it really isn't helping with inspiration. But I'm not gonna go into what I feel about that 'cause I'll be here typing all day. It's bad, I'll tell you that. Having LP shoved down your throat isn't nice.

Before this gets to be too long (which I feel it already is), let me know what you thought of this and if you want me to continue. I'm off from school today and tomorrow, so depending on whether you like it, I could update soon!

Thanks! :)

Melissa