Chapter 1: Home sweet home

Disclaimer: I don't own One Tree Hill or any of the characters in it. The song during flashback #2 is "You and Me" by Lifehouse.

I am finally home was the only thought running in Lucas's mind as he stepped out of Tree Hill airport with his wife of three years, Lindsay by his side.

For the past three years the couple had been living in NYC. They had decided to permanently move there after they came back from their honeymoon. It was easier for Lindsay to do her job there, and Lucas needed to move away from his past in Tree Hill. It was a hard move, leaving all his friends and family behind, but he knew that in order for his marriage to work out, he needed to get as far away from Tree Hill as possible, as far away from the one person who meant the world to him, the only woman who had his whole heart, the woman who despite his best efforts came back to haunt him everyday, the woman by the name of Peyton Sawyer.

It didn't mean that he didn't love his wife, because he did. But when he compared the love he felt for her to the love he had felt for Peyton, it always fell short. He had given Peyton his full heart at the mere age of 16, and he had never gotten it back.

There had never been a moment in the past three years that he didn't miss Tree Hill, not a single moment when her heart didn't crave his home town, his family and friends. But he had always been too much of a coward to go back, too afraid to go back and see her again.

But last week when his 8 year old sister called him with some 'super exciting' news, he realized how much he was missing on the lives of his loved ones and that's when he knew that he had to go back. It was time to face his fears and go back to the people he loved.

He smiled as he remembered the excited voice of his sister over the phone.


Lucas Scott woke to the shrill ringing of his phone. Sitting up groggily, he looked at the called ID to see the word Mom flashing on the screen. Smiling slightly, he flipped open his phone and put it to his ears.

"Hey mom", he greeted.

"It's not mom, silly", said the giggling voice of his 8-year sister.

"Hey Lily-bear", Lucas said his smile widening as he heard the cheerful voice of her sister.

"Hey Lukey pooh! What's up?" Lily asked.

"Lukey-pooh?! Where do you come up with these names Lil, there's a new one every week", Lucas asked amused.

"I haven't seen you in 3 years Luke. Making up these names is my favorite past time cuz it makes me feel closer to you", Lily said matter-of-factly, with so much sincerity and sadness in her voice that it made Lucas's heart break.

"I miss you too Lily-bear", Lucas said softly.

There was a couple of seconds of silence on Lily's side, but when she spoke again her voice was cheerful and excited again.

"Well I have some super exciting news for you. Guess what?" Lily said, her voice shaking will ill-concealed excitement.

"What?" Lucas said copying her excited tone.

"I made it on the Tree Hill Elementary basketball team", Lily all but screamed out, and Lucas could just imagine her jumping up and down her brown curls bouncing on her shoulders and her eyes dancing with happiness.

"Wow Lil, that's awesome. I am so proud of you" Lucas said, his heart burning with pride at the accomplishment of her sister.

"Mommy said that you will be", Lily said giggling at her mom's wisdom.

"Well mommy was right, wasn't she. But Lil-bear how the sudden change of mind? I never thought you to be a basketball person. What happened to the coloring and dress up parties you used to be obsessed with?"

"That was ages ago Luke", Lily said in a frustrated voice and Luke could just see her rolling her eyes. "A year ago, Uncle Nathan started teaching Jamie basketball and I asked him if he could teach me too. Mommy said that daddy played basketball too, so I decided to give it a shot. Uncle Nathan, Jamie and I practiced everyday and Uncle Nathan said that I was really good, just as good as Jamie. So when the tryouts came, Uncle Nathan told me that I should go for it. He even came with me to cheer me on, and when I made it to the team, he was so proud. Jamie made it too, you know", Lily explained going a mile a minute. But Lucas had stopped listening when Lily mentioned Nathan training his sister for basketball. It was supposed to be him in Nathan's place. He was supposed to teach her the game. But here he was 1000s of miles away while Nathan took his place in Lily's life. He wasn't angry at Nathan. In fact it was the complete opposite. He was grateful to him for treating Lily like his own sister, for being there for her when he couldn't be. But he was jealous, jealous at the bond that his sister shared with Nathan, the bond that he had never been able to create between the two. As he heard the zealous voice of his sister as he went into the details of the tryouts, it was like being hit by a ton of bricks.

"Luke, Luke are you even listening to me?" Lucas was snapped out of his thoughts at the indignant voice of his sister.

"Of course I am Lily", Lucas replied his voice a little hoarse.

"Okay good. But anyways I have to go now, I am going on a play date with Ashley".

"Alright Lil-bear. Have fun okay?"

"I will. Bye Luke", and with that she hung up the phone leaving a flat tone on the other end of the line.

That was how Lindsay found him that morning. With a phone to his ears and a far away look in his eyes.

"Hey Luke, you okay?" she asked concerned at the way her husband was acting.

Coming back to reality at the sound of her voice, he looked in her eyes, and said the words he should have said a long time ago, "We are going back to Tree Hill".

--End Flashback—

Lindsay didn't understand his sudden urge to go back to Tree Hill, and in all honestly, he didn't expect her to. But his mind was made up, he was not going to waste his life here in New York away from the people he loved and miss out on the countless of memories. He wasn't going to let his fear and conscience hold him back from doing the right thing any more.

After countless arguments, Lindsay succumbed to the fact that Lucas wasn't going to change his mind, and here they were a week later standing outside Tree Hill airport.

Lindsay looked around disinterestedly not understanding for the world why someone would chose to live in this small town over the magnificent New York City. Sure he had his family and friends were here, but moving permanently?

Shaking her head, she looked at her husband whose eyes were roaming around the crowded airport taking everything in, the sights, sounds and smell of his home town. Even three years later it was still the same, but at the same time so different. The physical appearance of the town might be the same but the people in it had changed, he didn't even know where he stood in their lives anymore, but he knew that nothing mattered other than the fact that he was finally here.

Lindsay gave Lucas a couple of minutes to do dome reminiscing before snapping him out of his daze.

"Luke you ready to go?" She asked shaking his shoulders slightly.

Coming back to reality, he shook his head trying to clear away some of his thoughts.

"Yea, let's go", he said without looking at her.

"You okay baby?" Lindsay asked slipping her hand in his.

"I am fine, just a little nervous", Lucas said still looking straight ahead.

Lindsay nearly laughed at her husband's confession. "Nervous? Luke baby why would you be nervous? You are coming home to your family and friends, there's nothing to be nervous about."

"I haven't seen anyone of them for the past three years. Their lives are so different and I don't know where I stand in it anymore", Lucas mumbled looking at Lindsay for the first time they had arrived at the airport.

"Yea it's been a long time, but that doesn't change the fact that everyone here loves you. You have a special place in each and every one of their hearts and that's not going anywhere. They're going to be so happy to see you, you're going to make them happy Luke. Just think of Lily, Karen, Nathan, Haley and all your friends and how happy they will be to see you among them again. There's nothing to be nervous about, I promise", Lindsay said soothingly.

Give her a small smile, Lucas nodded his head to show that he understood where she's coming from. But the reality was so far from it. Her words had made him more nervous than before. It was true that everyone loved him, but her words took him back to the one night that he was desperately trying to erase from his memory. One of the best and worst nights of his life. That night one week before his wedding to Lindsay, the night that has haunted his nights for so long, the reason why he had never had a clear conscience.

Shaking his head, Lucas tried in vain to get rid of that memory, or at least shove it in the back of his head for the time being, because past experience had taught him that no matter how hard he tried that night will always he embedded in his memory.

The way she screamed his name, the way she told him she loved him in the breathy whisper of hers that he loved, I love you, Luke. I always have and always will. Nothing will change that.

No, no, Lucas admonished himself as he snapped back to reality. This was not the time for this. Not the time to rehash the past. He had to get back to reality because nothing good will come out of living in the past.

Once they had reached the cab depot, he led Lindsay to the nearest vacant cab. After giving the cabbie the address of their destination and loading their luggage in the cab's truck, Lucas and Lindsay got inside the back seat of the cab and they were off.

Lucas hadn't told anyone in Tree Hill about his move. He wanted to surprise them, see the looks on their faces when they see him after three years. He wanted them to be in their everyday element when he sees them; it would give him a better idea of their life. By pre-announcing his visit, he knew that they will want to throw him a welcome home party and try to act like nothing has changed in the last three years, when nothing could be further from the truth. So after a long talk with Lindsay a two nights ago, they had decided it would be best to go unannounced.

Lucas looked around the dark town as the cab made its way from one street to another. It was 7:30 in the evening, and in a small town like Tree Hill, activities tend to have ceased by that time. Every now and then, something would come up that would take him on a trip down memory lane. He was still gazing outside, when Lindsay's excited voice startled his peace.

"Look Luke, that's the church we got married in", she said pointing to the dark building on her side of the road.

Lucas whipped his head so fast at her comment that he was sure he had cricked his neck.

Lindsay was still pointing to the building and even through the darkness he could clearly make out the structure of the church in which his life had changed three years ago. And ever after all his time he still wasn't sure if it was for the better or worse.

"It was such a magical day wasn't it Luke? It was definitely the best day of my life", Lindsay sighed in satisfaction as she thought back to the day of her wedding.

Lucas looked at the happy face of his wife and closed his eyes remembering the day that had changed his life forever-his wedding.


"If anyone has any objections over the marriage of these two souls, speak now or forever hold your peace", the pastor said in a loud and clear voice looking around at the wedding guests to see if anyone had anything to say.

At his words, Lucas' eyes were immediately drawn to the blond sitting in the second pew. He wondered if she was going to say anything. She had said that she was going to let him go two weeks ago in the gym, but after that night a week ago, he had no idea what was going through her head. To be completely honest, his head was all over the place since that night as well, and he wasn't sure about anything anymore. Looking over to the blond he wondered if she would be selfish enough to stop the marriage or would she be selfless enough to keep quiet, bury her feelings for his happiness and watch him get married to another woman. But what he saw instead broke his heart. She was looking anywhere but at him. Brooke had a firm grip on her hand and she looked like it was taking all that was in her to not break down right there. But despite her obvious pain, she kept quiet, breaking her heart into a million pieces so that he could have his happy ending.

Satisfied that no one had any objections, the pastor once again directed his attention to the couple waiting to be wed. Looking towards Lucas he said,

"Do you, Lucas Eugene Scott, take Lindsay Evelyn Strauss as your lawfully wedded wife in sickness and in health, in good times and bad times, until death do you part?"

Lucas felt Lindsay squeeze his hand and he knew this was it. These two words are going to change his life forever.

"I do", Lucas breathed and he could sense more than feel the heartbreak of a certain blond sitting in the audience.

Lindsay gave him a blinding smile, but he didn't see any of it. His heart was conflicted, but there was nothing he could do about it. He had made his decision.

He was brought back to reality as the pastor repeated the vows, this time to Lindsay.

"Do you Lindsay Evelyn Strauss take Lucas Eugene Scott as your lawfully wedded husband in sickness and health, in good times and bad times, till death do you part?"

"I do", Lindsay said without a second's hesitation. At her words, Lucas' heart sank. He felt like a jerk for wishing that she would have said no. Her words set their marriage in stone. There was no turning back now. But he had wanted this hadn't he? He had pushed Peyton away to be with Lindsay, then why was there a pit of dread and remorse bubbling in his stomach?

"I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss your bride".

Lucas quickly lowered his lips onto his new bride and kissed her softly. The kiss was quick nothing more than a peck, but looking at the radiant smile that graced Lindsay's face after he came up told him that it was enough for her.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I now present you Mr. and Mrs. Lucas Scott", the pastor said beaming at the young couple as everyone around them clapped and cheered.

The guilt was crushing him once again as he fought the urge to find a certain blond in the crowd. Forcing himself to look at Lindsay he saw how happy she looked, she didn't deserve this, any of it. She had done nothing but give him unconditional love and he was still conflicted about his heart on their wedding day. Shaking his head, he pasted on a fake smile on his face and walked arm in arm with his wife down the aisle to his reception.

When the newly wedded couple arrived at their reception, the room was filled to the brim. Everyone stood up to give them another round of applause as Lucas took Lindsay to the middle of the dance floor for their first dance as man and wife.

What day is it? And in what month?
This clock never seemed so alive
I can't keep up and I can't back down
I've been losing so much time

'Cause it's you and me and all of the people with nothing to do
Nothing to lose
And it's you and me and all other people
And I don't know why, I can't keep my eyes off of you.

The couple danced slowly with the rhythm of the song as the crowd looked on.

"I love you Luke, and I always will", Lindsay whispered without taking her head of Lucas's shoulder.

Her words once again sent Lucas spiraling back to the night one week ago when she had said such similar words to him, 'I love you, Luke. I always have and always will.'

Closing his eyes, he whispered, "I love you too". Pretending for one second that instead of his wife, it was her in his arms. The moment was short lived as Lindsay brought Lucas' face down for a kiss, as the audience oohed and aahed the new couple. In the happy moment no one noticed the tears that had suddenly filled the eyes of a petite blond sitting in the audience, not being able to watch the tenderness between the couple. Especially since she was the one who could have had all of this with him.

"Excuse me", she said getting up abruptly much to the surprise of her best friend.

"Peyton where are you going?" Brooke asked, concern etched in her eyes.

"I am just going to the bathroom, I'll be right back", Peyton said trying to keep up her brave front till she is safely secured in a bathroom stall, where she can let her emotions lose.

"Alright, but don't be too long", Brooke whispered giving her a hug.

One of the things that I want to say just aren't coming out right
I'm tripping on words
You've got my head spinning
I don't know where to go from here

'Cause it's you and me and all of the people with nothing to do
Nothing to prove
And it's you and me and all other people
And I don't know why, I can't keep my eyes off of you

Lucas came up from the kiss to find Peyton getting up abruptly from her seat and after a hushed conversation with Brooke, she started making her way towards the door. Lucas couldn't help but stare at her as she walked further and further away from him. His eyes roamed from her long, tanned legs to the beautiful dress she was wearing. It was a forest green strapless that came right up to her knees. If you didn't look at her face, she seemed like the image of perfection. Lucas longed for her to turn, even if for just a second so that he could see her beautiful face. To see her eyes that had always reflected what she had been feeling. He knew it was wrong. He was married, he shouldn't be thinking like this about other women. But to him Peyton could never be just another woman, she never was and she never will be. She meant way too much to him to just be part of the crowd.

There's something about you now
I can't quite figure out
Everything she does is beautiful
Everything she does is right

He watched her till she reached the door. There she stopped for a second as if contemplating about something. He saw her straighten her back indicating to him that she had made up her mind. It was funny that even after so many years, he could still read her like an open book.

Peyton knew from the second she had gotten up from her seat that Lucas's eyes had been on her. She could sense his eyes roaming her body and she couldn't help but smile wistfully as she remembered all the times he used to do that during their senior year. Reaching the door, she put one hand on the door knob and took a steady breath. But instead of pushing the door open and walking outside like she should have, she slowly turned around and met the searching eyes of Lucas.

'Cause it's you and me and all of the people with nothing to do
Nothing to lose
And it's you and me and all other people
And I don't know why, I can't keep my eyes off of you
and me and all other people with nothing to do
Nothing to prove
And it's you and me and all other people
And I don't know why, I can't keep my eyes off of you

Lucas felt his breath catch in his throat as Peyton's green eyes locked with his blue ones. It felt as if everything around them had disappeared leaving just the two of them in their own little world. Lucas searched her eyes and felt his heart break into two as he saw all the suppressed pain, sorrow, fear, hurt and love reflecting in those green eyes he had always loved. All those emotions had been caused by him. He had promised her that he would never hurt her, but today he was reason behind all the pain she was going through.

Looking into his conflicted eyes, Peyton gave him a small smile as sign of reassurance that she would be okay, but he saw through it. She would never be okay, not after the way he had broken her.

Wiping a stray tear that had fell from her eyes, she gave him a small thumbs-up to show that she was happy for him, and with that she was gone. And despite being in a room so crowded with people, Lucas had never felt more alone in his life.

What day is it?
And in what month?
This clock never seemed so alive

--End Flashback—

That was the last time he had seen Peyton. She wasn't there when he came back from his honeymoon and neither was she at the farewell party Nathan and Haley had thrown him and Lindsay before they had left for New York.

To anyone else, that day was perfect, magical even, but to him there was nothing magical or perfect in it. It was simply a life changing day for him, nothing more nothing less.

He was so engrossed in his memories that he didn't feel the cab stop in front of his childhood house. It wasn't until Lindsay shook his shoulder that he realized that they had reached their destination.

"Honey, you zoned out again", Lindsay said with a laugh, "we're here".

Lucas nodded and followed Lindsay out of the cab. Once he was out, unloaded their luggage, paid the cabbie his fare and after bidding him a good night, he turned to look at the house that had been his home for the better part of his life. He had so many memories here; he couldn't understand how he had been able to stay away for so long.

"Seems like they're having some sort of a party or something", Lindsay noted. Looking around Lucas realized that she was right, there were about 5 extra cars in the driveway, all the lights in the house were on and he could distinctly hear the voices and laughter coming from inside the house.

"That's good, we'll be able to surprise everyone at the same time", Lucas said as he made his way to the door leading to the kitchen, Lindsay trailing behind him.

Reaching the door, he reached out to grasp the knob which was the only thing separating him from his family. Taking a deep breath, he lightly turned the knob and found the door to be unlocked.

Pushing the door further open, he saw that they were indeed having a party. A birthday celebration to be more exact. Everyone was gathered around the kitchen table on which stood a majestic princesses cake with candles all around it and a big number 3 in the middle. He wondered whose birthday it was. It was definitely a girl's, but who? Both Lily and Natalie had their birthdays in a couple of months, so who was this child whose birthday his family and friends were celebrating?

Everyone was too busy talking, laughing and taking pictures around the birthday girl (whose face was obscured by the crowd of people around her) to notice that they had company. Taking a couple of steps inside the house, Lucas turned around and loudly shut the door behind him.

Surprised by the sudden sound, Brooke was the first one to turn around to check what the sudden distraction was. Her eyes found Lucas and her facial expression turned from a delightful one to a completely shocked one. By this time everyone had turned around to see what Brooke was staring at, and in a couple of seconds the previously loud room was completely silent as its occupant stared, stunned at the couple in front of them.

"What's going on?" said the little voice of the birthday girl, surprised at the sudden silence and lack of attention. She seemed to be the only one in the room unfazed by the arrival of the two new people.

Lucas' eyes were immediately drawn to the voice and he found himself staring at a little girl standing behind the cake. Now that everyone's attention was on him, he could clearly see her but from her position he doubted if she could see them.

She was without a doubt one of the cutest kid he had ever seen, and there was something about her that immediately drew him to her. She had a party hat securely fastened over her curly blonde locks that were framing her face and going right up to her shoulder. As his eyes roamed her face, she reminded him of someone he knew, but it was when his eyes met hers that he took a sharp intake of breath.

Her eyes were the same exact color as the ones he saw every morning in his own reflection.

A/N: This is a Leyton fic but Lindsay will be a big part in the story for a while. She will add lots and lots of spice to the story! This story takes place 3 years after Luke and Lindsay's wedding so there will be a many flashbacks in the next couple of chapters.

So for the further development of this story, I need you guys' help. I need your opinion on who Brooke should be: Owen or Chase. I like her with both the guys so I wouldn't mind writing her with either of the two. So please tell me what you guys think.

I hope you guys liked the chapter and please leave a REVIEW! They make me so happy and motivated to keep writing! I'll put up the next chapter once I have 10 reviews!