I don't own it, just like I don't own "Love Story" by Taylor Swift.

Alright, this is the third part in this mini story; I am who I am and that means I can't avoid angst forever. It's over the course of two years; they'll be finished with college when this is done. Also, I've decided I want to do a last part; I guess an epilogue. I've found that I like this little LP blissful world. Ultimately, I'll let you guys be the judge of it.

Want a fourth part?

Enjoy!


We were both young, when I first saw you
I close my eyes and the flashback starts
I'm standing there, on a balcony in summer air

"Do you remember that day in the sandbox when we were four?" Peyton asks.

She and Lucas are walking around their small hometown. She clutches his hand tightly and honestly, he holds hers with just as much force. Every so often her ring pinches his skin, but he doesn't care. He actually savors it.

Because someday Peyton Sawyer will become Peyton Scott.

"Of course I do", he says as he stares at her. How could he forget that? He can perfectly picture Peyton at that age. A wide smile and wild curls pulled back into a pair of pigtails. He didn't know it then, but she was the cutest thing in the whole world.

"You were my hero", she whispers. He chuckles and shrugs.

"It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it", he says heroically. Peyton's mouth drops and she slaps his shoulder. He laughs some more and pulls her flush against his body. If the four year old version of her knew that she'd end up with his man she would have told her teenage self not to stress out so much.

"You're so humble", she mumbles playfully. He leans his head down and presses a kiss to the juncture of her neck and shoulder. Peyton shivers and tilts her head to allow him better access; neither seems to remember that they're out in public.

"You were so cute that day", he mumbles against her skin. His voice brings her back to reality and she pulls back to look at him.

"Oh yeah?"

He nods and pulls on her hands so that they can starts walking again. The weather is still warm and they're both comfortable in shorts and their t-shirts, well Peyton's in a tank top and her entire outfit is making Lucas ache to run his hands along her body. God, he can't wait till they're alone later.

Her voice calls his name and he shakes his head. "Yeah, you had your hair in pigtails and you were wearing a yellow dress. But it wasn't some gaudy yellow. It was a pale yellow that kind of matched your hair. The ribbons in your hair were white and you were wearing white sandals."

"Luke –"

"I didn't know it then. To me you were a girl whose sand mounds were getting crushed, but looking back at pictures, you were definitely the cutest four year old on the playground", he says playfully. Peyton rolls her eyes and lets out a giggle. She doesn't think she's ever really giggled before in her life.

It's something about this boy.

"Jeez Luke, when are you going to publish that book?" she asks. He looks at her and shakes his head.

"That was subtle", he grumbles and throws his head back. He stares up at the blue, cloudless sky and lets out a breath. "I have no idea. I don't even think it's that good", he says softly.

Peyton's mouth drops. "Are you kidding? Lucas, it's fantastic!"

"You're just saying that", he says with a pout. She laughs because this conversation feels a lot like one they had months ago regarding Peyton's art. And similarly to that time, nobody's getting out of it.

"No, Luke . . . it's really good –"

"But it's still not done", he whines some more. She rolls her eyes and leans her head on his shoulder as they walk down the street. She squeezes his rough hand softly and decides to drop the topic for now, but she's definitely going back to it another day.

"You know, I remember you on that playground too", she says coyly. Lucas looks down at her and smirks with pride. She scoffs at the thoughts that are running through his head. Contrary to what he's thinking she didn't contemplate ripping off his clothes when she was four.

When she was fifteen it was a different story.

"What exactly do you remember?" he asks in a low, gruff voice. She feels the heat rise to her cheeks and she knows that's the effect Lucas desired. He kisses her cheeks and then her forehead before Peyton says a word.

"You were wearing kaki shorts and had plain white sneakers on. You had a blue polo shirt on; light blue. It brought out your eyes", she whispers, lost in her own world. "You marched right over and told that snotty kid to stop messing my stuff up or else you were gonna tell his mom", she quotes exactly.

Lucas bows his head as a blush fills his cheeks. At four that was his best defense since his mother told him never to physically harm someone. It seemed to work, because the kid ran off to the other side of the park and started running up the slide.

He looked down at Peyton and her water filled eyes and he felt sadness too. Having been raised by a single mother he never liked to see girls cry. So, he sat down and started pushing the sand together. The next time he looked over at her she was smiling.

And he didn't know what it was then, but something made him always want to see that smile.

And he kind of always wanted to be the person to put it there.

"Can you believe we've known each other for so long?" she muses and it snaps him from his thoughts of long ago. He looks at her and lets out a breath. "I mean literally since we were kids. According to our parents since before then."

"And now we're getting married", he whispers and runs his thumb over the sacred item. She smiles and closes her eyes. They really are getting married.

It's been at least a month since Lucas proposed and Peyton agreed. They've told everyone and everyone was a bit worried, but nobody was really shocked. They just didn't want the two blondes rushing into a marriage and they promised that they weren't. They weren't in a rush because they still had each other.

And that's really all they need.

I see the lights; see the party, the ball gowns
I see you make your way through the crowd
You say hello, little did I know...

When Peyton walks onto the beach she smiles. It's a long weekend for the college students and the fall air doesn't give away to the fact that it's practically time for Halloween.

Because of the small Holiday they've all headed back to Tree Hill. Peyton had a last minute midterm so Lucas came back before she did, which is why she's walking along the sand all alone.

The breeze hits her face and she lets the salty air wash over her. She's always loved the beach and at night it's even more beautiful. The stars pop out and the waves break against the shore. This is a place that she does some of her best thinking. Tonight there will be no thinking.

Tonight there will be drinking.

Brooke Davis always loves a party and there's no better time for one then a 4 day weekend. The blonde can see the bonfire in the distance and the lifeguard chair has two half naked teens dancing atop it. Peyton can only chuckle.

"She sure knows how to throw a party", the voice comes out of nowhere, but she isn't scared. She turns to look at the dark haired Scott and she smiles as she throws her arms around his neck.

"Nathan", she squeals. He holds her close and lifts her off the ground a little. "What are you doing here?" she asks in shock once he puts her down.

"Duke gave me the weekend off", he says with a laugh. "No practice or anything", she can hear the utter relief in his voice.

They're juniors in college now and their workloads have never been more demanding. That statement goes tenfold for Nathan. He's the lead scorer and the new captain for the Blue Devils. There's immense pressure on him to keep them in the top of their division and make sure they make it to the championships next year.

"That's so great", she says honestly. Because of his schedule he hasn't been by; the last time anyone saw him was Labor Day weekend. Peyton bites her lip and looks out into the distance. "Does Brooke know you're here?" she asks softly.

Nathan rolls his eyes at her inability to be subtle. There's a beat of silence and he lets out a breath. "She umm, she sent me an e-mail, but I told her I was gonna have practice. We didn't know about the time off at that point", he explains.

Peyton smirks carefully and looks up at the towering Scott. He's probably only a few inches taller then Lucas – and she's not that much shorter then him – but when Peyton's not wearing heels she's surprising short. Nathan meets her eyes in the clear night and lets out a groan.

"You're surprising her", she says sweetly. Nathan adamantly shakes his head which makes Peyton scoff.

Her two brunette friends still haven't gotten their acts together. They saw each other many times over the summer and Peyton's pretty sure they slept together once, although Brooke won't admit it. The blonde just doesn't get it. They love each other and they need each other. Why are they making it so complicated?

"I'm not surprising her. I'm simply attending a party I was invited to. If she happens to be shocked, then that's just something that happens", he says easily. Peyton frowns and reaches for his wrist.

"Nate –"

"Peyton, it's not really all that easy", he whispers. He knows what she's getting at; he loves her, but sometimes she needs to know when to drop something. "We're thousands of miles apart and we'd never see each other. It'd be too hard", he whispers. "And besides, we're different people now. It would never work out."

By now they're close to the fire and Peyton can see his eyes shine with the water that fills them. She raises her hand and cups his cheek caringly. They are different people, but they're two people that can overcome the odds. High school sweethearts don't get the best statistics, but she knows that the Brooke and Nathan that graduated together and the Brooke and Nathan of today could very well beat those odds.

"Never say never", she whispers and sends him a smile. Nathan chuckles and nods his head. He takes in a deep breath and blinks his eyes. In an instant those unshed tears are gone.

"Hey, get off my girl", a voice says teasingly as he approaches the two of them. Peyton turns and grins at the man that walks over to her. His blonde hair is tousled from the wind and he's wearing a white short sleeved button up with kaki shorts.

Nathan raises his hands playfully and takes a step back. "I can take a hint", he says and motions to the ring that rests on Peyton's left hand. The brothers embrace for a manly hug and when they break apart Nathan glances at her.

"Besides, she's totally not my type", Peyton's mouth drops and then she scowls. "Her legs are a little too chickeny", he says with a laugh. Peyton steps forward and smacks his arm before turning and smacking Lucas.

"I can't believe you!" she screeches. Nathan snorts and waves to them before walking down the beach. "You know when you said that I was under the impression you didn't mean it", she pouts.

He mirrors her pout in a mocking way and grabs her hand when she tries to hit him again. He pulls her close and kisses her knuckles before kissing her cheek. She melts into his arms and he rests his chin atop her curls.

"I missed you", he whispers. Peyton smiles, but rolls her eyes.

"It's only been a few hours, you dork", she mumbles as she breathes in his well-known scent.

"Yeah", he agrees. "A few hours without you", he stresses once again. She giggles and he holds her a little closer.

In the distance she watches Nathan approach Brooke. The brunette's mouth drops and Peyton can see that all she wants to do is run into his arms and hold him close. She doesn't though. She waits for him to approach and when he does, she tentatively wraps her arms around his waist. His arms wrap around her shoulders and they simply stand there for a few minutes.

"Do you think they'll ever get it together?" she asks softly. Lucas follows his stare and shrugs softly.

"I do, but it's not easy. Nathan's oblivious to the fact that Brooke wants to be with him. All people aren't as lucky as us", he whispers meaningfully. Peyton smirks and looks up at him.

"Just so you know, I've totally been Brooke."

Lucas scoffs. "Peyt, I've always known you were –"

"Lucas, you totally didn't know me", she chides.

"Oh yes I did", he counters. She lifts her head from his chest and meets his eyes. He lowers his voice and bows his head so that his lips are right next to her ear;

"I always knew you."

That you were Romeo, you were throwing pebbles
And my daddy said "stay away from Juliet"
And I was crying on the staircase
Begging you please don't go
And I said...

They walk up the pathway to her house with their hands tightly intertwined. Lucas sneaks a glance at her and smirks. It's full blown winter now and Peyton's bundled up. She's wearing a black pea-coat and a scarf of the same color is knotted at her neck. Before they walk up the steps he stops them and places a kiss to her lips.

She smiles when they break apart and clutches to the lapels of his jacket. "Now I'm not complaining, but what was that for?" she asks with a smile. Lucas looks down at her and squints his eyes.

"Just in case your dad runs me out of the house and demands that I never see you again", he says teasingly, but Peyton can tell he's worried. She tilts her head and sighs.

"Lucas, that's not going to happen", she assures him. The other blonde scoffs.

"Peyton, I'm telling him that I want to marry his only daughter", he says in exasperation.

Larry had been out to see for many months. He wasn't home when Lucas proposed and he hadn't bee home at all since then. With Christmas approaching the older man made it a point to get home. He wanted to spend some time with Peyton before she went back to school. Since he was finally in town, both blondes thought it would be a good idea to tell him the news.

"Most dads would like to hear that", she counters.

Lucas nods. "Yes, if they haven't been engaged for the last seven months", he says with a breathy laugh. "Peyton, he's totally gonna kick my ass", he groans.

"No he won't. Its better that we're doing it in person, over the phone or by e-mail would have been too impersonal", she reasons and pulls on his hand. They walk up the steps and Peyton puts her hand on the doorknob.

"Besides, my dads known you forever, he loves you, Luke. You're like a son to him", she says and walks into the house. The blonde boy follows behind her with a slower step. He really doesn't want to do this.

He shuts the door behind him and Peyton gives him one last peck. He cups her cheeks when they break apart and she sends him a reassuring smile. He tilts her head and places a lingering kiss to her forehead; breathing in her scent. When he pulls away again, she winks and he lets out a little chuckle.

"Well, well", the masculine, southern voice echoes down the hall. Peyton's eyes widen with glee and Lucas watches as she scurries down the hall and into her fathers waiting arms. Larry holds her close and they two of them share a secret greeting before Lucas walks over.

He knows how much Peyton's missed her dad.

"Hey Rakeboy", Larry greets affectionately and they both share a hug. Lucas groans at the nickname.

"I'm really never living that down, huh?" he asks with a tortured face. Larry laughs loudly and shakes his head; there's no way Lucas will live it down.

They were fourteen at the time and Larry was out on a dredging job. They were three weeks into their freshman year at Tree Hill High and as usual, Lucas was going to Peyton's house so that they could walk together. When he arrived at the large home the door was open and he could hear loud noises coming from inside. Lucas, the noble boy, grabbed the closest weapon and entered the house.

That weapon was a rake.

Lucas had entered the house with caution and proceeded to check all the rooms before entering the kitchen. To this day he doesn't know why he didn't recognize that it was Larry, but Lucas deepened his voice and demanded that the man turn around. Once he did Lucas blushed and Larry made a joke about "raking him to death", Peyton also picked that time to come down the stairs.

"Probably not, no", Larry laments and they all share a laugh. "Let's sit down", he says and they head into the kitchen. Peyton takes the minute to grab Lucas's hand.

"See, so far so good", she whispers like a child on Christmas morning. Lucas only nods and Peyton rolls her eyes at his skepticism. Who would have thought that her cynical ways would disappear on a day like today?

"So kids, how's the year been so far?" Larry asks as they all sit. The blondes tell him about the classes they have and the upcoming spring semester. Larry nods and smiles whenever Lucas or Peyton lock eyes or innocently touch each other.

He remembers having a love like theirs.

"We actually have something we wanted to tell you", Peyton whispers and tucks a curl behind her ear. Larry sobers up instantly and looks at his daughter with serious eyes. Lucas swallows hard.

"Daddy, you know how much we love each other –"

"Are you pregnant?" he blurts out. Lucas and Peyton sit there in shocked silence and Larry doesn't take that as a good answer. "Peyton, how could you let this happen? And you" he growls as he stares at Lucas. "How the Hell could you do this to her?" he asks loudly and stands from his chair.

Peyton stands also. "Daddy, I'm –"

"No, I don't wanna hear another word out of you!" he barks. "I cannot believe you two would be so stupid!" he says in anger. He continues a rant and Peyton tries to interject, but it's pointless. Lucas watches as her face falls and her eyes water and he can't take it any more.

"We're engaged!" Lucas yells and pushes away from the table. The room grows quiet and he feels himself heat up with embarrassment. He definitely should not have let that fly out of his mouth.

"You're what?" Larry whispers. Peyton smirks softly, but only for a second before clearing her throat.

She holds up her left hand and the diamond glints in the light from the window. "We're engaged", she repeats Lucas's words. "We're getting married."

The beautiful smile that she wears falls once Larry shakes his head. "You're only kids", he whispers.

"Daddy, I'm hardly a little girl", she says softly.

"No", he says heatedly. "You're not getting married; you're just barely out of your teens. You don't know what a marriage takes. You don't know what you're getting into", he verbalizes all the reasons they can't.

He doesn't verbalize that they're in love.

And that it's the one reason the can.

"Dad, I don't understand why you're so against this", she says with a shaky voice.

"Because you don't know what you're doing! This isn't like playing house, Peyton!"

"I know that! Lucas knows that!" she says, all her sadness gone. "If you would just –"

"Peyton, this isn't up for debate!" Larry roars and takes both teens off guard. "Go up to your room!" he orders.

"You can't send me to my room! I'm twenty years old!" she yells right back. Lucas watches as Larry's eyes darken and Peyton takes a firm stance against him. Seeing her so riled up is a huge turn on, but this is so not the time.

"The Hell I can't", he whispers at a dangerously low level. "GO! NOW!" he orders and Peyton's resolve crumbles. She turns to leave the kitchen and on her way out she grabs Lucas's hand. The squeeze she gives it calms his nerves and makes him think that this won't end terribly, but then she leaves.

And he's left alone with Larry Sawyer.

Before the older man says a word, Lucas swallows back his fear and stands a little taller. This is Mr. Sawyer; he's been there for Lucas at some very important times and there isn't any reason that he can't talk to him like an adult.

"Mr. Sawyer, I know that this seems a bit . . . much, but –"

"Lucas, there isn't really room for discussion about this", Larry says stiffly. Lucas nods his head and lingers near the archway of the kitchen. He shoves his hands into his pockets and looks at Larry.

"I just want you to know that I love your daughter. I'm so unbelievably in love with her that I – sometimes I can't breathe when she's in the same room and when we're not together I ache to be with her. I'm not saying that we're getting married in an hour or a month. Someday, I want . . . I need her to be my wife."

Larry eyes the boy he watched grow up. He knows this isn't some random kid off the street who's just going to use Peyton and break her heart. He's pretty positive Lucas would be the last person on that list.

He just doesn't want them to end up resenting each other for not accomplishing their dreams first.

"I think you should go, Lucas", he whispers. Lucas nods once and turns on his heels. He doesn't look back as he walks down the hallway.

Peyton watches from her staircase as Lucas walks out the front door.

Romeo take me somewhere, we can be alone
I'll be waiting; all there's left to do is run
You'll be the prince and I'll be the princess
It's a love story, baby, just say yes

"So my dad went all Papa Bear and freaked out", Peyton grumbles as she cradles the phone against her ear. She types the last paragraph for her paper and saves it before closing her laptop.

"Are you serious?" Haley asks from the other end. "That doesn't sound like him at all", she breathes out. Peyton sighs and stands from her chair only to flop onto her bed.

"Yeah, I know! It was crazy. And then I watched as Lucas walked out the door", she says softly. Haley sits up on her bed and rubs the bits of sleep from her eyes.

They've been back at school for some time now, but because of both their schedules it's been too hard to have a conversation over the phone. Peyton's cramped with workloads because of her double major. Haley's busy prepping lesson plans and doing some student teaching and singing. It's a new thing she's ventured into and apparently loves. She's always had the voice, but California gave her the guts to pursue it.

"Peyton –"

"I know, I know", the blonde says as she rolls onto her stomach. She's known Haley for years and she's more then accustomed to the different tones she uses. This one was telling her she was ridiculous.

"No, clearly you don't know", Haley scolds. "That boy is insanely in love with you. He probably only left to respect what your father had asked of him", she says a little too innocently.

"You already talked to Lucas, didn't you?" Peyton says accusingly. Haley's breath catches and she lets out a noise. Peyton can only roll her eyes.

"He may have called me a few days ago", she admits weakly. "But that totally doesn't mean I'm taking his side", she argues.

Peyton sighs. The one bad thing about having a mutually close friend is that she doesn't have a biased point of view. She would have called Brooke, but the brunette doesn't know her father like Haley does and well, Haley was her best girl friend long before Brooke Davis was even an acquaintance.

"Hales, I don't think you're picking sides", she mumbles. "But I'd totally kick your ass if you took his", she says playfully and both girls laugh after. "It just sucks that he left", she whispers.

"Well have you talked to him about it?" she asks as she picks at something on her comforter. Peyton shakes her head and for some reason she knows that Haley can tell. "Why not?"

"He doesn't even know I was sitting on the stairs that day", she points out. "If I bring it up now, it'll look weird and I don't know . . ." she trails off.

"Maybe you guys should talk about it", her now blonde friend offers. "You and Luke talk about everything", she says with a laugh.

Peyton smiles and says; "I know, but somehow I think talking about how my dad doesn't want us to marry would be a bit of a downer", she grumbles; her anger at her father returning.

"Touché", Haley mumbles. "But it's obviously still bothering him", she points out softly.

"Yeah, and he didn't bring it up with me", Peyton argues. "Therefore, he just wants to leave it alone."

Haley grumbles. Once Peyton Sawyer's mind is made up there's no going back. Clearly she's passed the point of reasoning about this.

"How have you guys been?" she asks happily. The enjoyment of seeing them together has never worn off. She doesn't know if it ever will.

Peyton smiles to herself. "We're good, you know? I mean I was on permanent house arrest for the rest of the break, but once we got back to school everything was normal again."

"Ughh, is this topic secretly about sex?" Haley asks with a scrunched nose. Peyton laughs loudly and rolls her eyes.

"Why Haley James, does the idea of it freak you out?" she mocks a terrified voice.

"When it's my two best friends, yeah", she says like it's the most obvious thing in the world. "I mean I'm no prude, but –"

"What does that mean?" Peyton asks with a raised brow. She can practically see Haley's face burn with embarrassment and when Haley opens her mouth – not doubt to begin a ramble – Peyton cuts her off. "Are you having sex with Chris Keller?" she screeches.

When Haley first told Peyton about her interest in music and her choice to pursue it, she mentioned the name Chris Keller. He was well-known, but Peyton didn't exactly listen to his music. The more Haley talked about him the more nervous Peyton was for Haley to tell Lucas. Chris sounded cocky and arrogant and like a total womanizer.

But that was five months ago, now apparently they're at the point where they're having sex.

"Jesus! Say it a little louder Peyton!" Haley yells into the other end. Peyton winces as she pulls the phone back and shakes her head. "It's not a big deal", she whispers.

Peyton's eyes widen. "Not a big deal? Hales, you always said you wanted to wait until marriage! Luke is gonna freak", she mumbles.

"You cannot tell Lucas!" she says with a gasp. Peyton scoffs.

"How can I not tell Lucas?"

"Peyton, I'm serious", Haley says with a severe tone. "This isn't something I really want him to know."

"Haley, you're like a sister to him", Peyton says softly; hoping her friend sees the seriousness of this all. Lucas never even really liked Chris to begin with, but he makes Haley happy and as far as either blonde knows he hasn't cheated on her; which is an accomplishment.

"And you're like a sister to me, but I didn't freak out when you and Lucas started having sex . . . and I didn't freak out when you got engaged", she points out with a huff.

"Haley, that's different –"

"How is it different at all? It's practically the same situation!"

Peyton sighs and pinches the bridge of her nose. She drags her hand through her curls and closes her eyes. She knows that she isn't really being fair, but it's hard when her best friend is so far away and she can't walk to her when a boy makes her cry.

"Just, Haley just tell me you're being safe and smart", she pleads in a whisper.

From California Haley sighs and nods her head. "Yeah girly, I am", she says honestly. "I've just never been in love before and it's scary", she admits. Peyton tries not to choke on the words that leave her mouth.

"Trust me, I know", Peyton whispers and Haley lets out a relieved laugh. "Listen, Spring Break is in a few weeks . . . bring Chris to Tree Hill. We need to meet him", she demands. Haley can feel her anxiety grow and she pushes back the lump forming in her throat.

"O – okay", she stutters out.

"Okay", Peyton says with a firm nod of her head. "Lucas is coming to get me soon so I should go. Don't want him questioning you", she says with a laugh.

"Is he kidnapping you from the world?" she says playfully; Peyton can hear the adoration in her tone. Peyton rolls her eyes, but feels a grin break onto her lips.

"Knowing Lucas . . . probably", she agrees and they both laugh. "Be good Haley James", she says seriously.

"I will, you too Peyton Sawyer", she whispers caringly.

The girls say their goodbyes and hang up the phones. Peyton places it in her bag and has time to play with her curls before Lucas knocks. She furrows her brows and walks to the front door. When she pulls it open she places her hand on her hip.

"You never knock", she points out as she looks at him curiously. "What's the deal?"

"Nothing", Lucas says innocently and hands her a single long-stemmed rose. She smiles and holds the flower to her nose; inhaling its sweet scent. "You ready?" he asks and leans forward to peck her lips simply because he couldn't hold off any longer.

She nods and disappears to fill a vase and grab her bag. She locks her apartment door behind her and her and Lucas link fingers. They walk down the stairs and the diamond of her ring hits his finger.

He doesn't bother to stop his grin.

He doesn't think he could even if he tried.

"So, where are we going, Romeo", she asks playfully. His blue eyes look at her and the boyish grin that he sends her causes her heart to stop.

"I'm whisking you away", he says seriously, that grin still in place. Peyton nods her head and slides into the front seat. Her heart pounds in her chest and she can feel her cheeks heat. She loves that she still gets that feeling with him and she loves that he's so attentive.

It's kind of like her very own whirlwind romance.

So I sneak out to the garden to see you
We keep quiet, because we're dead if they knew
So close your eyes, escape this town for a little while
Oh, Oh

Peyton walks through the dark woods with her jacket wrapped tightly around her. It's spring and she doesn't exactly need a jacket, but it's late and creepy and she really wants to kill Lucas for making her meet him out in the middle of nowhere.

She gets it though. They are back in Tree Hill for the week and even though her dad's away on business he's got the neighbors keeping a close eye on her. It's a little ridiculous considering she's 21. She hears a noise and frantically looks around; her curls sway with the movements.

"Lucas!" she calls out and then winces. The first rule of a scary movie is to never call out when you hear a weird noise. She hears the noise again and looks around wildly. She can feel her pulse race and her eyes begin to cloud for reasons she doesn't really understand.

"Gotcha!"

She screams loudly and feels all her muscles tighten. Then, she whirls around and starts to whack the person that's grabbed her arms. She's kicking and screaming and flailing her limbs like and animal when she finally catches sight of the blonde hair that's hidden behind his strong arms.

"Oh God, Lucas", she's out of breath and her voice is scratched from yelling. Lucas drops his arms from his face before holding them up in defeat.

"Are you done trying to kill me?" he asks with a smirk. Her eyes narrow and she leans forward to smack his shoulder. "Oww", he grumbles as he rubs the spot. "I have a heart condition, you know!" he yells.

"Serves you right! Who the Hell do you think you are trying to scare me like that!" she demands an answer as they stand in the dark woods of North Carolina on a spring night.

"I thought it'd be funny", he admits, a smile dancing on his lips. "I didn't think you'd get all Million Dollar Baby on me", he teases. Peyton's face remains hard, but as soon as he smirks she's done for.

Her laughter hits his ears and he closes his eyes; he drinks it in. Lucas steps forward, but then retracts his movements. She kinks her brow playfully and he shrugs.

"I don't want you to kick my ass if I try to touch you", he mumbles. She rolls her eyes and grabs the lapels of his jacket; pulling him to her. She catches a glimmer of his grin before their lips meet for an overdue kiss.

"I like it when you're feisty", he whispers gravelly once they break apart. She shivers at the tone he takes on and leans up to kiss him one more time. "Look at us, making out in the woods like a bunch of kids", he mumbles against her skin.

She tilts her head to give him better access to her neck. "Just like the old days, huh?" she says breathily.

"When I used to drag you back here so our parents wouldn't find us", he mumbles and she can feel his smile against her skin. She feels herself giving into the moment they're creating and so she gently pushes him away.

"Alright, pervy . . . why'd you text me to meet you out here?" she asks. He grabs her hand and laces their fingers. As they walk through the woods their arms sway between them.

"I just figured it'd be nice to have some alone time", he says simply. "It's been like four days and I feel like I never see you", he mumbles bashfully. Peyton grins and stops their movements.

"See now, saying things like that are just too much for me", she whispers and presses herself against him. He raises his eyebrows questioningly and she continues, "You make my heart race", she says softly.

His eyes fill with mirth and he leans his lips to her ear. "I thought I was the writer", he quips. She smirks and rolls her eyes as she pushes him away. He holds on though, and she brings his hand to her chest.

"I'm serious", his eyes meet hers and once his palm is flat against her skin his eyes widen. He doesn't know why it surprises him and maybe it doesn't, but the feeling of it is astounding. "It's been doing this since I was thirteen", she tells him.

"I love you", are the only words he can find to describe how he really feels at the moment. He loves her. He really, truly loves her.

"Come on, loverboy. Show me why I'm here", she says with a laugh and they start walking again. They walk in silence for a bit and Peyton sneaks a few glances at her fiancé. Lucas squeezes her hand and lets out a sigh.

"What's wrong?" he asks and throws his head back. "And don't say nothing, you've got that face."

"What face?" she asks indignantly.

He looks at her with a raised brow. "The face you get when you want to talk about something, but you don't know if you should bring it up . . . you've had that face since we were ten", he says simply.

Peyton smiles because he knows the different faces she makes. She sighs and leans a little closer to him. "What do you think about Keller?" she asks softly.

He groans and throws his head back once more. Meeting Chris Keller wasn't exactly on his top list of things to accomplish, but according to Peyton it was necessary. The musician was kind of how Lucas had expected him to be; cocky, sneaky, and just a basic tool. But Haley seemed infatuated and even though he didn't like it, he supported it. Haley liked him and Chris seemed to be very much into her.

"What's there to think? He's a guy that Haley's dating . . . as long as he doesn't hurt her, we won't have a problem", he says and looks down at his girl. Peyton smiles and kisses his cheek.

"I think they'll be okay", Peyton says with a secret smile. Lucas opens his mouth to question her, but closes it once he notices where they are. He pulls them a little to the left and they come to an opening near the river.

"Lucas", she whispers. They used to come out here and turn over rocks while they looked for newts and tadpoles and other outdoor creatures.

Now there's a checkered blanket set up and a small basket in the middle. There's a lantern that helps to illuminate the scene before her and when she looks up to Lucas, she's got tears in her eyes.

"I miss just being able to spend time with you", he whispers. She buries herself into his chest and his strong arms lock around her body. He picks her up and she squeals with laughter as she kicks her legs in a pointless effort to make him put her down.

He lays her down on the blanket tucks some of her hair behind her ear; his hand lingers there. "You've got to keep quiet, princess", he says softly. She furrows her brows.

"We're in the middle of the woods", she points out in an obvious tone. He nods because clearly she's right.

"But your dad probably has this entire town bugged", he barely gets the whole sentence out before she's smacking his shoulder playfully. She toys with the collar of his t-shirt and then her eyes dance with mischief.

"I guess we should make the best of it before he hunts you down", she says with a low, seductive voice.

A second later, Lucas is burying his face against her neck.

Cause you were Romeo, I was a scarlet letter
And my daddy said "stay away from Juliet"
but you were everything to me
I was begging you, please don't go
And I said...

This Sunday is a little different.

Lucas walks into her apartment using the key she gave him at the beginning of the school year. Once they started their junior years they both got their own apartments near the campus; he doesn't have to worry about a roommate being home. He calls out to her, but she doesn't answer and it makes him furrow his brows.

He kicks the door shut behind him and tosses his keys onto the small table right near the entrance. He places the bag full of bagels and cream cheese on the table and pulls her chocolate milk out of his pocket.

He finds her at the kitchen sink doing dishes and staring out the window. He takes a minute to lean against the archway and look at her. She's in a simple pair of jeans and his Tar Heels t-shirt. Her hair's pulled into a messy bun and on her feet is a pair of socks.

He still has to catch his breath.

He walks forward and hooks his fingers into the belt loops on the back of her jeans. When she doesn't respond he kisses the spot on her neck that he knows drives her wild. When she still doesn't respond he skims his hands up her shirt and touches the warm flesh of her skin. His hands slip around to her stomach and that seems to snap her from her daze.

"Hey", he whispers into her ear. She wiggles in his embrace and he lets out a groan at her unintentional movements. He moans against her skin and closes his eyes as he breathes in her scent. "Good morning, baby girl", he says gruffly.

She can feel his thumbs run circles against her skin and she knows it's meant to be an enticing gesture, but she isn't in the mood for it. She scrubs the plate in her hand harshly and steps forward; away from his arms.

"Can you not?" she asks softly. He doesn't know if she's kidding or not and to be honest, he's too clouded by lust to pay attention to her words.

"Have I ever told you how good you look in my clothes?" he breathes against her curls. She rolls her eyes and pushes his hands away with her soapy limbs.

"Seriously Luke, can you go finish for yourself in the bathroom?" she barks and turns to glare at him. He shakes his head; ridding the lusty thoughts and meets her angry eyes.

When did this go so wrong?

"What's with the attitude?" he asks. She seems to let out a breath as she shakes her head and tells him nothing.

"I'm just not in the mood", she sighs again and looks at her floor. Lucas places his hands on his hips.

"Alright, well you could have just told me that before you got all bitchy –"

"Bitchy?" she echoes with fire in her eyes.

He pauses before nodding his head – somewhere deep down he knows this isn't a good choice – and says; "Yeah Peyt, just now you were kind of bitchy."

"Well maybe I wouldn't be so bitchy if my fiancé wasn't trying to maul me!" she yells across the kitchen. He shakes his head in wonder.

"Okay, first of all I wasn't mauling anyone and second of all, you're gorgeous and my fiancée, how could I not want you?" he asks rhetorically in hopes of defending himself.

"Is that all this is to you?" she references to their relationship. "Sex?"

He laughs without any humor and it makes her stand a little straighter. "Yes Peyton, you got me!" he says as he holds his hands up and wiggles his fingers. "That's why I waited over a year . . . I just wanted sex!" he spits out at her.

He can't believe she's said that to him. It was never about sex, it is never about sex with her. They connect on so many other levels that he would have waited forever to make love to her. Although he is glad he didn't have to.

"Your sarcasm wounds me", she says as she rolls her eyes. She knows she's being harsh and she honestly knows she should stop, but she's Peyton Sawyer. When she's feeling vulnerable and weak she gets defensive. Lucas knows that, but he doesn't seem to care about that now.

"Okay, I'm not doing this", he mutters and turns on his heels. Peyton's jaw drops and she follows after him. "Call me when you're not so PMS!" he yells as he walks to the door.

She hates that he referred to her as that. PMS or Peyton Marie Sawyer is something he used to call her right when Peyton first started getting her period and according to him was more mean then ever.

She watches as he grabs his keys and puts his hand on the doorknob. Before she knows it, the words are bubbling up her throat and flying out her mouth;

"I'm late", she says just loud enough for him to hear. In a terribly dramatic way the keys fall from his hand and he spins around to look at her. Late? They clearly didn't have any appointments for today . . . she can only mean that she's late for one thing.

"How late?" he whispers. She fiddles with the frayed edge of the shirt – his shirt – she wears and bites her bottom lip.

"About a week", she says softly. She can only think of a few times she's ever felt so vulnerable in front of him, but this is at the top of the list.

He can feel his heart stop and then speed up and he thinks he's having a heart attack. He takes in a long breath and then lets it out slowly before running his hand through his hair. He quickly realizes that it's not a heart attack.

Just the fact that his fiancée is telling him she might be pregnant.

"I think . . . okay well I – I guess . . ."

Romeo take me somewhere, we can be alone
I'll be waiting; all there's left to do is run
You'll be the prince and I'll be the princess
It's a love story, baby, just say yes

Peyton wants to smile because he's so adorable when he rambles, but she knows that this isn't the right place or time. He hesitantly walks over to her and she can feel the tears sting her eyes. She wants to kill those tears.

"I guess we need to go to the store, huh?" he finds his voice and motions to the door with his head. Peyton objects and tells him that she bought a test the other day. He holds his breath because he doesn't want to say something stupid and nods. "Then I guess we should go to the bathroom?"

He holds out his hand and she reaches out to take it. He can feel her hand shaking as it's clasped with his and he squeezes it gently. He's just as terrified; they're too young for this.

And for the first time, he thinks that they may be too young for marriage.

She walks ahead of him and opens the cabinet to reveal the home pregnancy test she bought when she went to the drug store yesterday. She was so nervous as she walked in that she spent 20 minutes near the cards and gift bags before she found the courage to grab it and pay.

They both stand in the bathroom and she looks at him expectantly. "Sorry", he mumbles and walks out the door.

As she closes it behind him, he pinches the bridge of his nose and takes a few deep breaths. He needs to run or shoot some ball, he just needs to take his mind off of this moment. Peyton's taking a pregnancy . . . he could be a father. The room suddenly feels too small.

"I have to wait a couple of minutes", she whispers as she leaves the bathroom. He nods and Peyton bites her lips again. "I didn't wanna tell –"

"That's obvious", he mutters angrier than he intended. Peyton looks at the frames on her walls and the pictures of her and Lucas so deliriously happy; it hurts to look at.

"You know that's not what I meant", she says sadly. She tucks a curl behind her ear and then folds her arms over her chest. "I was just scared to tell you because I didn't know how you'd react."

"Is this kind of how you imagined it?" he spreads his arms out in front of himself. Her face falls and he sees the flash of hurt behind her eyes.

"Luke", her voice is a plea. He slouches and shakes his head. He knows he isn't being fair, but he just feels so . . .

"We're too young for this", he mumbles. Peyton looks at him with an expression that he can't read and she takes a few steps forward.

"Maybe not", she reasons and when his eyes go wide and his mouth drops she holds up her hands.

"We're only twenty one, we can barely drink!"

"Lucas, we're getting married."

"And your dad freaked out about that! He's gonna kill me, officially, I'm dead", he says with a serious expression.

"Lucas –"

"This can't happen", he cuts her off.

"Don't say that like it's my fault!" she yells. He stares at her and she feels her blood boil over. "I'm pretty sure it takes two people to get into the predicament we're in!"

"We're always protected!" he says in annoyance. He just doesn't see how this could possibly happen.

"That night in the woods", she reminds him. He flashes back to that night three weeks ago and a grin begs to break free. "You said you'd pull out", she blames him.

His eyes narrow. "I did . . . you should be on the pill like every other sexually active woman", he places the blame. Peyton shakes her head.

"I thought I had a partner that I could trust!" she screams at him. "You were the one that had to have sex that night!"

He opens his mouth, but closes it soon after. He can't really argue with that. He was pretty set on making love outside on that blanket and the stars above them. A smirk hits his lips and he looks at her daringly.

"I'm pretty sure you didn't say no!" he says smarmily.

Peyton opens her mouth to respond with some smart comment or a curse word, but shrill ringing cuts her off. Both blondes look at each other and look to the bathroom. Peyton bows her head and takes a breath before walking into the small room and picking up the stick.

Lucas watches as she walks out of the bathroom and into the living room; test in hand. "You're off the hook", she says in disgust. "It's negative."

He watches as she walks away from him without another word and he sighs in defeat. This isn't how things are supposed to be between them. They're best friends first and that should shine through, but clearly in moments of high stress all things are out the window.

She slams the bathroom door and Lucas walks to the front door. He lets the sunlight in and turns back, hoping she'll come out and they can hug and forget all the words that passed between them.

She doesn't.

He walks outside and softly closes the door behind him. When it's closed he leans his back against the wood and closes his eyes; a few tears fall from his eyes. He pushes off the door and shakes his head before walking down the stairs and away from her apartment.

Once she hears the door close Peyton carefully opens the bathroom door and peeks her head out. When she realizes that he actually left she walks all the way out and closes the door behind her. She rests her back against it and slowly slides down it until she's sitting on the floor with her knees to her chest.

That's when she lets the tears falls.

From her spot in her apartment she can hear his Mustang start up. The rough rev of the engine breaks through the quiet morning of their town. She listens as it gets further and farther away and she feels her heart sink.

She wishes she could escape with him.

Romeo save me, they're trying to tell me how to feel
This love is difficult, but it's real
Don't be afraid, we'll make it out of this mess
It's a love story, baby, just say yes
Oh, Oh

Peyton burrows beneath her covers when she hears a bang on her front door. She snaps her eyes shut and puts the pillow over her blonde curls. The knocking continues and Peyton makes it another two minutes before she pushes the covers off and forces herself from the bed.

She grumbles at the constant sound against her front door and rubs the last bit of sleep from her eyes. She glances at the clock, expecting it to be early in the morning . . . it's 2 in the afternoon.

When she pulls the door open she stands in shock. "Finally, I thought I was gonna have to kick down your door! Well, I wouldn't have done it, but I'd have found some guy to do it", she says easily.

She pushes past Peyton and walks into the apartment; her wheelie bag following behind her. The blonde stands in her doorway and blinks her eyes in total confusion. She turns to look at her friend and she shakes her head.

"Brooke, what are you doing here?" she asks as she mimics Brooke's footsteps. The brunette puts her bag near the television and sits on the large couch. She places a pillow on her lap and looks up at Peyton.

"P. Sawyer . . . the last time we talked you were pretty down in the dumps", she says softly. Peyton nods; she called Brooke right after her whole fight with Lucas.

"But that was like a month ago, B. Davis", Peyton says in the same tone. Brooke nods and smiles bashfully.

"I was talking to Tutor-girl and she – don't look so shocked!" Brooke reprimands. "We're friends . . . by default, but still, we're friends who are concerned for you –"

"Brooke", Peyton groans and sits next to her friend. "I don't –"

"Please Peyton, let's not lie", she says with a pointed look. "So anyway, Haley was trying to get down here, but she's got a lot of tests and her time in the studio is all consuming. Long story short, here I am!" she chirps with a grin.

"Brooke, I really appreciate you being here, but you're so busy –"

"I'm never too busy for my friends", Brooke cuts her off. "Now come on", she pats the fluffy pillow and motions to the blonde. "Lay your head on my lap and tell me how you and Lucas have been."

Peyton lets out a breath and does as she's told. The second her head hits the pillow Brooke rakes her fingers through the curls and Peyton closes her eyes. She never would have guessed that Brooke Davis would have a maternal bone in her body, but in the last three years she's learned that it's very much there.

"Things have been different", Peyton whispers after a few minutes of silence. "I feel like there's this wall between us and we can't break through it and it kills me, B", she says as she feels the tears building.

"Oh Peyton", Brooke says sympathetically. "I know it's hard", she whispers meaningfully. Peyton swallows back a sob and rolls onto her back so that she can meet Brooke's eyes.

"Did this ever happen to you and Nathan?" she asks softly. The topic of the brunette Scott brother isn't a core subject – or so Brooke claims – but Peyton still feels odd to bring it up.

Her cheery friend nods and bites her bottom lip. "Twice actually", she admits with a smile that Peyton doesn't understand. "The first time was when we were freshman and had just started sleeping together. I was new to my period so it was still irregular and we were just kids, you know?"

Peyton nods. After her scare she's never felt more like a kid in her entire life.

"The second time came around junior year, we were broken up actually. It caused this huge fight that involved him calling me a slut and I told him he'd be just like Dan", Peyton grimaces and Brooke nods. "I know, it was a total low blow."

"So what happened?" Peyton asks with a curious expression.

"Nathan told me he'd never be like Dan because if I was pregnant he'd be there and he'd help me and he'd love our baby just like he loved me", she smiles a private smile and it causes Peyton to smirk. "Then I told him I hadn't been with anyone else because he meant too much to me and sex wouldn't be the same with someone I didn't love."

"Those are some pretty dramatic I love yous", Peyton teases. Brooke nods and lets out a breath.

"When have Nathan and I ever done anything without dramatics?" she quips. Peyton nods in agreement and Brooke nudges her playfully.

"Were things different afterwards?" she asks in a small voice. Brooke shrugs.

"I mean, things were tense. We didn't sleep together for a while after the first one and after the second on I went right on the pill", she laughs and shakes her head. In her 21 years of life she's gone through a million different adult situations.

Peyton makes a noise. "I'm on the pill now, but it's not doing much for me", she says dryly. Brooke raises her brows.

"You guys haven't been together since then?" Peyton shakes her head and mumbles that they haven't been together in that way. "Wow . . ." she trails off and looks down at her friend.

Peyton twirls her engagement ring around on her finger and lets a worried smile play on her lips. Brooke doesn't want to have to be the person to say this, but she will. She knows that Haley doesn't like to be in the middle of her two best friends and Brooke's always considered herself closer to Peyton even though she's known Lucas longer. The brunette takes a long breath and it catches Peyton's attention.

"Do you think you guys are ready for marriage?" she asks softly. Peyton's eyes widen and she sits up; tucking her legs beneath her body. "I only say that because of how Lucas freaked out when he thought you were pregnant", she says quickly.

Peyton shakes her head. "Brooke, that's totally different than getting married –"

"Is it? When you're married you're pretty much a step away from kids."

"It was just a bump in the road", Peyton mutters. "We're stronger than that", she says powerfully. Brooke holds up her hands and let's Peyton know she isn't looking to start a fight. "Every couple has issues", Peyton continues. "Look at you and Nathan . . ."

"Yeah, Look at us", she says in a way that let's Peyton know there isn't much to strive for.

"Look Brooke –"

"I'm not saying you guys aren't ready, but maybe Lucas isn't as ready as he thought he was", she says quietly.

Peyton shakes her head and returns to the pillow on Brooke's lap. She closes her eyes and lets out a breath of air. She really wishes Brooke would just drop the topic. She really wishes her brunette friend hadn't brought it up.

And she really wishes she hadn't been thinking that same thing for the past month.

I got tired of waiting
Wondering if you were ever coming around
My faith in you was fading
When I met you on the outskirts of town
And I said...

Lucas parks his car at the Rivercourt and once the engine is cut he looks at Peyton. She's dressed simply and her curls are wild because their windows her down as he drove through the streets. He loves this woman.

"Let's go for a walk", he says softly; a smirk tugging at his lips. Peyton nods and they both exit the vintage car. Lucas walks near her, but not too close. The warm air swarms around them and they both breathe it in.

They've spent the summer with the same carefree attitude they've always had about them. Peyton's father took the rest of their school year to think about everything and he'd come to the conclusion that Lucas and Peyton were smart and responsible and that he really couldn't stop them from getting married

Only their closest friends knew about the pregnancy scare.

They're coming close to the start of the senior year in college and both of them are letting the future invade their thoughts. They also keep thinking about that day in the late spring when he walked out of her apartment and she let him.

Truth be told, they haven't been the same couple since then. They've tried . . . they smile and hold hands and appear normal when they're in public. They're not much different behind closed doors, but they both feel the change in them and it's scary.

Peyton's hurt because he walked out and Lucas is hurt because she let him leave.

They're both at fault, but they've never let a problem get buried before. Neither of them would have guessed that when they started dating everything would have changed. He grabs her hand because even though they're barley a foot apart, he feels her slipping away and it scares him.

"It's crazy that we're almost done, huh?" he says softly as he looks over at her. Peyton nods and bites her bottom lip.

"Seniors in college", she says in amazement. "Isn't Nathan coming home this weekend?" Lucas nods and smiles.

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure everyone's going to The Blue Post . . . I told them I'd talk to you", he says nonchalantly. Peyton makes a face and pulls her hand from his.

"You don't have to ask my permission if you wanna go out", the hard face she made before is still in tact and it makes Lucas stop in confusion.

"I wasn't asking for your permission, I was wondering if you wanted to go", he clarifies. "What's your issue?"

They stop at an open spot right off River Road; around the bend. The pond is behind them and the sun us setting. It should be a scene that they enjoy while making out. Lucas is pretty sure this is going to be anything but an experience he wants to remember.

"Nothing's wrong, Luke", Peyton says as she looks at the green grass beneath her feet. He puts his hands on his hips and tilts his head to the side

"You do know that I know you're lying, right?" he accuses. She lets out a breath and meets his eyes.

"Are we ever going to talk about it?" she asks in exasperation. Lucas looks up to the sky and then back at Peyton.

"Peyton, I just –"

"You walked out!" she reminds him. "You never would have done that before."

"You let me leave! You locked yourself in that bathroom and didn't come out!" he says in anger

"The Lucas I knew would have stayed on the other side of that door until I came out!" she yells as tears prick her eyes.

"I'm sorry that in that moment I couldn't be your best friend!" he says somewhat sarcastically. "Peyton, my entire life could have changed", he says forcefully.

"Mine could have too!" she counters. There's a moment of silence and then she says; "You know what else changes things? Marriage."

"Okay, those are tow different things", he argues. Peyton shakes her head.

"No, they're really not", he can hear the tears in her voice and he aches to hold her. Brooke's words come flooding back to her and she says, "Marriage is pretty much one step away from babies."

Lucas runs his hand over his face and lets out a sigh. Usually he and Peyton discuss everything; it was the best part of their friendship. "I don't know what you want me to say!"

She takes two giant steps over to him and stands in his face. "I want the guy that told my dad he loved me", she says passionately. He makes a face and the images of the day in her kitchen hit him like a ton of bricks. He just doesn't know how she knows any of that.

"Peyt –"

"Where's the guy that said he was unbelievably in love with me and that he ached to be around me?" at this point the tears are falling down her porcelain cheeks. "That he couldn't breathe when I was near him and that needed me to be his wife! Where is he?" she demands an answer that he can't give her.

"Peyton I fought for us", he says sincerely. She nods and takes a shuddering breath. "I stood up to your dad and I told him all those things because I love you and they're true", his voice cracks and Peyton has to snap her eyes shut.

"But that's not the guy standing in front of me", she goes back to her statements before and chin quivers. "Maybe I forced you into this."

"Peyton –"

"And maybe you're not ready for marriage", she rambles. "Or maybe you are, you're just not ready to marry me", she chokes on the words as they spill from her mouth and his eyes widen.

"Peyton Sawyer, that's not tru –"

"Maybe we need time off", she says finally. His breath stops and Peyton lifts her head. Blue meets green and Lucas frantically shakes his head. He can feel his world falling apart.

"We can focus on our last year of school and our internships and . . . ourselves", she finishes lamely. Her fingers play with the ring on her left hand and Lucas's hoarse voice begs with her;

"Peyton, don't do that", she sniffles loudly. She closes the gap between them and places her ring in his large palm. "I don't want this."

"I can't wear it", she says painfully. His large, rough hands close around it and he bites the inside of his cheeks.

"Peyton, this isn't meant for anyone else", he says behind clenched teeth; to stop the constant quiver of his chin. Peyton nods.

"I know", she whispers. "And when the time is right, I know I'll wear it again."

"I don't want to lose you", he says like a small child. Peyton's smile is soft and bittersweet.

"You won't . . . this doesn't change anything", she promises and her small hand cups his cheek.

Lucas eyes her warily. "It doesn't?" he says doubtfully.

Peyton doesn't answer, instead her thumb brushes across the skin of his cheekbone and she looks into his eyes. "I should get going", she tells him breathily.

"Let me take you", he offers, but Peyton shakes her head.

"I'll call Skills –"

"He's on a road trip with Bevin", he cuts her off.

"Then I'll call Mouth", she says next.

"Mouth drives a bike", he says with a smile.

"Then I'll sit in the basket", something mixed between a laugh and a sob leaves her throat and it tears his heart to shreds.

"Please let me take you", he pleads.

"I really can't let you do that", she says even though it hurts her to do so. She knows that if she lets him take her anywhere her resolve will crumble. And this is what they need. It sucks and it hurts and she wishes she could fast-forward past all of it, but she can't.

"I'll see you around Lucas Scott", she says with a look in her eyes and a coy smile that still gives him the butterflies.

He watches as she first backs away from him and then turns her back completely. He counts to twenty and then just like that night three and a half yeas ago – when she got too drunk at Nathan's party and refused to let him walk with her – he falls into step behind her.

The whole way back to her house her soft sobs fill his ears.

He wonders if his do the same for her.

Romeo save me, I've been feeling so alone
I keep waiting, for you but you never come
Is this in my head, I don't know what to think
He knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring and said...

Lucas sits atop the picnic table on the roof of his mother's café. He's got a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a small black box in the other. He opens and closes the box and the diamond glints in the moonlight.

It's been more then 6 months since they broke up and it's been just as long since that ring has been on her delicate finger. He takes a swig of the bitter liquid and makes a face as it trickles down his throat. His eyes glance to his cell and he lets out a breath.

It's been 20 minutes since he called her and at this point he's just about lost all hope. They're almost done with the school year; they're months away from graduation. They both promised each other that things would be the same and that they wouldn't let their break up get in the way.

They weren't and it did.

He lies back on the table and stares at the stars as they twinkle above him. He remembers the fake stars that used to be up in Peyton's room. The two of them would lie on her bed and stare at them for hours; entranced by the way they seemed to twinkle. He rests his hand on his chest, the box right above his heart.

He cannot lose her. They've been through too much both together and apart to simply stop being friends. They can't stop being lovers. They can't not get married. He closes his eyes and breathes in the crisp air.

On the street below Peyton grumbles as she walks in the darkness; her only light comes from the streetlamps. She puts her hands in the pocket of her sweatshirt and looks up at the sky. Tree Hill is always so beautiful at night.

Things are awkward to say the least. They smile and wave when they see each other on campus. They exchange notes in the classes that they have together. They meet up in the library with the rest of their study group and they still go out to dinner with their mutual friends.

Peyton turns the corner and pulls her hair into a messy bun. She hesitates outside his mother's café. When she first got his text she laid in bed for 15 minutes before she decided that it couldn't possibly hurt to see what he wanted.

She's rethinking that now.

She looks up at the rooftop and sighs. With all the courage she has, she pushes the door open and walks into the dark building. Her minds goes to all the memories she has in this place, it was her first real job. She and Lucas got caught making out on the couch in the corner; thankfully it was by Haley.

She walks into the back and remembers the water fight she and Lucas had in the midst of doing dishes. The time they got locked in the pantry caused Peyton to develop claustrophobia. She climbs the narrow staircase and pushes open the large door.

And like the years before, this rooftop causes an epiphany. But Peyton's the one coming to a realization.

The door slams shut before she can catch it and Lucas jolts off the table. Peyton stands there awkwardly and smiles meekly. She says that she's sorry, but she doesn't think that Lucas hears her.

She sees the bottle in his hand and rolls her eyes. Drinking through your feelings is never a good method; she knows firsthand.

Luca watches as she walks over to him and he smiles softly. She's in a pair of sleep shorts and her trademark converse. Her hair is in a messy bun and she's wearing a sweatshirt, but it's not any sweatshirt. It's gray and worn and familiar.

And it says Keith Scott Body Shop across the back.

"Hi", Peyton says after the minutes of silence. Lucas smiles wider and nods his head at her. Peyton fidgets with her hands and closes her eyes. Things never used to be awkward between them.

"I'm glad you came", he says honestly. "I didn't think you would", he continues his honestly. Peyton nods her head.

"Neither did I", she whispers with the same truth. Lucas winces at the honestly she showers him with and he looks to the floor. "Sorry", she mumbles.

"You look good", he says with a timid smile.

"I look like I just rolled out of bed", she argues.

"You look good", he says again and Peyton thanks the fact that it's nighttime; a blush fills her cheeks. "I've missed you", spills from his mouth.

Peyton looks to the side and then up at the stars. They twinkle in sync and she thinks it's odd. They almost look like they're crying. It's like the stars are crying for what they could have had.

She doesn't even notice that she's walked over to him until she feels him grab her hand. "I love you", he whispers.

'Lucas –"

"No Peyton, tell me you don't still love me!" he challenges. She looks into his eyes unconsciously squeezes his hand. "See", he says with that boyish smile. "It's still there."

"Of course it is! But that doesn't mean we should act on it!"

"Of course it does! I've never felt with anyone what I feel with you", he says passionately. Peyton closes her eyes and with her free hand she pinches the bridge of her nose.

"You're drunk", she says softly. She doesn't know why she's fighting so hard against what she felt when she first saw him on that table. It's probably because their love scares the Hell out of her.

Lucas and Peyton; True Love Always.

Or so her closet door says.

Lucas chuckles. "I've barely had three swigs", her eyes get a better view of the dark glass and she knows he's telling the truth. He places the bottle on the table and looks at her again.

"These past months have been torture without you", he whispers. Her bottom lip gets stuck in her teeth and she shakes her head. She can't listen to this.

She tries to pull her hand from his, but he doesn't let it happen. "No, I'm not letting you walk away from us! I'm not letting it end like this, our story is too important to me."

"What story?" she cries indignantly. In a moment of weakness, she lets him pull her flush against his body.

"Our love story', he says simply. She can feel the tears hit her eyes and she closes them tightly.

"Why are you doing this? Why now? We're so close to graduation and to getting our dreams . . . why now?" she demands an answer with her eyes still closed.

"Because none of it matters without you", he speaks without hesitation. "I told you once that you were my dream come true, I wasn't lying", her eyes open and she glares at him.

"No, you saved that for when you proposed", she spits out. She pushes on his chest and takes a few steps back. Lucas sticks his hand in his pocket and fumbles with the leather of the square box.

"I wasn't lying then either; I do think that I was trying to hold on to you though", he admits in a careful voice. Peyton folds her arms over her chest and rests her weight on one hip.

"So you didn't mean it?"

He can hear the hurt in her voice and he shakes his head. "I meant it, but I think it was me trying to make sure you were mine, that you'd stay mine . . ."

"You didn't need to propose to do that", she says in an apparent tone. He nods.

"I know that . . . now", she laughs a little and it makes him laugh too. It's been so long since he's heard that sweet noise. "But I think it's a good thing that we went through everything."

"I guess", she mumbles in confusion. He rolls his eyes and walks over to her; her cynical attitude will never surprise him.

"It was . . . because now I know that I'm ready for marriage", he whispers and her eyes fly to his. Lucas licks his lips and she can hear the gulping noise his throat makes as he swallows.

"Lucas", she whispers and watches as he gets down on one knee.

Lucas can feel his stomach flip and he nearly throws up, but he keeps it all together. He's covered all his bases in regards to what he's about to do. He's talked it over with his mother and he's sat down with Larry. Neither of them was thrilled after the two blondes called it quits, but Lucas is thankful that Larry is such an understanding man and that he was willing to give Lucas his blessing.

"Peyton, I love you and I do know that we're young and I know that it scared me before, but it doesn't anymore. I've had some pretty high highs and some really low lows in the last few months without you and I don't want to experience another thing; good or bad, without you by my side. Make my dreams come true and tell me that you'll be my wife and that you'll take me as yours again."

Peyton's tears trail down her cheeks and she lets out a soft laugh. She has nothing to be scared of because she knows that he's going to handle it with the gentlest of hands. He pulls the ring from his pocket and Peyton lets out a puff of air at the sight of the ring. Her ring.

"Yes baby", she says with a grin. Lucas mirrors her smile and slips the diamond onto her finger. He stays on the ground and holds her finger carefully; he feels like he can breathe again.

She pulls him up by his jacket and laughs as he wraps his arms around her waist. They spin until they're both dizzy and when they kiss it's the best thing they've felt in months. Lucas plays with the curls on her head and Peyton keeps her eyes closed for an extra minute.

They're back to where they started.

Marry me Juliet; you'll never have to be alone
I love you, and that's all I really know
I talked to your dad, go pick out a white dress
It's a love story, baby just say yes

Peyton takes a long breath in and presses her hand to her stomach. She feels like she's going to be sick. She trains her eyes on the ceiling and begs for the strength to make it through the day without throwing up.

Brooke would kill her.

She turns around and faces the full length mirror. She smoothes out the silk material she wears and a smile paints her lips. The white seems to shimmer in the sunlight that pours from the windows and the necklace she wears glints from that same sun.

It's her 'something borrowed' from Karen. The older woman has had the necklace in her family for years and since she never got married – since she never had the chance – she gave it to Peyton. The blonde vividly remembers the tear fest that ensued when the older woman handed it to her and spoke suck sweet words.

Peyton fluffs out the veil that's atop her head. Her 'something old' comes from her father – well her mother, really – it's the same veil that Anna wore when she and Larry married and when Peyton's father handed it to her a few weeks ago she burst into tears and he shortly followed.

"Jeez P. Sawyer soon to be Scott, did you have to get married in the middle of July?" Brooke asks as she enters the room; she pulls at the orange dress she wears. Peyton laughs and rolls her eyes at her friend's brutal honesty.

"Brooke!" Haley admonishes as she walks in behind her. Her petite blonde friend rolls her eyes and winks at the bride-to-be. Haley James is her maid of honor . . . well matron of honor.

In the months between she and Lucas reconciling and graduation Haley and Chris Keller had a secret ceremony on a small beach in California. Cleary, Peyton and Lucas and all their close friends were hurt, but Haley promised that they would renew their vows in front of everyone. Her excuse was that they didn't want to steal the epic blondes thunder.

Haley James Keller also gave her the 'something blue' that is currently nestled between her cleavage. It's incredibly hot this day in Tree Hill and the small handkerchief is to be used for emergencies on the altar. It's also got her and Lucas's initials stitched onto it.

"I'm good", Brooke says in pride as she smoothes out the same spots on the dress that Peyton just did. The blonde wants to be able to dispute that, but she can't. Brooke did a beautiful job.

"It's gorgeous Brooke", she agrees.

Her 'something new' is her wedding dress. She had insisted that she didn't need some over the top Cinderella dress and Brooke listened; to some degree. The dress is elegant and fits her like a glove. It's strapless and tight at the top, but flows down to her feet.

"I hope you're sketching out designs for me", Haley says from Peyton's other side. The blonde listens as they quickly chatter about the details that Haley does and does not want and it makes her smile. She's glad that she was the bridge to cross the gap between them.

There's a knock on the door and Peyton prays it's not Karen. The two of them already spent 45 minutes together and it left them both in tears. Brooke wasn't too thrilled, but thankfully the makeup artist hadn't left by then. When the door opens, Peyton sees her father's reflection in the mirror.

"We're all set out here", he says with a smile. The girls squeal and rush to get their bouquets of white roses. They each kiss Peyton and let her know that they'll se her out there.

"This is your last chance to bail", Brooke teases. Peyton's mouth drops and she looks to Haley.

"Yeah, we could toss you out the window; there's a care waiting", she says easily. Peyton makes a noise and pushes both girls out of the room; their laughter fills her ears the entire time.

"Hi daddy", Peyton whispers once they're alone. Larry holds his arm out and Peyton grabs her bouquet of orange roses. They walk into the hallway and Peyton can hear the music begin as Haley and Skills walk down the aisle.

"I'm proud of you, you know?" he whispers. Peyton's eyes fill with tears and he wipes at a stray droplet with his thumb. "You'll always be my little girl", he says with a thick voice.

Peyton throws her arms around his neck and kisses his cheek. "I will", she agrees and wipes at his stray tears once they break apart.

From the altar Lucas watches the recently married Haley and the engaged Skills walk towards him. He can't believe how they've all grown in the recent months. Skills stands beside him and claps his hand on his shoulder; Lucas couldn't have asked for a better best man.

Brooke and Nathan are next and Lucas smirks as Brooke fixes Nathan's orange boutonnière; when they lock arms they both blush. They still aren't together, but considering they all graduated a couple of months ago he doesn't think it'll take them too much longer. After that the music starts and everyone stands.

Then the doors open.

He watches Peyton come down the aisle and his smile never fades. She holds on to her father's arm and their eyes remain locked. The guests smile and ohh and ahh and Skills needs to remind him to breathe.

Peyton and Larry stand in front of the steps and Lucas walks down to meet them. Larry lifts Peyton's veil and kisses her cheek; private words are expressed and they make Peyton smile. Larry turns to Lucas and stretches out his hand. The shake his firm and solid and a silent promise to never make Peyton cry again.

After Larry heads to his spot the two blondes clasp hands and walk up the cloth covered steps. Haley is handed Peyton's bouquet and the priest clears his throat. Lucas and Peyton stand on the altar and face each other. Both ready to seal their fate forever.

And they couldn't be any happier.

Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh
'Cause we were both young when I first saw you


Let me know what you think!