A/N: Here it is; the epilogue. Thanks so much for reading. This story totally took on a mind of its own, so I'm glad you guys enjoyed it.
"OK, so...here's the thing," she says, walking into the bedroom where Lucas has been writing for what seems like the last day and a half.
They've been busy. It's been seven months since their little trip, and it seems that every day, they find something else that trip did for them.
It brought them together. It's where they fell in love. It gave them countless memories. It tanned their skin. It put a lot of miles on that old car of his. It inspired him to start writing a new novel. It gave them a lot of framed photos to place in their house.
It made them realize that they didn't need anything but each other.
And yet, she's still terrified.
"What's up?" he asks absently, his fingers still feverishly typing away on something she can only assume is brilliant.
"I'm pregnant," she states.
Even she's afraid of how steady her voice is as she says those two words that change both their lives.
There are two rings on her finger that he put there only two months ago, and while it may have seemed fast to anyone who doesn't know them, those who do, know that there's nothing to worry about. They're just getting a jump start on the inevitable.
There's a ring on his finger that somehow feels like the most natural thing he's ever worn, but he's in awe of every day. He's married. To Peyton Sawyer.
It was a fairly spontaneous proposal. She came home one night after a rough day of trying to hustle bands and organize schedules for Tric, and he already had dinner on the go. He had cleaned the entire house that day, just because he couldn't write after a lackluster practice with the team, and she started tearing up when she walked through the door.
He'd asked her what was wrong, and she told him nothing was. She said he'd saved her day, just like he'd saved her year, and maybe her life a time or two, and he smiled and kissed her.
And then he realized that he needed to make her his wife. It wasn't that he didn't already know he would, it was just that it struck him in that moment that he needed it to happen.
Since their return to town, they'd had only minimal criticism, and all from people who didn't really matter. Their closest family and friends were all thrilled, and they knew a wedding was in the future.
The future was then. He wasn't going to wait any longer.
When Peyton went to the bathroom to pull up her hair and remove her makeup, Lucas went to his bedroom and reached for that ring from its place in his drawer. She met him in the bedroom, and he was simply holding that diamond between his thumb and index finger, and he asked her if she'd marry him. It was simple. He knew she'd say yes, and she knew she'd say yes.
But she still cried.
The wedding was planned in a hurry, just because they wanted to get married right away. It was a small affair with simple flowers (Peyton carried white lilies and one red gerbera daisy), a simple white dress, a black suit, and a justice of the peace. They had a small dinner and cocktails at Tric after the ceremony on that old riverbed so very close to where they first met.
"You're...you're what?" he asks, finally looking up at her.
There's a timid, terrified smile on her face, and he's immediately in love with that expression.
But...did he just hear her right? His legs won't move, and he thinks he's smiling, too, but he's not really sure.
"I'm having a baby. I'm having your baby. We're having a baby," she says. She's all flustered, and it's just adorable.
God, she's having his baby.
"Really?" he asks, his voice caught in his throat as he stands from his place.
She just nods her head and he pulls her into his arms, cradling her head against his chest. He feels a couple of her tears seep through his shirt, and he pulls away, just so he can kiss her. He knows they're happy tears, but he doesn't care. He just needs to feel her.
She's the mother of his child.
And that sounds pretty damn amazing.
"How are you feeling? Are you OK? Do you need anything?" he asks as he moves to the bed, holding her hand and pulling her with him so they can sit down next to one another.
"I need you to tell me that this is OK," she says with a smile. She's fairly certain his reaction is a good one, but she just needs that confirmation.
"OK?" he asks, wide eyed. "Peyton, this is...amazing." She closes her eyes and lets out a sigh of relief. "I'm so...so..."
"Amazed?" she asks, laughing through the tears that are welling in her eyes again. "I know it's early. It's too early, and we're so young, and we're barely even married, but..."
He cuts her off with a kiss that's somehow soft, but filled with just about every reassurance she needs.
"I love you," he says, resting his forehead against hers.
"Yeah?" As soon as she's said the word, she lets out a soft laugh, and Lucas wipes her tears.
She knows he loves her, of course. And maybe they're young, but they're stable and each earning a little bit of money. She's managing Tric while she and Haley put the finishing touches on that record, and Lucas earns enough to support them with his coaching job. Their house is paid off - a gift from Karen to Lucas that Peyton reaps the benefits of.
"Tell me everything," he says.
She goes on to tell him about how she found out - a routine visit that brought forth the surprise revelation. She's four weeks along, according to the doctor, which is quite early, and she probably would have found out soon anyway, even if she hadn't gone to that appointment. She tells him she hasn't had any morning sickness or any other symptoms, really, but the doctor assured her that was all likely to come soon.
"I'm kind of scared, Luke," she says after an hour of conversation.
They're sitting back against the headboard, and she's tucked into his side, toying with one of the buttons on his shirt, and he just lets out a breath and kisses the top of her head.
"You don't need to be scared," he promises. "This is you and me. We can handle this."
"Babe, I know," he whispers. He's still in awe of this miracle, and he's certain she knows that. "We're going to have the best baby."
"Better than Jamie?" she asks. He can hear her smiling, and he loves that.
"A little," he says, and she laughs. They both love that little boy so much that it's hard to believe anyone could be better than him.
But they also both know that they'll think their baby is better than any other child in the universe, no matter what.
He rests his hand over her stomach, and she places her hand over his.
Neither of them says anything. They just sit there in the silence of their bedroom, each of them just happy that the other is happy.
There's been a lot of that going around for the past eight months or so.
The pregnancy has gone smoothly.
Peyton's waiting for the other shoe to drop.
She's read countless pregnancy books and convinced herself that she's going to develop some strange condition, or that the baby will be born with a tail or a sixth toe.
She doesn't appreciate when Lucas just laughs off her concerns.
Three days away from her due date, she's laying in bed with her laptop perched on a little tray in front of her. She's got a cup of herbal tea at the bedside, and a little bar of chocolate just waiting to be opened.
"18 pounds!" she shouts.
Lucas, banished to the kitchen because he was 'breathing weird', just hangs his head and lets out a sigh. What the hell is she talking about now?
"Hmm?" he asks gently, appearing in the doorway.
"This woman in Virginia had an 18 pound baby," she says, her eyes wide.
"Are you Googling? You're Googling, aren't you?" he asks, squinting at her for doing the very thing he made her promise not to do when he brought over her computer. Lucas has tried to keep her away from Google as much as possible.
"18 pounds. I'm going to have an 18 pound baby. Probably bigger," she starts, ignoring his question.
"That's absurd," he says gently, somehow not patronizing her. "You're like, the tiniest pregnant woman ever. There's no way our baby is going to be 18 pounds."
"But nothing," he says, walking over and closing her computer as he sits down next to her. "Remember last week at our appointment? They said he's 7 or so pounds. Which is perfectly normal."
"A lot can happen in a week," she argues.
"11 pounds can't," he laughs. He raises one eyebrow and she smiles and rolls her eyes.
OK, so he's right.
He's always right.
"OK," she says softly. "And don't say 'he'. We don't know if it's a he."
"I didn't want to say 'it'," he tells her.
He's been yelled at for that before.
"Thank you," she says with a smile. "I want to kiss you, but it's hard to move."
He just laughs and shakes his head, and closes the distance between them to press his lips to hers. He rests his hand on her stomach just in time to feel the baby kick. It's not the first time that's happened. Peyton insists their baby just loves his or her daddy already.
"I have to run out for a bit. You OK here?" he asks, pulling her laptop away from her and tucking it under his arm.
"I'll be fine," she says. "Where are you going?"
"We're out of that yogurt you love, and you said you wanted ice cream sandwiches, so I thought I'd grab some of those," he tells her, walking across the room and setting her computer on the desk. He gives her a pointed look and raises one eyebrow at her. "Do not Google."
"I promise," she says with a smile. "Hey, can you get some blueberries? I really feel like blueberry pancakes."
"Sure," he says softly. "I'll be an hour. No longer."
"OK. Love you."
"Love you, too," he echoes.
He's gone no longer than an hour.
Of course, it's during that hour that Peyton goes into labour.
Sawyer Penelope Scott is born 13 hours later. No tail. Ten toes. Ten fingers. Blonde hair, and her daddy's blue eyes. She comes out screaming, and calms down immediately after she's placed in her mother's arms. Both Lucas and Peyton cry as their daughter squirms and wiggles and bats her little fists.
"She's so amazing," Peyton whispers in awe. "She looks like me."
"She does," Lucas agrees. "Lucky girl."
He rests his forehead against his wife's and kisses her before they both go back to looking at their amazing little girl.
"I love you," he whispers.
Peyton isn't sure who he's talking to, and when she says it back, she's not sure who she's talking to, either.
It doesn't really matter.
"Honey, someone wants her daddy," Peyton says, walking into the bedroom to find Lucas typing away at his desk.
He's working on his second novel, getting daily calls from his editor, and trying to meet his deadline. He's got a practice in an hour and a half, and a meeting with the athletic department that evening.
But he'll drop everything when he hears that phrase.
"What's wrong, sweetie?" Lucas asks, standing from his place and taking his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter from his wife's arms. She curls against his chest and rests her head on his shoulder.
To say she's a daddy's girl would be an understatement.
"I'm sleepy," she says simply.
"Sleepy?" he asks, throwing Peyton a wink as she stands in the door, watching the scene unfold. She's got one hand resting over her heart as she often does when she watches Lucas with their daughter. "Why don't you have a nap?"
"I want to nap with you," she says. "And mommy."
"Sawyer, daddy has some work to do," Peyton says gently, running her hand over her daughter's hair.
"Nope. I'm all done," he says. It's a lie, and Peyton can tell, but she doesn't say a word. "And I was just going to come and ask if you wanted to have a nap with me."
"You were?" Sawyer asks with wide eyes.
"Yup," he promises.
He walks over to the bed and sets her on her feet on the mattress, and she quickly lays down in the middle of the bed, smiling at her parents. Lucas drapes his arm around Peyton's shoulder and kisses her temple before she moves to her side of the bed. Lucas reaches for a blanket from the chest in the corner of the room, and he drapes it over his wife and daughter before he lays down. He and Peyton are facing each other, with Sawyer on her back between them. Their hands rest on each other's hips.
They've got this down to a science. Sawyer often makes this request. Neither Peyton nor Lucas can say they hate it.
"Mommy?" Sawyer asks, turning to Peyton.
"How come Jamie has a brother but I don't?" the girl asks innocently.
Lucas looks over at his wife and smiles, and she thinks that maybe it's that very moment that they decide to have another baby.
They've talked about it a few times, but they never put a timeline on it. It was always just one of those things that they both knew would happen. Maybe when Sawyer was three. That was the number they'd tentatively thrown out there.
Now that Peyton owns her own label - with both Haley, and another singer/songwriter signed and releasing new albums later in the year - they're even more financially stable than ever. Lucas' novel sold better than anyone expected, and he's still got his job with Nathan at the high school. They're doing well. They're growing up, and their marriage is amazing.
Maybe it's the perfect timing for a second baby.
"Well, maybe you'll get a brother or sister soon," Peyton says, as diplomatically as possible.
"I could have a sister?" Sawyer asks excitedly. "I want one of those!"
"Baby, you can't pick," Lucas says with a chuckle.
"Oh," Sawyer says, her nose crinkled in confusion. "Well, a brother or a sister." She looks up at her daddy, big blue eyes pleading. "'Kay?"
"We'll see what we can do," Lucas says, winking at Peyton. "Nap time."
Lucas watches as his girls close their eyes, and he smiles to himself.
Peyton is an amazing mother. He'd known she would be, though she had her doubts while she was pregnant. She's an absolute natural, and every time a new situation arises that they've never encountered, she takes it all in stride. Every scraped knee or playground disagreement. Temper tantrums and fears and tears over things that are silly to anyone over the age of five, but to Sawyer are too much to handle without her mommy. Peyton loves it all. She loves being a mother, and that's no secret to anyone.
And she's still so damn sexy that Lucas can hardly believe it.
"Daddy?" Sawyer asks after a few minutes, though her eyes are still closed.
"Do you love mommy?" she inquires.
Lucas looks over at Peyton, and she opens her eyes to look at him, and they share one of those secret smiles like they've been doing for years and years. They can have a silent conversation without anyone else knowing.
"Of course, I do," Lucas answers, his eyes locked with his wife's.
"Good," the little girl says sleepily. "Me too."
Peyton's heart melts in her chest.
Lucas takes Peyton's hand as she exits the store they've stopped at. Lucas was pumping gas while she went inside to pay and to pick up some snacks. They kiss outside the car - that same old Mustang Lucas has had since he was 17 - before she walks around to the passenger side.
"Mom!" Sawyer shouts as Lucas and Peyton climb into the car. "Matt just spit in my drink!"
"Matthew Scott," Peyton says in her stern, motherly tone; the one that's only used for discipline. "That's disgusting."
"I wanted a drink," he says innocently.
"How about some manners?" Lucas suggests. "Here, Sawyer. Take this one."
Lucas looks in the rear view mirror as he passes the unopened bottle of water back to his daughter, and he sees her stick her tongue out at her younger brother. She looks back just in time to see her father watching, and he just winks at her.
Matt had that one coming.
"So, you wanna tell us where we're going?" Sawyer asks.
She thought it was weird when her mom and dad came into her room the night before and told her to pack a week's worth of clothes into a bag, and grab whatever else she needed. Of course, that included a stack of books and her iPod. She was told she wasn't allowed to bring her cell phone, which she wasn't too thrilled about.
When she saw that they were taking her dad's Mustang instead of the family SUV, she was even more confused.
Now that they've been driving for hours and hours, and she still has no clue what's going on, she's getting a little freaked out. She figures, though, that if they were going to send her to a boarding school to start her freshman year, they might have told her that ahead of time, and she'd probably need more than just a week's worth of clothes.
"Yeah," Matt echoes.
Sawyer rolls her eyes and Matt hits her arm. Peyton turns around when she hears her daughter say 'ow'.
"Seriously, you two. If you don't stop fighting..."
As soon as Sawyer hit 10, and Matt was six, she started to think that maybe having a younger sibling wasn't all it was cracked up to be. He got into her things, and he was always following her around. He'd hog the TV and watch stupid shows, and if you asked her, he always seemed to get his way.
That last one, of course, wasn't true. She still felt like it sometimes, though.
Now that he's the 10-year-old, and she's 14, they get along only marginally better. They do a lot together, actually. They play basketball for hours at the River Court with their cousins, and they often now agree on what to watch on television - something Peyton is infinitely grateful for.
But they're siblings, so they still have their squabbles.
"What?" Matt asks obliviously.
"Your father will be mad," Peyton says, avoiding making a real threat that they probably would all know would never be carried out.
"Where are we going?" Sawyer asks again.
"Florida," Lucas finally answers. Peyton smiles at him and rests her left hand on his shoulder like she usually does when they drive together.
"Daytona!?" Sawyer asks excitedly.
"No!" Lucas answers quickly. "You're never going to Daytona."
"Maybe when I'm older, for spring break or something," the young girl suggests.
"No," he repeats.
Sawyer knows better than to argue with her father when his tone is stern like that.
"So, where?" Matt asks.
"There's this little beach," Peyton starts. "And there are cottages you can rent there, and you have your own private little house, and you can lay on the sand all day."
"Awesome," Sawyer says with a smile. "But why?"
"Just...family vacation," Peyton says.
"Why there, though?" Matt asks. "How come we can't go to...to Texas or Mississippi or...what's that other one?"
"You mean, any of the other 48 states?" Sawyer asks sarcastically.
Yeah, she definitely inherited a lot from her mother.
"We're going because before your mother and I were married, we took a trip sort of like this one, in this car, and we stayed in one of those little cottages," Lucas explains. "And since we've been married for close to 15 years, but we can't escape you goofballs, you're coming with us."
"That's kind of cool," Sawyer says softly. "Wait. Is this the trip uncle Nathan was telling me about where you went all over the place?"
"That's the one," Peyton laughs.
"And you weren't even 'together' when you left, but you came back a couple?" the girl continues.
"Yes," Lucas says simply. They'll let their daughter think their relationship was just that simple for the time being. She knows who Brooke is, and why her middle name is what it is, but she doesn't know much more than that. "And if you don't stop arguing, we'll leave you at a seedy gas station in the middle of nowhere, and we'll think about picking you up on our way back through Georgia in a week."
Peyton starts laughing hysterically, leaving their two kids completely confused. Sure, their dad is funny sometimes, but they don't really see what's so hilarious about that. Sawyer and Matt just look at each other and shrug their shoulders, then Sawyer goes back to listening to her music, and Matt goes back to playing his video game.
"You're a jerk," Peyton says once the kids are preoccupied again.
"Better than what you called me 15 years ago," Lucas mumbles.
"I still don't know what you were thinking," she says. He turns to her momentarily and shakes his head.
"I was thinking that you sleep like a corpse, and I'd probably be OK to run into a convenience store for two minutes," he says with a laugh. Peyton swats his arm as her jaw drops.
"No arguing, you two," Sawyer says jokingly, making Matt laugh.
"Watch it, little girl," Peyton warns, though there's a smile on her face as she says the words.
Lucas just shakes his head at the lot of them and turns up the radio a little bit. Sawyer pulls out her earphones and listens to the oldies station that plays as they drive along that beach side road. Peyton holds Lucas' hand on the gearshift like she did all those years ago, and when he pulls over, she looks at him questioningly.
Then she looks outside.
She just smiles at him and shakes her head.
"Keep it PG this time," she whispers in his ear.
It's the place where he first kissed her on that trip, and Lucas tells the kids to run ahead to the beach, and that he and Peyton will be there in a minute.
"Lucas Scott, how did you remember this exact spot?" she asks, leaning up against the car.
"I remember everything, babe," he insists. She can't really argue with that.
He steps in front of her and rests one hand on her hip, kissing her lazily as the sun beats down on them. He slips his hand beneath the cotton of the top she wears, and she pushes him away slightly.
"Luke, the kids are right there," she reminds him breathlessly.
"They're fine. They're not even paying attention," he says, leaning down to kiss her again. "If she tries to drown him, I'm sure he'll call for us."
"Lucas!" Peyton squeals. She swats at his chest, but he wraps his fingers around her wrist gently, then intertwines their fingers as he kisses her again.
She has to let him. She really can't resist it.
"Ugh," Matt groans, looking over to where his parents are. "They're so gross."
Their mom and dad aren't exactly subtle. Come to think of it, neither are Nathan and Haley. Sure, they keep things fairly low-key, but every once in a while, Sawyer or Matt will walk into the kitchen and see their mom and dad laughing and kissing.
Sawyer used to think it was disgusting. She didn't want to see that, and she certainly didn't want to know that her parents kissed in the kitchen, of all places. But as she gets older, it bothers her less and less. She actually kind of hopes she'll have that kind of relationship someday.
"They're not gross," Sawyer says with a smile, draping her arm around her little brother's shoulder. "They're just in love."