I don't own it, just like I don't own "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol.

Alright, this is just a little one-shot because the idea popped into my mind and I couldn't get rid of it. This takes place after JuPe break up; we're also going to assume that they were together for around two years. They're all 22 at the start of this, well LP are – I think Lindsey was always a little older. Lindsey and Lucas are together – bear with me – and the LP proposal did happen, anything else should be revealed. Also, this is going to jump around quite a bit, so keep an eye on that too.

It was supposed to be little, but it ended up being the exact opposite. Sorry for the length, unless you enjoy long stories LOL.

Oh and . . . Happy OTH Wedding Day!!!!!!!!


We'll do it all
On our own

She doesn't know what she's doing. Well she does, but she cannot believe that this is her life right now. She takes a few deep breaths and pinches the bridge of her nose. This is all so nerve wrecking and scary and any other adjective she could possible think of. She takes one last deep breath and walks into the bathroom.

And her life changes.

She doesn't know if it's for the better.

Her life is a whirlwind after that. She's crying and hyperventilating and then she's packing a bag. She doesn't know where she's going. She hasn't talked to her best friend in years and her married friends are busy with their own lives. There's one other person, but she doubts she can call upon him; let alone with this situation.

Regardless, she's packing some stuff into a duffle bag and hastily pulling her hair up into a pony tail. She takes one last look around her apartment and then she leaves. She locks her door and waves to the doorman and catches a cab. As Los Angeles, as her life, passes her by she starts to cry again.

Everything was good. Everything was great! She was happy and in love and just really happy; it's been far too long since she's felt such happiness. And now it's all gone.

The last few days were Hell and just when she thought she was finally getting over that feeling of abandonment, something else comes up. She tosses some cash at the cabbie and slams the door shut behind her.

The automatic doors to LAX open for her and she steps in.

She's running on impulse and she knows this. It's what she does. Come face to face with an overwhelming emotion or issue and then run. Eventually it'll go away . . . this won't go away in time.

Luckily she gets a seat on the plane and after the flight attendant checks her ticket, she's on her way. She doesn't really know what she's going to do when she gets there. The only mother figure in her life is out seeing the world with her daughter and the man she loves.

She has nobody for her there and she's dreading her hasty decision more and more. But it's not enough to deter her. She needed to get away, she knows this. Los Angeles isn't home and it's not familiar and she just really needs home and familiarity.

And she once again thinks about that other person.

Those eyes and that smile and the way that his hair is always so perfectly messy; she misses him. Everything about him is missed and she isn't sure she has a right to. She isn't sure he has the right to be missed. He left her, totally and completely alone, in a hotel room.

After he proposed and she said she needed time.

She feels like she's about to hyperventilate and so she takes a few deep breaths. She can't be the girl that freaks out on an airplane with a tone of other people because that would be unfortunate.

The plane comes to a stop and she's waiting to get up from her seat. Her knee is jumping up and down in nervousness and the person beside her is staring at her like she's nuts. Maybe she is. She's here after four years of being away and she has nothing here for her.

She leaves the terminal and waits for a taxi outside. It's the middle of the night on this coast and that's not something she took into consideration. It was nine o'clock when she left and it's well after midnight now.

She finally gets into car and when the driver asks for an address, she freezes. Where is she going? It takes her a minute, but she tells him the name of a place that she holds very close to her heart.

When he stops again, they're at the Rivercourt.

She gives him some money and she grabs her bag. The tarmac feels exactly how she remembers. It's just not home or familiar. Even though she's just gotten out of the cab that would have taken her anywhere, she starts walking around her hometown.

The air is crisp and warm and feels amazing as it blows her curly hair around her face. She's missed this air and she's missed this town and it's just really good to be back home. Everything about this place is comforting, even the sidewalks feel different here.

Maybe it's because he still walks along them.

Her mind has been a mess lately. She's missed the blonde man a lot, but she was also in love with someone else. It wasn't the same kind of love – because it could never compare – but it was love. Sweep you off your feet and melt you with kisses, love.

And she lost it.

And now, more then ever, she needs to feel safe again. With that thought in her mind, she starts walking with determination. She passes her house and takes a quick glance, it's on the market since she wasn't home and her father was still working.

She wraps her sweater around herself a little tighter and adjusts her duffle bag on her shoulder. She looks around Tree Hill and wonders how it can seem so different and still be exactly the same. Maybe it's because it's summer; she's always loved summers in Tree Hill.

Summer is her favorite time of the year for many reasons, but the one that sticks out the most is the time she spent with a certain blonde. They were alone for an entire summer and she's never felt more safe or connected and she's never felt more at home then she has with him.

That notion leads her here.

She's standing in front of his bedroom door and her hands are trembling. She raises her hands multiple times, but she gets too nervous. She knows he's awake; there a soft light on and she can hear a few noises.

She finally takes a deep breath and raps her knuckles against the glass pane. She nervously bites her bottom lip when she hears his feet pad against his hardwood floors. He pulls the door open and they simply stare at each other.

Lucas is dumbfounded. He blinks his eyes a million times; is he seeing things? He watches as she nibbles on her bottom lip some more and he knows that this is very much a real situation. He doesn't question it like his rationale is telling him to. He embraces it, embraces her. He hugs her fiercely and she finally feels it.

That familiar feeling of home.

We don't need
Or anyone

He ushers her into the house when they break apart.

She's still biting her bottom lip and hugging herself protectively. She seems to be lost in another world and Lucas takes the duffle bag from her arm before staring at her in wonder. It's been years since he's seen her, but she still looks the same. A little worn down and somewhat sadder, but he knows she's still the same Peyton Sawyer.

Her eyes are trained on anything and everything. His bedroom is much more mature then the last time she was here. The walls are a deeper color and even his bedspread is older. Her eyes catch sight of the poster from his book tour and her heart cracks. She closes her eyes and lets out a long, slow breath.


Her eyes snap open and green meet blue; she nearly melts into the floor. That's when she realizes that maybe she was never supposed to be with Julian. Yes, his kisses were amazing and she felt her heart beat faster every time their lips met.

But she just looks at Lucas and she feels that.

"I'm sorry, I know it's really late I just didn't know where else to go", she mumbles and bows her head. Lucas doesn't know if it's his hero complex with her, but he walks forward and takes her small hand in his.

They both ignore the bolt of electricity.

He takes her over to his bed and they both sit on the edge of it. He waits another few minutes before he clears his throat. He can only stay silent for so long.

"How come . . . why are you – you live in LA, Peyton", he finally settles on something that would help explain his confusion. She lives on the other coast. Surely she has friends there that can help with this situation, whatever this situation might be.

In fact, last he heard she had a boyfriend.

"Yeah, but it's not home, Luke", she whispers the shortened version of his name and it's never sounded better then when it's leaving her mouth. "I just needed to feel home", she whispers some more.

That's why she's here.

Lucas is glad Lindsey's gone for the week.

"What's going on?" he asks cautiously. He feels afraid for her now; whatever went on was big enough to cause her to fly to Tree Hill in the middle of the night. The place that she once told him housed a lot of painful memories. "Peyton, come on", he urges.

She's back to feeling silly for coming here. He can't save her from this, nobody can. This is something she needs to handle on her own, but there's something about Lucas that makes the world seem better and safer and more livable.

She takes in a gasping breath and that's when she notices she's crying. Those tears turn into sobs and pretty soon she's hyperventilating. Lucas is panicking.

His hands are fidgeting and he's shaking his head. He's all of ten seconds away from calling Haley, when she finally takes a decent breath. "He broke up with me", she cries out.

Lucas furrows his brows. She's home because her boyfriend broke up with her? That doesn't really seem like a reason to flee the state. But then again, this is Peyton; anything's possible. He also feels a pang of something in his chest, but he pushes it away.

"Peyt –"

"He left me and now I'm all alone", she rambles as she stands from his bed. "People always leave me and now I'm totally and completely alone and it's just not something I can do right now!"

Lucas reaches for his cell phone because he's really considering calling Haley now. He used to be the person that could calm Peyton down. He knew what to say or do and she would be a lot more stable then she is right now. He wants to call Haley because she's a girl and she'd know what to do; hopefully.

"Peyton, just breathe okay. You need to calm down", he says softly. She paces across his floor and he's sure if she continues this there's going to be a hole in his bedroom.

"Calm down, I can't calm down!" she yells. "I can't . . . breathe", she mumbles. She's hyperventilating once again and Lucas leaps to his feet. He puts his hands on her shoulders and then trails down her arms to grab her hands.

They feel so perfect in his that it momentarily freezes him. He shakes his head and clears those thoughts from his mind. He has a girlfriend and she's standing in his bedroom crying about a boy that just broke up with her; broke her heart.

Kind of like he did once upon a time.

His hands leave hers and he cups her face. Their eyes lock and Peyton's sobs intensify. Lucas is trying to whisper comforting words and she's sure they really are comforting, but she doesn't hear them.

"This is a big deal, it's a very big deal, Lucas", she says earnestly. "It's actually kind of small right now, but it's still unbelievably huge!"

For a second his eyes flicker with acknowledgment, but it comes and goes. She cannot be saying what he think's she's saying. There's no way that she's can possible be what he's thinking. He can feel his blood pounding in his ears and when she speaks, that only pounds harder.

"I'm pregnant."

And he hugs her again. Mostly because he knows she's always loved his hugs and she looks like she could really use one. And maybe because he's hoping that this is all a dream so he needs to hold onto her for as long as possible.

When they break apart and she's still crying he knows he isn't dreaming.

He's in a nightmare.

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

A few days later Brooke Davis is poking her head into Lucas Scott's bedroom.

She grins at the body that's in the bed and she softly closes the door behind her. She tiptoes into the room and smirks as she jumps on top of the person that's nestled in the covers. She's expecting Lucas Scott.

So she screams when it isn't.

"Peyton?" she questions when her heart calms a bit. The curly blonde furrows her brows and shakes her head. Is she dreaming this?

"Brooke?" she asks in the same tone. Her brunette friend kinks her brow and tilts her head in that typical Brooke Davis fashion. "What are you doing here?"

"What are you doing here?" she asks with that smirk still in place. Peyton rolls her eyes and lets out a breath. "I called you, but your phones off or something", she says and shrugs.

Peyton nods. She turned her phone off for her plane ride and she hasn't turned it back on. She's sure work has called, even though she's merely the assistant to the assistant. She just wasn't ready to deal with the real world yet. She doesn't know if she ever will be.

"Yeah, I've had some stuff going on lately", she says vaguely. "What are you doing in Tree Hill, miss corporate?" she teases. Brooke wears the pensive smile and guarded eyes she always does when she's not sure what to say or when she's feeling extra vulnerable.

"I just needed to come home", she whispers with a soft smile. Peyton smiles back.

"I know the feeling", there's a stretch of silence where both girls wonder how they're in their hometown after years of being away and they both happen to be here together. Peyton looks at their positions and it makes her laugh.

"What?" Brooke asks with a smile. Peyton's laugh has always been infectious. Peyton shakes her head and her flattened hair sways with the movement. "P. Sawyer!"

"This is just totally something Lucas has dreamed about", she says with her laughter in the air. Brooke stares at her and then eyes the way they are in his bed and she laughs so hard she snorts.

"Oh my God, it definitely is", she says with tears coming out of her eyes. They continue to laugh and when neither of them can breathe, Brooke looks at her seriously. "Why are you in Lucas' bed?"

Peyton bites the inside of her cheek and looks down. Brooke opens her mouth to say something else, but she's interrupted when the bedroom door opens and Lucas Scott walks in.

He's sweaty from his run and it causes Peyton's eyes to rake over him. He's wearing black basketball shorts and a grey wife-beater, but she can imagine how his body looks beneath it all.

Lucas examines the situation and smirks devilishly. Brooke Davis and Peyton Sawyer are in his bed together. And it's totally better then when they all slept in it after the attack senior year. Peyton's wearing a tank top and Brooke's straddling her. He has to take a breath.

"You have no idea how many dreams you're fulfilling", he mumbles with that damn smirk still in place. The girls burst into laughter again and Lucas chuckles. He walks forward and Brooke stands from the bed.

"Hi Luke", she says with her raspy voice. She tilts her head and smiles softly at him. He holds his arms out and she steps into his arms.

"Brooke Davis, I've missed you", he says softly and hugs her close. He sends Peyton a smile and a wink over the brunette's shoulder. Peyton grins and sends him a small wave. Brooke and Lucas break apart and she looks between the two of them.

"Okay, I'm going to go in the kitchen", she mumbles and flees the room. Both blondes roll their eyes and Lucas chuckles as he searches his drawers for some clothing.

"She totally thinks something's going on", Peyton grumbles and pushes the covers off of her body.

Lucas turns around and his smile fades slightly. She's wearing a pair of pink cotton shorts and that white tank top rises to reveal some of her creamy flesh as she stretches her arms over her head. He whips his head around and clears his throat.

"Well it might be easier to dispute that if you weren't sleeping in my bed", he says playfully. Peyton's mouth drops and she throws a pillow at him. He laughs as he catches it.

"I told you I didn't have to sleep here", she says with a pout. Lucas nods and walks over to her. He tosses the pillow onto the bed and looks at her. "Seriously, Lucas –"

"It's fine", he assures her. "I like my couch", he mumbles. Her hand flies forward and smacks his chest. "Ow, I was kidding", he says with a laugh.

"Lucas", she whines. She really does feel bad about their current sleeping arrangements. "I don't understand why you won't sleep in your mom's room."

He gives her a look that makes her think she's just grown another head. "Because that's creepy", he says obviously. Peyton rolls her eyes and shakes her head.

"Look, I know I'm a total pain in the ass, and I'm going to look for a place soon, I've just been kind of out of my mind lately", she says as she makes the bed. Lucas grabs her wrist and it stops her movements.

"You're not a pain in the ass and I don't mind having you here", he says honestly. Peyton smiles and closes her eyes.

"I bet Lindsey will mind", she mumbles. Lucas throws his head back and walks over to his desk. "Like I said, I'm going to look for places to live and for a job . . . I just need some time."

Luca nods and walks to his door, before he leaves, he looks at her. "Are you gonna tell Brooke?"

Peyton nods. "She'll probably beat it out of me", she says and they both laugh.

Twenty minutes later she and Brooke are strolling along the pier and sharing stories about the past few years of their lives. Brooke makes a comment about working all the time and always feeling pressured to be with the newest hot guy and even though it's fun it's not fulfilling.

"What about you?" she asks after a minute. "What's got you sleeping in Lucas Scott's bed?" she asks with a cheeky smile. Peyton shrugs.

"LA just wasn't for me anymore. It's too overwhelming", Brooke nods and pulls her hair up into a pony tail.

"And staying with Lucas isn't overwhelming?" she questions softly. Peyton sends her a pointed look and the – now – red head shrugs innocently.

"Lucas and I were a long time ago. He's got a girlfriend and I've just gotten out of a relationship . . ."

Brooke stops them and demands to be filled in, so Peyton does. She tells her all about Julian and their meeting and their relationship from beginning to end. Brooke nods in understanding and makes a comment about how Peyton wouldn't want to look at the paper this morning.

Apparently Julian's been healing his heart with a blonde in Sundance.

And when Brooke questions her and says something about her being stronger then that, Peyton blurts it out. "I'm pregnant."

Brooke's silent for all of ten seconds before the questions fly from her mouth. Peyton answers accordingly and when Brooke asks why she went to Lucas, the blonde shrugs. It just felt right, and when she tells Brooke this her friend nods. And nothing else is said about it.

Later, Peyton walks into the bedroom – her bedroom for now – to find him asleep in bed with a book on his chest. It's a sight that warms her heart and makes her smile. But not for all the obvious reasons.

He's reading What to Expect When You're Expecting.

She contemplates sleeping elsewhere, but he would lecture her if she slept on the couch and sleeping in his mother's bed would be a little creepy – though she'd never tell him that. Plus, this is the only air conditioned room in the entire house and it feels so nice in here.

She grabs her tank top and shorts and takes a deep breath before pulling her shirt over her head and throws on her other top. Her skirt is next and thankfully Lucas doesn't wake while she stands there in her panties.

She crawls into bed and rests on her side facing away from him. They're adults and she's pregnant so this is something that they can both handle. Peyton lets the sound of the air conditioning and Lucas' gentle snores lull her to sleep in record time.

At some point in the night, she finds her way into the crook of his arm.

When Lucas wakes he's still amazed at how perfect she fits there before falling back into a slumber.

I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel

She meets Lindsey a few weeks later.

It's September now and the heat is still unbearable. The term Indian summer has never had more meaning to Peyton that it does now.

She's spent her time remodeling and negotiating deals for the record company she's building up. A record company that she's creating with the space that Lucas graciously gave her. It was something she was scared to accept at first simply because she didn't want to fail. She was only assistant to the assistant in Los Angeles.

But Lucas reminded her of the greatness she held when she left and he was so sure that she still held it within her. That's been her driving force. Lucas gave her the space and Brooke invested in her and she felt like she could really do it. And she far she has.

So between her crazy schedule and Lucas's coaching at Tree Hill High, it just wasn't possible to run into each other. When she does, it's for a quick cup of coffee – decaf for both, Lucas would suffer with her – or to complain about the uncooperative people she deals with, Lucas talks about how sucky his team is and how one player reminds him of Nathan at that age.

When she parks her car outside his house she sighs. Her legs are sticking to the seat of her Comet and it's probably the most uncomfortable feeling she's ever felt. She gathers all her hair off her neck and hopes for a breeze to add in her relief; she was in a rush this morning and forgot a hair tie. It's pissed her off all day.

Her hair falls down messily and her frizzy curls bounce around. She steps out of the car and sure enough as her legs leave the leather a suction noise is made. She's wearing denim shorts that would give Daisy Duke a run for her money and a flowy top that Brooke made her.

She's barely showing at the beginning of her second trimester, but Brooke's already going crazy with maternity clothes, she swears Peyton's her muse. She also made a comment about that being a trend in their group. Peyton decided to ignore that statement completely.

When she walks into the house she's overwhelmed by a delicious smell. She starts to smile and think of how considerate Lucas is. And he's been really great these past few weeks. After a quick call to Karen about a week after the blonde arrived it was decided that her bedroom would become Peyton's. Peyton shook her head and insisted that she could move in with Brooke, but her best friend disagreed.

Apparently, every room in her new house was being used as work space.

So here she is in the middle of September with all her stuff – bed set included – in a room across the hall from her ex-boyfriend. The man she loved at sixteen and lost her best friend over – twice.

And now he's giving her a place to live and he's given her the motivation to build her company. He asks her how she feels and he takes her to her doctors' appointments. And he's just been amazing. She told him once that she had all her dreams wrapped up in him.

Maybe she still does.

Peyton shakes her head and pushes those thoughts from her mind. He's being typical Lucas and she's just transferring feelings from the deadbeat that's the father of her child. She can't really consider him a deadbeat, she still hasn't told him. She's going to; she just needs more time.

She slips off her yellow flip flops by the door and walks down the hall. She's just at the door to her bedroom when she sees a woman. She's got long brown hair and a pair of light eyes. She's laughing and talking and then she sips her glass of wine.

Peyton knows who she is; she's seen the pictures.

Instead of walking into the kitchen, she heads for her bedroom. She closes the door behind her, but makes sure she does it quietly. The last thing she wants is to have to sit with the happy couple. Peyton cringes.

That even sounded bitter in her head.

She changes into a tank top and with the close fitting shirt on, she can see a small pouch. It still amazes her that she's carrying a human being. This baby could become an artist or the president or maybe he or she will change the world.

It also amazes her that she has to pee every twenty minutes.

She steps out of her room and into the hallway and she curses her timing. Lucas and Lindsey are making out – they're really only kissing – in the kitchen. She takes a few steps and also curses the squeaky floors.

"Peyton", Lucas says in surprise. "I didn't hear you come in", he says sheepishly. She smiles softly and waves her hand at him. He looks her up and down for a second – she is Peyton Sawyer after all – until Lindsey clears her throat.

"Oh", he says in final recognition. "Lindsey, this is Peyton. Peyton, this is Lindsey . . . my girlfriend", he isn't sure why he hesitates on her title. Well maybe he is, but it's not something he wants to think about.

Peyton plaster a smile on her face and outstretches her arm. "Hi, nice to meet you", she says in her most polite tone. Lucas resists the urge to roll his eyes. Is she forgetting that he's known her for six years?

"The infamous Peyton Sawyer", Lindsey says with a smile that neither blonde can decipher. Lucas looks at her and raises a brow. "It's just nice to put a face to a name", she elaborates.

"Well it's nice to put an actual person to pictures", Peyton says. "And to everything Lucas says", she adds and sneaks a glance at him.

He doesn't really talk about her too much at all.

They stand in silence that they all know is awkward, but don't dare to admit to it. It's really more uncomfortable for Lucas. He's standing in the kitchen with his ex-girlfriend who is pregnant with another man's baby and his current girlfriend who he really only met because of Peyton.

"So, I was actually on my way to the bathroom. I'll let you guys eat in peace", she says with a smile and starts to turn away.

"Wait!" to everyone's shock Lindsey calls out to her. "Stay, I'm sure you need the food", Peyton gives her a look. "I mean because of the baby", she says a bit nervously.

Peyton considers telling her no, but it smells really great and she's really hungry. "Okay", she says and nods her head. "I'll just grab a sweatshirt", she mumbles and turns her body in the other direction.

"I've got it", Lucas says and puts his hand on her arm to stop her. If he had to watch her walk away, it would have caused a fight between him and Lindsey later on.

He walks into his room and shivers at the coolness. A couple of weeks after Peyton moved in, they both went out and bought air conditioners for every room; they've been on practically everyday since then. He grabs the first sweatshirt he finds and walks back into the kitchen. Thankfully the girls are making conversation.

"Here you go", he says and hands her the grey material. Peyton smiles and thanks him and slips the cotton over her head. Lucas' heart stops at the emblazoned logo; Keith Scott Body Shop. That sweatshirt has never looked better on anyone else.

They sit down and pass around the bowls of food and Peyton and Lindsey actually have a lot in common, other then Lucas. They share laughs that Lucas doesn't get and at one point they leave him out of the conversation all together. They seem to have struck up a friendship; Brooke's gonna kill her.

Lindsey hasn't been around much because she's got so many other authors on her load. They're spread out around the area and she's been traveling more and more often. They finish their plates and Lindsey helps clean until she needs to catch her red eye flight back to New York.

When she leaves and the cleaning up is done, Peyton yawns loudly and Lucas smirks. They walk down the hall with their arms touching and when he stops at his bedroom door, Peyton looks at him.

"Lindsey's really great Luke", she says sincerely. He smiles and nods his head in agreement.

"I know", she raises her hand and whacks his stomach and he laughs loudly. "But it means a lot to hear you say that", he says earnestly. Peyton nods and shoves her hands into the pocket of the grey sweatshirt she's still wearing.

"Night Luke", she whispers and then walks down the hall. Lucas watches her go and smiles to himself. It's been a few months of her living here and they've established the friendship that they once had.

He just has to ignore her long legs and the fact that her chest is fuller. That small smile she gets right before she thinks of something funny. The way her eyes light up when she tells him about a new artist she's interested in or the revelation of Mia Catalano.

The fact that she's wearing a sweatshirt of his that will surely smell like her tomorrow is something he'll have to ignore also.

Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough

She tells Julian about the baby and two months later, he shows up.

She and Lucas are in the kitchen making dinner and laughing about silly things. The house is decorated with Thanksgiving decorations and they're both excited because that means everyone will be coming home. Karen, Lily, and Andy will be in from, wherever they are in the world and Nathan, Haley, and Jamie will be in from Seattle. Brooke's been spending her time between here and New York so she'll be around regardless; so will her new boyfriend Owen.

"I'm excited to see Lily", Peyton says as she cuts some carrots. "And Jamie, gosh they're both so big in the pictures they've sent."

Lucas smiles as she talks because she didn't say she was excited to see his mom or Haley or anyone else; she was excited to see the kids. She's going to be an amazing mom.

"I'm sure they're excited to see you. The pictures don't do you justice either", he says with a smirk. She hits his shoulder and calls him a jackass. "I'm just saying that the bump is different in person."

"Whatever", she grumbles as she rolls her eyes. "All I know is that I've got three months left and that thought scares me because how much bigger can I get?"

Lucas reaches over and rests his hand against her belly. He'll never understand how women don't find themselves attractive during this time, Peyton especially. She's glowing at all times of the day and her chubby cheeks are adorable.

"You're beautiful", he says simply. Peyton's heart races at the way he says that; like it's so completely obvious. And she knows that to him it is that obvious.

"Thanks", she whispers and when Lucas removes his hand, they both return to their dinner jobs. They continue the banter they had before and dinner is almost ready when the doorbell rings.

"I got it", Lucas says and he wipes his hands on the dishtowel that's draped over his shoulder – something that Peyton never considered sexy. But it is; it's very sexy.

Lucas walks down the hall and unrolls the sleeves of his button up shirt. He doesn't know who is at his house at this time of night, but he most definitely isn't expecting it to be the father of Peyton's baby.

"Hi . . . can I help you?" Lucas asks as he pulls the door open. The man looks slightly nervous, but he's trying to mask that with confidence. He grins softly and Lucas has a feeling he won't like this guy.

"I'm Julian Baker, is Peyton here?" he asks with that same grin still in place. Lucas' hand grips the doorknob so tight that his knuckles turn white. "The last time I talked to her, she told me she was staying here . . . you must be Lucas", he says as if he's just realizing that.

Lucas nods and grits his teeth together. "The last time you talked to her two months ago?" he bites out. "We're just sitting down for dinner, but I'll tell her you stopped by –"

"Luke, who is it?" she questions from the hallway and before he can tell her that it's nobody important she's at his side and a gasp is leaving her mouth. "Julian", she whispers.

"Hey Peyton", he says softly. His smug smirk is gone and Lucas sees a glimmer of a real person. "I was hoping we could talk?"

"Like I said we were –"

"Sure", Peyton cuts Lucas off. He looks down at her and she looks up at him and he knows that there's no point in wasting his breath. He gives her one last look that lets her know he'll be right in the kitchen; with his fists formed and jaw clenched.

Peyton and Julian step out onto the porch and she closes the door behind them. They stand in silence and the fourth time Peyton clears her throat, Julian takes a deep breath.

"I'm sorry", he blurts out. "I shouldn't have handled anything the way that I did and I'm sorry it's taken me so long to come out here, but I'm here now and I want you back", he admits.

Peyton's mouth drops and she stares at him in shock. He took a flight across the coasts to tell her this? "Julian, stop it", she says in a defeated voice.

"No, Peyton I'm this baby's father –"

"And I would never take that away from you", she promises. "But I can't just up and move away from here!"

"Why the Hell not? I'm in LA and so are your friends . . ."

"Because you left me! You got all insecure for no reason –"

"Don't act like I was crazy", he whispers. "Peyton, I love you", he says with shining eyes. Peyton shakes her head.

"No you don't", she whispers. "Because if you did, you wouldn't have hooked up with some blonde slut while you were in Sundance", she seethes. It's Julian's turn to be shocked.

"I didn't hook up with anyone", he counters. "My dad ran that story; I spent the entire time in my hotel room drowning my sorrows with mini bottles of liquor."

She knows he's telling the truth. When he tells a lie his eyebrow twitches gently; there's no twitching. She always thought it would feel more validating if that whole story was a lie. Like she could forgive him and they could move forward together. But it doesn't. And even though she does forgive him, they won't be moving anywhere together.

"I'm not going anywhere", she says firmly. "You can visit when you want and I'll let you know when I'm due exactly so that you can be in town, but this is my home", she whispers with a small smile.

"Tree Hill or with Lucas?" he questions bitterly. Peyton closes her eyes and lets out a soft sigh. "Sorry, that was uncalled for", he admits.

Peyton tightens her sweater around her body and bites her bottom lip. "You look beautiful", he says softly.

Peyton knows he's being sincere, but the words sounded so different when they left Lucas' mouth earlier. Julian's words almost seem to have no meaning. She thanks him politely and tucks a curl behind her ear.

"I should probably go inside, I'm guessing dinners ready", she doesn't ask him to stay or ask if he wants a copy of a sonogram. She really just wants to get inside and get to Lucas.

"Okay, well I'll be in town for a few days, but then I have to head to Chicago . . . movie offer", he supplies. Peyton smiles and nods and on an impulse, she steps forward and kisses his cheek.

"I'll call you", she promises and she intends to, she really does. She doesn't want to leave Julian out because she saw what it did to Lucas. She never wants to be the person that keeps a father from their child.

Julian says goodbye and Peyton watches as he gets into his car and drives away from the house. She lets out a breath and opens the front door; closing it softly behind her. She walks into the kitchen to see that Lucas has already prepared her a plate and he's sitting with his in front of him and a pout on his face.

"When do you leave?" he mumbles as he pushes his food around with his fork. Peyton furrows her brows and shakes her head. He's such a drama queen sometimes.

"I'm not leaving", at her simple words, his eyes meet hers. "Don't look so surprised. I don't trust Julian enough to pack up and follow him to LA, plus I've started a life here . . ."

Her sentence stops short and then she places her hand against her stomach. Lucas looks at her with confused eyes before he stands and rushes to her side. He puts his hands on her shoulders and then her forehead before resting them on her elbows.

"What's wrong –?"

"The baby", she says softly. "The baby's kicking", her face is one of pure awe and Lucas smiles widely. Her hand presses against the area where all the pressure is coming from and she feels her tears gather.

"It is?" he questions. Peyton meets his eyes and nods her head and then she takes his hand and presses his palm to the spot where she feels the pressure. His eyes widen and that simple action makes her heart pound faster.

If only this was their baby.

"Oh my God", he breathes out. "Wow . . ." she starts crying so hard that she can barely breathe and Lucas knows why. It's finally hitting her that she's having a baby and that a person is going to depend on her for pretty much everything for the rest of her life.

He puts his free hand on her cheek – he doesn't want to miss out on the feeling of the baby kick – and brushes his thumb across her skin. He whispers some soothing words and when her tears start to fade he feels a sense of accomplishment. They trail lazily down her cheeks and he says the only other thing he can think of.

"It'll be okay", he promises.

She's never believed those three words more in her entire life.

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Peyton watches as Lucas gets ready for his night out. Normally she wouldn't care. She usually doesn't care when he goes out, but tonight is different. Tonight is a night that she would like to enjoy also.

It's New Years Eve.

"You know, you have your own room", he teases as he wraps a silk tie around his neck. Peyton sticks her tongue out at him and dances her fingers across her belly. She still loves to feel the baby kick.

"I know I do, but I've always liked watching guys get ready", she says simply and shrugs her shoulders. Lucas furrows his brows and makes a face that has her smirking. I'm serious . . . don't you remember?" she asks lightly.

Lucas meets her eyes and nods gently. "Yeah, but I always thought that was because you liked me so much", he taunts. She scoffs and rolls her eyes.

"Please, you're no Greek god", she murmurs. But the truth is, he is pretty great looking; especially when he's all dressed up.

He looks at her in disbelief and the corner of his lips turn upwards. "I don't remember you ever complaining", he says smugly . . . pretty much because he can. Her mouth drops and she pulls the pillow out from behind her back; throwing it at him forcefully.

"Getting back on topic", she says loudly. "Even when my parents would go out on their date night, I'd sit in their room and watch my dad get ready while my mom got dressed in my room or the bathroom", a private smile graces her lips and it makes Lucas wish he could see what she was seeing.

He tugs at the black material and grunts in frustration. Peyton sighs loudly and stands from the bed to walk over to him. She takes the pillow out of his hands and tosses it back onto the bed before taking the silk item into her nimble hands.

He watches as she focuses on the task at hand and he smiles down at her. It feels nice to have this. To have someone do his ties for him and to sit and talk to while he gets dressed. Lindsey's making him meet her at the hotel because she doesn't see the point in going back and forth all night, but he knows Peyton would.

Simply because she'd want to see him.

"And the good thing – mister judgmental – about watching my dad get ready was that he taught me how to properly do a tie", she quips and pushes the knot into place. Lucas lets out a small chuckle.

"I wasn't being judgmental", he promises. She rolls her eyes, but the smile she sends him lets him know she's only kidding. She taps his chest before turning and walking out the bedroom door.

He's brought back to that night when the confetti rained down on them and he finally told her everything he'd been holding in for years. They were happy back then, for the first time in a long time, they were happy. And then he proposed and she said someday and then they were over.

It amazes him that they've gone this long without talking about that night.

"So I was thinking", he begins and follows after her. "Do you have any names picked out?" he ventures. She takes the carton of apple juice out of the fridge and unscrews the cap.

"I have a few picked out", she admits. She takes a glass out of the cabinet and pours herself some juice. "Why, do you have names picked out?"

He rubs the back of his neck with his hand and it causes Peyton to smile. She takes her glass and walks over to him. "Lucas Scott, tell me right now!" she demands with a twinkle in her eye.

"Well . . . I was thinking Allison if it's a girl", he says meekly. Peyton tilts her head to the side and in a fit of nervousness he blurts out. "It means noble and kind and I don't know . . . it just reminded me of you, so . . ."

"It's nice", she cuts off his nervous – adorable – rambling. "I mean, I have to talk about that stuff with Julian, but I'm sure I can drop the name", she says and winks at him before walking past him.

"Okay, just don't drop the fact that I brought it up", he says as he falls into step behind her. Peyton scoffs and he can see her shake her head. "Peyton, I don't think he'd like to know that I volunteered a baby name."

"Luke, he's not as overbearing as you think", she says with a wave of her hand. He narrows his eyes in a way that lets her know he thinks she's out of her mind. "Whatever", she grumbles. "Don't you have some place to be?" she asks playfully.

"Yes I do", he says matter-of-factly. "Are you sure you don't want me to call someone for you to hang out with?" Peyton shakes her head adamantly.

"I'm not raining on someone else's parade just because I can't have fun", she nods her head for added emphasis. "Besides, I've got everything I need right here", Lucas frowns as he stares at cover of the DVD, My Best Friends Wedding.

"Peyton, why do you watch this movie? It always makes you cry", he says with a sad smile. Her heart melts at the fact that he still knows that about her. From her spot on the couch she looks up at him and shrugs.

"I guess because . . . even though Julia Roberts doesn't get the guy, she's okay", she speaks candidly and it leaves Lucas speechless. He doesn't know if it's just the way he's interpreting it, but she could totally be talking about them and their relationship.

"You need to go", she glances at the clock and tilts her head back in Lucas's direction. "It's already after ten", she whispers. Lucas nods and kisses the top of her head before heading for the door.

"I'll see you later", he says and when she nods he slumps his shoulders.

He walks out the door and down the pathway before he pulls out his cell phone. He hits the speed dial number and listens as it rings. When someone answers, he clears his throat before speaking.

"Lindsey, hey . . . yeah I know; I – I don't think I can make it tonight. This has nothing to do with Peyton", he mocks a hoarse voice. "No, I haven't been feeling well all day, but I was hoping it would pass . . . yes I know . . . I'm sorry. No, no! I'll be fine . . . yeah, you too", he says and then snaps his phone shut.

He smiles softly and turns on his feet. When he walks back inside Peyton's eyebrows rise. She doesn't ask anything and he doesn't offer any answers. He walks over to the couch, plops down beside her, and puts his feet on the coffee table in front of them.

"What are you doing?" she asks after a few minutes. He takes some popcorn out of the large bowl and pops it into his mouth.

"Trying to watch a movie", he whispers obnoxiously. Peyton nudges his leg with hers and he looks over at her. "Lindsey cancelled, she's not feeling well", he lies easily.

"Lucas", she whispers and closes her eyes. He turns his head and looks at her; he reaches for her hand. "I don't want –"

"Hey, I'd rather be here", he promises. "Really, I would."

Peyton bites her bottom lip and Lucas rolls his eyes. "Come on", he says and throws his arm over the top of the couch. Peyton smiles and crawls into the crook he's created. Lucas lets out a soft sigh and pulls her a little closer.

The next day, Lindsey assures him that they're over.

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

"Lucas, do you have to breathe so loud?!"

Throughout her pregnancy her hormones were pretty stable. Sure, she cried randomly and had the occasional hissy fit, but it wasn't anything that Lucas couldn't handle. It's all changed in recent weeks.

Her due date came with excitement. Julian flew in a few days prior and he stayed in a hotel not too far from the hospital. Brooke practically lived on the couch because she didn't want to miss one second of her goddaughter's birth. Karen sent a basket of baby supplies and Haley, Nathan, and Jamie came down for the event.

And then her due date passed.

Julian flew back to LA because he couldn't miss anymore work. Brooke left and didn't come back to the house for a few days. Karen jokingly asked for the basket back and the Scott's told her to send a picture after it actually happened.

All of this led to her heightened moodiness.

"I wasn't aware I was breathing too loud for you", he bites back. "I'm sorry", he says and rolls his eyes. Peyton's mouth drops and she throws her black pen at him.

"I can see you", she says through clenched teeth. He looks between her and the item she used as a weapon with incredulous eyes. He closes the book he was reading, but makes sure to hold his finger at the right spot.

Lucas picks up the pen and swings his feet off his desk. He walks over to his bed and kneels in front of her. She's over a week late and so he understands her anger, but he's at his breaking point too.

"Okay, then did you see me roll my eyes?" he asks angrily. Peyton lets out a noise and rips the pen from his hand. She mimics his words and shakes her head around in a childish manner, and then she smiles devilishly.

In an instant she's tearing the book from his hands and throwing it across the room and into the hallway. It hits the wall with a smack and lands on the hardwood floor with a thud. He watched the book fly through the air and he flinched when it hit the hard surfaces.

"Did you see me throw your fucking book?!" she asks furiously. He looks at her and opens his mouth before closing it. This repeats a few times before he's on his feet and in the hallway.

"Relax Lucas, I'm sure you have the page memorized by heart", she says mockingly. He returns a second later with a glass of apple juice, a large spoon, and a bottle of something.

"Right now I could care less about the book; even though you made me lose my spot and that's a huge pet peeve of mine!" he points out. She knew this, of course she knew this, and it's why she did it.

"What's that?" she asks in curiosity. Lucas smiles; this is the answer to their problems and when he tells her that she furrows her brows. "What are you talking about?"

He was on the phone with his mom a few days ago and he was trying to be understanding of Peyton's hormones and her tiredness of being pregnant, but it was too hard to do. Karen could hear Peyton complaining and while she didn't blame the young blonde, she could imagine how aggravated her son was.

The next day a package came and after a few days, Lucas feels the need to use it.

"It's caster oil. Hopefully it'll make you pop that kid out", he says simply and he unscrews the cap. Peyton makes a face at his choice of words.

"You know, for an author you're not all that eloquent", she mutters and takes the glass of juice from him. He mumbles something that she can't really hear and then he pours some oil onto the spoon while telling her to stand up.

"I don't really like the sound of this whole oil thing", she says as she takes the spoon from him.

"Yes well, if things continue at the rate they are, I may kill you before you have that baby", he says with a sweet smile. Peyton narrows her eyes as she pops the spoon into her mouth.

She spits it out a second later.

"What the fuck is that? Are you trying to poison me?" she screeches. Lucas makes a face and scoffs lightly.

"Oh stop complaining", he scolds. "It can't be that bad", he says with a roll of his eyes. Peyton puts her hands on her hips and takes a step forward; she hits him with the back of the spoon.

"You try it!" she demands. He lets out another scoff and without any hesitation he pours some onto the spoon. Peyton's always been a whiner and he knows this about her. There's no way it can be as bad as she's claiming.

But it is.

He takes the glass of apple juice from her and spits the oil into it. "Okay, that's disgusting", he agrees with a scrunched face. Peyton nods her head adamantly.

"Yeah, I'm aware", she says and then she starts to laugh. It's infectious as always and he starts to laugh too; although he doesn't know why. "We're ridiculous", she says with her laughter still present.

"I just want you to have this baby already!" he says in exasperation. Peyton smiles in understanding and nods her head.

"Baby's not ready to come out", she says sympathetically. She pats his cheek and leaves the room.

Baby will be ready.

The next day he arrives home on his lunch break to find her at the kitchen table. She's sketching something for the baby and it makes him smile when he realizes it's a picture of him and her from that day months ago when the baby first kicked.

"Hi", he makes his presence known. Peyton smiles over at him and puts her work aside.

"Hey, what are you doing home?" he puts a few bags on the table and rolls up the sleeves of his shirt. "And what's all this?"

"I am home for lunch, and this is lunch", he says absently as he takes everything from the bag and places it on the table. Peyton makes a face as she smells the food.

"Luke, you know I don't like Mexican food", she says with dread in her voice. He sends her a look that tells her he's going to force it down her throat if he has to.

"Peyt, spicy food could induce labor and that would be great for everyone", he says with a smile that she wants to wipe off his face. "Come on, it's pretty good."

"I don't like spicy foods though", she whines. He puts something on a plate in front of her and he stares at her until she picks it up. "Can't I just try that castor oil again?" she asks jokingly – somewhat.

She picks up the burrito and takes a few bites while Lucas smiles smugly. She finishes that and another one before she tells Lucas she's had enough. He nods and kisses her temple before walking out the door to go back to the high school.

Nothing changes.

A few days later he walks into the house to find it completely dark and quiet. He went out with Skills and had a few beers after work and that turned into them sitting at the bar and talking to Owen. He knew it was late when he left and it's even later now because he had to walk home. He isn't drunk by any means, but he knows Peyton will have his head if she smells any alcohol and finds out that he drove.

He walks past her bedroom door and stops to admire the small nook they have set up for the baby. It took a few hours because Peyton kept trying to come in and the fumes weren't any good for her. He fails to notice that Peyton isn't in bed.

"What are you doing in here?" he asks in confusion. Peyton's sitting on the bed with her hands folded in her lap and a nervous look on her face. "What's going on?"

"I was reading the book and doing some research and I thought of another way to induce labor", she spits out. Lucas looks at her in anticipation and sits next to her on the bed.

"Well what is it?" he asks after a few minutes of silence. She takes her hand in his and bites her bottom lip.

"Sex", she whispers sheepishly. Lucas' eyes widen and he drops her hand. "I know that this is far out there and I shouldn't even be bringing it up with you –"

"So why are you? Call Julian, you've clearly already done this", he motions to her expanded stomach.

"We've done it too!" she pouts. "And he lives in Los Angeles!" she cries.

"Peyton, I just don't think –"

"It's just sex, Lucas", she blurts out before she can stop herself. And he isn't sure why, but that statement hurts him.

"Lucas, I just really want this baby to come out and I really want to meet him or her and I just . . . I just", she starts to cry and it breaks Lucas's heart.

"I'm tired of carrying around all this – all this extra weight and it isn't fair that my baby is two weeks late and –"

Her sentence is cut short by Lucas' lips.

Peyton's stunned because she cannot believe he's actually doing this, he's actually agreeing to this. She closes her eyes and lets herself embrace the moment and it reminds her of how good a kisser he is.

His tongue sweeps into her mouth and across her own tongue and soon enough he's lowering her onto her back. He peppers kisses along her cheek and her jaw and he stops to pay extra special attention to that spot that he's always known about and she's always loved him for it.

She lets out a moan of appreciation and hooks her leg around his waist. She can feel just how badly he wants this too and for some reason that scares her. This feels like a whole lot more then just sex.

She reaches between them and undoes his belt buckle with the ease that he's always loved her for. He's toeing off his shoes and shimmying out of his pants faster then he ever has; he's pretty sure it's a record. She's running her fingers through his hair and his hand is dragging across her long leg. He's at the waistband of her underwear when it happens.

"I think my water just broke", she gasps through her fog of lust.

Lucas doesn't think that, he knows it. She gently pushes him off of her and she stands from the bed; carefully waddling to her bedroom and retrieving the hospital bag she packed over a month ago.

She walks back into his room to find him pulling on a pair of sweatpants and tugging a sweatshirt over his head. They don't speak a word about what just took place as he helps her to the car. They make it to the hospital with Peyton taking deep breaths and Lucas offering encouraging words and once they make it through the automatic doors, it's a whirlwind.

Peyton's taken to a room and he makes all the necessary phone calls. Julian's first and he promises to catch the first flight out. He calls her father and even though he's out to sea he promises to get home as soon as he can. Karen and Haley are next and both women squeal in delight before demanding to be kept up to date.

Next he's overwhelmed with paperwork that's based on everything involving Peyton. The simple things he has covered; full name, age, birth date. He reaches the section titled marital status and he's tempted to lie.

The moment they nearly had in his room is burned into his mind and he's sure he'll thinks about it several times whenever he gets a free minute. He hands the clipboard over and the nurse points him down the hall.

The next few hours pass as if he's not there. He holds Peyton's hand when her contractions hit and he feeds her ice chips when she needs them. He laughs when she curses the fact that she ever met Julian Baker and he reads to her when she needs to feel calm.

She's always loved his reading voice.

Julian shows up and rushes to her side. He whispers something that Lucas can't hear and Peyton laughs; that makes him angry. He's lived with Peyton for the past eight months; Julian can't just show up and cast him aside.

She's fully dilated and preparing to be wheeled away when she reaches for Lucas's hand. Her doctor tells her that she needs to be moved, but she won't go anywhere unless Lucas can too.

And so the doctor agrees.

Julian hangs back and watches nervously as Peyton groans and pushed and curses like a sailor. He's scared and that's obvious. It's also understandable.

Lucas is right beside her. He holds her hand and lets her squeeze it as tightly as she wants. When she sure she can't push anymore he kisses her temple and says;

"Of course you can, we've got to see this baby."

One big push later they all do.

"It's a girl", her doctor announces loudly.

Peyton cries and Julian tears and Lucas grins like a madman. A girl, a beautiful baby girl. Julian cuts the umbilical cord and follows the nurse as she cleans off his daughter. He assures the room that she's got ten fingers and ten toes and is the most precious thing he's ever seen.

The baby girl is placed in Peyton's arms and her tears intensify. This is her baby. Her little girl.

"Do you have a name picked out", one of the kind nurses asks.

"Peyton nods and smiles and she catches eyes with Lucas before saying; "Allison Penelope Baker."

Lucas' heart warms and he smiles at her in admiration. He stares at the girls in the bed and watches as Julian joins them; he feels his heart clench. He wishes it was him.

And that's when it hits him; he's in love with her.

Maybe he's never stopped.

Let's waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

Lucas walks in through the kitchen and tosses most of his stuff onto the table even though he knows Peyton will yell. He bedroom door is closed and he assumes she's napping with the baby. He pulls his polo over his head and kicks off his shoes. Today was his last day of school and the boys wanted one more practice for old time's sake. It feels really good to be done.

It also feels good to know that he'll be spending two months with Peyton and Ally.

He starts to untie his track pants, but stops in his place. Peyton's lying flat on her back with the baby monitor clutched in her hands, staring at the ceiling fan. He starts to smile, but stops when he sees the delirious look on her face.

He doesn't say anything; instead he walks over and lies beside her. They both stare at the fan until Lucas can't take the silence.

"What are we staring at?" he asks with one arm tucked behind his head. Peyton blinks emptily and turns to look at him; it's like she's just realizing he's there. She looks back up at the fan and says;

"Did you know that your fan does a hundred and forty-seven rotations a minute?"

Lucas' eyes widen and he starts to chuckle. "How long have you been in here?"

Peyton shrugs noncommittally. "Long enough to know that in forty-nine minutes this fan rotates seven thousand two hundred and three times", she says robotically.

"Okayy", Lucas drags out. "What's going on?" he asks in total confusion. Peyton swallows and he watches the movements with hazy eyes. This woman has no idea what she does to him.

"I love my daughter, really I do, but she never sleeps", Lucas knows this well. He lives right across the hall and the walls aren't that thick. "When she does I try to sleep too, but it's like she knows when I close my eyes . . . she just starts to wail and I can never sleep and –"

"So why aren't you sleeping now?" he asks softly. Peyton blinks a few more times and then looks at him.

"Because I'm scared she'll know when I close my eyes in here", she says seriously. Lucas laughs, but it's the wrong thing to do. "This isn't funny! I'm terrified of my own child, what kind of mother am I?" she questions deliriously.

"You're an amazing mother", he says seriously. "And I know things have been hard because Ally's on her own schedule, but whenever I get frustrated I try to think of the good things."

"What good things?" she asks in shock that there are good things. He sits up and rests his hands on his knees.

"Like the fact that she's so stubborn", Peyton makes a face and moves her head from one side to the other. "Okay, I know that sounds crazy, but it is a good thing –"

"Lucas Scott, you are going to need to elaborate", she says and sits up so that their shoulders are even. "I do not see any –"

"It reminds me of you", he says softly. "She's only a few months old, but she's already all sass and when she does smile, it's perfect", he's lost in his own world and Peyton can feel her eyes water.

"I can only imagine what she's going to be like when she's older, but for now, I mean, she's perfect", he grins and looks at Peyton for the first time since he began to talk. Tears are streaming down her face.

"Peyt what . . ."

"I just love the way you talk about her", she whispers with a watery smile. Lucas blushes and when he rubs the back of his neck in that nervous manner she's always loved she nearly jumps him; it's when she notices he isn't wearing a shirt. "Where's your shirt?" she asks and laughs softly.

"Oh, umm . . . I was practicing with the boys –"

"Luke, your heart", she reprimands.

"Its fine, I didn't push myself and the boys knew when I needed to sit out. But since we were playing I got all sweaty and I was going to shower, but then I saw you and, yeah", he finishes with a boyish smile.

"I'm sorry", she mumbles. "I'll get out of your way", she starts to stand, but Lucas's hand stops her.

"I'll take care of her for a while", he offers. "You need the rest", he murmurs with another smile, but Peyton shakes her head.

"Lucas, you've already done so much for us. I couldn't ask you to –"

"First of all, you're not asking", he says with a serious look. "And second of all, you know that I love that little girl", he means the words he says and she knows this. And that makes her heart melt.

Seeing him with no shirt also makes her think about that moment a few months ago.

They were so close to doing something that, in hindsight, could have been so damaging. He wasn't single for too long and she was insanely unhappy with her pregnancy, not to mention hormonal.

"Luke", she whispers the shortened version of his name and it sends a chill up his spine. All he wants to do is pull her back to this bed and have his way with her, but he knows that won't happen. The closest they came was when she was still pregnant and desperate not to be. They also haven't talked about that yet.

"I'm serious", he tugs on her hand as he stands and with his free hand he grabs the monitor. "You get some sleep and I'm going to watch Ally. I'll take the baby monitor with me because I'm going to jump in the shower, but the second I'm out, I don't want you to worry about a single thing", he says while pointing a finger at her.

Peyton curls against his blankets and nonchalantly breathes in his scent. She's always loved the smell he carries around. It's manly and strong, but still soft enough to remind her of the sixteen year old boy she fell in love with.

"Thanks Luke", she whispers with her eyes half closed. He winks at her and tells her not to mention it. She closes her eyes and hopes for sleep to come without any issues.

After Lucas showers and throws on some new clothes he towel dries his hair and walks into Peyton's room, which also constitutes as Allison's room. He tiptoes lightly because he doesn't want to wake the child if she's sleeping. When he peers over the bar, he smiles.

She's lying on her back with her little legs in the air and Lucas doesn't think he's ever loved another human being more in his entire life. He knows she isn't his biologically, but she's his goddaughter and he'd never trade that title for anything.

"What are you doing up, silly girl?" he asks in the baby voice that he finds himself using in other situations. It's something that Skills and the boys at school have made fun of him for. All that laughter usually stops when Peyton and Ally walk into the gym.

She coos at him and he can't help but to lift her into his arms. She's got the perfect tufts of blonde hair and her eyes are like her fathers – Peyton's told him so – and she's just so delicate that, most days, he's scared he'll break her. But when she's in his arms her little hand latches on to his white t-shirt and she buries her face against his neck.

She's more like her mother then she'll ever know.

She lifts her little head and looks at him like she's trying to figure out who she is. After a minute she smiles and laughs and Lucas is laughing too. He remembers the time he spent with Nathan and Haley right after they had Jamie and even though he loves his godson, it seems like everything Ally does is exceptional.

"Crazy baby", he mutters. He clips the monitor to the back of his jeans and grabs a pacifier for her. When he leaves the room he scans the hall before remembering that his laptop is in his room.

"Shoot", he whispers and heads for the closed door. He wouldn't bother Peyton, but he does some of his best writing with Allison around him and he knows his muse will pick this time to pop into his world.

Peyton's awake when he enters, but he doesn't notice right away. She takes the time to watch him with Allison clutched to his chest and a spit up towel draped over his shoulder. He's got the baby monitor clipped to his jeans and one of her favorite binky's is in his free hand.

He looks incredibly sexy.

"Okay Ally", she hears him whisper. "Let's try and find my laptop before mommy wakes up", Peyton smiles when she hears him say that. His back is to her and Peyton takes the time to smile at her little girl. In the three months since her birth, Allison has grown at an astounding rate.

The infant squeals in delight at a face that Peyton makes and Lucas whirls around just in time to catch it. Peyton blushes as Lucas laughs at her.

"What are you doing up?" he asks her the same way he asked Allison minutes before. The only difference is that he knows Peyton can and will answer.

"Julian called for his daily checkup", she says with a yawn; Lucas nods.

Julian's called every single day since he left after Allison's birth. Most of the time there's nothing to tell, but he loves hearing the little random stories about his daughter and it makes him wish he didn't have to work so far away. But he's been good about visiting when he can and Lucas knows that's the best he can do.

"I'm sorry", he mumbles. "I didn't even hear the phone ring."

Peyton shakes her head. "It was my cell. I forgot it was in my pocket", she says meekly. Lucas smirks and rolls his eyes and Allison coos for her mother once again. "Come here, baby girl", she gushes and holds her arms out.

"I could take her outside", Lucas offers, but the look Peyton sends him has him doing the opposite of his words. Peyton sits up and Lucas carefully hands the infant over. In the process his hand brushes her breast and he does his best not to blush because she barely bats an eyelash.

But inside she's screaming.

Lucas starts to leave the room, but Ally's face contorts into one of anguish and she lets out an agonizing wail. Lucas and Peyton's eyes meet and she shrugs shyly. He makes a face at the baby, but her crying doesn't stop.

"I'm thinking you can't leave", Peyton says over the noise. She cradles her daughter close to her chest and rubs her back soothingly. Lucas smiles and tilts his head to the side while he stares at the two of them.

He puts his laptop back on his desk and once the bed dips down, Allison's crying stops. Both adults laugh before Peyton settles onto her back and Lucas rests beside her. She lays Allison between them and both sets of eyes watch as she drifts into a slumber.

"I'm scared to fall asleep", he whispers. Peyton snorts and then covers her hand over her mouth. "I'm serious, you move a lot; you might crush her", he continues to whisper. Peyton reaches forward and smacks his shoulder.

"I guess we'll just have to lay here", she says with a shrug. Her eyes stare up at the ceiling fan that she's watched numerous times already and she rests her hands on her stomach. Lucas does the same.

He's restless because he was looking forward to writing and now he needs some way to pass the time. "Wanna see how many rotations it does in an hour?" he asks playfully. Peyton turns her head to look at him and she smiles in a way that has his heart doing summersaults.

"You're on, Scott."

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

"God, look at her", Peyton whispers to her brunette best friend. Brooke does as she's instructed and resists the urge to roll her eyes. They've been grilling the younger blonde ever since she walked in behind the man Peyton once loved.

"P. Sawyer, stop being bitchy", she says somewhat teasingly. Her blonde friend turns to her with a glare and a wide open mouth.

"I am not being bitchy, I'm stating facts", she says and lets out a noise. "Why don't you just go hang out with her", she pouts. Brooke sighs and throws her arm around her shoulder.

"If I hung out with her I'd miss out on all this dark, depressing energy", she teases and Peyton nudges her with her hip. "Seriously, if I left you here, I might actually enjoy my goddaughters first birthday", she continues to joke.

Peyton sighs loudly and throws her head back. She squints her eyes as the sun beats down upon her. The weather is already unbearable for March and it makes her dread the approaching summer. She turns her head and looks at Brooke.

"I need to stop, don't I?" she asks reluctantly. Her friend smiles and pulls Peyton a little closer.

"You need to let go of the newest thing Julian's sleeping with and focus some attention on the blonde man carrying your daughter around like she's the State Championship trophy", Brooke's suggestive smile has Peyton rolling her eyes.

"He loves her", she says simply. "He's her godfather and he –"

"He is totally in love with you", Brooke cuts her off. Peyton pushes away from her and stops in her tracks. "Here we go", she mumbles to herself.

"He is not in love with me", she says with a gasp. "He's just . . . him and Lindsey –"

"Broke up like a year ago!" she says incredulously. Peyton clamps her hand over her mouth and pushes her to the far corner of the backyard. "That was barely above a whisper", she says flippantly.

"Brooke, he's not in love with me again!" she hisses. He can't be. They've had too many opportunities and chances missed and it just doesn't make sense.

"Okay, well then he never fell out of love with you to begin with", she says easily. Peyton runs her hand over her face and tangles it through her curls. Brooke sighs and reaches for her best friend's hand.

"Look, this isn't something we need to discuss now, let's enjoy Ally's birthday, okay?" she smiles brightly and Peyton does too. She's more then glad that she's got her very own Brooke Davis to guide her through life.

She hopes Allison finds someone like that.

"Well, well, what are you two ladies doing in the corner?" Lucas asks as he slides up to his former girlfriends. Brooke eyes Peyton and then turns to him with a typical Davis smirk.

"Talking about you", she says obviously. Lucas chuckles and Peyton does her best to not kill Brooke with her glare. "You're always a hot topic, Broody", she winks and he laughs louder.

"Good to know, Cheery", he says teasingly and winks at Peyton before walking away.

"Don't say anything", Peyton grumbles when she sees Brooke open her mouth. The brunette closes it instantly and links their arms together. "I need a drink."

"No alcohol", Brooke reminds her. Peyton huffs in annoyance. "Hey, it wasn't my idea", her words make it clear that the idea was Peyton's. "But Deb's around here somewhere, we can see if she's still on the bottle", she says playfully.

"Don't you want to hang out with Owen?" the blonde asks softly. Brooke looks over at her and then glances up to see the rugged man she loves talking with a bunch of guys at the other end of the yard.

"Why would I want to do that when I have my best friend beside me?" she asks in the same soft tone Peyton just used.

And once again the blonde is thankful for having Brooke Davis in her life.

The afternoon carries on and Julian and Peyton pose for pictures with their daughter between them and those ridiculous hates on their heads. But they do it because they love their daughter and because they want her to have some of the best memories to look back on when she's older.

"So, why have you been brooding for a better portion of the afternoon?" Lucas asks as he comes to a stop right next to Peyton. He hands her a glass of sweet tea that his mother made and she takes it gratefully.

"I'm not brooding", she argues.

He gives her a knowing look and holds up his glass of sweet tea. "You're a brooder Peyton, you were doing what you do best", he says playfully and bumps his shoulder against hers.

He can't be in love with her, Peyton muses. He acts so normal and nonchalant. The Lucas that pined for her was shy and he rambled and any time they touched – innocently or not – he blushed profusely. This Lucas doesn't do any of those things.

So he's either not in love with her, or he's gotten a lot better at hiding his feelings.

She doesn't even consider the latter as a real option.

"Have you seen her?" she questions and points to the petite blonde that's currently holding her daughter. "She's skinny and blonde and looks like a little kid", she continues to pout.

Lucas chuckles and when Peyton shoots him a glare he holds up his hands in defense. "Peyton, you're skinny and you're blonde . . . and you're only a few years older then her", he says gently.

She shakes her head and pokes his chest hard. "You're on some pretty thin ice, bud", she warns.

"Oh Peyton Sawyer", he mumbles. There's a stretch of silence and Lucas watches as she stares at the younger girl while she interacts with Julian. For some reason it makes him nervous and leaves him unsettled and that's why he asks;

"Are you still in to him?"

She looks at Lucas shakes her head, "No", she says firmly. "I guess it just sucks because he's moved on and I haven't or I can't . . . I don't know", she mumbles. "Guys aren't exactly flocking to a woman with a baby."

"Well then they aren't worthy of you", Lucas says without missing a beat. She opens her mouth to say something that he's sure will be the opposite of what he's just told her, so he cuts her off. "I'm serious, Ally is a part of you and if they can't accept that then they don't deserve you; either of you", he adds with that classic smirk.

"This is all so easy for you to say", frustration drips from every word. "I don't think that –"

"See that guy near the barbeque?" he cuts her off. Peyton follows his trail of vision and nods. She's seen him for a while, but she assumed Julian knew him or that he was a friend of one of the other guests.

"It's Lindsey's fiancé", he says after a minute. "His name is Mark and he's a pretty great guy", Peyton's mouth drops and she looks between Lucas and the man across the yard. Sure enough, a second later, Lindsey slides up to him and he wraps his arms around her.

"Lucas", she whispers his name sympathetically. She puts her hand on his shoulder and squeezes gently. "Wait, what is she doing here?"

"I wanted to give her my manuscript", he mumbles. "And I guess I wanted to prove that I could see her with someone else", he shrugs.

"Jeez, here I am complaining about some flavor of the week and your ex-girlfriend brought her fiancé", she says with a self-deprecating laugh. "And did you say manuscript?"

He smiles sheepishly and she squeals before pulling him into a hug. He holds on tight and breathes in her scent before she pushes him back to arms length. Her hands trail down his arms and she grabs his hands in hers.

"This is so great! What's it about?"

But their moment is interrupted by the blonde that Peyton has been badmouthing all afternoon. She's carrying her daughter and Peyton wants to critique the way she's doing it, but she bites her tongue.

"Hello Jessica", she says politely. The straight haired blonde smiles – everyone knows it's a nervous smile – and hands Allison over to her.

"Someone wanted to see their mommy", she says in a soft voice and Peyton wonders why she really doesn't like this girl. Sure, she's younger and looks like a California girl, but she's sweet and sincere and she's good with Ally.

Plus, if Lucas could be nice to a fiancé, she could be nice to a girlfriend.

"Hi my baby", she coos and Allison laughs. "Thanks Jessica", she says with a smile. Jessica grins and waves to both of them before stroking Ally's arm and walking away.

"Wow", Lucas says in shock. "She's actually walking away after an encounter with you", he mocks her earlier attitude. Peyton furrows her brows and with her free hand she smacks his arm.

"Someone convinced me to give her a chance", she whispers. Lucas smirks and winks and throws his arm around her shoulder. She leans into him and Ally makes an adorable face up at Lucas.

Brooke looks on with a dimpled smirk, but Peyton chooses to ignore her.

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Peyton flinches as the thunder claps outside. The lightning comes again and it illuminates the sky – streaking a momentary glimmer into the house. She gets up from the kitchen chair and quickly checks in on Allison. Her daughter is slumbering peacefully, unaware to the world around her.

She holds the phone in her hands and bites on her lower lip. Peyton contemplates calling Lucas again, she even dials most of the numbers, when the front door opens and a drenched Lucas runs in.

"Finally!" she says in relief. "Where in the Hell have you been?" fire swarms in her green eyes and Lucas shrugs off his rain soaked jacket.

"I remember someone asking for a certain kind of ice cream that they know is only sold on the other side of town", he says pointedly. Peyton crosses her arms and moves her lips in a mocking manner.

"You didn't have to keep going. It's terrible out there", she says needlessly and points to the window. Lucas takes of his shoes and shakes his head – the water droplets from his hair fly around the room.

"I thought it was going to be a simple spring storm", he hands her the paper bag and her eyes light up excitedly. She walks down the hall and Lucas smiles as he follows after her. "And I wasn't sure if you'd let me in the house empty handed."

She glares at him playfully. "I would have made you sit outside for a little while", she shrugs and grabs a spoon from the drawer. She jumps atop the counter and lets her long legs swing in the air.

"Ally's sleeping through all this?" he asks in shock. Peyton nods with her spoon in her mouth. "She really is your daughter", he teases. She throws him another glare.

"She's also two and loves her Gymboree class", she says matter-of-factly. Lucas leans against the archway and stares at Peyton. She's dressed simply – jeans and a tank top with a blue sweater over it – but she looks gorgeous. Peyton's always been understatedly beautiful.

"Well whatever", he mumbles playfully. He watches as she sticks another spoonful if ice cream into her mouth and he feels the desire to be that spoon boil over. "Can I have some?" he asks randomly and softly.

Peyton scrunches her nose in the way that he's always found utterly adorable before nodding her head. Lucas doesn't know if he should be shocked or honored. Peyton Sawyer rarely shares her ice cream.

"I'm not getting down", she says obviously and holds the spoon out for him. He rolls his eyes as he walks forward and once he's close enough he absentmindedly rests his hands on her legs. Peyton's breath catches and she clears her throat in hopes that he doesn't notice.

"That's pretty good", he muses. A bit of chocolate is on his bottom lip and Peyton giggles while he furrows his brows. She laughs some more and even though he has no idea what she's laughing at, he starts to chuckle too.

"You have some chocolate on your lip", she says between laughter. He sticks his tongue out and attempts to wipe it off in that way. Peyton stares at his tongue as it circles his lips and she clears her throat.

That memory from years ago flashes into her mind and she can feel her heart speed up. He gets the chocolate off his lip and she can feel his hands press further against her jeans. He seems to lean forward and she bites on her bottom lip anxiously.

"Luke", she whispers his name and he closes his eyes. She's going to push him away or tell him that this isn't what they need. "Do you remember that day?"

His eyes fly open and he stares at her. She doesn't have to elaborate on that comment. Of course he remembers that day. How could he ever forget that day? He nods and let's out a small breath.

"Of course", he whispers. Peyton mulls over that in her head. Of course he remembers it? Does that mean he still thinks about it? Does he want to do it again? Does he want to go all the way this time?

She barely has time to think about it because his hands grip her waist.

"It's been a long time", her words and her breaths are shallow and Lucas has never heard a more sexy tone. He stands firmly between her legs and his hands crawl up the shirt she wears.

"I know", he husks. She closes her eyes and rests her forehead against his. Are they really going to do this? The rain pounds on the roof and windows of the old house and she smiles to herself.

It kind of seems like the perfect setting.

"I want you Peyton", he whispers. His heart is pounding and all his blood is rushing south and that might explain his current surge of boldness. She sucks in a breath at his words and inches her body forward.

"I want you too", she rasps and he nearly explodes. He swallows noisily and pulls her body closer to his. She wraps her legs around his waist and it's the best feeling he's experienced in a while.

"I don't mean just that", he whispers bravely. She lifts her head slightly and their noses nuzzle sweetly. She meets his eyes timidly and a flash of lightning illuminates his face. He's totally serious and she can feel her fear bubbling up.

They've tried before and they've failed. If they try this again and it doesn't work out she loses more then the love of her life. She loses her stability and her daughter loses the main male figure in her life.

But what if it does work out?

She's going her best to push the negative voices out of her mind, but they don't want to stop. She wasn't ready for something more serious when she was nineteen and he left her because of it. What if she gets scared again and he can't handle it?

"Peyton I –"

A loud clap of thunder cuts him off at the same time the house phone rings. It snaps the two blondes back to reality and Lucas lets go of her hips while she unlocks her legs from his waist. She hopes off the counter once he steps back and she jogs to grab the house phone.

While she answers and talks to whoever is on the phone, Lucas paces near the sink. He runs his hand through his short blonde hair and takes a deep breath. He debates between a cold shower and some alone time in the bathroom when Peyton's muffled sob breaks him from his thoughts.

She drops the house phone and nearly falls to the floor, but Lucas rushes to her side just in time. He cradles her in his arms and she clutches to the fabric of his shirt while he rocks them back and forth.

"Peyt, you gotta tell me –"

"My dad", is all she croaks out.

His heart plummets and he holds her closer. They spend some more time on the floor and in that hour she tells him everything she originally couldn't. The storm they're experiencing now originated around the gulf, where her father was dredging, and it went from nothing to a full blown crisis in no time. His boat was missing for a few days, but they weren't sure who to contact until they found his boat.

"You don't need to say anything else", Lucas whispers with a lump in his throat. He's always regarded Larry with the highest respect and over the last few years they've grown incredibly close.

"He's gone, Luke", she cries. "He's just gone", another sob breaks through her throat. Lucas kisses the top of her head and runs his hand up and down her back in a comforting manner.

"I know . . . I know, baby", maybe the term of endearment should have felt weird or uncomfortable falling from his lips, but it didn't. And Peyton doesn't seem to mind, in fact, she clings a little closer to him.

Her cries start to fade into whimpers and eventually she falls asleep. Lucas stands and carefully hoists her into his arms. He walks them both into his bedroom because he's sure Peyton will start crying again and he doesn't want her to wake Allison.

He places her on the side of her bed that's always been hers and he kisses her temple sweetly. He lets out a large breath and once the pressure he places on the bed disappears, Peyton grabs his wrist.

"Stay", she asks brokenly. Lucas smiles softly – bitter sweetly – and crawls onto the other side of the bed.

The second he lays down, she curls into his side.

And he holds her in his arms while she cries into the morning.

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

"Why hasn't he called? He said he'd call when they got in!" she says as she paces the floor of the living room.

"Maybe they haven't gotten in yet?" Lucas offers. Peyton stops in her tracks to glare at him. She points the house phone in his direction and places her other hand on her hip.

"Don't be a smartass", she threatens.

He holds his hands up and slides back to rest against the couch. He watches as she continues to pace and he can't help but to stare at her legs. It's late October and the weather is still a bit warm. As a result of that Peyton's wearing a sundress with a grey sweater over it. Her legs are still tanned and as glorious as ever.

"Sorry", she grumbles and plops down on the couch beside him. "It's just that this is the first time Ally's away from home and – oh God!" she yells when the phone finally rings.

They're trying something new. Now that Ally is older and isn't as dependent on Peyton as she used to be, the three year old is going to start spending time with her father in LA – or wherever he's shooting a movie for that time.

Julian came to pick her up a few hours ago and Peyton cried hysterically until they were out of sight. Lucas held her hand and then pulled her into his arms when her legs gave out and she nearly crumbled to the floor.

She stands and leaves the room, but Lucas is in a daze. She called this place home. He knows that's immature and ridiculous for him to get so excited over – clearly this is where she lives. But for just a second, home was with him.

"That was Julian", she says when she returns to her seat. "They're in safe and he said he'd call again later", she says with a sigh. Lucas chuckles silently and turns so that he's facing her.

"It's only for the weekend", he reminds her. Peyton nods and tucks a few stray curls behind her ears. She folds her legs under her body and looks around the living room. "What?" he asks with a laugh.

"What do we do now?" she asks in curiosity. He stares at her and then shakes his head. "We're both so use to having Ally around, we've forgotten how to be twenty-six", her expression is mildly horrified expression.

"I don't think that's the case", Lucas reasons. Peyton's mouth drops and she puts her hands on his shoulders. "Okay", he drags out in fright.

"We are twenty-six and we don't know what to do without a toddler running around the house! That's crazy!"

"No, you're kind of crazy right now", he mumbles and takes her hands off his body. He holds her smaller hands in his larger ones and she bites her bottom lip. "It just shows that we love her."

"Right, you're right", she concedes. "But it still doesn't change what we do for the weekend, without her", she points out. Lucas puts their joined hands on the couch and thinks about all the things they could do.

Then he stops and thinks about all the realistic, PG things they could do.

"We can hang out with our friends", he offers.

"Lucas, we have like six friends between the two of us and two of them live in Seattle", she mumbles. Lucas laughs loudly and pushes her hands back at her. She instantly misses the warmth.

"Okay, but there's still Brooke and I'm sure Skills is free. If not I'll hang out with Owen", he says simply. Her eyes light up and Lucas loves the way they sparkle.

"Let's go to TRIC", she says in pure excitement. Lucas frowns.

"You spend all day working there", she shakes her head in disagreement.

"No, I spend all day inside my office that happens to be inside TRIC, but I don't actually spend much time in TRIC itself", he raises an eyebrow.

"Do you always have a way around things?" he teases. She nods her head and stands from the couch.

"And you know what else?" she doesn't wait for him to respond. "It's Halloween, so we're totally dressing up!" she squeals and Lucas resists the urge to groan in frustration.

He doesn't know how he's forgotten about the holiday in the short amount of time since they've left the airport. He specifically remembers Peyton packing several costume ideas for Allison – really Julian – to choose from.

"I don't even have a costume!" he yells from his place in the hallway. He can hear Peyton shuffling around and then she opens the door so that he can only see a sliver of her face.

"If you think I'm accepting that as a real answer you clearly don't know me", she says simply and then slams the door once again. He chuckles and throws his head back before walking into his room.

He stares at his wardrobe and furrows his brows. The last time he went to a Halloween party at TRIC he was trying to impress Brooke and he dressed like a Tommy Lee reject. He sighs loudly and contemplates telling her that he isn't going anywhere. But then he'd have to see that look in her eyes, he really can't handle that look.

"Peyt! What are you dressing up as?" he asks loudly. He walks to his open doorway and leans against it while he waits for her answer.

"Do you know my second favorite movie?" he nods that he does, even though she can't see him. "Well I'm dressed as the main character from that!"

He grins and pushes off the white molding before walking into his room and closing the door behind him. He grabs the few items that he needs and quickly puts some product in his hair – it's a good thing Peyton's a slob and leaves her stuff in every room.

"Alright, I'm ready. Let's get this over with", he says as he walks out his door. When he reaches the living room he stops in his tracks. She's standing there in a light pink dress that he knows is one of Brooke's designs and her curls are as perfect as they always are.

"Wow", he breathes out. Peyton blushes and bows her head shyly. "You look amazing", he continues to speak in amazement. Now it's time for her to roll her eyes and wave her hands at him.

"Okay, I know I don't dress up too often, but give me a break", she mutters. He chuckles, but stops when he notices her stare. "We're dressed for the exact same scene", she muses.

"That we are", he agrees. He's got on a simple black shirt and black slacks and Peyton smiles at the way he's done his hair. "We're totally gonna get mad fun of for it."

"That we are", she mimics his words. "Now come on!" she says in excitement and pulls one his arm.

They make it to TRIC and greet all their friends. They're teasingly asked if they're going to bust out any professional moves and then Mouth blasts (I've Had) The Time of My Life, from the DJ booth.

They dance and laugh and drink more then either of them really should. Mia takes the stage and Peyton cheers in a delirious way; she forgot her young talent was performing tonight. They dance and laugh and drink some more and when Peyton yawns Lucas squints his eyes.

"We should probably get going", Lucas says and it automatically causes the group to boo and groan about them being lame. Peyton giggles and Lucas almost wants to kiss her. Well he does want to kiss her, but that giggle almost makes him lean forward and do it.

"Luke's right", she mumbles and playfully rolls her eyes. She hugs all their friends while Lucas shakes their hands and kisses their cheeks. On their way out, Peyton grabs his hand and weaves her fingers through his.

And he thinks that's the best he's felt in a while.

They've had a few close calls in the years they've lived together and Lucas would be lying if he said he didn't miss them. Being with Peyton is natural, they fit together seamlessly. They also aren't very keen on talking about everything they experience. They have yet to talk about the first time it almost happened when she was still pregnant with Ally and they haven't even breached the conversation about the proposal gone wrong.

But he loves her, with his whole heart and so he'll wait for as long as he has to. He'll even watch her be with another man – begrudgingly – if she doesn't want him. he was so close to telling her last year that he loved her, that he wanted everything with her and not again. That he'd always wanted everything with her and that he still wanted everything with her.

He still does.

They walk home hand in hand and the second they're through the front door Peyton runs for the house phone. It's only a little after 10 in LA and he's sure Peyton wants to hear all about Allison's Halloween and subsequently scold Julian for letting her eat so much candy – he can't blame the man, he's been suckered into the same thing before.

He gets changed and just as he's trying the drawstring on his flannel pajama pants she skips into the room. He chuckles to himself; he always loves when she's a little tipsy. She plops onto his bed and sits Indian style with her arms behind her (using the bed for leverage).

"Tonight was fun", she says with a smile. Lucas nods and lets out a yawn. "Can't handle all the activity, old man?" she teases.

"Ha ha", Lucas says deadpanned. "How was Ally's Halloween?" he asks as he sits beside her. Peyton's heart flutters at the way he mentions her daughter.

"She loved it. A bunch of the other kids from his complex were dressed up and they went to every door. She was dressed as a 50s girl", she says with a private smile.

"That sounds adorable", Lucas gushes with his eyes half closed. He can picture her in a pink poodle skirt and a white shirt with little patent leather shoes.

"Julian said that Jessica took a ton of pictures", she says softly. Lucas places a hand over hers and she laughs quietly. "Anyway, she's home in two days and I cannot wait", she says eagerly.

"This has been fun though, right?" he asks softly and he isn't really sure why.

Peyton grins and nods her head. She takes in a deep breath and he watches the rise and fall of her chest. He doesn't understand how everything she does is so incredibly sexy.

"I should go to bed", she whispers. She sits up straight, but before she actually moves anywhere, she leans forward and kisses his cheek. It's something that shouldn't surprise him, but it does.

"Thanks for . . . all sorts of things", she murmurs and climbs off the bed. Lucas smiles at her as she turns off his light and closes the door behind her. He rolls over and hugs his other pillow close to him.

It still smells like her.

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they're all I can see

Lucas wakes up to the sound of giggles coming from the kitchen. He rubs a hand over his face before sighing and stretching out his still tired muscles. He rolls over and closes his eyes again, but the aroma that comes from beneath his closed door causes his mouth to water.

He stands from the bed and wonders if his mother is home and didn't tell him. It can't be Peyton because she doesn't cook. As he opens his door he scratches the back of his head and squints his eyes to protect them from the bright sun. He lingers in the doorway of the kitchen in shock.

Sure enough Peyton is standing at the stove and Ally's at the table.

"When is he gonna wake up!" the four year old asks in exasperation. Peyton chuckles and shrugs one of her shoulders.

"I don't know Ally-cat", she says and Lucas smiles at the nickname they both call her by. "He had a big night last night and he probably needs a lot of rest."

Allison sighs greatly and rolls her eyes. Lucas is tempted to stand in the doorway longer simply because of that action. He is still incredibly tired though. Nathan, Haley and Jamie have all recently moved back to Tree Hill. Nathan's four year contract with Seattle was up and he moved on to the Bobcats.

Last night, all the guys went out and celebrated.

"He's so boring", she says and Peyton turns to look at her. That doesn't make much sense, but apparently to the four year old, it's completely reasonable.

"Who's so boring?" he asks as he enters the room. Ally's eyes light up and she jumps off her chair. Lucas crouches down as she run, full force, into his arms. "Morning Al's."

"Mornin Lukey", she says with a sweet smile. He rolls his eyes at the nickname she's been calling him by since she could talk – courtesy of his younger sister. He places a few kisses on her cheeks and tries to set her on her feet, but she clings to his neck and says;

"Happy Father's Day!!"

His heart stops in his chest and a smile spreads to his lips. All of this is for him.

"Mommy wanted to make pancakes, but I told her we had to make your favorite, french toast!" Allison squeals adorably.

His eyes trail over to Peyton who's still standing at the stove, but is facing the two of them. She's got one hand on her hip and the other is in the air with a spatula in its grip. When their eyes lock she winks at him and he feels like a man who's just won the lottery.

"It's a good thing you're around to fill her in on things, huh?" he asks and lifts her into his arms simply because he wants to. She nods and then, in a serious tone, tells him that mommy did her best so even if it isn't good, just pretend.

It's meant to be a whisper, but the blonde is four, and she doesn't have the best whispering skills.

Peyton sets the plate on the table and stares at her daughter with wide eyes. Allison giggles softly and buries herself into Lucas's arms and Peyton thinks that they have the best possible relationship. And it makes her wish she could give Allison more.

Julian lives thousands of miles away and Allison sees him once a month. She knows he loves her with his whole heart and that he does everything he can to be with her, but it's still really hard on all of them. So she's grateful that her daughter has Lucas to teach her how to ride a bike and shoot a free throw. She's grateful that he's around to check for monsters in the closet or under the bed.

"Just be glad she didn't try to make chocolate chip cookies", he whispers to the little girl, but it's loud enough so that Peyton hears. She narrows her eyes at him, but smiles warmly.

Allison giggles and wiggles to be put down. Once she's on her feet she skips to her chair and climbs onto the seat. Lucas walks over to the fridge and takes out the apple juice. He places it on the table and ruffles Allison's hair when she beams up at him.

"Alright guys, dig in", Peyton says which causes the four year old to laugh hysterically. She sits across from Lucas and they all eat in relative silence. It's something they've gotten used to with Allison; she's a chatterbox, but once there's food in front of her, all talking ceases.

"Oh! I almost forgot somethin'!" Allison says loudly and then darts from the table. They both watch her run with confused smiles on their faces. Lucas lets out a content sigh and turns to face Peyton.

Her blonde hair is wavy and splayed across her shoulders. The sundress she wears doesn't leave much to the imagination, but he'd never complain. She takes a bite of her French toast and then points her fork at him.

"So how is it? And don't lie like Ally told you to", she teases. He chuckles and shakes his head.

"It is actually really great", he assures her. There's a stretch of silence and then he says; "Thank you for this, Peyton."

She looks at him and smiles a smile that's filled with adoration. "Lucas, it's the least I could do", she whispers. "You've been so wonderful the last few years, giving us a place to live and taking such great care of her . . . I don't even think this begins to cover how much I appreciate it all."

"Well it means a lot", he says sincerely.

Allison flies back into the kitchen with a folded piece of paper. "This is for you", she says and then shyly hands him the piece of construction paper. He quickly looks at Peyton, but she just shrugs.

Lucas unfolds it and feels his heart ache. It's a picture of him and Allison at the Rivercourt. He's teaching her how to shoot a free throw while Peyton stands by the bleachers with her hands in the air. Of course, it's not masterfully done, but it's from Allison and that makes it better then if Michelangelo himself drew this.

"Thank you, Allison", he says with water filled eyes. She grins and jumps up to kiss his cheek. When she climbs back onto her chair Peyton clears her throat.

"Okay kiddo, eat up. You still have to call your dad and then get dressed because we're going to the Rivercourt to see Uncle Nathan and Aunt Haley!"

Allison cheers and with her mouth filled with French toast, she asks who else will be there. Peyton tells her that she'll see Jamie and Brooke and Owen, and baby Jack. They'll play basketball and she can play tag with Jamie and they're going to have a great day. When the two older blondes catch eyes again, Peyton smirks and sends him another one of those winks.

She had assured him that all this was nothing, but it's really everything.

And he plans on telling her that.

I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all

"Alright, what gives?"

Peyton looks up at Nathan and furrows her brows. Ever since he and Haley moved back they've been trying to uncover the secret that seems to be begging to spill from her mouth. She doesn't know what he's talking about.

Okay, so she does, but that doesn't mean she's going to tell him.

"Nothing", she says with a laugh. She tucks some of her hair behind her ears and Nathan smirks when he sees the earrings Lucas gave her for her birthday in her ears. "Stop it!" she demands.

"I'm just trying to figure out where your head is", he says simply. He sits beside her on the bleachers and rests his forearms on his knees. Peyton heaves a giant sigh and tilts her head in his direction.

"It's right here, in this moment. My friends are here and my daughter is happy and healthy and pretty damn good at basketball", she adds with a smirk.

Nathan chuckles and nods his head; he can't really argue with that. She's made almost every shot Lucas has set her up for. But that's not what he was asking her and they both know it. So he tries a different approach.

"It was really great of you to make him breakfast", he says as nonchalantly as possible. Peyton rolls her eyes and stands from the metal bench.

"It was something Allison wanted to do for him", she says easily and starts to walk away. Nathan rolls his eyes at her attempt at not really caring.

"Have you kissed him lately?" he asks loudly, but not loud enough for anyone to hear; they're all off in their own worlds with their own things. "Or nearly ripped all his cl –"

His mouth his covered by her small hands and the look in her eyes lets him know he went a little too far. She slowly removes her hands and glares at him as she does so.

"I told you about those incidents because I knew you would be the last one to make it into a huge deal, don't you dare use it against me now", she hisses. He holds his hands up in surrender.

"I'm sorry", he says sincerely. "I just want to see the two of you happy", he whispers.

Her shoulders slump and she smiles softly. "I am happy", she stresses. "Actually right now I'm a little pissed, but typically, I'm happy", she jokes and he rolls his eyes.

"Thank you, though", she says sincerely and kisses his cheek. As she walks down the steps Lucas reaches her.

"Let's take a walk", he says and cups her elbow. She quickly turns her head and glances at Nathan; he simply smirks.

They walk along the river in silence for a while. Their hands innocently graze and the gesture that they were once so easy to ignore sends chills throughout their bodies. Finally he sticks his hands in his pockets and Peyton folds her arms around herself.

"So, what's up?" she asks softly. She doesn't want to seem impatient or uncaring, but she really wants to know why he wanted to take a walk. He stops at a small clearing and from where they are he can see the setting sun perfectly.

"I just wanted to thank you, again, for breakfast", he says meekly. Peyton smiles and squeezes his shoulder.

"Lucas, I told you it was the least I could do. It wasn't a big deal", she whispers. Lucas takes her hand off his shoulder and holds it in his own.

"No, it's a big deal, Peyton. It means a lot that Ally thinks so highly of me. I mean, I know I'm just her godfather, but –"

"Don't do that", she scolds. "Don't be so self-deprecating. You know you're so much more", she squeezes his hand and for him, that's the push he needs.

"Okay, there's really no way to say what I want to say, so I'm just – am I crazy?" he asks softly. "Am I the only one feeling these things and wanting things?"

She avoids his eyes and she lifts on foot off the ground; nervously she makes her flip flop hit the bottom of her foot in succession. She cannot believe this is happening right now! She just spent a few minutes convincing Nathan that it wasn't going to happen and now Lucas is in front of her saying these things . . .

"Luke", she whispers with an unsteady voice.

He shakes his head. "No Peyton, I God – I just . . . I love you", he finally blurts out. "I've loved you for years and I'm pretty sure I've always known it. I want to be with you –"

"There's so much that we have to talk about", she whispers and meets his eyes. He kisses her knuckles and then the kisses the front of her hand. "The proposal –"

"I was an idiot", he says without hesitation. "You weren't saying no . . . you just needed time."

Tears start to well in her eyes because she's waited years to hear him say that. But this can't make everything okay. Can it?

"Ally might get confused", she starts to mumble, but he stops her.

"Then we don't have to tell her; not right away", he assures her with a boyish grin. "Peyton, I love you and I'm pretty sure you love me too", he says softly.

Her lips curve upward into a smile and she remembers that night so many years ago. When she was a moody teenage girl and Lucas was the boy that wanted to be inside of her head . . . and probably inside her heart.

"Pretty sure?" she asks coyly. He lets out a breath and pulls her flush against his body. His arms wrap around her waist and hers lock around his neck. She opens her mouth, but before she can get a word out, Lucas kisses her.

It's long and languid and so incredibly perfect that neither of them can believe they haven't been doing this everyday for the last few years. His hand moves up her body and tangles in her curls and she moves her hands to the lapels of his collared shirt.

"Best kiss ever", he says passionately once they break apart. Peyton blushes and nods her head in agreement. He pecks her lips again, simply because he can and wants to and then he takes her hand in his.

"I love you too", she whispers just as the sun sets in the horizon. He knew she did and that she does, but the words sound so amazing as they fall from her lips. He kisses her again and smiles the entire time.

"Maybe we should head back?" she asks timidly as she stares at their intertwined hands. Lucas pulls her to his side and she leans into him; her head falling onto his shoulder.

"Let's just stay here for a while", he says mutedly. Peyton nods and her hand rests on his chest.

She's pretty sure she'd stay or go anywhere, as long as he was beside her.

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Let me know what you think!