Author's Note: Yes it has been months since I updated, but I write as things hit me. So for those that stick around and bear with me as I updated, I very much appreciate it!
Brooke sometimes hated how Lucas could see through her so easily, even after they broke up. Though it seemed that now, after everything that happened between them romantically, Lucas saw her easier now then he did before. Admittedly, she saw him easier now as well. She could see when he was fighting down a memory that wouldn't go away when he looked at his daughter.
Almost two months had passed since Lucas lost his wife. About the same amount of time since Julian left Tree Hill to head back to LA. The day after her fight, Lucas had tried to get out of her what was wrong, but Brooke had insisted it was nothing and wanted him to drop it. They were so engrossed in Peyton, that Lucas had let it drop. Briefly. Until he heard that Julian had left, which was when he realized why Brooke had been so upset, quiet and withdrawn that night. However, Lucas knew that Brooke didn't want to discuss it, so he let it be, but every time he looked at her, Brooke knew he wanted to say something.
"How's my girl doing, huh?" Brooke asked, her voice taking on a chipper tone as she cooed at Peyton, lifting her into her arms. "Though you aren't my girl, but I promise I'll make sure you know all about your mama, kay?" The baby simply watched Brooke with big eyes, her mouth working around the pacifier she had.
"She's a good baby," Lucas said, breaking the silence that had settled around them.
"She is," Brooke said, smiling. "Peyton would be so proud." She looked over at Lucas, noting that there was a slight wince but nothing as bad as it had once been. Talking about her was getting easier for him.
"Yes she would," Lucas said, smiling softly. He let out a breath, realizing the ache of losing Peyton was still there but it was starting to fade a little. "It's getting easier to remember the good times and not so much about the loss."
"Luke," Brooke said quietly. "You're always going to miss her. And it's only been a couple months."
"I know," Lucas said, nodding. "And I remember it took a long time after Keith..."
"Have you talked to your Mom?" Brooke asked. She knew if anyone could help her through this hard period of mourning it would be Lucas' mother, Karen Roe. She knew all too well how to cope with the loss of the one you loved and dealing with an infant during that time.
"A little," Lucas said. "She said that she, Lily and Andy are going to come to Tree Hill to see Peyton and I as soon as they can. Probably in the next couple weeks."
"That's good, right?" Brooke said. "Do you think your mom will end up moving back to Tree Hill?"
"Maybe," Lucas said. "I mean... maybe to her moving back. I'm a big boy with my own child. She's happy traveling with Lily and Andy."
"But won't Lily have to start school soon?" Brooke asked.
"She will, but Andy is a teacher..."
"A college professor," Brooke said, chuckling. "Besides, I would think she'd want to be closer to watch her granddaughter grow up."
"Well...," Lucas started. "We'll see if she stays or not."
"You really don't think she will?" Brooke asked, tilting her head. They rose and walked over to Peyton's crib and Brooke laid her down, tugging a blanket over her small form as she happily sucked away on her pacifier.
Lucas crossed his arms over his chest as he watched his daughter. "Even though I'm here with little Peyton... there's a lot of pain here for my mom. The things Dan did that left her abandoned, making our lives a living hell," he said.
"Losing Keith," Brooke whispered, nodding.
"Losing Keith and knowing it was Dan who killed him," Lucas said. "There are times I wonder why I ever stayed."
Brooke looked over at Lucas, noting that he looked a lot older than a man in his early twenties. Lucas always had an old soul, even in high school, but to already be a widower and a single father before he was even 25 years old?
"Why did you?" she finally asked.
Lucas glanced at her, seeing the worry in her eyes, the concern in her posture. Brooke Davis was an amazing woman to Lucas Scott. All the things he put her through in high school and she was still right here with him, never faltering even once. "Despite all the bad memories, there were some great ones," he said. "Plus. Hales and Nathan were here with Jamie."
"And there was Peyton," Brooke said.
"And you. Once you both came back," Lucas said, walking over to Brooke. He pressed a hand to her back and led her out of the nursery, letting little Peyton sleep without them having to whisper.
"Me?" Brooke asked, surprised.
"Of course, you," Lucas said, stopping in the living room. He leaned against the back of the sofa, crossing his arms over his chest. "You're my pretty girl, always will be."
Brooke took a moment to watch him as a feeling she long thought gone fluttered in her chest at being called his pretty girl again. She smiled a bit and glanced down the hall towards the nursery before she looked at him.
"I think someone else is your pretty girl now," she said. She needed to change the subject, quickly. "Hey, why don't you run out and go see Nathan and Haley. Peyton's here, napping, I'll just work on some sketches while she sleeps."
"Are... you sure?" Lucas asked.
"Of course." She pulled him straight and pushed him towards the door. "Go."
"Okay," he said, with a slight laugh, getting his car keys and wallet. Opening the door, he paused and looked at her. "Thanks, Brooke."
"You're welcome," she said softly.
He gave her a grin and moved to leave the house. Brooke turned, letting out a breath when she heard his voice.
"Oh by the way, don't think you can divert me from us talking," Lucas said. "We are going to have that talk, Brooke Davis." She arched a brow when she looked at him. Simply grinning, Lucas turned and really did leave this time.
"Damn," Brooke mumbled before moving over to grab her sketch pad, hoping that Lucas wasn't true to his word.