I own nothing, nor do I own "Perfect Little Secret" by Snow Patrol.

Okay, this is a second part for TTWNCFUAA (yes, I really did just abbreviate that whole thing! LOL). Follows LP's relationship a bit more, the ups and downs. Maybe there will be a third part.


In the blinding darkness
Of the night it seems simple
All I know is that
I love you here right now

They've kept quiet for a couple of months. Neither of them has ever been more surprised.

They don't act any different in public. They still maintain the touching and laughter – all of which Brooke calls sexual tension – while they're with their friends or just out to take Ally to the park. They don't want things to seem different because the second it's noticeable, someone will catch on and then they'll have to face reality.

Or at least Peyton will.

Lucas has no problem with telling the world that they're together, but she's still hesitant. She's been down this road with him before. The public relationship and the well known feelings and it's all crashed and burned. Everyone knew why she was upset or taking certain amounts of anger out on the wrong people.

If anything happens this time around, she can wallow in silence.

But Lucas promises her that won't happen.

She knows he means it, but there are never any guarantees. Things happen and people change and in that process, people get hurt or left behind. She cannot risk Ally getting left behind . . . she can't risk it for herself either.

"Okay Ally-cat", Lucas' voice booms from the kitchen. "It's time for a bath!" her daughter squeals loudly and Peyton knows he's just lifted her into the air and placed her over his shoulder.

"I don't wanna take a bath", she whines. Peyton rolls her eyes and from her spot near the window she turns her head. "Do I have to?" she pouts.

Lucas can't even see her face, but Peyton knows he'll cave. He's an absolute sucker for Allison. Although, if you were to ask him, he'd say it was simply because she was a Sawyer.

And that thought gives her a million little butterflies.

"Yes, you have to", Peyton says sternly. She's gotten use to being the 'bad cop'; Julian isn't any better at putting his foot down. "Do you wanna be the stinky girl in Pre-K tomorrow?" she asks and scrunches her nose playfully.

Allison wiggles in Lucas' arms and he moves her so that she's resting against his chest. Her eyes are wide and filled with horror. Lucas chuckles softly and Peyton bites back her smirk.

"I don't want stink, mommy!" she cries out. Peyton nods her head and rests her hands on her hips. Allison looks between the two blondes and begs Lucas to put her down. "I needa bath!" she yells and runs into to the bathroom.

Lucas chuckles and Peyton rolls her eyes at her daughter's antics. She's got so much of Julian in her that it's almost shocking. They're alone in the living room for a minute and Lucas smirks at her.

"Don't even think about it", she warns playfully. He ignores her completely and stalks over to her. She feels the anticipation and excitement boiling up in her stomach and before he can corner her, she meets him halfway.

"Don't even think about it", he mocks with that damn smirk still in place. There are most days she wants to wipe that smirk off of those lips. Today isn't one of those days.

He stands in front of her with his hands in his pockets because if they're not stuffed into the jeans they'll be on her and they can't risk Ally walking in on them. She folds her arms over herself and leans in a little; she can feel his body heat radiating off of him and it drives her wild.

"I want to take you on a date", he says – not for the first time since they've started this unknown relationship. Peyton lets out a breath and looks down at her feet. "I want to show you off to the world, Peyt", he says sincerely.

"That's not fair", she pouts. "You know I love it when you call me Peyt", she says softly. Lucas grins and nods his head.

"I'm hoping that, matched with my undeniable charm will cause you to cave", Peyton giggles and Lucas itches to reach out to her. She unfolds one of her arms and places her hand on his forearm.

He's wearing a button-down, but the sleeves are rolled up to his elbows because he was doing the dishes. His jeans are worn and tattered and make him look like such a man that she needs to take in a deep breath.

Lucas' smirk grows.

"Like what you see?" he growls from deep in his throat. Peyton closes her eyes and smiles softly. "I'm serious, you know? About taking you out", he says once more.

Peyton's eyes open and when green meet blue, she nearly caves; nearly. "I know, but isn't being a secret more fun? I'm like your dirty little secret", she whispers seductively.

Lucas shivers and grumbles that she isn't playing fair. They've been together for a while, but they have yet to be together. Their schedules don't really allow for it and since they aren't a known couple their friends aren't falling over each other to baby-sit.

"No. You're my perfect little secret", he counters in that gruff tone that she loves. Her hand squeezes his forearm and he watches as she bites her bottom lip.

"I hate that you're so good with words", she teases and opens her lust filled eyes. Lucas' eyes darken at the sight and he quickly turns to look at down the empty hallway.

He leans forward and brushes his lips against her and Peyton moans in surprise. She pulls on his wrist and he crashes into her forcefully. His tongue skims her lips and she parts them without any hesitation. She's wanted to kiss him all day.

They break apart and he rests his forehead against hers. "That's not the only thing I'm good with, if you remember", he says in that same gruff tone and Peyton whimpers.

"And you said I wasn't playing fair", she says incredulously. He chuckles and pecks her lips one last time. They step away from each other just as Allison's little voice calls out from the bathroom.

"Mommy! I'm ready for my bath!"

Peyton lets out a breath and smoothes out the imaginary wrinkles on her shirt. Lucas runs his hands through his hair and over his face. Before she walks away, Peyton reaches for his hand and intertwines their fingers.

"Someday, okay?" she says softly. He meets her eyes and gives her a smile to let her know he isn't mad or annoyed. He nods and squeezes her hand in reassurance.

"Better get in there before Allison tries to do it all herself", he says playfully. Peyton nods her head and winks before disappearing down the hall.

Allison gets her bath and then her hair is braided. Lucas reads her a bedtime story and both he and Peyton take turns tucking her in. Lucas turns on her nightlight and Peyton closes the door behind them.

Their hallway is dark and the only lights that are on are the nightlights that are in the different rooms of the home. As Allison got older, they turned Peyton's room into her room and Peyton took a room upstairs. She hated being far away from Allison at night, but she knew that the little girl was safe with Lucas so close.

Peyton takes a step closer to Lucas and throws her arms around his neck. His hands immediately find her waist and she buries her face against his neck while he buries his nose in her hair.

"I've missed this", she mumbles against his warm skin. He kisses her cheek and her jaw line before pulling away to look at her. "I wish things were different."

"How so?" he asks softly.

"You know", she whispers. He nods and presses a little kiss to the curls of her blonde hair. He loves her. He loves everything about her. He just doesn't love that she's still so afraid of his love.

"Someday, right", he whispers. She pulls away from him briefly to wink. He loves that gesture. She makes anything look incredibly sexy and the fact that she still doesn't know . . . it makes him love her even more.

And he loves the promise of someday.

It's not as if I wanted
To fall so hard for you
Or even understand
These woken feelings

It's right around November when things start to change.

They've been hiding for over five months and Lucas can't say he's thrilled with the situation. He figured it would take a while, but this is just insane. It's like she doesn't want people to know that they're dating in the least bit.

And he doesn't think it's because she's scared.

It's like she's purposely keeping them a secret because she's afraid of what their friends will say. She doesn't know how his mother will react – even though he's assured her she would be ecstatic.

He starts to think she's afraid to tell Julian.

He knows it's a ridiculous notion. Peyton and Julian hasn't been a couple for half a decade, but that doesn't always matter. Up until this past summer, he and Peyton hadn't been a couple since they were nineteen.

It doesn't help that Ally's father is home for Thanksgiving. Lucas knows it's absurd for him to be angry about something that he has no business being angry about, but he can't help it.

The man is Allison's biological father and he's forever tied to Peyton in a way that Lucas isn't – may never be. He watches from the corner of the room as Julian runs around with Allison on his back. She's squealing and throwing her head back and Lucas clenches his glass in his hand.

"Easy, bro", Nathan says as he walks up to the older Scott. Lucas shoots him a glare and Nathan raises his hands in defense. "Don't try to take this out on me", he warns.

Lucas softens and his eyes apologize for the glare he used before. "I'm just tired", he mumbles lamely. When Nathan scoffs, Lucas' eyes narrow.

"Seriously, don't try to lie about it", Nathan says flippantly. Lucas opens his mouth – no doubt to refute that statement, but the dark haired Scott doesn't let him. "Honestly Lucas, you're pretty transparent."

"It's just hard having this guy come in and sweep her off her feet", he grumbles. Nathan follows his line of vision and sighs at what he sees. Now Peyton's joined in and Nathan isn't sure who Lucas is talking about.

"First of all, he's not just some guy. He's her father. And second of all, she's not getting swept off her feet", he says pointedly and his darker blue eyes lock with Lucas'. "When are you finally going to tell her you're in love with her?"

Lucas lips his lips and feels like this is his perfect moment. He knows Nathan would be happy for them and he knows that he can trust his younger brother with his secret, but he holds back. If Peyton doesn't want people to know, then people won't know.

"I don't know what you're talking about", he whispers and before his brother can get in another word he walks away.

Later that night, after everyone's left and Allison is fast asleep; he sneaks into Peyton's room. She's lying on her side and he takes a minute to stare at her. She's beautiful and even with zero makeup on and a mess of curls, she takes his breath away.

He pulls the covers down on the opposite side of the bed – the side that's always been his. She lets out a little noise and moves around a bit, but she doesn't wake up. When the bed dips down and he rests his head on the pillow she curls up against him and her small hand lands right above his heart.

He doesn't know how long he's laying there until she wakes up. He doesn't even know she's awake until she rubs her head against his chest and lets out a little noise.

"This is nice", she whispers; her voice thick with sleep. He smirks and holds her a little closer. "What's going on?" she asks softly.

"Nothing, I just wanted some time with you", he says and even shrugs gently. She tilts her head up in his direction and sends him a disbelieving look.

"Is it crazy for me to miss you?" he asks incredulously. She rolls her eyes and smirks softly at the way he's desperately trying to avoid the serious conversation she knows they need to have.

But she kind of wants to avoid it too.

"No. I'd say it was perfectly normal", she says cheekily. "In fact I'd be a little worried if you didn't miss me", she teases. His eyes darken just a little bit and she has to swallow deeply.

They still haven't slept together. They don't get much time to themselves between Ally and their jobs and Lucas' constant need to write. When they are alone, they mostly sit on the couch and talk about their days or simply enjoy the silence. But that doesn't mean they don't want that physical closeness.

"I guess I just wanted to hold you for a while", he says after he clears his throat. He's still waiting for her to give him the go ahead with the next level. The last thing he wants to do is push her away.

"Sorry that we didn't get to hang out that much today", she whispers as she pulls at some imaginary fuzz on his t-shirt. "It's just that Julian's only in town for a while and Ally misses him . . . plus him and Jess are having problems", she says absentmindedly.

Lucas raises his brows. "What kind of problems?" he asks curiously. But he's not concerned for Julian in the least. He's interested as to why Peyton cares.

"The fact that she's younger . . . he doesn't know if she's ready to settle down", she says easily and shrugs her shoulders. Lucas' hold on her loosens just a bit and she closes her eyes.

Everything needs to turn into an ordeal.

"Luke –"

"Not like you would be?" he asks accusingly. She lets out a sigh and sits up in bed. The blankets fall down to her waist and Lucas quickly acknowledges the fact that she's wearing one of his old shirts.

A red one that holds so much history.

"We are not fighting about this now", she hisses. "Actually, we're not fighting about this ever! There's nothing to even discuss. Lucas he's my ex and he's Ally's father. That's it", she says simply.

"But that can't be it!" he disagrees. "Peyton, he's your ex and he's Ally's father."

"But you're you!" she says as loudly as she can without making any real noise. In the past few years Allison's become a lighter sleeper then she used to be. Peyton grabs his hand and intertwines their fingers.

"You're you and I'm me, and it always comes back to that", she whispers. With the aid of the moonlight he can see the tears that have gathered in her eyes and he wants to kick himself.

He knew this wouldn't be easy and he figured she'd be hesitant about their relationship, he just didn't expect it to all be this hard. And he didn't expect to love her so damn much; so much more than he ever has.

"I know, but –"

She uses her other hand to cover his mouth. "There's no room for a but anywhere in this conversation", she argues with a glimmer of humor in her green eyes. "Lucas Scott, I love you", she says forcefully; meaningfully.

He takes the hand that's covering his mouth and holds it tightly in his large palm. He isn't usually a man that's insecure and he doesn't always need to hear that she loves him, but tonight it feels pretty damn great.

"I love you, too. And I'm sorry I got all girly", he mumbles and his cheeks turn a light shade of pink. She leans forward and quickly presses her lips to his.

Before she can pull away, he cups the back of her head and deepens the kiss. She moans and he moans and they both move closer to each other. She rests her hands above his rapidly beating heart and he places his on her waist.

They still don't really know where they stand, but they have their love.

And most of the time, that's all you need.

I love you my own way
I love you better
I love you inside all this
I love you forever

Christmas break is even more hectic then Thanksgiving was. Peyton's got meetings with a few different artists and Lucas is trying to get his next book finished. Allison's done with school for the time being and then there's all the family events they need to attend.

When the curly blonde walks through the door after one particularly rough meeting all she wants to do is curl up in her bed and put on one of her favorite albums. She kicks her heels off at the door and takes her hair out of the neatly done bun she put it in this morning.

She starts to sneak away – to the upstairs bathroom for a hot shower- but giggling (distinct giggling) sidetracks her. She walks down the long hallway and stops just short of the kitchen to see her two favorite people in the world sharing a moment that she wants to always remember.

They're making Christmas cookies and the kitchen is a mess which means Lucas really let Allison take over. Flour litters the floor and icing is hanging from the countertops and table. Her daughter and (secret) boyfriend are wearing matching aprons and Ally evens sports a little chef's hat.

It makes her love Lucas even more.

"Mommy!" Allison yells and then scurries off the chair and into her mother's arms. Peyton pretends to huff as she lifts the four year old into the air.

"Hey Ally-cat", she says affectionately and nuzzles her nose. The little girl giggles and her small hands cup her mother's face. Peyton moves her lips and kisses the small limbs before putting Allison back on her feet.

"Hey Peyt", Lucas says with that boyish smile that still makes her heart flutter and when he winks at her; she nearly drags him into the bedroom. She smiles and raises her hand for a wave before walking over to the bowl with the batter in it.

"So, how long have you two been at this?" she asks as she sticks her fingers into the metal bowl and scoops some dough onto it. Allison tells her they've been cooking all day long because Santa needs an assortment of cookies.

"Why an assortment?" her mother asks in interest. Out of her peripheral vision she can see Lucas roll his eyes playfully. This must be a good answer.

"Cause I needa get lots of gifts", she says obviously and puts her hand on her hips. Peyton chuckles and shakes her head.

"Of course", she mumbles. The little blonde walks over to the fridge to take out some more butter and Lucas takes the chance to slide up next to her. Peyton automatically feels her blood warm.

"I wish I was that cookie dough", he husks and Peyton nearly chokes on it. His hand wraps around her waist and he squeezes her hip gently. She takes in a breath and lets it out slowly.

Ever since that night in her bedroom last month, they've gotten closer. They talk about their feelings more often and Peyton's realized just how difficult this is for Lucas. He knows he loves her, but he doesn't understand why she won't let them be public. Personally, she's going to give it another two months.

Valentine's Day will be their first official day as a couple.

"Play your cards right and maybe you will", she fights fire with fire. He narrows his eyes and she can hear the low growl that he doesn't even seem to realize he let out. She loves when he makes that noise.

They still haven't slept together, but Peyton's starting to think it might be the best Christmas present either of them receives.

"I'll take you into my bedroom right now", he whispers roughly and Peyton takes a minute to contemplate it. Before she can agree, Allison is walking back over and pushing her way between the two adults who are standing closely together.

"You wanna help, mommy?" Allison asks innocently. Peyton smiles and runs her fingers through her long blonde hair. She starts to speak, but Lucas's laughter breaks through the air.

"Ally, mommy can't exactly bake", he says delicately. Peyton looks up at him with a disbelieving look and her mouth dropped. "I'm just saying", he mumbles.

She smiles and shakes her head and places a kiss to Allison's blonde locks before announcing that she was going to take a shower, but she'd be sure to help with the cleanup after.

Lucas watches her walk away with a smile on his face.

Christmas comes and Allison gets everything she asked for. All her Barbie dolls and that bicycle with the pink and purple streamers, she even gets an expensive pair of ballet flats. Her favorite gift though, comes from Lucas.

It's a simple gold bracelet with her name on it.

She throws her arms around his neck and covers half his face with sloppy kisses. He savors every single one of them.

"It's beautiful, Lukey", she coos as she fingers the thin chain carefully. Peyton meets his eyes and nods her head in a silent agreement – she had no idea he was going to get her something so extravagant. He can feel a blush creep onto his cheeks.

When Allison leaves the room to call Jamie and tell him all about her Christmas morning Peyton scoots closer to him on the couch and places her hand on the inside of his thigh.

"Peyt", his tone is pleading with her not to start something they both know can't and won't be finished. She places her other hand on his cheek and her eyes scan the area before she leans in and kisses him hard on the lips.

They break apart and he whispers, "Peyton".

"I love you", she whispers. He closes his eyes and kisses the palm of her hand and tells her that he loves her too. More than she will ever know.

"I doubt that", she says sincerely and kisses him once more.

They spend the day at Brooke and Owens's house. Its little Jack's first Christmas and Brooke insisted that she and Owen celebrate in every sense of the word. Presents are handed out to every person and the food tastes like a five star chef made them.

Peyton and Lucas share glances from across the room and they find a way to brush against each other in subtle movements. She'll be walking to the bathroom or there will be too many people in the hallway. They think they're slick, but Brooke's not blind.

And she's not dumb either.

But she bites her tongue because it's Christmas and because if they aren't ready to admit things then she isn't going to blow up their cover. Even though it takes a lot of will-power not to do so.

They'll figure it out on their own.

She doesn't know that they already have.

All these words are useless
When I look into your eyes
It's the simple truth of perfect
Little secret

Peyton and Lucas don't have a night to themselves until New Year's Eve. They're all gathered at Nathan and Haley's house for the celebration and while nobody's looking, the blondes sneak kisses and gentle touches.

The countdown starts and while Nathan joins Haley's side and Owen scurries to find Brooke, Lucas slides up to Peyton with a half asleep Allison in his arms. She smiles at him and sips her glass of champagne; he lost count of how many she's had.

"Four . . . three . . . two . . . one!"

The group of friends and the deliriously tired children all count down the last few seconds and when the ball drops in Times Square they yell and cheer and clap their hands. Nathan pulls Haley in for a passionate kiss and Peyton watches as they whisper that they love each other. Brooke looks up at Owen before glancing at the playpen that holds their young son, her brunette friend gets that coy look that she usually does when she's thinking something cheesy and Owen laughs softly before pulling her in for a kiss.

And Peyton's heart aches.

She wants that. She wants to be able to tell Lucas she loves him in public. She wants to kiss him and playfully touch his face. She wants everything that she's too scared to take.

Allison leans forward in Lucas' arms and kisses Peyton's face. "Happy New Year's mama", she whispers softly. Peyton smiles and cups her small cheek.

"Happy New Year, baby", she whispers. Lucas's blue eyes lock with hers and he mouths that he loves her before blowing her a kiss.

Peyton sips her champagne; she doesn't even know how many glasses she's had, and watches Lucas from across the room. There are so many things about him that just prove that he's an amazing human being. She can't quite put her finger on one exact thing, but she knows for a fact that every person in the house tonight could name at least one and that's pretty amazing in itself.

"So, how long until you two get it together?" Peyton turns her head and glares – at least she thinks she does – at the dark haired Scott. He smirks because he knows she's drunk and she barely ever gets like this.

"I don't know what you're talking about", she mumbles. Nathan rolls his eyes and takes a sip of his scotch. He walks over to her and shakes his head as he does.

"It's a new year, Peyton. Don't start it off by lying", and then he walks away. Peyton bows her head before turning in his direction and as she does so, she meets Lucas's blue eyes.

They silently ask if she's alright and when she nods, he smiles. He smiles because she's okay. Or at least she's telling him she is. Nathan's right, she can't keep lying. Not to her friends and not to herself. She wants everything with Lucas.

And that's when she decides that they'll become official tomorrow.

They all spend the rest of the night with laughter in the air and drinks in their hands. It's nice to be able to see everyone and to spend time with them all. They're adults now and it's a lot harder than they thought it would be to come together and spend even a few hours with the people they once saw every day.

Allison sleeps at her aunt and uncle's house that night and Lucas and Peyton stumble home. The second the door closes behind them, Peyton's lips are on his neck and her hands are under his shirt.

"God, I love you", he mumbles as her breath tingles his senses.

He walks them forward and they collapse onto the bed together. His hands touch her like she's fragile enough to break. In reality, maybe she is. She hasn't taken this step with anyone in years and the fact that this is Lucas makes it all even bigger.

He buries his face in her curly blonde hair and he kisses her neck gently. Her skin is soft and smells like coconut and he loves that she's wearing a dress right now. His hands drift up her legs and she makes a little noise when they stop just short of her inner thigh.

He takes his weight off of her for a moment to pull his sweater over his head and he watches as her eyes rake over his torso. Her nimble fingers unbutton and unzip his jeans and that's when he gets a moment of sobriety.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" he asks with a strained voice. He knows she's been concerned about their first time and he doesn't want to take advantage of that, of her; even though he's pretty drunk himself.

Peyton smiles softly. She can very much feel that he wants and probably needs this, but he's still so concerned about her and her feelings; she doesn't know how she got so lucky.

"More than sure", she whispers and her hand slips into his boxers. He grunts and drops his head to her shoulder. He finds the zipper on the side of her dress and the second it's undone the green material is in the corner of the room.

"I've waited for this for so long", he says gruffly. He presses against her in the best possible ways until she's begging him for a better release. He pushes her panties down her legs and he shimmies out of his boxers.

"I think we've waited long enough", she says and kisses him deeply. Their hands roam a bit more and when Peyton's sure she'll explode at any second, Lucas slips into her.

That night everything changes.

In more ways the one.

You're the only thing I'm sure of
And it makes it all so hard
All that other things are
Broken out of focus

Lucas freaks out when Peyton tells him she's pregnant.

Its six weeks after they consummate their relationship and she's at work when she realizes she's late. Sitting at her desk with a pen in her mouth and her green eyes focused on her calendar; she feels like she's missing something.

She's got all her meetings done for the week and the demos have all been listened to and signed off on. Allison's bake sale was the other day and her parent teacher conferences aren't until the following week. That's when she looks at the date and nearly has a panic attack.

She rushes out of TRIC without a word to anyone and heads to the nearest drug store. She picks up five tests and after taking them all, she has her answer. For a long time she sits on the edge of Lucas' bed and cries.

Things just got a lot more complicated.

This is how Lucas finds her. She's sitting on the edge of his bed and her face is buried in her hands. He pulls at his tie so that the knot isn't so suffocating and he places his work bag on his desk. Thankfully Allison is out of town for the weekend.

"Peyton, baby", he whispers softly. She lifts her head and tries to wipe her tears and hold back her sniffles, but it's all useless. "Hey . . . what's wrong?"

She shakes her head and mumbles something that he can't hear. It makes him nervous that she's so distraught. He can't even really remember a time in the last few years that he's seen her like this.

He sits next to her and places his hand on her shaking knee. He doesn't like that she's so hysterical. Something big must have happened and it's clearly big enough that she doesn't want to tell him about it. So he starts to wrack his brain.

She told him about the new band she's been trying to sign and how the lead singer is a total asshole. He hits on her and tries to feel her up any chance he gets, Lucas wants to kill him, but Peyton's always assured him it's not as bad as it sounds.

Clearly it is.

"Peyt, is this about Tommy?" he asks with his jaw already set in anger. The guy doesn't know Peyton has a boyfriend – a sore topic that lingers between the blondes – but he should respect when a woman says no.

"No. I wish", she cries out. He furrows his brows and moves so that he can face her more directly. "Lucas, I can't –"

"Can't what, baby?" he urges softly. She whimpers softly and his large hands cup her face. His thumbs wipe away the large droplets of water. He can suddenly remember the last time she was this upset.

They were merely twenty-two at the time.

"Peyton", he says, a little breathlessly. She looks at him through her wet lashes and he can almost see the guilt she carries. This isn't her fault . . . at least it's not all her fault.

"Luke", she whispers. He shakes his head and even though his mind is screaming at him not to, he takes his hands from her face and moves from his bed.

"This isn't . . . we can't . . . oh my God", he rambles. Peyton stands and meets him halfway across the room.

"I didn't mean for this to happen", she starts to apologize, but he cuts her off.

"I'm sure you didn't. Who would want a kid with a guy who's a part-time boyfriend?" he asks coldly.

"That's not fair!" she yells, thankful that Allison's with her father for the next few days. "Lucas, don't hold that against me!"

"How can't I? Peyton, it's been months! And now you're . . . we're –"

"You can't even say it, can you?" she seems to taunt him. "I'm pregnant Lucas! I'm carrying your child!"

Her words hit him like a thousand little needles poking his flesh. He knows he's being irrational, but what can he do? Nobody even knows they're together and now she's pregnant. This isn't how it's supposed to be.

There's supposed to be a ring on her finger and he's supposed to legally adopt Allison. They should have a separate room that's their just in case room for when they decided to have a baby together. They're supposed to be happy and in love and married . . . right now they've got the second one and sometimes they have the first.

He doesn't think they'll ever have the last one.

This entire thing is bringing up old wounds and pouring salt into them. They've had talks about becoming official and they even prepared to tell Nathan and Haley after New Year's a few weeks ago, but then for some reason – he doesn't even know what – they never got around to it.

"I know this is huge, but I love you, Lucas and that makes this less scary", she says in a small voice and on instinct, he reaches out to her. She buries her face against his chest and breathes in his scent.

"Peyton, I just don't think that –"

"Don't say it", she mumbles against him. She feels him take a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I know this isn't ideal, but when have you and I ever been about ideal situations?" she asks somewhat teasingly.

He shakes his head and closes his eyes. That's the thing. Timing is never right with them. They have always had the odds at their feet and this is the prime example. They couldn't even find the time or the guts to tell their friends and family that they were a couple. How the Hell are they supposed to announce that she's pregnant?

"Peyton . . . they don't even know we're together. Are you going to tell people it was some meaningless one night stand?" she can hear the hurt in his voice and it kills her. She doesn't want to be the one to cause him pain.

"Lucas, I haven't really gotten that far", she admits. "I only just found out today", she says quietly.

"Okay, but we've been dating since June". He points out forcefully. His hanger is coming back and even though he wants to hold it off, he doesn't think he can. "It's freaking February."

"I'm aware of the months", she says as she pulls away from him.

"We're you planning on telling them the truth?" he asks as he puts his hands on his hips. She takes too long to answer – at least in his opinion. Her answer should have already been on the tip of her tongue.

Yes. Always yes.

"I'm just scared", she admits. "We have an almost tragic history and I'm just afraid that coming clean to everyone will make it all real and I'll have to face the fears that I haven't wanted to."

"Well I hate to break it to you Peyton, but it's a little bit late for that", he says harshly. "You're pregnant!"

"Don't yell at me! I'm not the only one who's a part of this", she hisses.

He raises his brows and shrugs his shoulders gently. "That's not what everyone will think. Heck, you should tell them all it's the Virgin Mary Syndrome", the tone of this voice causes tears to gather in her eyes. She hates those tears.

And right now, she kind of hates him.

"Are you even the slightest bit happy?' she asks in a totally defeated voice.

His mind screams, Yes, God of course I am! But he doesn't say that, instead he says;

"How can I be happy when you won't even tell people we're a couple? You're going to jump straight into tell them that we're having a baby?"

"Luke, I know that I haven't exactly gone about things the right way, but I don't know what else to do right now", her voice shakes and she has to bite her bottom lip.

"I think I just need some time to digest all this", he says softly. She nods and wraps her arms around herself.

"Do you wanna go to the River Court or something? I can just sketch and you and shoot around. Or I could just keep walking and you could play ball. I know that helps to calm you down –"

"Damnit Peyton, I just . . . I can't do this", he says before he knows what the words will mean.

She stops breathing and she swears she loses a pulse for a good three minutes. Is he really saying the words she thinks he's saying? This is supposed to be the happiest time in their lives and yet here they are . . . on the brink of losing everything they've wanted for so long.

Peyton's too filled with pride to say anything else. If he doesn't want to be with her then he doesn't want to be with her. She isn't going to beg and plead with him. She isn't going to cry and sob. She's going to do what she does best.

Hold her head up high and build up that wall.

"Fine", she says and walks out his door.

Two weeks after that, she miscarries.

I love you my own way
I love you better
I love you inside all this
I love you forever

They tell everyone she was hospitalized because of exhaustion; which isn't too farfetched.

She is exhausted. She's exhausted with everything and everyone. And now she's lost her child because of it. Allison doesn't really understand why she's been in the hospital, but she knows that her mommy needs a few nights of peacefulness so she has to stay away.

"I think this is everything", Mia says as she walks into the hospital room. Peyton turns her head and looks at her sadly; she tries to muster up a smile, but it's futile. Mia was the person who found Peyton on the floor and had to call 911.

She was there with her when she was told she lost the baby.

"Thanks so much", Peyton whispers; her voice rough from the tears she's cried. The young, brunette nods her head and sits in the chair beside her friend.

Her hand gently covers Peyton's – she doesn't want to pull out the IV – and she looks at her knowingly. "I don't think you should keep this a secret", she whispers

"I can't tell them all this; not now anyway", she mutters. "What?" she asks when Mia looks away.

"Nothing, I just . . . has Lucas been by yet today?" she changes the topic. Peyton shakes her head.

"No, but if his schedule is the same as it always is, he's got meetings all day. The board is trying to lessen the athletic program and he's spent most of his time trying to convince them they can't do that."

"You still care about him", she points out even though they both know she didn't need to.

"Unfortunately", the blonde grumbles. Mia rolls her eyes and stands. "Sometimes it's just not enough", she whispers.

"Sometimes it's all you need", Mia counters. Peyton narrows her eyes.

"Way to quote the Beetles."

The brunette shrugs and walks to the doorway. "I'm gonna work on a few songs, but I'll make sure to lock up afterward."

Nobody really questions it when she moves into her own place. A lot of them figure that she's tired of feeling like an inconvenience to Lucas (even though they all know she isn't). Some assume she wants her independence and she's more than financially stable to do so.

Brooke is convinced it's because of all the sexual tension between her and Lucas.

Is only she knew.

"So you're telling me, this has nothing to do with Lucas?' she asks doubtfully as she pops a strawberry into her mouth. Allison's birthday party has just ended and the two of them are in the kitchen.

"That's what I'm telling you", Peyton says easily. She's at the sink washing dishes and staring out the window. She still can't believe she has a five year old daughter, but she's watching her running and giggling through the yard. She runs right into Lucas's arms.

And her heart shatters.

They've been moved out for a while now and she knows Allison misses Lucas. It doesn't matter that they live three minutes apart or that he still picks her up from school on Wednesday's. Allison still calls him every night before bedtime and he reads her a story over the phone.

It makes Peyton feel like the worst person ever, but she just can't live with Lucas.

They still have to act friendly in public which is a difficult thing to do. She needs to pretend that she doesn't have an even more torrid history with him and he has to act like he doesn't miss her every day. Well he can, but that would be hard for the both of them.

So he acts completely indifferent.

He acts like they weren't together for months and that they weren't hopelessly in love (or that he still is). He acts like he didn't freak out when she told him she was pregnant and he acts like they didn't lose a child they never got to know. He acts like he doesn't crave to touch her or ask her if she had any names picked out.

"Alright, I'm going to kiss Ally goodnight and then I'm leaving", Brooke announces. He stands in the archway of the door that leads to the back porch and Allison squirms out of his arms and rushes over to Brooke.

"Thanks for the gifts Auntie Brooke", she says sweetly and kisses her cheeks in the adorable way that most five year olds do. "Tell Uncle Owen and Jack I said thanks, okay?"

Brooke tries not to chuckle at the serious expression her goddaughter wears as she asks the question. Brooke nods her head and kisses her one last time. "I will make sure that they know", she says honestly.

"Thanks", she says and as soon as she's back on her feet she's scampering from the room; no doubt to play with her toys. Brooke kisses Lucas' cheek and hugs Peyton – she sends them both a wink – and then she's gone.

And Lucas and Peyton are left alone.

"And then there were two", he mumbles and she can tell he really didn't mean to say it aloud. But she closes her eyes and sighs nonetheless. She wonders if there will ever be a day when something doesn't remind her of Lucas.

"I've got everything under control here", she says as she motions to the half clean dishes and the two bags of garbage that rest near the door. He sticks his hands in the pockets of his jeans (a pair she's always loved) and he nods his head.

"Are you sure, because I can do the dishes . . ."

"No really, its fine", she says softly and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear.

"Can I please do something?" he begs. They both know he's not talking about the cleaning that needs to be done. "Peyton, I miss –"

"Don't", she says harshly; more so then she intended to. "Don't make this harder", she pleads. He stares at her incredulously.

"This isn't already the hardest thing you've ever done?" he asks doubtfully. Tears immediately gather in her green eyes and he takes a step forward. He doesn't like to see her hurting.

"And it's hard for you?" she scoffs. "You didn't want the baby!" she half whispers, half yells. His mouth drops and she steps back as he steps forward again.

"Don't you dare accuse me of that!" he says angrily. "I wanted that baby more than anything", she rolls her eyes which only serves to fuel his anger.

"I think you should leave now", the biting comment that she had in her mind pushes back and she chooses to opt out of this argument that they shouldn't even be having.

He hangs his head in defeat and turns around, but not before grabbing the two bags of garbage. Peyton opens her mouth to tell him he doesn't have to, but she knows he will regardless of what she says.

He leaves the house and walks down the steps with both black bags in his hands. He just wishes he could go back in time. He wants to hold her hand again and he wants to kiss her forehead. He just wants it all back. Her and Allison and their baby.

Especially their baby.

"Lukey!" he spins around and shakes his head at the small blonde as she trots over to him. He didn't even know she snuck out of the house.

"What are you doing out here, Als?" he asks with a soft chuckle.

She's a free spirit and she's adventurous. She's a lot like Julian. He lifts her into his arms and just like when she was younger, she balls some of his shirt into a fist. She's definitely like her mother though.

"I gotta question", she says simply. "Do you love my mommy?" his eyes widen and he chokes a little bit before shaking his head. Where does she get this stuff from?

He looks past the girl in his arms and stares at the woman that he wants in his arms. She's put her hair up into a messy ponytail and he knows that the radio is on because she's doing a little dance; just like she always used to.

Before he can stop himself he's telling her he does, very, very much.

"Good", she says and pats his shoulder. She squirms to be put down and he doesn't bother to ask her why it's good as she's walking away.

He wants to imagine it's because Peyton still loves him too.

In the blinding darkness
Of the night it seems simple
All I know is that
I love you here right now

They're all going to freak out. In good ways and in bad ways. Haley will gasp and hug her till she can't breathe. Nathan will worry and fold his arms over his chest, but he'll smirk because he's proud. Brooke will freak out and cry because she's a bit hormonal these days. And Lucas . . .

She can't even think about what Lucas will do.

It's Los Angeles and it's far and it's not where she ever planned on raising Allison, but she's got to do it. Its amazing money and an amazing opportunity to really prove herself. And it's far from Tree Hill which is a blessing and a curse.

"So I have some news", she says nervously one night while having dinner at Nathan and Haley's house. Everyone is there so this makes it easier. Well, everyone except Lucas, but that's okay because she was planning on telling him in private anyway.

"You have a boyfriend?' Brooke squeals. Owen rolls his eyes and places his hand over hers. The brunette shrugs sheepishly and eyes her best friend. It's been something she's been pestered with before. Her friends think she hasn't had a boyfriend since Julian. They're wrong of course, but she can't exactly tell them that.

"No. I got a promotion – well not so much a promotion as a higher placement . . ."

"Isn't that a promotion?" Nathan asks with a smirk. He's always loved her nervous rambles. She sighs and nods her head as if saying that the wording is all a minor technicality.

"Yeah, but I'm still doing the same thing, just with a larger clientele", she explains delicately. Haley's eyes widen and she smiles.

"So, it's a bigger corporation", she says because she always catches on first. Peyton nods and she can see Owen smile from his seat, but she knows some of the happiness will disappear.

"So you're expanding Red Bedroom Records? Does TRIC have the room for that?" Owen asks as he sips his drink. Brooke takes a sip of her sweet tea and Peyton knows she's about to wish that it was bourbon.

"No it doesn't, but that's okay because . . . I won't be here", she breathes out.

Everyone does exactly what she expects them to and she breathes out a little puff of air at the fact that she knows them all so well. She just wasn't expecting one blonde, late attendant.

"You're moving?" his voice freezes her and the four others hold their breath. This isn't something they wanted to have to witness. Peyton turns her head and meets his eyes.

"Yeah, I'm off to LA", she says with a nervous laugh and she tucks her hair behind her ears. Lucas' jaw clenches . . . she'll be closer to a newly single Julian.

But she's getting more responsibility and her former employers clearly think she's got something going on down here. He's proud, how can't he be? He puts the bottle of wine and sparkling cider for Brooke on the nearby table and steps into the dining room.

"Well congratulations", he says sincerely and she can hear the breaths they all let out. Peyton does the same thing. "When do you leave?"

"Two weeks", she says regrettably. She tries not to see the way his eyes fall. He nods and puts on a smile that the entire room can tell is fake and he sits in the empty chair.

"Two – wow", he says thoughtfully. "I guess we need to get you packed up", Nathan nods and stares at the look that passes between the two blondes. They really need to get their act together.

The time passes quickly and it's spent with everyone helping her pack. She's only just moved into this house a few months ago and now she's leaving, but it's for the best. Or at least that's what she tells herself every night before she goes to sleep.

"Good Lord, Sawyer", Nathan huffs as he lifts another box into the truck. The moving van is heading down the day before she gets there; thankfully Julian will be around to help set everything up.

"I know", she says as she rolls her eyes. "I've only listened to you complain for the last hour", she reminds him. "Aren't you a professional ball player? You should be used to this!"

"This is so not the same thing!" he cries out. "And I wanted to get you some guys to do this", he points out under his breath.

Peyton smirks and walks over to him. "Why would I need guys when I have you?" she teases. Nathan opens his mouth to tell her that she's got Lucas too; she always has Lucas, but Brooke and Haley barge into the room.

"We're having a party!" the pregnant brunette announces. Peyton eyes her warily and shakes her head.

"Brooke, I leave tomorrow. I can't just –"

"Don't try to argue with her Peyton. She's been planning this all day", Haley says from her spot beside the excited woman. Brooke turns to her and frowns.

"I'm not sure that you meant that in a positive way", she pouts. Haley smiles and shakes her head.

"I didn't", Brooke stomps her foot against the hardwood floor and folds her arms over herself; her tiny bump serves as a shelf of sorts.

"Come on! This is the last time we'll all be together for . . . who even knows how long! We need to have a good night together."

"She's kind of right, Peyton", Haley mumbles. The blonde turns to Nathan and he simply nods his head. She sighs and shrugs her shoulders.

A few hours later, she's stepping into TRIC.

She spends the night laughing with her oldest friends and for a while she's actually glad that Brooke and everyone else talked her into this. She's sipping her apple martini and slapping Mouth on the shoulder for something he's teasing Millie about, when her heart stops.

Lucas is here.

And he looks good.

He's wearing a light blue button down and a pair of worn in jeans. His hair is messy and he's got a day's worth of stubble on his chin. He looks really good. She doesn't even care that he's an hour late (she wasn't watching the clock or anything) and she doesn't notice that he's carrying something wrapped in green paper with a white bow on it.

She turns her head before anyone can see her looking – although they all know she was. She's talked to nearly every person individually tonight and she's told them how much they all mean to her. Brooke and Haley cried, Owen held her in a tight hug, and she swears she saw Nathan's blue eyes fill with tears. She loves them all.

And she knows she needs to talk to Lucas. She's just too scared to.

But he makes it easier for her. "Hey", he says when he finally approaches her. "Sorry I'm late, I had some stuff – it's not important. Umm, can we talk?" he asks softly and she nods her head.

She can feel all the eyes on the two of them as they leave and she can't really say she hates it. She does hate the way her heart races when he opens the door for her and she moves past him. He still smells so damn good.

"So, this is it, huh?" he asks after a few minutes of silence. She nods and wraps her arms around herself when a cool breeze blows past them. He takes a step forward and holds out the green package.

"I uhh, I wasn't sure what I should get you –"

"You didn't need to get me anything", Peyton cuts him off. He blushes in the darkness and shakes his head.

"I wanted to", he whispers. They lock eyes and both smile stupidly before Lucas laughs out loud at their antics. "Anyway, this is for you."

She takes the package from his hands and opens it tentatively. He's never been one to wrap his own gifts. For all the years she lived with him, she did the wrapping for everything, but she was okay with that. She actually liked that he needed her for something.

"Lucas", she breathes out. Her fingers run over the emblazoned letters of a grey sweatshirt that she practically lived in for five years. "I can't take this", she attempts to hand it back to him, but he doesn't let her.

"I want you to have it. It'll be like I'm always with you", he whispers. Her heart pounds in her ears and she closes the gap between them. She places her gift on the table behind him and he places his hand on her hip.

The silky material of her dark blue dress feels wonderful beneath his fingertips. She takes in a shuddering breath as he pulls her a little closer. And for the moment it's all simple and easy. He can hold her hand and she can rest her head on his chest and maybe he can even kiss her perfect lips.

"I love you" he whispers into her ear.

She tenses and he feels it and the moment between them is gone. Things can't be simple and easy because they have too much history. They lost a child and broke each other's hearts. She pulls away from him and walks away.

She leaves that sweatshirt on the table and his heart breaks a little more.

It's not as if I wanted
To fall so hard for you
Or even understand
These woken feelings

She spends months in LA wishing it were anything like Tree Hill. Of course she also kind of loves that it's the exact opposite. She barely knows the people here and they don't know about her past with a certain blonde. They do know about the past she has with a movie producer, but that's old news to everyone.

"You're hilarious", she tells Julian as he sips coffee with her in her modest townhouse on the quieter end of the city. He rolls his eyes at her sarcasm and props his feet up on the chair opposite him.

"And your sarcasm wounds me", he mumbles. "But seriously, when are you going to go back?"

Peyton sighs loudly and shakes her head. He's been trying to get her to go back to Tree Hill since she moved here; actually, he waited a month. She never knew he supported her things with Lucas so much and when she asked him about it he said he knew she always loved him and it was obvious that he loved her.

"Julian, I've got a job here. Allison's starting school soon and plus, you're here. Ally loves spending so much time with you", she says with a smile. Julian nods and smiles a smile that he always gets when he talks about his little angel.

"And I love seeing her so often, but she misses Lucas. And you miss Lucas, you read that damn book of his twice a week", he teases. She blushes profusely and stares at the dark liquid in her mug.

"It's just not all that easy", she whispers. He scoffs and she glares at him in a way that would have him running for the hills. Too bad he doesn't care in the least bit.

"It is that simple though. You lov—"

"I miscarried", she blurts out. It's the first time she's ever told another person and she can feel the tears building in her eyes. "We were together and I got pregnant. Then we broke up and I miscarried", she whispers with a tight throat.

"Oh my God", he whispers and moves his chair closer to her. "Peyton, I am so sorry. Why didn't you say anything?"

"I don't know. I never told anyone. It drove Lucas and I even further apart and when the opportunity for Los Angeles came up, I jumped at it. I don't think I can go back there", she says sadly.

"When you were in the hospital for exhaustion . . . you were really there because –"

"Yeah . . . can we talk about something else now?" she begs. He nods and throws his arm around her, she rests her head on his shoulder and he holds her a little closer. The house phone rings, but neither of them moves to answer it.

The answering machine picks up and Bevin's voice fills the quiet room. "Peyton Sawyer! Answer your phone . . . fine whatever! I'm engaged; well me and Skills are engaged! We're having a party in a few weeks and you need to be there. I will not take no for an answer! Okay, we all miss you and love you. See you soon!"

Three weeks later she and Allison are breathing in the crisp air that summer in Tree Hill has to offer.

They're spending two nights in a nice hotel and when Peyton's getting ready she's doing her best not to hyperventilate. She's been out of Tree Hill for a few months now and she doesn't really know what could have changed. She knows Brooke's showing and that she hates it and she knows that Haley's doing an amazing job of running the label here. Nathan is back to training and Owen is starting up his own bar.

She doesn't know that Lucas is dating someone else, but she will after tonight

"Ally Penn", Skills yells as she runs, full blast, into his waiting arms. He lifts her off the ground and spins her around and Peyton can only smile. It's been months since her daughter has been in the arms of the people that love her.

"Hey Skills", she says happily. "Hey Bevs", she echoes as the blonde joins them. The older woman smiles and compliments Allison's dress, the little girl smiles shyly and pulls at some the material; telling them both that her Aunt Brooke made it for her. Peyton lets out a sigh and for the millionth time contemplates moving back to Tree Hill.

She feels a strong pull on her waist and before she can really tell who it is, she's in Nathan's arms. She holds him close and breathes in a scent that's so comforting she never wants to forget it. He pulls her closer to him for a second and then he pushes her back to arms length.

"Look at you", he seems to whisper and she blushes profusely. "Still can't take a compliment", he mutters. She punches his arm and he rubs the spot with a shocked expression.

"Don't try and tease me", she warns. He raises his brows in a daring manner and she laughs before pulling him into another hug. "Video chats don't do you justice", she whispers.

They all have them and every night they have scheduled sessions. She sees Brooke and Nathan and everyone else every night, but holding them in her arms is totally different. From over Nathan's shoulder she can see Allison run over to her 'cousin' Jamie and she wraps her little arms around his waist.

"So how's life in the big city?" he asks and she shakes her head.

"Nathan, you travel all over", she points out. He shrugs innocently and starts to answer, but he's cut off when Allison's voice seemingly breaks through TRIC.

"Lukey!" she screams and like a bolt of lightning, she's passing them all. Peyton's head follows her daughter, but she feels Nathan pull on her hand – she doesn't stop to look back at him. Instead she looks over at Lucas.

And she can see that he's holding someone else's hand.

"Sawyer", he whispers. She shakes her head and pulls her hand from his. Nathan sighs and watches as she walks over to Brooke. The brunette turns with a smile that slowly fades once she sees her friends face.

"How long?" Peyton whispers at a terrifyingly low level. Brooke's eyes flash with recognition and when she tries to brush her off Peyton doesn't let her. "You should have told me", she says just as softly.

Brooke looks down and nods her head. "I'm sorry, but we didn't think it was serious", she whispers. Peyton's eyes ask her the same question as before and Brooke clears her throat. "Two weeks after you left."

Peyton feels the wind get knocked out of her and without really thinking, she turns around. Lucas has Allison in his arms and she's curled up against him comfortably. He's saying something in her ear and she's tossing her head from side to side in laughter.

As if he can feel her eyes on him, he looks up. He's just in time to see her walk out to the balcony.

"Hey, I'm gonna go say hi to your mom, okay?" he asks as he puts her on her feet. She nods her head, but before he walks away, her little arms wrap around his legs.

"I've missed you", she whispers softly. He can feel his throat tighten and he needs to blink back tears. His fingers comb through her straight blonde hair and he nods his head.

"I've missed you too."

She looks up at him and smiles brightly before running off to play with Jack. The young boy is the perfect combination of both Brooke and Owen. He's got shaggy brown hair and dimples that make everyone smile. He's just around a year old, but his features are already strong and he's always happy.

It often makes Lucas wonder how his baby would have looked.

But he can't think about that now. He pulls open the sliding glass door and he looks around to try and spot that head of golden curls that he's missed so much. He unbuttons the top button of his shirt and pulls at him tie; the summer heat is still prominent at night. When he spots her, he can't quite breathe.

"Hey", he says and then smiles meekly when she flinches. "Sorry", he mumbles. She shakes her head and when he nods at her (silently asking if he can sit beside her) she pats the empty space.

"I can't believe they're engaged", Peyton says with a soft smile after a few minutes of silence. Lucas nods and rubs the back of his neck.

"Please, it's about damn time", he says and then cringes. He's sure that's what people would have said about them. Out of the corner of his eye he stares at her, but she doesn't show any signs of change.

"That's true", she says with a laugh. Her hands are flat on the metal surface of the fire escape and the posture she's in has her collar bone delicately protruding. He loves her perfect collar bone

"So . . . who's the girl?" she asks as casually as she can, but it's really not all that casual at all. He takes in a deep breath and closes his eyes. "She seems nice", she adds on.

He smirks and glances up at the stars that litter the sky. He knows she's just trying to make conversation and that she doesn't care in the least bit whether or not Madison is nice. He hadn't even meant for her to see them together. Nobody told him she was coming.

"That's Madison", he says simply. "She works at my publishing company. It's just something new", he tries to brush it off.

"It's been a few months", Peyton murmurs. She shakes her head and tries to gather her bearings. "Like I said, she seems nice", she brushes her hands together and pulls her legs up to the metal. And as she does this, a jagged piece of metal scrapes her leg.

"Shit!" she whimpers. Lucas is on his feet and at her side in an instant. He's kneeling beside her and her tanned leg is draped over his knee. It's not exactly gushing blood, but the bleeding definitely needs to be stopped.

He takes off his tie and knots it just above the wound. The moment is so similar to one when they were teenagers that Peyton can feel her eyes watering at the thought. She wondered once if there would ever be a moment that didn't remind her of him.

There isn't.

"You're okay", he whispers when he notices a stray tear falling down her cheek. He reaches out to wipe it off, but thinks better of it. He uses the thicker end of the tie to wipe the rest of the blood from her calf and then he helps her to her feet.

"You're okay", he repeats. She lets out a small laugh and nods her head. Somehow they both know he's secretly asking if she is okay. "Peyton –"

"Yeah, I'm just great", she says sarcastically and then walks away.

She avoids him for the rest of the night and he doesn't see her again before she leaves.

I love you my own way
I love you better
I love you inside all this
I love you forever

She's awoken one night to the sound of her cell phone ringing. She groans and whines and pulls a pillow over her head. But her phone just keeps on ringing. She lifts her head and stares at the clock and the fact that it's four in the morning makes her extremely nervous.

She picks it up without even looking at the name and the person on the other end lets out a puff of air. "Oh thank God, Peyton I've been trying to call you –"

"Luke?" she asks tiredly. "What's going on?" she rubs the sleep from her eyes. She sits up in bed and runs her hand through her messy hair.

"It's Brooke. She took a nasty fall earlier and now she's in the hospital. Nathan, Haley, and Jamie are at an away game. Owen's here, but she's freaking out –"

"I'm on my way, but it's going to take me a few hours. I have to drop Allison off with Julian . . . and I don't need to be telling you this", she mumbles with a nervous laugh.

Lucas chuckles too and closes his eyes because it's so good to hear that laugh. "I know, she'll just be glad that you're coming", he whispers. Peyton says goodbye and hangs up the phone before slipping her feet into some slippers.

She gently nudges her daughter and then she picks her up and puts her over her shoulder. She drives her over to Julian's apartment and after a quick (near hysterical) conversation, she's in the car and on her way to LAX.

She starts thinking about everything that Lucas said to her on the phone and she wishes that he was paying more attention. Brooke fell, but where was she? Did she really hurt herself as bad as it seemed? And what did all this mean for the baby?

She has to bite her lip for most of the plane ride because she doesn't need to break down in front of a bunch of strangers. Thinking about what could happen to Brooke and her baby reminds Peyton of everything that happened months ago. The baby she lost and the love she lost.

When her plane finally lands she lets out a puff of air and beats everyone to the front of the line. She's the first one off the plane and she's got her carryon bag over her shoulder. She wasn't going to waste time checking her luggage. She hails a taxi and heads to the hospital.

She makes her way to Brooke's floor and she tosses her red bag onto a random chair in the waiting room. She walks with a purpose and when she finds Brooke's room she breathes in deeply and pushes the door open.

"P. Sawyer", the brunette croaks out. Peyton smiles a watery smile and rushes over to her best friend. She gathers Brooke into her arms and smoothes her hair, much like Brooke did to her when they were younger.

"It's okay now. I'm here", Peyton whispers and Brooke cries a little harder.

After she's calmed down a bit Brooke tells her the story that landed her in the hospital. She was working late at Clothes over Bros and a fabric she needed was on a higher shelf. She grabbed the stepladder and did her best to reach, but it was still too far up. And of course Brooke Davis wears four inch heels when she's seven months pregnant. She tripped over her own two feet and Owen found her on the floor twenty minutes later.

"They don't know how the baby is", she whimpers. Peyton squeezes her hand and makes a sympathetic face. She knows all too well the agony that Brooke's in. "What if—"

"No", Peyton cuts her off. "Do not think like that, okay?"

Brooke nods and sniffs back her tears. "Owen's talking to the doctor and then he's coming back in here. Go get some coffee or something", she encourages and when Peyton starts to shake her head, Brooke raises her hand.

"Go, someone needs to be able to keep up with what the doctor is saying", the blonde leans forward and kisses her forehead and after another gentle squeeze of her hand, she's out the door.

When she walks out the door she lets herself break down completely. She leans up against the wall and slowly she slides down it. Her cries are loud and she's pretty sure Brooke can hear her, but she can't stop. A strong pair of arms lifts her off the ground, but she doesn't have to see the person to know who it is.

He's always saving her.

"It's okay", he whispers into her ear. Peyton shakes her head and wipes at her eyes in haste.

"You don't know that", she cries out. "You don't know anything", she whimpers against his chest. He holds her close and rocks her back and forth. They're sitting on the couch in the pretty much deserted waiting room and she's clinging to his shirt in the same way Allison does.

"We have to think positive, Peyt", he whispers. "Everything will be okay."

She doesn't say anything. She simply cries into his chest and he kisses the top of her head while he rubs her back soothingly. After nearly fifteen minutes of crying, she starts to doze off and two hours later she's waking up in his arms.

She makes a little noise – the same one she always has – before she opens her eyes and when she does, she smiles a bit. She's kind of missed waking up in his arms, though she would never admit it. He takes in a breath and pulls her closer before his blue eyes meet her green ones.

"Hi", she whispers.

"Hey", his voice is thick with sleep and she smiles at him. She takes a minute to enjoy the warmth he provides, but then she remembers where they are and why they're there and she pulls away from him.

He tries not to frown at the loss of her body warmth. His eyes widen with acknowledgment. "Brooke", they say at the same time.

Peyton starts to stand, but the doctor that's been waiting on Brooke walks into the sunlit room. The blonde sits down next to Lucas and she grabs his hand – he's always brought her comfort.

"Mrs. Morello is going to be fine. The baby is in perfect condition, luckily, and there doesn't seem to be any onset of premature labor. She will however, have to be on bed rest."

Lucas groans and Peyton does her best to hide her smirk. Brooke on bed rest is going to be a total pain in the ass. But she won't be around to witness it . . . she was barely able to be here for her best friend now.

"For the rest of the pregnancy?" she can hear Lucas ask. The man with salt and pepper hair nods in affirmation and then clicks the pen he's carrying.

"She's sleeping right now, but she can be discharged in about an hour. Her husband went home to make sure the house was set up nicely", he chuckles and Peyton rolls her eyes. Brooke would definitely nit-pick a messy house.

"Thank you, Dr. Stirpe", Peyton says kindly and when he walks away she lets out a breath. Her body relaxes against Lucas and he tosses his arm around her.

"I told you everything would be okay", he whispers smugly and she swats at his shoulder. "Hey now", he teases. He grabs her hand before she can pull it away completely and for a second it's all normal and she's his.

Peyton intertwines their fingers – a move that shocks both him and her – and smiles softly, almost bitter-sweetly. She clears her throat and shakes her head before loosening her grip on his hand and moving away from him.

"Where's Madison?" she asks without any malice or judgment. He kind of loves that about her. He places one of his hands on his knee and the other rubs the back of his neck.

"We actually broke up", he says easily. Her eyes widen and she does her best not to grin. He's not with anyone anymore. Though, it doesn't matter because she's not going to be getting with him any time soon and besides, she lives thousands of miles away.

And it's Lucas. They have way too much history to start over. But maybe they can pick up where they left off.

"I'm sorry", she says sincerely. He shakes his head and assures her that it's not exactly a big deal. "Lucas, you dated for months –"

"It couldn't compare", he finds himself whispering. She looks to the floor and he clears his throat for the tenth time. "Do you wanna go grab some coffee?"

She wants to, she really does. But she knows she can't . . . they can't. They'd either end up fighting or kissing and they can't do that. She does miss him, but she doesn't want to risk never having him because she misses his friendship more than anything.

"I should check on Brooke", she says quietly. He nods in understanding because even though he knows it wouldn't have been a good idea, he had to ask.

She starts to stand and he notices that she's wearing his sweatshirt. The one he tried to give her before she left. He had it beside him when they were on the couch earlier and sometime during their sleep she must have woken up and put it on.

"Can I call you sometime?" she turns her head, but doesn't stop walking. "I know I call and talk to Allison all the time, but I'd like to talk to you", he grins at her with that familiar boyish smirk and her heart flutters. But she doesn't answer him and that's okay. Because this isn't like that time all those months ago.

She's still walking away from him, but she's wearing that grey memento.

And that's got to mean something.

I love you my own way
I love you better
I love you inside all this
I love you forever

Let me know what you think!

I know I suck, but it's hard to write when you have zero free time. I'll try to write some other chapters and I have a few one-shots I'm thinking up. I'll definitely write more before the summers over so don't give up on me just yet!!