A/N: This is a small one-shot set after Luke proposes to Lindsey. Anyone reading my other stories, I will be posting soon, but due to a three-week holiday, I lost my flow, so I wrote this to get it back.
That was all he had needed. Sixty small seconds and his life would have changed... and he realised now, it would have been for the better.
Here he was, in his early twenties, with a best-selling novel and a beautiful fiancé, but there was something wrong. He loved Lindsey, he really did, but there was still a deep ache of longing within his chest which continued to remind him of what, he truly desired.
For so long he had believed Peyton had never showed to his book signing, but she had. It hurt him to think that all this pain was down to a simple kiss on the cheek from his editor, but he knew all about jumping to conclusions.
Maybe he and Peyton were just not meant to be, and as much as it killed him to think that, it seemed to be the truth. They always managed to get the timing wrong, why was the world so against them?
However, it was too late to think of this now.
He had made a promise to Lindsey, no matter how wrong it seemed he had to see it through. He would move on, and hopefully, Peyton would too. He just hoped he was not there to see it when that day came.
Leaning back in his chair, Lucas rubbed his eyes slowly, stifling a yawn. He was tired and had been here for hours typing the words that were printed on the screen before him. The laptop provided the only light within the room, because he did not want to disturb Lindsey.
Of course, it had nothing to do with a need to not wake her, but more of a fear of what would happen if she saw this piece of work. He would lose her, and despite the fact he did not love her like he should, he still had to make this work.
Placing his hand gently on the mouse, he scrolled upwards through the few pages. This story was his dream; this was how everything should have happened.
It was different to his last, as he had written in the third person, making it seem like he was reading about another man's misfortune. Reaching the top of the page he leaned forward again and slowly began to read.
Each word making his heart ache more.
There are good ones, which can change a life for the better, and there are bad ones, which can destroy. Each moment that a person has can be altered by time.
There could be a woman seated within her car who, rather then flooring the gas pedal as soon as the light goes from red to green, a person crosses before her, and she has to wait a few more seconds. That precious time could stop her from being in an eight-car pile up around the corner.
On the other hand the man who crossed the road in front of her to save time, could then be injured by a building site around the corner, because he was a few seconds early to walk past.
Therefore, time, as intriguing as it may be, can alter the moments in a person's life to the extreme.
The room was filled with women... adoring fans of his. Everyone stood within the confines of this small bookstore was there for one thing.
He had achieved the dream that everyone craved to do. At only twenty, he had published his novel and was now on a book tour, his first stop, LA.
So why was the thought of achievement not bringing him comfort or happiness? Instead, there was still the lingering feeling of longing deep in his chest. He was waiting; it was as simple as that. There was only one person who should be here, the one who he needed by him when his dreams had come true... and they had, but she was absent.
It had been both of their faults. She had not accepted his rushed proposal, and he had left her. Unfortunately, by the time he realised he still needed her it had been to late, his pride had stopped him.
But, by some amazing chance, he had been given another try. A reason to contact her, and ask her to be there with him. After all, he was an author and his novel was about them, their epic love story.
If he was honest, when he had phoned her, he had never believed she would agree to come. She should hate him, but when he heard her say that she would show, that feeling of despair had stopped. Peyton was coming to see him, and she had seemed to miss him as well, at least that was what the tone of her voice had suggested.
So now, he stood by a desk, dozens of woman before him, all waiting to be in his presence for a few seconds. It would have been any man's dream come true. Sighing he turned back to Lindsey as she approached, and fixed a smile on his face, which he could not make reach his eyes. Thankfully, she did not know him well enough to realise that.
"Isn't this amazing". She asked excitedly her hand touching his arm lightly.
"Yeah, it's sort of... overwhelming." He answered smiling softly.
"Listen Luke I know this is your first book as an author, but it's also my first book to edit... and I had the best year doing it... so I just want to say thank you". Stopping she leaned forward and placed a hand on his cheek.
Smiling at her words, he felt proud of what he had accomplished.
"I'm proud of you". She stated.
There. That was the moment he would change forever. Time would give him some seconds back, because as she kissed him on the cheek he turned away. It had been the words. Lindsey was proud of him, but that was not the person he needed to say that. It broke him from his reverie and he turned to the shop.
He stepped back quickly in surprise, as the woman he had needed for so long stood amongst the parted crowd.
"Peyton", he whispered, breaking himself from the invisible bonds and stepping around the table. Moving toward her, he faltered as he noticed the look in her eyes. "Peyt..." he said stopping before her.
Raising her hand to stop his words Peyton felt the tears well behind her eyes. He was with someone else... he had moved on. Shaking her head to break her thoughts, she sighed and stepped back, beginning to ramble, "I'm late, someone stopped me in the street to ask me something... maybe if I had been on time..." Looking down she trembled slightly, "I'm going to go".
"What... why", he asked confused.
"I shouldn't be here".
As she turned, he stepped forward and clasped hold of her hand tightly, forcing her to turn back around to look at him. "Peyton, what's wrong."
Choking back a sob, she laughed hollowly as she ran her free hand through her hair. "You've moved on Luke, you don't need me here. So if you let go of my hand, I'll just go".
"No... Look, I haven't moved on, what made you think that."
"I just saw you over there with that woman."
"Huh", turning around quickly he looked at Lindsey, before turning back to Peyton as realisation dawned. "She's my editor, she was just congratulating me."
"She kissed you".
"On the cheek", he protested.
"A kiss always means something". She answered, shaking her head.
"Why did you ask me here?" She interrupted.
Taking a deep breath, he tried to formulate the jumbled words in his head into a coherent sentence. Letting go of her hand he reached up to place it on her shoulder.
"I need you."
"You left me". She countered.
"I know, but I was hurt, because I thought you were giving me up".
"I would never have done that", she whispered sadly.
"I know that now. Look I asked you here because I missed you. I'm sorry about what happened last year, but I need you to know...," he said trailing of.
Stepping forward she looked at him placing a hand on his cheek and urging him to continue, "...what..."
"I love you. It's always been you Peyton. I''ve been miserable since I left that hotel room, and the book and my family were the only things keeping me going."
"Luke", she whispered, her eyes shining with the tears they held back.
"Peyton please. All this time I thought the novel was my dream, but now I've done it, I've realised, it was you... being with you was my dream."
"Mine too." she let out quietly, leaning her head on his shoulder as he engulfed her in his arms. Closing his eyes, he sighed, as finally everything seemed to be right. This was what he had wanted, another chance.
"I love you", she replied moving her head back but keeping her arms loosely wrapped around his shoulder's.
"I love you too... and you're right a kiss always means something, but only when it's with you".
Bringing her closer, he bent his head down slowly capturing her lips in a soft kiss. Closing his eyes he felt the familiar feeling return that he had not felt for years... it felt like home, this was where he belonged. Time seemed to stand still as he touched his lips to hers, he really could live off kissing her alone.
All too soon it ended as a round of applause sounded out and they broke apart, realising they had an audience.
"Are you her?" A girl asked from the crowd, clutching the novel in her hands tightly.
"Erm..." Peyton said looking at the group of people.
"Yes." Turning back to the room, he looked at everyone before drawing his attention back to the woman he loved. "This is Peyton Sawyer. My inspiration, my world, and my future wife."
"What", she said gazing up at him.
"Someday Peyton, I'm going to marry you." He replied forcefully, urging her to hear his promise.
"I knew I would marry you, I was just waiting for you to realise that."
"I'm sorry it took me so long." He said sincerely, looking into her eyes.
Smiling, he leaned down to capture her lips again. She was his again. By looking up from Lindsey a few seconds earlier he had managed to change a moment.
His life would be so different now, and truthfully, he could not wait.
With a sigh, Lucas leaned back in his chair as he felt the sorrow fill him. His eyelids felt heavy and he was sure he could feel tears building behind his eyes.
Those words on the screen should have been the truth. If time had allowed him to look up seconds earlier and see her there... or if Peyton had been stopped outside the shop and turned up late. She still would have the seen the kiss, but he would have seen her.
However, he had not seen her... and she had not been late.
Instead, she had assumed he moved on, and had left. Both of them had been broken by that moment gone wrong.
Hearing the sheets move from the bed, he glanced towards the noise, watching Lindsey lean up.
"Luke... is everything okay?"
"Fine... I'm just coming", he answered, the lie rolling of his tongue easily.
Hearing her sigh, he blocked out the noise in the room, and waited for her to lie back down. Turning his attention back to the screen, he gazed hopelessly at the words.
But it was pure, wishful thinking, and that was all it was... a dream, and as he had learnt over the last few years, dreams never came true. At least not when he was concerned. This story was nothing more then lingering hope in his soul, which would never become a reality, because time had eluded him, and had changed his moment.
Aching, he highlighted the script and pressed the delete button, waiting as the words slowly faded from the page, and he was left with a blank screen. It seemed to reflect his life... empty.
Time, had given him a ruined ending to what could have been and would have been... an amazing dream.
A/N: Let me know what you think.