It was well into the evening by the time all their moving boxes were in their designated rooms, ready to be unpacked in the new house. It wouldn't have taken quite as long, but the movers were late, and then there were only two of them, not four like there was supposed to be. Nathan and Skills had come to help, but it still seemed to take forever to unload the truck. Grace had, surprisingly, chosen the bedroom at the end of the hall. It was the only one with a view of the little wooded area not far from the house. Peyton had assumed the girl would want a river view. She should have known Grace would do something different. Peyton had already set up their beds so they'd have someplace to sleep, and she'd just finished stocking the fridge with food when Grace got cranky and needed fresh air and to run around a little bit, and so Lucas was left to move things around while Peyton and Grace 'explored' the yard and their little piece of shoreline in front of the river.
Lucas stepped outside, pulling his sweatshirt over his arms as he walked down the steps of the back porch of the house. He watched as Peyton and Grace lay in the grass, though it was clearly too cool to really be doing it, and he felt a very unfamiliar feeling in his heart. Contentment. Not just happiness or comfort; he'd felt that for ages. But this was different. This was him feeling like he had everything. He had a fiancée and an almost-daughter (he'd say almost, because they hadn't gotten the adoption papers yet). He had it all. A beautiful house and beautiful girls, and despite the ache that their move had put in his limbs, he'd never felt better.
He flicked on the back porch lights and the girls looked at him as he approached, bright smiles on both of their faces. He collapsed onto the grass, mostly unintentionally. He really was exhausted. "What are you two looking at?" he asked, looking skyward.
"Stars," Grace said simply. She tucked herself into his side and he kissed her hair, then sent a wink to Peyton when he saw her looking. "It's pretty out here."
"It is," Lucas agreed. He was still looking at Peyton. He was sure that if the light was brighter, he would have been able to see her blush.
"You're sweaty," Grace noted, giggling.
"I did all the work!" he cried laughingly. "You and your mom were out here dancing around."
"We weren't dancing," Peyton scoffed. "We were...playing."
"Sure," Lucas mumbled. Peyton glared at him, but she was still smiling. It was kind of hard to be anything but happy at that particular moment.
"This is my favourite house," Grace said, sighing as she spoke. "I love it."
"I'm glad," Peyton said quietly. She rest her hand over Lucas' as it sat on Grace's shoulder, then she moved right over so that Grace was between the two of them. "We should go inside."
"I don't want to yet," Grace insisted.
"Well, it's getting late and we have lots to do tomorrow," Peyton explained. "We can't make Lucas do all the work again."
"Why not?" Grace said, laughing when Lucas tickled her side lightly. "'Kay, fine. I'll go to bed."
Lucas laughed as Grace sighed dramatically and stood up, looking down on them. "Sorry we're so hard on you," he mused.
Grace scowled at him, but it was all in jest, and Peyton sat up in her place. "Go get your jammies on and we'll come tuck you in in a minute."
Grace took off towards the house, and as soon as she was inside, Peyton leaned over and kissed Lucas. He didn't complain at all when she pressed herself against him a little bit more, her leg falling between his knees and her hand on his face. He hadn't known, when she sent Grace inside, that she'd be kissing him like that, laying in their backyard at 10:00 at night. But he liked it.
"Come on," she said when they parted. He was flat on his back, one hand on his stomach and the other on her arm. He didn't look like he wanted to move. "Are you planning on sleeping out here?"
"I don't think I can get up," he admitted. She laughed, but the way he looked at her told her he wasn't exactly joking. "So tired."
"I'm sorry I kind of bailed on you," she said seriously. "I didn't..."
"Stop it. It's fine," he said. He winced when he sat up. He'd thought he was stronger than that. Apparently not. Moving was never an easy task, but this move felt like climbing Everest.
"Yeah, clearly you're fine," she said with a laugh. She stood, then extended her hands to help him up. His body crashed into hers clumsily, and she shook her head at him, but she looked legitimately concerned. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," he repeated. "But...please let me sleep in tomorrow morning."
She wrapped her arms around his waist. "You can sleep in as long as you want. We'll be quiet." He smiled and kissed her gently, then they started walking back towards the house. "And I found an unopened bottle of scotch," she explained. "Why don't I pour you a glass, and maybe I'll massage your shoulders while you watch ESPN or whatever it is that you do before bed?"
He stopped walking and pulled her in for a kiss. She was perfect. "Thank you," he said softly. "That sounds...perfect."
She didn't let him down. The scotch she'd found was a bottle worth about $80 that someone had given her in L.A. She was never a scotch drinker. Lucas sure enjoyed it. He also couldn't say anything bad about the way her hands moved over his skin and she told him that she was happier than she'd ever been.
Peyton wasn't surprised when, between Brooke, Karen and Grace, the wedding plans got a little out of hand. Brooke had, thankfully, listened to Peyton's wishes regarding the dress, so that was under control. That was just about the only thing that was, however. The wedding went from being a small affair, likely in the beautiful backyard of Lucas and Peyton's house, to a church, then (when the girls decided the church was too small) the yard at Andy's estate. The guest list had climbed to 100 people (Peyton didn't even know 100 people), and she was being asked to choose between prime rib, salmon, or some kind of chicken thing.
She just wanted to be married. She didn't care about all those details. That said, she should have known better than to leave all that stuff in someone else's hands.
Grace had come down with a cold, even though it was March and the weather was warming up, so she was spending one Saturday in her room, sleeping and watching television, with Peyton taking her food and tissues and cough medicine when she needed it. Peyton was sitting at the kitchen table with a mug of tea in front of her, looking over statements and colour schemes and price estimates for things like china settings and flowers and centerpieces. She wanted to cry. She really did.
Lucas stepped into the house after a light workout with Nathan at the River Court, and when he found Peyton, she had her head in her hands and she looked completely frustrated. "What's wrong?" he asked.
"Oh!" she said, raising her head. "I didn't hear you come in."
"What's going on?" He sifted through some of the papers as he pressed a kiss to her hair. "Wedding stuff?"
"Yeah," she sighed. "It's...this is crazy, Lucas."
"What do you mean?" He sat down next to her, and the price on one of the pieces of paper caught his eye, a ridiculous sum for a cake.
"I mean this is...It's turning into the freaking event of the year!"
Lucas laughed and placed his hand on her shoulder. "Honey, it is the event of the year. How long have people been waiting for this?"
"Don't joke with me," she said, though she was smiling, and her hand had taken his. "Don't get me wrong, I love that your mom and Andy have offered to pay for so much and do so much for us, but...This just feels like it's not even about us anymore." He didn't say anything. She knew that meant he had something to say. "What?"
"Well, it's not just about us, Peyton," he said delicately. She looked perplexed. "It's for our families, too. And our friends, and...It's not just about a couple rings and a marriage license."
She sighed and nodded. He was right. As usual. "Don't you wish we'd just...I dunno, eloped to Vegas or something?"
"You really think your best friend would have let you get away with not having a real wedding?" he asked with a raised brow.
"I just don't know how to tell them that I don't need...a gazebo and a $300 flower arrangement."
"Just tell them." Lucas shrugged his shoulder like it wasn't a big deal. She looked at him like he was crazy. "You're the one who left all the details up to them. You need to tell them what you want. What we want."
"Actually, Vegas is looking pretty good," she mumbled. He laughed and leaned forward to kiss her gently before standing from his place. "Hey," she called before he could leave the room. He turned to look at her. "What do you think of these colours?"
He had to laugh. She'd said all along that she wasn't interested in the details, but every so often she'd ask for his opinion on something that was clearly a detail. He looked over at the photo she was holding up of a floral centerpiece.
"White and green?" he asked needlessly.
"Well, it's ivory and kind of a kelly green," she said, looking once more at the green and white roses in the photo.
"I love it," he insisted. He should have known that to her artist's eye, it wasn't just white and green. "Classy. Simple. It'll look great at Andy's place, too."
She smiled at him across the room. "There. One detail under control."
And then a couple weeks later, she got the rest of the details under control. And she got Karen and Brooke under control too, though that took a little bit of Haley's help, tired as she was, having just learned she was pregnant. Karen apologized; said she was just excited for this to finally happen. Brooke didn't apologize, not even a little bit. She loved weddings, and she wanted this to be a perfect one. Peyton assured her that it would be, and that Brooke was still the master negotiator and designer. That was enough for the brunette.
When Peyton got home that day after spending hours with the girls going over wedding plans, she heard Grace call Lucas 'dad' for the first time. She cried.
Lucas heard her pass the living room and head straight for her studio (a space right next to his own office), and he left Grace with her homework so he could go check on his fiancée. It wasn't like her to not say hello.
He saw her wiping her eyes as soon as he walked into the room. "Peyton."
"Sorry," she said, laughing at herself. She waved her hand in hopes of dismissing his concern. She had to know that wouldn't work. "She called you dad."
"She calls me that all the time," he admitted, a little smile on his lips.
"She does?" Peyton asked in surprise.
"Yeah. But only when it's the two of us, for some reason," he said, shrugging his shoulder. "I didn't think you'd cry about it."
"Sorry," she repeated. "I just didn't know she did that."
"I think she's still feeling it out," he explained. He walked over to her and pulled her against him. "What's with you?"
She knew he meant. She wasn't normally quite so sentimental. Yes, Grace calling him by that particular moniker was kind of a big deal, but they'd known she'd start doing it eventually. She and Lucas had the adoption papers all filled out and signed and ready to be filed after they got married, and everything was coming together. She was excited, and she was happy, and they were getting closer and closer to the end of the school year and, subsequently, the wedding. No one could really fault her for taking a moment to be a little emotional about it all.
"I guess I'm just hormonal or something," she said as he ran his hand up and down her back.
But he pulled away immediately and looked at her with his brow raised. "What?"
"Not those hormones," she laughed. "Jeez, one kid calls you daddy and you get baby fever." He shook his head, but they were both laughing at the situation. It was no secret that they wanted a child (or two, or three) together. "One thing at a time, Lucas."
"Please," he scoffed. "You could get pregnant tomorrow and I'd be the happiest guy alive."
"You're not already the happiest guy alive?" she asked, looking at him pointedly. She was totally joking, and he rolled his eyes.
Of course he was.
They were married on a Saturday afternoon on what was literally the most beautiful day of the year. They weather was perfect; sunshine and puffy white clouds and a perfect breeze. The bridesmaids (Brooke, Haley and Grace) wore grey dresses with kelly green satin detail, and the groomsmen (Nathan, Skills and Jamie) wore black suits with grey ties. Peyton wore a custom designed, hand-stitched ivory dress made of silk. It fit her perfectly, and most importantly for her, she was comfortable. She carried those unique green roses with a single lily in the middle, an homage to Keith and, somewhat inadvertently, Lucas' sister.
There were more guests (approximately 85) than Peyton would have ever had, but she found herself liking that they had so many witnesses. Her dad was there, though she didn't want him to walk her down the aisle. Her brother was there in his dress blues. Karen, Andy and Lily sat in the front row with mega-watt smiles on through the entire ceremony. Whitey was there and grumbling about having to wear a suit in August.
But it was perfect. It really was. Peyton started crying as she listened to Lucas' vows, and she was probably the only one who noticed, but there was a tear in his eye as she said hers. They'd decided to write their own, of course, and she had been worried that he, the writer, would outshine her. Then she'd called upon her favourite music for inspiration, and she'd ended up with something pretty amazing, if she did say so herself. Judging by Lucas' reaction, he appreciated the sentiment.
She was sipping champagne as she stood with Nathan and they both watched Lucas talking to Haley. She couldn't hide her smile, and she gathered that she wasn't supposed to. It was her wedding day. People kept telling her she was glowing. She liked the compliment. Nathan draped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her into his side. He made a joke about how far they'd come from him wishing Lucas would disappear and her wishing Nathan was a better boyfriend. They both cringed at the memory. Then Lucas caught Peyton's eye, and Haley caught Nathan's eye, and without another word, they were each walking towards their spouses.
Lucas pulled Peyton onto the dance floor, and she didn't fight him on it at all. "Hi wife," he said quietly.
Brooke came over and wordlessly took the champagne glass from Peyton's hand so she could properly dance with her husband. "Hi husband," she echoed. He smiled contentedly and pulled her a little closer. "So you look kind of happy."
He laughed and shook his head at her. "Yeah, I'm not having such a bad day."
"Oh, good," she laughed.
"So, I maybe did something for you. For us," he said almost nervously. She narrowed her eyes at him. Of course he did something. He was kind the a master of surprising her. "Nothing crazy. I know you didn't want to go too far from Grace, but...since we couldn't go to Paris..."
"Lucas, what did you do?" Peyton asked seriously.
"A week in Quebec City," he said. "It's not much, but..."
She cut him off with a kiss. She couldn't believe him. He'd known she'd wanted to go to Paris since they were teenagers, and she'd never been. No, she didn't want to leave Grace and go so far away from home, so he'd given her the next best thing. A week in one of the oldest, most beautiful cities in North America, with tons of history and art and just everything she could want in a honeymoon. Oh, and the man. The man would only help make it more amazing. Truthfully, she was sure they could have gone anywhere and they would have had an amazing time.
"I love you," she whispered. It was needless, but that was the point. That was how a marriage worked. You said things that the other person didn't need to hear, so that when they did need to hear it, they wouldn't have to question it.
And really, there was no doubt in the world that she loved him and he loved her.
Lucas was a little bit surprised how easy it was for him to adopt Grace. It wasn't necessarily a simple process, but he'd expected it to be a lot more difficult. As it turned out, since he and Peyton were married, and Peyton was Grace's legal guardian and the girl's parent had terminated their legal rights, it was just a matter of filing some paperwork and a social worker coming for a home study. It was essentially an interview where a woman came to the home for a tour, then spoke with Lucas and Peyton together, and then Grace separately. The social worker actually laughed at Grace's enthusiasm to have Lucas as her dad. When Peyton explained that Grace had practically been insistent upon it, the woman said that it was essentially a sure thing. The paperwork went through within a couple weeks.
And then Grace Sawyer was officially Grace Sawyer-Scott.
Peyton had to go to L.A. to speak with one of her old galleries about their interest in displaying some of her new work, and though she hated the idea of leaving Lucas and Grace for three days, she was kind of excited, too. She had to take three days off work and it was right at the start of the basketball season, but Lucas insisted that he and Grace would be fine without her for a few days. They said goodbye at the airport, and Lucas held Grace's hand as they watched Peyton step through security.
The first couple days were a little strange and hectic. Between Lucas' practice schedule (two a days before the first big game of the season) and Grace's school, Lucas was running off his feet. Luckily, he had Brooke's help when he needed it. The next day was game day, so Haley picked Jamie and Grace up from school and took them straight to the gym to watch practice and stay for the game. She and Brooke were taking pizza over around dinner time, then they'd watch the game with the kids.
That night when Lucas got home, he was completely exhausted and collapsed onto the sofa almost immediately after he locked the door behind he and Grace. He noticed she was standing there looking at him expectantly. "What?" he asked.
"It's Friday," she stated.
"Dad! It's Friday," she repeated, sitting down on the sofa next to him. "What do we do every Friday?"
"We make hot chocolate and sit out by the water," he said, smiling over at her. "Sweetie, it's getting cold out."
"That's why we have hot chocolate," she told him, like it was the most obvious thing in the world and his excuses wouldn't work.
"You still want to do that even though your mom's not here?" he asked. He was a little surprised that she did. That was always the thing she and Peyton got most excited over. Of course, he loved it too, that time with his girls, but he'd always assumed it was a family thing, not something they'd ever do when one of them was missing.
He laughed softly and shook his head. "Okay. Just let me go change first, alright?"
So he made hot chocolate and they walked out to the little patio Lucas had constructed during the summer, and they sat there and talked and laughed together. Grace said that Lucas made the best hot chocolate, but he wasn't allowed to tell Peyton she'd said so. He wasn't at all surprised when Grace yawned and her eyelids started to droop. She looked at him at one point, and he knew that without her saying a word, she was asking if he'd carry her inside. And of course he did. He got her all tucked into bed, and she was asleep literally as soon as her head hit the pillow.
Lucas was far too tired to even walk back downstairs, so he went straight into he and Peyton's bedroom and reached for his cell phone as he turned on the television to catch the news. He noticed he'd missed a call from Peyton, and he realized he'd told her he'd call her right after the game. He knew she'd understand that he and Grace had gotten sidetracked.
"Hello?" Peyton answered.
"Hi," he said, laying back in bed. "How are you?"
"I'm good. How was the hot chocolate?"
"How'd you know?" he asked. He could hear her smiling, like even the thought of he and Grace out on that back patio together made her happy.
"Please. Grace is kind of a creature of habit, Luke," Peyton said with a laugh. "There's no way you got out of Friday night hot chocolate."
He laughed and let out a sigh. "We missed you. I miss you."
"I should hope so," she insisted. "I hate being away from you."
"Makes you wonder how we stayed apart for so long," he noted. It wasn't an accusation or anything negative at all. It was just an observation they made often. They just worked together, and it was hard to believe they'd ever ignored that.
"Well, I'm coming home tomorrow."
"What? I thought you were there until Monday," he said. His heart was already racing at the thought of her coming home, back to where she belonged.
"Well, if you want me to stay..."
"I want you home, but...what happened?"
"What happened was I got all my meetings done today, and the first available flight is tomorrow morning," she explained. "So, if you can pick me up from the..."
"Of course," he cut her off. "I'm so...Wow. This is amazing."
"You make it sound like I've been away for three years or something," she said laughingly.
He looked over to her empty space on their bed and ran his hand over the duvet. "Three days is too long."
"I completely agree," she said quietly.
Grace was just a few weeks away from turning 10 when Lucas and Peyton discovered they were pregnant with their first baby.
Grace was just a couple months older than 10 when Lucas and Peyton discovered they were pregnant with their first two babies.
They were quiet the whole way home from the doctor's office, both trying to wrap their heads around the idea of having twins. Peyton wanted to 'blame' Lucas and the Scott genes' super fertility powers. But she knew there was no 'blame' to lay. After the initial shock wore off, she was actually pretty ecstatic. It'd be hard, sure, to have two babies at once, plus Grace, but Lucas was... Well, he was Lucas. He was the most amazing husband, and she had absolutely no doubt that whatever needed to be done, he'd do. And Grace was old enough to understand and help, and she was already thrilled with the idea of having one sibling. Peyton knew the girl would love having two babies around.
Peyton placed her hand over her stomach as Lucas turned onto their street, and he glanced over at her, smiled, and took her hand in his.
"How are we gonna tell Grace?" she asked, shaking her head.
"Hey," Lucas said as he put the car in park. She turned to him and he sent her the most breathtakingly perfect smile she'd ever seen. "It won't matter."
They stepped into the house to see Grace sitting with Haley and she and Nathan's little girl, Olivia, or Liv, as she'd come to be known. Grace was holding the baby while Haley sipped a glass of water. Peyton squeezed Lucas' hand a little bit when she saw Grace with the baby. It wasn't anything new - Grace was great with kids - but it had felt different ever since they learned Peyton was pregnant. Lucas couldn't deny that either.
"How'd it go?" Haley asked happily. She was so excited at the prospect of a Godbaby that she was insistent that she be the one to watch Grace that day, just so that she'd be the first to hear whatever news there was to hear.
"It went...really well," Peyton said, glancing over at Lucas. Apparently she wasn't as subtle as she thought she was.
"What?" Haley inquired. She narrowed her eyes like she could tell there was more to the story.
"Well," Lucas drew out. Peyton went over and took Liv from Grace's arms, and Lucas completely lost his train of thought. She was a natural.
"What!?" Haley practically shouted.
Grace started laughing. "Dad, I think you just do that to make aunt Haley crazy."
"Sometimes," Lucas admitted, making he, Grace and Peyton laugh even harder. "Peyton, do you want to..."
"Lucas Scott, you tell me right now!" Haley insisted, standing from her place and putting her hands on her hips.
"Tell her before she hits you, babe," Peyton said, bumping her hip against Haley's.
Lucas sent his wife a grin, then looked back to his best friend, then his eyes met Grace's and he could tell she was just as anxious to hear the news. "We're having twins."
"What!?" Grace and Haley shouted simultaneously.
"Twins. Two babies at once," Lucas explained. Grace ran over and wrapped her arms around his waist, and Haley threw hers around his shoulders, and Peyton just laughed at the lot of them. Lucas took Liv from Peyton so she could collect her hugs, and Haley looked completely spellbound by the news.
"Two babies," she said softly. "That's...insane."
"Are they girls or boys?" Grace asked excitedly.
Peyton took Grace's hand and sat down on the sofa again. "We don't find out for another little while," she said. "Does it matter?"
"No!" Grace insisted quickly. "This is going to be fun!"
Haley shook her head like she couldn't believe it. She almost couldn't, really. "Only you guys..."
"Hales, twins aren't exactly uncommon," Lucas reminded her as he laughed. She took Liv from him and held the baby against her chest.
"Maybe, but...It's you guys. Of course you're having twins," she said. "One baby wouldn't be enough."
"This just means we can put a little more space between these ones and the next one," Lucas said, winking at Peyton. She raised her brow at him as though he were crazy for even thinking about having another child at that point.
Haley stayed a while longer, insisting she needed all the details of the appointment and how they felt when they heard all those heartbeats and saw two little babies on the monitor. They all sat in the kitchen together, and Grace looked so happy that Peyton almost couldn't believe it. But of course she was happy. Grace had been asking for a sibling basically since the ink was dry on the marriage license, and the girl wasn't exactly subtle about it. She and Lucas had been in the hardware store one day not long after he and Peyton wed. They were only there to get stain to finish some shelves for Peyton's ever-growing record collection, and Grace stood there in front of the wall of paint samples and chose a bunch of them. When Lucas asked her what she was scheming, she'd told him they were for the baby's room. "What baby?" he'd asked. She'd rolled her eyes and told him that when the baby came, the room next to hers would have to be painted the perfect colour. He didn't really know what to say to that. He'd just ruffled her hair and told her that maybe someday she'd have a sibling. They both probably knew there was no maybe about it. Seeing her now with a huge smile on her face and so obviously anxious to be a big sister was somehow still surprising.
That night when Peyton came to bed after a long phone call with her dad, Lucas was already reading the book he'd bought that day about having multiples. Peyton just smiled and shook her head at him.
"This is really good," she said, tucking herself into his side.
He kissed her forehead and ran his free hand up and down her arm. "Yeah, it is."
"How's my family today?" Lucas asked, stepping out the back door and onto the porch to sit next to his wife.
He'd implemented Saturday practices in hopes of improving his team's odds of making it to the state championship game, and he felt bad sometimes, leaving Peyton with three kids until well after noon, but she insisted that she understood. She'd always been his biggest supporter when it came to coaching that team, and his players just kept getting better and better. The year before, his team was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs, and he was determined to win a championship trophy. She couldn't hold that against him.
"Energetic," Peyton laughed, watching the kids playing tag in the yard.
Grace was obviously letting the two three-year-olds win, but they didn't know that. She was bigger and faster than they were, but they still thought it was hilarious every time they outran her. Peyton was just glad that her 14-year-old would still play with her siblings on a Saturday afternoon in the fall instead of just going out with her friends. But she was going to a birthday party that night, one that Lucas was skeptical of, to say the least, since it was a 'boy-girl' party and, in his opinion, she was too young for all that. But Jamie was also going, and Lucas and Nathan had already told the boy to keep an eye on his cousin.
"How was practice?" Peyton asked, looping her arm through Lucas' as they sat there together.
"It was good," he said simply. He didn't want to think about ball again until his practice after school on Monday. They watched as Alex stumbled and fell, and they both held their breath until they saw him get up and brush off his pants. Lucas shook his head. "Good thing he's so resilient."
"He's covered in bruises," Peyton laughed. "I caught him hanging upside down from the bar on the swing set today."
"What?!" Lucas asked laughingly. There was a reason they nicknamed their son 'Monkey'.
"And Kaley was very worried about breakfast this morning," Peyton said seriously, smiling when Lucas shook his head. It was generally his job to make breakfast for the family. "Apparently I do everything wrong."
"You don't do anything wrong," Lucas said, leaning over to kiss her cheek sweetly. "I'm just a better cook than you are."
"Hey!" She shoved at his arm and he just pulled her closer to him. Peyton's outburst called the kids' attention to their father, and Kaley's blue eyes lit up across the yard.
"Daddy!" she cried.
"That's my cue," Lucas said quietly, a grin on his lips.
The twins had been born a few weeks early, which wasn't uncommon. Their disposition hadn't really changed since the day of their birth. Kaley came out screaming, and Alex was the quieter of the two. He didn't open his eyes until Lucas held him for the first time. Both had hair that matched their father's, and Kaley had those same blue eyes, while Alex's would alternate between green and blue, depending on the day. They both also inherited Lucas' dimples.
Their names were full of all kinds of meaning, though no one expected anything less. Alex, the first letter paying homage to Peyton's mother, and Kaley, the first letter, of course, in memory of Keith. Haley would say that Kaley was named after her, and it wouldn't be far from the truth. The twins' names in full were Alexander Nathan Scott and Kaley Brooke Scott. They'd somehow managed to honour all the people they needed to honour, all in those few names.
Lucas kissed Peyton quickly, then ran down the steps and towards the kids. Grace held her hand up for a high five, and Lucas obliged her, then she made her way over to sit next to Peyton. She reached for the glass of water Peyton had been holding and took a sip. "They tiring you out?" Peyton asked knowingly.
"Seriously. The bigger they get, the more energy they get," Grace laughed. "Tell me you aren't having any more."
"Grace!" Peyton cried. "You used to be desperate for siblings."
"I'm joking," the girl insisted. "It'd be cool if you had another baby."
"We'll see," Peyton said quietly.
"Oh my God!" Grace proclaimed. "You're actually thinking about it!"
"Stop it," Peyton scoffed. "It's...your dad and I have barely talked about it."
"But you have talked about it."
"A little," Peyton admitted. "Don't say anything. To anyone." Grace nodded her head, but she was smiling. "Grace Amelia Sawyer-Scott, promise me."
"Okay, okay! Jeez. Put away the mean mom act," she teased. Peyton was pretty much the furthest thing from a mean mom. They both laughed when they watched Lucas lay down in the grass and the twins stood over him and demanded that he keep playing. "You sure you want more? I mean...we three are pretty horrible."
Peyton laughed and wrapped her arms around her daughter's shoulders. Grace's hands came up to rest on Peyton's forearm. "We kind of won the lottery with you guys. The next one could be a monster."
"No way," Grace insisted, shaking her head. "I think that's like, a genetic impossibility." Though it always made Peyton nervous when he did it, Lucas tossed Kaley up in the air and caught her on the way down, then he sent his wife a wink as she scowled at him. "Remember when we first moved here?"
"Here to this house, or here to Tree Hill?" Peyton asked, turning to look at Grace.
"To Tree Hill," she clarified. Peyton smiled fondly and nodded her head. "I told you to marry him."
Peyton laughed at the accomplished smile on Grace's face. "So you're trying to take credit for all this?"
"Oh honey," Peyton said, shaking her head and looking towards her husband again. "The groundwork for that was all laid before you were even born."
Grace and Peyton stepped inside to start working on dinner, and Lucas stayed outside and played with the kids. Peyton knew that he'd be completely exhausted afterward, but she loved that he didn't ever seem to care about that. Neither of them ever gave a second thought to things that would happen later. Being tired or achy or having clothes covered in grass stains. They both decided early on in their marriage, before they even started trying for a baby, that they'd live in whatever moment they were in. They had three loving, gorgeous, well-rounded kids to show for it. They were a close family, closer than even their friends would have guessed, and they loved every second of it.
After dinner, Grace ran upstairs to get ready for the party, and though she'd never done anything that made Lucas question her, he was visibly worried about what she'd come back downstairs wearing. Peyton told him to relax, and he heaved a sigh and sat down on the sofa with her while they waited. He actually laughed at himself when Grace walked downstairs wearing a pair of jeans and a black tee shirt, a pair of Converse, with her leather jacket in her hands. She asked him what was so funny, and he just shook his head and told her it was nothing. He should have known.
He wasn't crazy about the idea of a boy driving her to this party, but at least he knew who the kid was. Jared was a player on the varsity team who knew that Coach Scott's daughter wasn't to be messed with. Jamie was also friends with the guy, since he too was on the varsity team, so they were all heading to the party together. Lucas still stood in the doorway, an impending presence watching the car disappear down the street. Peyton was shaking her head as he moved back to the sofa, but he just shrugged his shoulder, as if to say that it was his job as Grace's father to do such things.
After they got the kids to bed, Lucas and Peyton lay down on the sofa together with a little music playing. She loved that they still did things like that; the same things they used to do as teenagers.
"Grace asked if we're going to have another baby," Peyton said out of nowhere. Lucas just chuckled softly, and Peyton looked up at him.
"And you said?"
"I said...we'll see." She was toying with one of the buttons on his shirt, and he pulled her closer and kissed her hair. "I wanted to say yes," she admitted quietly.
"Yeah?" he asked hopefully.
"We could do it, right?" she asked. She pulled away and noticed a certain gleam in his eyes. Maybe she should have chosen better words. "I mean financially."
"Yeah. That too," he joked. She rolled her eyes and he pulled her in for a kiss. "Let's have another baby."
She smiled and pressed her lips to his the same way she always did when she was excited over something or another. "Who would have thought we'd have four kids? That's...it's kind of crazy," she said with a laugh.
"Well, Grace was unexpected, and having twins was unexpected," he reminded her. "So really...I mean, it's not that crazy."
"And we did buy this big house for a reason," she said, smiling over at him. He grinned boyishly and she pressed herself against him a little more. "You just wanted to fill it with babies."
"Well you're not exactly resisting that idea," he pointed out. "In fact, we could do something about that right now."
"Lucas, Grace could come home."
"It's 9:00," he insisted. "Her curfew isn't until midnight."
"Mmm," she murmured, shifting against him again, her leg draped over his hip causing him to take a sharp breath. "When you put it that way."
He moved a little bit so they could stand, then he pulled her flush against him, and she was smiling when he looked at her. "I love you."
She kinked her brow in mock-disbelief when she met his eyes again. "Really?"
"C'mon. I'm serious," he said, pulling her hips even closer. She smiled and rest her head against his chest. "I love you. Always have," he said quietly into her ear.
"I love you too." She kissed him, then, and he moved his hands up her back to tangle in her hair. "Lucas Scott."
"Hmm?" he mumbled against her lips. He was pretty sure the talking portion of their evening was over.
"Make a baby with me," she almost whispered.
The beauty of their entire relationship was that even after years of marriage and even more years of knowing and loving one another, she could still say things like that and catch him completely off guard. She could still stop his heart and render him speechless. She could still make it so the only logical response he had to those things she'd say was to kiss her.
And she'd never, not once, complained about that reaction to whatever words she'd said.