Lucas Scott found himself at the river court. It had turned into a place that gave him a chance to think and heal.
Every since Peyton had asked him to leave, Lucas' mind swam with regret for what he said. He left reluctantly knowing if he stayed it would just make the situation worse. There was a hole in his heart right now and he knew only Peyton could fill it.
Lucas believed at some point she would calm down, hoping she would see things more clearly. But there was also a part of him that wondered if they would ever get past the ghost of Liam. He had done such a good job, he thought, of hiding that tinge of jealousy but when Peyton told him she was pregnant, it just slipped out – his stupid comment.
Peyton was pregnant, a warmth flooded over him. He was so wrapped up in what happened after she told him it got pushed to the back of his mind. But there it was, coming to the forefront. Peyton was pregnant with his child. He remembered the look on her face when she told him it would be a miracle if she got pregnant – and he had helped her make that miracle happened. Lucas Scott was going to be a dad, and he was determined to be the best damn father he could. But first he had to fix things between his future son or daughter's mother.
He sat looking at the empty battered asphalt court. It was eerily quiet. Usually the small court with its aging basketball rims and chain link for nets was filled with kids playing ball. Today it was just him sitting on the metal bleachers. He longed to have a basketball in his hand, it was when things made the most sense.
Lucas reached in his pants pocket and fished out his cell phone. He dialed and waited for someone to pick up.
"Hello," a female voice answered breathlessly.
"Haley," Lucas said and smiled when he said her name. "Are you running a marathon."
"No," Lucas heard her laugh. "Just chasing your nephew around."
Haley James had been Lucas' best friend for so long he couldn't remember his life without her in his life. So many times best friends like he and Haley find something else in their lives, most likely love, but that wasn't for them. No, for Haley it has always been Lucas' young brother, by three months. Although Lucas hadn't like the idea of the two of them together to start with, he soon realized if they married, he and Haley would truly be family.
Marriage for Nathan and Haley happened after they graduated high school. Haley followed Nathan to college to play basketball and she studied to be a teacher. They had their son, James Lucas Scott, a year after freshman year. Family life suited them both and Lucas had always longed to have what they had. Now, he was so close to that he could taste it.
"I am sure," Lucas said. His laughter was forced and his comment distant. Haley picked up on it immediately.
"What's wrong, Lucas," Haley said cutting to the point.
"Who says anything is wrong?" Lucas was on the defensive.
"I am sorry, Lucas, but you have been out of town for six weeks without one phone call," Haley was using her mother voice. "I know you went straight to Tree Hill when you got back, so you have had to be with Peyton, so what went wrong?"
After meeting Peyton, and getting to know her, Lucas had broken his and Peyton's agreement about not telling anyone. Lucas had told Nathan and Haley. It really was a technicality if you think about it, she had just wanted to keep their relationship a secret from the people in Tree Hill. She didn't say anything about those out of state.
"Peyton is pregnant," he blurted out.
"Lucas," Haley was screaming in the phone. "That is great." There was a pause. "It is great, isn't it?"
It was then Lucas recanted the whole story to Haley, all the juicy and sorted details. She listened intently to Lucas as he told Haley everything. When Lucas finished he took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
"What am I going to do, Haley?"
"You are going to do what she asked, Lucas," Haley counseled. "She loves you Lucas, I haven't met her but I know she does. You just have to give her time. I know she will come around."
"But what if she doesn't?" Lucas pleaded. "I love her. She has my whole life with her right now, Peyton and our baby."
"I know this sucks, Luke," Haley said in a calming voice. "And I know how you like to fix things, but right now you have to be the patient guy. Let her come to you."
"I don't know if I can," Lucas was telling Haley and then stopped. He heard a car coming and sat up straighter when he noticed it was Peyton's car. "I gotta' go Haley," Lucas told her.
"But Lucas," he heard Haley exclaimed as he ended the call. He knew he would pay for that later, cutting Haley off, but right now the woman he loved was getting out of her car and walking toward him. He let himself smile a bit when he saw her step out of the car, and reach back in. She pulled out a basketball and placed it on her hip and made her way toward him.
She stopped at mid-court as he leapt from the metal bleachers toward her. He stopped in front of her as she held out the ball to him.
"I kind of thought you might be here," she told him and dipped her head. "Thought maybe you might want this." She placed the ball in his hands.
Lucas tossed the ball down and grabbed Peyton by the waist with both his hands and pulled her to him. He leaned in and placed his lips near her right ear. "I don't need a ball," he whispered to her. "I just need you."
Peyton wrapped her arms around him and pulled him close to her. Lucas could feel her warm breath on his skin and he sighed deeply as if all felt right in the world.
"I'm sorry," the both said at the same time and laughed. "I am sorry," Lucas said again and pulled her tighter to him.
"I shouldn't have over-reacted," Peyton said. "You have given me everything, Luke." She reached up and kissed his chin. "You have made all my dreams come true."
"That is all I have ever wanted, Peyton." Lucas kissed her temple.
Peyton stepped out of Lucas' embrace but took his hand. "I will always love Liam," Peyton said as tears began to form in her eyes. "But I love you too. With my whole heart."
"I love you too Peyton," Lucas reached out with his free hand and stroked a tear from her cheek. "I feel like we found each other for a reason."
"Yes we did," Peyton said and took his hand and placed it on her abdomen. "We're having a baby, Lucas Scott."
Lucas rubbed his hand lovingly over Peyton's tummy. He moved his hand to find the hem of her T-shirt and raised up the fabric to find her bare skin. He moved his hand back and forth and then kneeled down and placed his lips on her stomach.
"Daddy loves you," he said to her stomach. "And he loves Mommy too," he said looking up at her.
"Get up from there, Lucas." Peyton giggled.
"Not yet," Lucas told her. He removed his hand from her tummy and used both hands to reach around his neck. He pulled out a silver chain, and attached to it was a ring.
"I found this in an antique jewelry shop in Savannah, Georgia a few weeks ago," Lucas said as he unhooked the clasp of the necklace and let the ring slide off. "When I saw it, I just knew I had to buy it for you." He held out the ring to her between his thumb and index finger.
The ring was old, Peyton could tell. It was silver and had a ruby encased in the set.
"I bought it because I knew it would be the ring I would use to ask you to marry me," Lucas said. "I put it on a chain around my neck because I knew it was perfect for you and I wanted to make sure I kept it close to my heart before I gave it to you."
"So, just so you know, I am not just asking you to marry me because I knocked you up" Lucas said smiling up at her. Peyton laughed.
"Peyton Elizabeth Sawyer, will you marry me?"
Peyton was crying but he watched as she shook her head yes. "Yes," she said though the tears.
Lucas placed the ring on her left hand and stood up. He pulled her into an embrace and kissed her deeply.
"Wow," Lucas said with tears in his eyes. "I just became a father and engaged in the same day."
"But you have been the man I love for much longer," Peyton said. "I know that was a cheesy line," she said laughing. "But I had to say it."
"Cheesy but true," Lucas said and kissed her again.
"So, I guess we have some news to tell," Lucas continued.
"But not today, Peyton said. "Today, it is just us." She looked at him and placed her hand on her tummy.
"I like the sound of that," Lucas said and kissed her.