The Best Part of Me Was Always You

AN: Just a quick one shot because well I haven't posted anything in awhile and I my Internet is down at home. (I'm staying the weekend at my Aunts) So I can't even work on anything on my own computer. I've got this pretty wonderful one shot in the works and of course chapter 15 to Archways. Anyway I wanted to put something up so I wrote just a little something. Enjoy.

Summary: "I'm empty Luke! I'm just sitting here with nothing. I shouldn't have let you go." He shook his head. Here she was vulnerable, missing him even though he was only three feet away. "I never stopped loving you, Peyton." And he hadn't. Even though he made it seem like everything to the contrary. How could he? LP One-shot. Semi-AU.

Dedication: All though I never really shared my writing with her, this one shot is dedicated to my great-grandma. She died last month. And I miss her very much.

Disclaimer: Here's the run through. I own nothing. Title is a lyric of the song Breakeven by The Script.

----

What am I suppose to do when the best part of me was always you?

What am I supposed to say when I'm all chocked up and your okay?

I'm falling to pieces.

'Cause when a heart breaks no it don't breakeven. |

She should know better by now. She knows she should. Yet here she sits in a red bedroom going through her Lucas box. This isn't the first time she's gone though this box, it's been in a different bedroom, at a different time, but the feeling is exactly the same. Sorrow. Pure heartache. Pain. Longing.

Peyton brushes a stray curl from her eyes and tucks it behind her ear. Everything inside this box triggers a different memory. A memory of a time when everything was simpler. When her heart use to beat without fault, when her mind was calm, when her body seemed to have bliss ruining through her veins. That was high school. And she was just a naïve little girl. Who thought that you could really find love in high school. That her and Lucas were really meant to be.

She picks up a tattered photo of her and Lucas cheesing for the camera. A glimmer of a smile forms on her lips, as tears come to her eyes. She really did love him. She really does love him. But it's different now. Peyton clasps her emerald eyes shut. There was a reason she decided to go into the box tonight. There was a reason the ache in her chest seemed to be even worse than normal.

Lucas proposed to Lindsey. And top it all off, he kissed her. He made it seem like they could be together again. He fooled her into thinking they stood a chance. Lucas made her feel like naïve little high school girl again.

Looking back at the picture Peyton wrestled with the feelings that had seemed to whoosh all around inside of her. Of course she didn't want to feel this way. Of course she didn't want him to marry Lindsey. Of course she wanted to show him that they were suppose to be together. But she was tired. She was tired of being alone and fighting for something without any hint of him wanting it. She was tired of sitting here feeling sorry for herself. So she placed the photo back in the box and put the box back into the bottom of her closet.

She isn't that naïve little girl anymore. She refuses to be. So Peyton decides to grow up. She is no longer in love with Lucas Scott. At least this is what she tells herself.

---

Months go by. And she watches from afar as Lucas and Lindsey plan their wedding. It's at church, the one that her and Lucas use to talk about. Brooke is designing Lindsey's dress, like Peyton and Brooke always talked about for her and Lucas's wedding. They are going to have white roses and white lilies, which Peyton always wanted for her wedding. They are living in Lucas's childhood home, a place where she always imagined herself.

And she resents Lindsey. She hates her. How did they all get to this point? How did Lucas fall in love with Lindsey? How did Nathan get in an accident and become an alcoholic? How did Brooke become so unhappy and be so successful at the same time? How did Haley become so out of her element? How did she fail at basically everything she aspired for?

Peyton saw Lindsey walking around town one day, coffee in her hands, smiling, and the diamond on her third finger seemed to gleam in the sunlight. Lindsey caught her eye and smiled a sad smile. For whatever reason Lucas's fiancée wanted her to like her. She wanted them to be friends. How was that possible? How could you be friends with someone who was marrying the love of your life? But then Peyton remembered that promise she made herself. She would let go. If she didn't she wouldn't be able to live.

So with a lot of strength, Peyton walked over to Lindsey, a fake smile planted on her face.

"Hi,"

"Peyton..uh…hi." Lindsey says nervously and runs her hands though her new blonde locks.

"How's the wedding plans?" Peyton asks, voice soft.

"They are…" Lindsey pauses, eyes wide, she can't believe Peyton even cares. "They are going good. Haley's been a lot of help."

And to Peyton it feels like a stab to the abdomen. Haley's been a lot of help. Since when is Haley Team Lindsey?

"She really knows how to plan a wedding." Peyton says, trying to smile.

"Yeah, so I've heard."

"Okay," Peyton says trying to end the conversation. She has nothing left to say. "I'm really suppose to be meeting Brooke for lunch. But um I'm sure I'll see you around."

"Yeah." A smile reaches its way to Lindsey's eyes. "I'll see you Peyton."

And the two part ways.

And as she walks away, her curls bouncing with each step, Peyton reminds herself that she did a good thing today.

She was nice to Lucas's fiancée.

She let go a little.

---

It's a week before his wedding and Lucas is a wreck. He can't eat, he can't sleep, and he can't seem to write a single god damned word.

Sometimes when Lucas passes out from pure exhaustion, he has a dream. It's the same dream every time. Long legs, blonde curls, southern drawl.

They are in her office at Tric. And she is smiling.

"And the boy gets everything he ever wanted."

"Did he?"

"A perfect wife, a kid on the way, a best selling novel."

Lucas eyes glare at Peyton who is clearly not pregnant and who is clearly not wearing a wedding ring.

"Why did you say no?" He whispers.

"Ha." She laughs bitterly. "I didn't. I said someday! Mr. best selling author obviously needs look in his thesaurus and see that someday and no are not synonyms."

"Peyt."

"You don't have me anymore Lucas. You have a wife now."

"I know… and I made a mistake."

Peyton glares at him, eyes wide, full of accusation.

"Did you really?"

And then he wakes up.

Doubt simmers in his mind. He tastes regret.

He could change this. He could walk away from Lindsey right now.

But he's weak and he's convinced that he loves her. And the first thing out of her mouth after his 'will you marry me', was yes.

Lucas takes that as some kind of sign.

---

Peyton sits at home alone in her bedroom with a glass of red wine.

Candles flicker and she finds herself sketching Luke's face.

Peyton remembers the goofy squint he made when he teased her, the way he tasted, how his hand fit so perfectly inside hers.

She misses him, she still aches for him, she still loves him.

Who the fuck was she kidding? She still loved Lucas. There was no getting over him. There was no letting go. There was only moving on. And she knew as the days ticked by and his wedding to Lindsey got closer and closer that it was only going to get harder. It was going to be next to impossible.

She had a broken heart. She started to sob as she finished the drawing of him. She began to choke on the tears that filled her eyes. She couldn't breathe. Salty hot tears fell down her face like a waterfall. She was falling apart.

Peyton finished off the bottle of wine and fell into a horrible drunken sleep.

The sketch lay on her nightstand as she slept, the empty bottle on top of it.

Just another thing for her Lucas box.

---

The bachelor/bachelorette party wasn't the traditional strippers and dirty baked goods. Instead it was a get-together at Nathan and Haley's with a huge moon-bounce and hot dogs and hamburgers a plenty. Peyton smiled when as she watched Nathan and Haley repair their broken marriage. Chase is

her date for the night because they are both trying very hard to make certain people jealous. The funny thing is the person who she is trying to make jealous is the person who's party this is.

How sick is that? She wishes an engagement would break up! She has never wanted to be a home wrecker but somehow, she wants to destroy Lucas's emending marriage. For Christ's sake, she broke up his relationship with Brooke, her best friend. With Lucas normal rules of decency don't apply.

Which is why she let's Chase kiss her and smiles when she catches Lucas watching.

---

Lucas somehow finds himself at Tric the night before his wedding. His insomnia is horrible. He can't get a wink of sleep and her office light is on. He let's himself in.

"Lucas?" She asks as he swings the door open, reveling himself.

"Hey Peyt."

"What are you doing here?" It is nearly 2:30 in the morning.

"Couldn't sleep." He says taking a seat in the chair in front of her desk.

She nods. "Big day tomorrow."

Lucas clasps his eyes shut. "I know."

Her mouth forms an 'o' and she says nothing.

"I am surprisingly not nervous." He finally says. "Aren't you supposed to be nervous?" He asks. Hell if she knows. She's never been engaged before. She's never thought of marrying anyone but him.

"Do you ever think about what would have happened if we got married?"

Peyton glares at him. "All the time." She whispers.

"I do too." He admits.

"Before or after you think about being married to her?" She snaps.

"Peyton, that's not fair!"

"Lucas you showed up here, the night before you marry someone else. I'd say that question is fair game."

"Sometimes you can't get what you want Peyton."

She shakes her head, her blonde curls flying out behind her. "You know I use to have this dream. That we were back in L.A in that hotel room and you ask me to marry you. And every single time I say yes Luke. Every single time."

"It's just a dream right?"

Peyton bites down on her lower lip, her eyes brimming with tears. "It's my dream."

"Peyton…"

"I know Lucas. Okay? I know that you are getting married tomorrow. I know that! But I'm just sitting here…"

She starts to cry, mascara running down her cheeks in thick black streaks. He finds himself admiring her.

God she's so beautiful. Even if it hurts him to see her so upset on his account.

"I'm empty Luke! I'm just sitting here with nothing. Don't you understand?"

He bites down on his lip and steps closer to her.

"I am such an idiot! What the hell was I thinking?" Peyton cried. "I should have never let you go."

He shook his head. Here she was vulnerable, missing him even though he was only three feet away.

"I never stopped loving you, Peyton." And the truth was he hadn't. Even though he made it seem like everything to the contrary. How could he? She was Peyton Elizabeth Sawyer. She was chickney legs and a huge heart, a waterfall of sarcasm, beautiful green eyes.

"If that's true then why are you marrying her? Is it to spite me? Why Lucas? Why?"

And the truth was he didn't even know. He loved Lindsey. Things with her were so easy. They had always been.

"Peyton, I don't wanna hurt her."

"You NEVER want to hurt anyone. That's your problem Lucas! But in the end you always end up hurting me!"

Peyton was ripping at the seams, falling apart in every which way, and he just sat there, calm. Even though he just told her he still loved her.

"You know I don't want to hurt you! You know that."

"Do I Lucas?" Peyton stood up and paced around her desk. "Because you are getting married tomorrow! And I don't know what you want from me."

"I want you to give me one good reason. I want you to tell me where you heart really lies."

Her eyes bore into him. "Are you fucking serious?! My heart is broken Lucas! My heart is in shreds. Because you and I aren't together. I miss you so much. I miss you with all of me even though you are so close to me. I don't know what you want me to do to prove it to you. I want everything with you. You know that."

He closed his eyes. He remembered that night in L.A. He had been so sure, so ready.

"All of my dreams are wrapped up in you. Don't you see that? But god Lucas I'm not going to sit here and beg you to be with me. You know I can't do that! You know I won't do that! You have to decide what you want and stop being so indecisive about everything. Just pick one. Please."

Peyton wiped her tears from her eyes and Lucas sighed.

"I've got to go." He said. Getting up and leaving her. The room got cold. And the darkness crept in.

Why wasn't loving him ever enough?

---

The next day she put on her pretty dress and pretended that everything was going to be just fine.

Lucas is getting married.

Lucas is getting married.

Lucas is getting married.

She got in her car with Brooke, drove to the church, had a beer with Skills. And pretended. This wasn't her Lucas. He just looked the same and had the same voice. But her Lucas still loved her. Peyton's Lucas and her were so happy together.

Lying to yourself isn't always a bad thing. It was helping her get through all this pain as she sat in the pew. Brooke was holding her hand. She was going to be strong she was going to get through this.

"Lucas Eugene Scott, do you take Lindsey Evelyn Strauss do be your lawfully wedded wife?"

She held her breath, waiting, hoping, wishing. Lucas and Lindsey seemed to be looking at each other. Words passing between them.

"I think we need a minute." Lindsey said to the preacher and her and Lucas stepped to the side of the alter.

"I don't think we should do this." Lindsey whispered.

"Why?" Lucas asked dumbfounded.

"Because you love Peyton. And I won't be my husband's second choice. I won't."

He gazed in her deep blue eyes.

"I'm so sorry Lindsey." He said exhaling.

"I know you are," She said beginning to cry. "I want you to be happy Luke."

"Thank you." Lucas turned back to the preacher.

"It looks like we won't be needed your services Reverend."

Peyton exhaled the breath she had been holding, got up, and bolted from the church.

----

SIX MONTHS LATER

He had finished his second novel, The Comet. It was about Peyton. And he had spent everyday since he finished the last word trying to bring her back into his life.

Trying to make things like they were so long ago. After the wedding she had left town, took a car trip down to Georgia, and came back different.

"She went to go see Jake." Brooke told him. "She needed to make sure she made the right choice too."

"And did she?" He asked Brooke.

"She's back home isn't she! Go talk to her!"

And Lucas went to the house time after time. She wasn't ready to talk to him she said. She needed time.

He understood. He had almost gotten married. The 'I do' on the tip of his tongue. How could he blame her for wanting to know if she could handle being with again? If it was really what was right for her. Lucas made sure he sent her flowers and attempted to talk to her daily. He loved Peyton. He hadn't always acted like it. But he did. Everyone fucks up. He knew that now.

One day she finally called him.

"Can you come to the house? I think I'm ready to talk now."

"Of course." Lucas smiled.

He arrived that afternoon at her and Brooke's home. It was summer, sunny and humid. When he knocked on the door she opened it and stepped outside. She was wearing a yellow spaghetti-strapped sundress, her hair in cascading curls. Peyton had taken his breath away.

"Take a walk with me." And they headed toward the beach.

She walked barefoot in the sand, he was close beside her, their shoulders almost touching.

"I love you Lucas." She said after a while. "I always have."

"I'm so glad to hear you say that, Peyt."

"But you really hurt me." She said softly. "It's going to take some time for me to forgive you."

"Take as long as you need." He said.

"Okay." She said finally.

"I love you Peyton." He said reaching out for her hand. "You are the other piece of me." He said as there hands came together. "Can't you feel it?"

She smiled a huge smile and turned to him. Of course she did. This was Lucas. She was Peyton.

He leaned in and kissed her. And all that heartache washed away.

They were completely complete.

FIN.