A/N – Next and last chapter is here!

Thanks: haleydavisbaker, mashleigh323, arubagirl0926, fizliz23, may92, KTxx, and -NCISxBonesxOTH-.

'Tis the Season

Chapter 4 –

"So Brooke doesn't know I'm coming?"

They've been on the road for a half hour at this point and Julian's just glad that the traffic heading back to Tree Hill isn't too bad…much better compared to his trek to Chapel Hill to pick up Sam.

"Not a clue." Julian replies and grins. Because he's so proud that he's been able to do this whole thing for his wife without her suspecting a single thing.

Sam nods, with a laugh. "I'm impressed."

"Well, thanks…so tell me, Sammy, what have you been up to? Graduating this year, aren't you?" He asks, letting his mind drift back to when Sam was just this bitter, sarcastic fifteen-year-old girl.

He remembers when he had left Tree Hill, after Ravens had failed to become a movie, and gone back to L.A., leaving Brooke. When he came back, Sam was gone, and Brooke was a mess.

Unfortunately it had happened that as the years passed, and life went on, he and Brooke hadn't kept in touch with Sam that much. Besides the occasional phone calls every few months, they hadn't really heard from her. She was off at UNC Chapel Hill doing her own thing, becoming the great person Brooke always believed was in her ability to become.

And though they rarely spoke of it, Julian knew Brooke was always missing Sam. Sam had been her daughter, and she still liked to think of her as that sometimes.

So this year Julian decided to do something special. Bringing Sam home for the holidays would make everybody happy.

He pulled up her number a few weeks before Christmas and told her his plan. She thought it was a great idea.

He tunes back in as Sam explains her plans for her last semester of college.

"That's great, Sam. Brooke and I are so proud of you…and we plan to be at your graduation, too."

Sam flashes him a smile. "That'd mean a lot."

"You've come a long way, Sam."

She's missed this. Having people that appreciate her for who she is, who she's become. Staying with Brooke when she was a teenager were some of the happiest days she'd experienced.

"Thanks." Sam replies. "And so have you and Brooke. You guys are married and have a son! Although I do have to admit, I partially give myself credit for the two of you being together." She smirks at him.

He chuckles, shaking his head. "Can't argue with that one."

"How are you doing, Brooke?" Nathan sits down next to Brooke.

They tried waiting as long as they could for Julian to come home to have dinner, but by eight o'clock, the kids were getting hungry and restless.

After that, they tried waiting even longer to open presents but once more the kids, especially Jamie, were getting impatient.

So the six of them, Brayden in Brooke's arms, sat down in front of the Baker's tree and exchanged the presents that "didn't come from Santa," as Jamie tried explaining to his young sister. He told her tomorrow, when she woke up, there'd be tons more presents under their tree at home that came from Santa, and not their parents.

In response to Nathan's concern, Brooke shrugs and tries offering a slight smile.

"You didn't open any of Julian's presents to you." He notes, his eyes trailing to the tree where not one of her presents from her husband has been touched.

"There's always tomorrow…" She trails off. "If he's even back by then." She rolls her eyes.

"Well we're not leaving 'til he gets back, so unfortunately, you're stuck with us." He jokes.

"Thanks, Nate." She replies gratefully. "Where're Haley and the kids?"

"Well Addy was getting cranky so Jamie went with Hales to help put her down for a nap…God knows she won't be sleeping tonight." He sighs. "Hope you don't mind we put her down with Brayden."

"That kid sleeps through anything, he'll be fine." She laughs.

Haley then walks down the stairs with Jamie in tow and they join Brooke and Nathan on the couch.

Brooke wraps her arms around her godson.

"You had fun tonight, buddy?"

"Yep! Thanks for my presents, Aunt Brooke."

"Anytime, handsome. Let's hope Santa brings you everything else you want for tomorrow morning."

Jamie shakes his head. "And by "Santa" you mean mom and dad, right?"

"You got it." Brooke laughs and Haley shakes her head.

"I have no idea what you're talking about, Jamie."

"Sure, mom." He humors her.

Brooke sits back and admires the family interaction. And now, more than before, she misses Julian. Because he should have been there tonight. They should have been a family.

Just as Nathan's in the middle of story, they all see headlights appear from the driveway, and Brooke feels anger rise inside her.

Does he have any idea how late he is?

She's full on prepared to yell at her husband, even if her eleven-year-old godson is in the room.

"Well, it looks like Julian made it back." Nathan stands up, preparing to avoid this blowout at any costs. "Hey, Jamie, what do you say we go get your sister from upstairs?"

Jamie's about to protest about how she just got to sleep a few minutes ago, but he realizes that his aunt is mad and his uncle is in trouble.

They get up to go towards the staircase as keys jingle in the front door.

When it opens, Brooke stands in front of it in rage. She doesn't even know where to begin yelling, as she catches a glimpse of his swollen, black and blue eye.

"Julian Baker, do you have any idea what time it is? What the hell have you been doing…" The words fall off her lips but then stop short when Julian steps into the house and gives view to Sam from behind him.

"Hey, Brooke." Sam waves cautiously.

"Oh my god…" It takes her a minute to process this all.

Samantha Walker, her old foster daughter who she hasn't seen in years is standing right in front of her.

And Julian just stands off to the side, hands in pockets, a satisfied expression on his face. Haley silently turns to him, nods, impressed, and then goes up the stairs to help her husband retrieve their sleeping daughter.

"Oh my god! Sam!" Brooke's eyes fill with tears at the revelation and she instantly rushes to the girl and wraps her arms around her in a tight hug. "I've missed you so much."

Nathan, Haley and the kids slip out of the house quietly so they are no disturbance.

After hugging Sam for a solid ten minutes, Brooke has about a million questions to ask. She quickly bombards Sam with all of them.

"I promise to answer all these questions tomorrow, Brooke. I'm sorry but I'm exhausted, I have been waiting up for Julian all day." She expresses dramatically. "Plus, I think you two need to talk." She leans in to give Brooke a hug.

When she gets up, ready to make it to the guestroom, she turns back around with a smile.

"I'm glad I'm here."

Brooke nods at this and mumbles a tearful "me too."

Now Julian has to explain a few things to her.

She turns around to face her husband, who really hasn't moved since he and Sam came in.

"Where do I even start with you?" She shakes her head. "You were never at work, were you?" She's truly in disbelief.

He grins at her. "No…I wasn't."

"So…you had all of this planned?"

He walks over to the couch to sit beside her.

"I wanted you to have the best Christmas ever, Brooke. Because you deserve it. And this year was all about our first year as a complete family, but the thing is, I feel like our family started way before Brayden was here. I like to think of Sam as the start of our family. She, in a way brought us together." He explains, his hand placed softly on her cheek. "It didn't feel right without her. Now, with her here, we really are a family for the holidays…And I'm sorry I didn't quite make it back in time…but we've got all day tomorrow to celebrate, and Nathan and Haley are coming back over in the morning anyway…It just took a little longer to get Sam than I expected, and I'm sorry for that."

She has actual tears running down her face now and she can't help but wonder how she got so lucky with a husband like Julian. "I love you so much."

He grins the grin she adores so very much as their faces draw closer, into a kiss.

When they pull apart, he helps wipe away her tears.

"Thank you." She mouths. "This is the best Christmas present ever."

"For being the best wife and mother, you deserve it." Julian answers with another kiss.

They stay content in each other's arms for a few minutes until Brooke looks up in curiosity.

"But wait…" She pauses and takes a breath. "What the hell happened to your eye?"

Julian laughs and presses his hand to the bruise. He'd almost forgotten about that. "It's a long story. And long story short, I'd take another black eye if it meant making your Christmas this special and perfect."

Brayden's cries from his crib wakes his parents up bright and early the next morning. It appears the six-month old has already caught on to getting up extremely early on Christmas.

Brooke walks into the baby's room and smiles brightly.

"Hey, baby boy. Merry Christmas!" She lifts him up and hugs him tight.

When she gets into the kitchen, Julian's already making breakfast and Sam's up, pouring tons of sugar into her cup of coffee.

Some things never change.

Nathan and Haley would be arriving a little later in the morning, after they opened presents. In the meantime, Brooke and Julian plan to spend every minute enjoying their family time.

After breakfast, Julian wraps his arms around Brooke as they watch Sam interact with the baby.

Sam looks extremely happy, happier than the two could remember, and Brayden is giggling in her arms.

It's truly perfect.

"So, babe…" Julian begins, holding her tight, dropping a kiss in her hair. "How's Christmas?"

She looks up at him with a big dimpled smile, her eyes glistening.

It's what she's always wanted.

A family to celebrate Christmas with.

She stands up on her tippy toes to capture his lips in a romantic kiss. Pulling apart, she whispers.

"The best."

A/N – The end!

How was it?

Happy Holidays everyone! Hope you're getting all you wished for!

-Melissa =)