Hello readers!

Welcome to my One Tree Hill story.

Firstly, before I continue I would like to say that I own nothing "One Tree Hill", I do not own the story, concept or any of the characters, I am simply borrowing them for my own uses and will return them once finished!

That aside, my story is set around Season 5, Peyton and Brooke have decided to return to Tree Hill mainly for the same reasons as they decided in the show but Peyton has another reason. Lindsay is part of the scenario and all of the characters are exactly the same. I may not use every character in the show but the ones I do use are of the same temperament and status as in the show.

I hope you enjoy my story as it's my own idea of what "could" have happened during season 5! Enjoy and do what you all do best – REVIEW!

Season 5 episode

"Hey mama, I'm so excited that I'm having a party for my birthday, did your mama have a party for your seventh birthday?"

"Jamie Lucas Scott, if you break that box spring you're sleeping on the floor" said Haley as she walked into her young son's bedroom with his clean washing.

"Okay mama, sorry" replied Jamie with a sheepish look.

Haley smiled at her son, and remembered when she was young that she had done the self-same thing and her mother had threatened her with sleeping on the floor too. It was quite funny she thought that you actually did turn into your mother when you were older, no matter how much you tried not to.

"Okay buster, get ready because your guests will be arriving soon and Granny Deb has arranged a big surprise for you"

"ooooh mama, what is it, will I like it?" asked Jamie

"I don't know honey, I don't even know what it is, but it better not be a creepy clown as I really don't like them" replied Haley with a shudder.

"Scardy cat mama" taunted Jamie

"Don't you dare boy, it's really not funny at all!" said Haley with a laugh.

Ever since Haley was a little girl and her mom and dad had arranged a "surprise" for her in the form of a clown she had been terrified of them and she hoped that Deb hadn't arranged the same for Jamie, as they still creeped her out. She also realised that her son would probably love a clown to come to his party and if that were the case then she would suffer it, for him alone.

Haley went downstairs to check on the party buffet she had put on for their guests, Jamie was following behind her.

As she stepped into the kitchen she met with Deb who was busy laying out trays of snacks around the room. Nathan was busy putting up balloons and Lucas had arrived and was standing looking out over the pool area.

She walked to where her friend was standing. She was worried about him because she knew he was still hurting at losing Peyton but he was in a relationship now with Lindsey but she also knew he didn't really love Lindsay. She was worried in case he was throwing himself into a rebound relationship because she knew that given time he and Peyton would make up and eventually get back together. The problem was that Lucas was so stubborn at times and there was always the chance that he would not allow her back into his heart. She also knew how stubborn Peyton herself could be, it had taken her so long to open up to Lucas eventually that now they were apart it would be even harder to break down her protective barriers.

She wondered to herself why live could not be as easy for Luke and Peyton as it was for her and Nathan but there again, everyone is different.

She sighed as she approached her friend and said "Hey friend, how goes it?"

"Oh Haley, you know, some good days and some bad, what's up with you?"

"Nothing is up with me, I'm asking about you, so spill it!" said Haley in a no-nonsense tone.

"You know me Hales, I'm getting there, Lindsay and I are doing okay" replied Lucas as he folded his arms across his chest and kept his gaze on the poolside.

"You know I am not asking if you and Lindsey are okay Luke, I'm asking if you are okay, after all Peyton is back in Tree Hill and is coming to the party today. It should be interesting, has she met Lindsey yet, or better still does she know there is a Lindsey yet?"

Lucas shook his head and replied "No Hales she doesn't know about Lindsey, but what difference does that make, we are together now so Peyton will have to learn to live with it, she said "no" remember"

Haley sighed again "Lucas, you know that Peyton did not say "no", she said she wanted to wait so how come you get "no" out of that?"

"Haley you are splitting hairs, if Peyton wanted to marry me then she would have said yes, whether she wanted to marry me that day or a year from then, she would have said "yes", so in my book that means "no, I don't want to marry you, okay?" said Lucas as he quirked his eyebrow in that goofy way that he usually did.

"You are incorrigible do you know that?" responded Haley, "anyway, as I said, today should be interesting but I will not be happy if there is a scene at my son's birthday party Lucas" she said with determination.

"Don't worry Hales there won't be a scene, neither Lindsey nor Peyton would do that to you or Jamie" he assured Haley.

Haley looked at Lucas as though she didn't believe him, he honestly didn't realise how much each of these women loved him and he had no idea of how a woman felt when her love was not returned. Yes, he must be hurting but she couldn't help thinking that Lucas was out to hurt Peyton in some way just as she hurt him. She didn't want to take sides, she loved both Peyton and Lindsey but she had a long history with Peyton and she knew in her heart that she was the one that Lucas wanted but he would never admit it, not now.

She reached up and kissed his cheek as she said "Right, I need to go get ready for my sons party, so best friend, behave!"

"Okay Hales" laughed Lucas and watched her go.

Brooke had since arrived with armfuls of gifts for the birthday boy and was in the living room arranging them into some sort of display when Jamie came bounding into the room.

"Wow, Aunt Brooke, are they all for me?" exclaimed Jamie.

"Yes dear boy they are, come over here and give your aunt Brooke a hug"

Jamie walked over to Brooke and wrapped his little arms around her and she responded with a big cuddle. As she did so she whispered into his ear "Happy Birthday Jamie, I have missed you so much"

"Me too Aunt Brooke, me too!"

"Okay, you are not to open one of these presents unless your mom and dad tell you to okay?"

"Awwwwwe that's not fair" moaned Jamie

"No Jamie, I am not giving in and I don't want to fall out with your mom and dad so party first, then cake then presents, okay?"

Jamie nodded and said "okay"

They high fived one another.

Lucas walked into the living room at that point and spotted Brooke.

"Hi Mr Lucas Scott, how are you?"

"Hey there B Davis, I'm fine, where are you at?"

"I am just dandy thank you!" confirmed Brooke, "but you know I just wasn't being pleasant, I meant where's your head at right now" she said on a sympathetic note.

Lucas laughed at her concern, Brooke would never change, she was always caring about someone so he replied with "My heads just fine Brooke, it's just my heart that is slightly damaged these days"

"Oh dear" replied Brooke, as she walked towards him to give him a hug which he responded to.

As they pulled apart Brooke asked him a question "Are you okay with her coming today?"

He knew she meant Peyton so he smiled at his friend and replied "of course I am Brooke, why shouldn't I be, we can't avoid one another for ever you know"

"Yes I know that but it must be hard, I mean you still care for her don't you?"

"Brooke I really don't want to get into this right now, I am here with Lindsay"

"Oh no Lucas, please don't tell me you brought Lindsey, I mean she is a lovely person and I like her but are you sure you're doing the right thing, it's not going to go down well with Peyton, does she even know about her, does she know that you two are dating…..?"

"Whoa there Brooke, too many questions and not enough time to answer them" said Lucas putting his hands on Brooke's upper arms to slow her down.

"Oh sorry, things got away from me a bit there, but seriously Luke, Lindsey and Peyton here together and at Jamie's party?"

"Yeah I know but it's got to happen sometime"

Brooke nodded as she knew he was right.

"Lucas, can I ask you something?"

"Sure Brooke, what is it?"

"Well, and don't be mad at me for this, but I can't help wondering that you told me that Peyton said "no" to you, it's just that she told me that she didn't say "no" but that she said she wanted to wait"

Lucas smiled to himself and replied wryly "Yeah well in my book that means "no", she didn't say "yes" Brooke and that's the answer I was looking for, not "someday". Explained Lucas.

"Oh Luke, why are you doing this to yourself, you could have waited and you would both be happy today and neither of you would be hurting the way you are"

"I doubt it if she is hurting Brooke, she could have said "yes" remember so hurting for her is not an option, she is stronger than what I remember her to be at high school"

"You have not got a clue Lucas Scott, you have not got a clue, have you any idea why Peyton came home, why I came home?"

"Well let's see, you came home to open a shop for Clothes over Bro's and Peyton came home because she didn't make it in LA" replied Lucas

"No Luke, I came home because I want to set down roots here again and I want to have a baby, and before you say anything, yes I know you need two people for that but I plan on adopting. As for Peyton, I think that's something you should ask her yourself as to why she came home and I think you will be very surprised indeed" explained Brooke.

"Well maybe I will ask her if she will talk to me" said Lucas resolutely.

"Good", "right I am away to get a cold drink, all this talk has made me thirsty, where is Lindsey?"

"She is out by the pool with Jamie, when is Peyton arriving?"

"Oh he is interested is he?"

"No, I just would like to be fore warned that's all"

Brooke smiled to herself and said "She should be here in an hour, she had an appointment first that she had to go to"

"Another prospective signing?"

"Nope I don't think so, this is something different and she is being very cagey about it so I am not sure at all"

"No worries Brooke, its none of my business anyway"

"Yeah Lucas Scott, Peyton is none of your business you say!" as she turned to walk away with a secret smile on her face.

Brooke had left New York to fly to Milan for a fashion shoot but she had received a panicked telephone call that same morning from her best friend Peyton who had almost begged her to come back to Tree Hill with her. Brooke had every intention returning to Tree Hill but after her trip to Milan as she wanted to settle down there and have her family. Peyton had just brought it all along earlier than planned. Not that she minded in the slightest but she did worry about the reasons why Peyton wanted to come back, something told her it was not happy return and there was something Peyton was not telling her. She would find out soon however but first they had to get through this party tonite.

Brooke wandered into the kitchen and got herself a glass of chilled lemonade and made her way out to the pool area where Lindsay sat.

"Hi, we've met before, Brooke Davis?"

"Oh Hi, I remember you" said Lindsay with a laugh, "you were the girl who burst into Lucas's bedroom and threw yourself on top of me"

Brooke blushed "Um yeah, I forgot about that, please forgive me, it's not the normal way I meet people"

"Hey no worries, it's nice that Lucas has friends like you"

"Yeah it is, we have been friends for a long time"

"You have all been close for a long time then, including Peyton?"

Brooke took a sideways look at Lindsay and said "yes and I wondered how long it would be before that subject came up"

"Well I can honestly say I am not looking forward to meeting her, she seems to be the love of Lucas's life and that's a force to contend with in my eyes, she must be beautiful too"

"Yes she is beautiful inside and out, you will love her like we all do"

"I may like her, but I get the feeling that she won't will like me at all" said Lindsay

"You should give her the benefit of the doubt Lindsay, Peyton is a good person and I am sure she will like you, but don't get me wrong she won't like the fact that you're dating Lucas but I do think she will like you as a person"

"Wow, you don't beat around the bush do you, anyway she could have said "yes" to Luke, but she said "no", so in my book she has to live with the consequences, she shouldn't expect Luke to wait around for her for ever, he has a life too!"

"Lindsey, I'm going to be honest with you here, I've said this to Lucas and I am going to say it to you too, Peyton did not say "no" to Lucas, she asked him if he would wait, she said "someday" and he took it as a "no", and for some reason none of us can understand, he wasn't willing to wait for her"

"Well no matter what, he has moved on now so she should learn to accept that"

Brooke looked at Lindsey and decided she was not about to get into an argument with her over the fact that her best friend still loved and adored Lucas, she would not be that disloyal to her but she was not about to stand here and agree with Lindsey either.

Before Brooke could speak again Lindsey broke the silence "Do you think she came back for Lucas?"

Brooke swallowed before answering Lindsey "Um, I don't know Lindsey, honestly I don't, I do know that there is a reason why she has come back but I honestly don't know if it's to do with Lucas or not, I'm sorry, um she is my best friend you know"

"It's okay Brooke, I understand, your loyalty lies with Peyton so I don't expect you to answer that, I dare say I will find out in time if she has come back for him or not"

Brooke nodded at this comment and decided that she was no longer a willing participant in this discussion so she decided to end it, she quickly glanced at her watch and said "Look Lindsey, I need to go phone Peyton, she should have arrived by now, catch you later?"

"Yeah Brooke, sure, catch you later" replied Lindsey looking at Brooke curiously.

As Brooke turned and walked away from her, Lindsey stared after her wondering if Brooke was hiding something from her about Peyton. Lindsey was sure about her feelings for Lucas but was worried about Peyton's return, she was positive that Peyton had returned for Lucas, so the only real problem she would have now is if that were the case, how would Lucas react when he saw her again, would he realise that he still wanted to be with her. She would just have to wait and see.

Lindsey looked around to see where her boyfriend was and she spotted him over talking to Haley, so she made her way over to them.

Lucas looked up as Lindsey approached them and he put his arm out to circle around her waist and at the same time he kissed the top of her head. "Hi girlie, what you been doing?" asked Lucas fondly.

"Oh nothing much, just chatting to Brooke, she seems nice" replied Lindsey

Lucas smiled and replied, "Yeah she is nice, I'm glad you like her"

"Well why wouldn't I Luke, it's good that I get to meet people who have been involved in so much of your life, I mean Haley here is a star and she has become such a good friend to me since I got here"

Lucas smiled again and looked at Haley, who replied "Yes Lindsey and it's nice that you're here too, Lucas needs someone to keep him on the straight and narrow" she said as she playfully punched him in the ribs.

"Ouch" said Lucas, "Hales, I'm a good boy these days, I don't need anyone to keep me on track!"

Replied Lucas laughing.

"No?" said Lindsey and Haley at the same time, both laughing.

"I know, I know Lindsey I haven't been writing much lately, I will get myself together, don't worry"

Lindsey scoffed lightly at his remark and said "Not been writing much lately Luke, you have not been writing at all"

"I just can't seem to get my muse on Lindsay but I am going to try harder, okay?"

"Yeah, well as your editor I am concerned but as your boyfriend, I will kick your butt if you don't get a grip"

It was Haley who spoke next "Well Lucas my dear friend, this lady sure has your number"

"Yeah she sure does Hales" as he pulled Lindsey to his side again.

"Um, can I ask you two something?"

Both Lucas and Haley looked at Lindsay with a curious expression on their faces and both replied at the same time by saying "sure"

"Well, it's just that I was talking to Brooke and she mentioned that Peyton was back in town, um I was wondering if either of you knew why she was back?" asked Lindsey innocently.

Both Lucas and Haley looked at one another, each deciding who would speak first and what would they say.

It was Lucas however who broke the silence, "Well, I honestly don't know Lindsey but I do know she didn't really enjoy being in LA so maybe it's just a simple case of home sickness or maybe she is just home to get her head back together and will go back to LA sometime again soon"

"Are you sure about that Lucas?" asked Lindsey

Haley could hear the tension in Lindsey's voice along with the implication that Lindsey was asking a deeper question that the one she actually said out loud. Haley decided that this would be a good time to depart from this conversation for fear that she may say something that she might regret. She was angry with Lucas for not waiting for Peyton but she was equally annoyed with Peyton for not agreeing to marry Lucas when he proposed because her friend had suffered since then and she didn't think that Lucas would ever get over Peyton.

"Hey guys, I don't want to sound ignorant but I had better go check on Jamie and his little friends and make sure Granny Deb isn't trying to pour gin or vodka into the lemonade" said Haley with a nervous laugh.

Both Lucas and Lindsey nodded absently to her statement but kept their eyes trained on each other as this was going to be a somewhat heated discussion.

"Lindsey, I love you, I don't want to be with Peyton anymore and she does not want to be with me, I've told you this a hundred times, she said "no" so why on earth would she come back for me?"

"I know you are saying that Lucas and I believe you but it's not your feelings that I am doubting here, it's hers. Does she even know about me?"

"Well, I haven't told her but there again I haven't spoken to her lately but I dare say Brooke or Haley have mentioned to her. Look honey, please don't worry about this, Peyton and I are past tense, we were childhood sweethearts, nothing more" said Lucas as he placed his hands on Lindsey's shoulder in an effort to offer some reassurance to her.

"Okay Lucas, I will give you the benefit of the doubt, and I suppose I will give it to Peyton too as I don't even know her yet so maybe I am judging her too harshly.

"Yes you are, now can we go enjoy my nephew's party now?"

"Yes we can" and they both turned and linked hands as they walked into the sitting room where Jamie sat surrounded by lots of brightly wrapped gifts and all of his friends and family.

Haley was gathering together all of Jamie's friends who were outside in the garden, Granny Deb was in the kitchen helping the "creepy" clown to sort out his party balloons for the entertainment. Haley wanted nothing to do with the "creepy" clown as they terrified her. She wished that she had told Deb not to arrange for a clown because of her fear of them since she was a little girl but her son loved them and she could not deny him that. She would cope for it for a day! She had managed to get all the boys and girls into the sitting room and seated so that the balloon display could begin, after the clown made his appearance they would open birthday gifts and they they would have ice cream and jelly followed by birthday cake. No doubt Deb was going to arrange for more clown fun!

Brooke had since gone back into the house and retrieved her cell phone so that she could Peyton, she pressed her assigned name tag to phone her, the phone began to ring but there was no answer. Brooke kept the phone ringing for a few minutes to no avail. She thought to herself that it was odd that Peyton was not answering her phone and it wasn't even going onto voicemail. Peyton always answered her phone and if she couldn't it always went to voicemail. This was strange. She decided to leave it for another ten minutes before trying again.

Meantime, Peyton had left her appointment and walked to her car. She was really not in the mood to go to a birthday party, even if it was Jamie's. She was not in the mood to be cheery and have fun and the effort of having to put on a plastic smile and pretend she was happy was way too much for her, especially today with the news she had just been given. She climbed into her car, her Comet, the one that Lucas had spent so much of his teenage years fixing up for her. She loved this car but she loved Lucas Scott more, so much more.

She couldn't face him today, knowing what she now knew. The thought of seeing him today had already made her nervous but now, when she had been given this news, how could she stand before him and smile at him and pretend that she didn't love him, it was too difficult, it was all too difficult. Life had not been kind to her lately, and this was now the final straw. The only time she was ever truly happy was when she was with Lucas and she had managed to blow that too!

She wished she could turn the clock back and have said "yes" to him, she wished it more than anything. She didn't say "no", she just wanted to wait but she knew that he wanted to hear the word "yes" and waiting for him was not an option. She had returned to Tree Hill for two reasons, one of which was Lucas, the other was the result of today's appointment but now that she knew the facts she was lost, she no longer knew what to do or say. She was at a cross roads in her life, she wanted true love and happiness but even if she got it now, it was not going to last for her, life was going to be cruel yet again to her and it was not fair, not fair at all!

She sat in the car for what must have been a half hour before turning the key in the ignition and driving the car out of the parking lot. She drove mindlessly towards her destination, not even thinking for a moment where she was going and why.

She arrived at a set of red lights and pulled to a stop. She started to think about her mom then, Anna. She was killed when she was eight years old; she had been driving to school to pick Peyton up. Another driver hadn't been paying attention to the road in front of him and drove through a red light ploughing straight into her mother's car, killing her instantly. Peyton had been devastated at the time and one of the only people who had helped her through that period in her life with her best friend Brooke. How she would have coped over the years without Brooke, she did not know. Them a few years ago she was lucky enough to meet her birth mother, Ellie but fate was not kind again to her because her life was taken from her tragically too. Ellie had cancer and they both only got to spend a few vital months together as mother and daughter but when Ellie died it was like losing her first mother all over again. Sadly at that time her best friend Brooke was not there for her and she found it hard, but she had one saving grace, she had Lucas Scott, the love of her life, he was there for her and got her through those hard times. The sad thing at that time was that the only reason why Brooke wasn't there for her was because she had developed feelings for Lucas and had told Brooke who had in turn told Peyton that she no longer wanted to be her friend as she felt that Peyton had betrayed her. Lucas Scott you see was Brooke Davis's boyfriend and was a no go area but feelings could not be denied and as a result a friendship was ruined.

Peyton and Lucas ending up dating but through time they managed to heal and resolve their differences as Brooke soon realised that Peyton and Lucas were meant to be together, just like Nathan and Haley, they too had their "forever" to look forward to.

When Peyton thought of all of this it hurt her, because she had virtually thrown it all away in one millisecond. She regretted every moment of every day the fact that she had not said "yes" to Lucas in that hotel room in LA and she would always have to live with the consequences of that decision for now and the rest of her life, or maybe because she was back in Tree Hill she could do something about it now?

The lights changed to green and Peyton put the car into drive and made her way to Nathan and Haley's house for Jamie's birthday.

Brooke must have tried Peyton's cell now a dozen times and not once did she get an answer. Brooke was seriously getting worried now as she knew how unsettled Peyton was right now and she cared about her friend. She did not want to worry Haley or Nathan right now in the middle of their son's birthday but she needed to confide in someone about how worried she was about her friend.

Lucas and Lindsey had made their way into the sitting room to join the birthday guests and watch the creepy clown display. Lindsey was sitting on one of the huge settee's at the far side of the room and Lucas was standing alongside Nathan, both of them trying to made an attempt to get out of the sitting room and out onto the patio to have a brotherly chat but Haley was keeping a keen eye on them preventing them from escaping the creepy clown show!

Lucas turned his head slightly and spotted Brooke checking her cell phone frantically, he squinted his eyebrow and thought to himself "there is something not right with Brooke" so he quietly moved from Nathan's side and walked quickly over to Brooke.

When he reached Brooke he asked "Anything wrong Brooke?"

"What, oh Luke, sorry I was away in another world there! What did you say?"

"I said Brooke Davis, is there anything wrong, you look odd"

"Oh thanks Lucas, now I am odd"

"I don't mean that Brooke, I meant you looked worried, is there anything wrong?"

"I don't know Lucas, I've been trying to call Peyton for over an hour now, she should have been here by now and I can't get her on her cell"

"Well I wouldn't worry Brooke, you know Peyton, she probably stopped off somewhere at the last minute to buy something for Jamie, or maybe she has just got held up somewhere. Did you not say she had some meeting or other?"

"Yeah she had an appointment that she had to make but she said it would only take up to half an hour and that was nearly two hours ago now, even if she did go to a Mall or something then she would still be here by now and anyway that would not account for her not answering her cell"

"mmmm, you have a point there Brooke, but I still wouldn't worry, I'm sure she will be here in a few minutes. You care too much B Davis" said Lucas fondly.

"Someone has to Luke, Peyton hasn't had much else lately and before you say anything, I know about LA and the proposal but I am her best friend Luke and I will look out for her, just so that you know that"

"Yes Brooke Davis, I do know that and I wouldn't expect anything else but Peyton is stronger than you think. Just for the record, she said "no" in LA"

"Lucas Scott, don't you dare lie to me, Peyton did not say "no" and you know it, anyway we have already had this conversation today and I am definitely not going down that route again with you, she said "someday""

"Okay okay, far be it for me to argue with a woman eh?"

"Yep, just you remember it, now I need to go find Peyton"

"How are you going to do that then?"

"I am going to go and get my car and go look for her silly!" replied Brooke

"Seriously, you really think that something has happened to her?"

Brooke sighed as said "Lucas, Peyton is back for a reason but I can't tell you about it, she will tell you in her own time but right now I need to go find my friend, I am worried about her as she wasn't feeling herself this morning"

"Okay Brooke, do you want some help?"

"What you would leave your nephews party and your girlfriend to come with me and look for Peyton, really?"

"Yeah Brooke, why not, that's what friends are for is it not?"

"Yes it is, but its Peyton, so will Lindsey not be a bit…um unhappy about it?"

"Lindsey is a big girl Brooke and she knows that Peyton is a friend, just like she knows you are a friend, so what's the big deal?"

"Lucas you know that Peyton is not just a friend, now me on the other hand, I am the best friend a person could have" said Brooke

Lucas took the glass from Brooke's hands and put down his own beer and said "Brooke, go get your keys, we are leaving now" said Lucas in a no nonsense tone.

Brooke replied with "okay okay bossy boots, let's go but you've had a drink so I'm driving"

"Fine with me" said Lucas.

Lucas and Brooke turned to walk towards the front door and just as Lucas opened the door he was met with two Police Officers.

Lucas spoke first, "Can I help you Officers?" Brooke stood to the side and waited.

"Yes I hope you can sir, we have been trying to get in touch with a lady by the name of Brooke Davis, we have already been to her home, and a woman by the name of Victoria Davis gave us this address as where she may be right now" said the Officer, reading the details from his note pad.

"Oh, I'm Brooke Davis Officer, can I help you?"

"Yes you can indeed, can we come in please?"

Lucas moved back to allow the Officers into the house.

Brooke was rather pale by now and worried as she had never had any dealings with the police before and was curious as to what they would be wanting with her.

"Is there anything wrong Officer?" asked Brooke nervously.

"Is there anywhere where we can sit down Miss Davis?" asked the Officer, totally ignoring her question.

"Um yes, I guess…." Said Brooke frantically looking to Lucas for help.

Lucas stepped forward then and reached out his hand and said "Officers, my name is Lucas Scott, this is my brothers home and Miss Davis here is a good friend of mine, would you like to follow me and we can sit down and discuss what this is about" said Lucas as he looked questionably towards Brooke.

"Yes well Mr Scott that would be fine if it is okay with Miss Davis"

Brooke nodded numbly as she was now terrified of what she was about to be told.

Lucas led the way to the conservatory as the party was in full swing in the sitting room. He could see out of the corner of his eye that Nathan had spotted what was happening and was very probably worried but had the good sense not to alert anyone at the party to what was happening with the Police.

They all filed into the conservatory and Lucas urged Brooke to sit down, he took the seat alongside her and took her hand in his. He had a feeling that this was not going to be good news and something told him that whatever news Brooke was about to get was not good for her or for him either.

The two police officers took a seat each across from Lucas and Brooke and one of them began talking to her.

"I understand that you are a close friend of a Miss Peyton Sawyer?"

Brooke felt a cold chill run down her spine at the mention of Peyton's name. She knew something was not right, she knew it and here it was!

"um … yes, is she okay, has something happened to her, where is she…" said Brooke in a panicked voice now. She could feel her voice rising to a high pitched level and could do nothing to stop it. She could also feel the pressure of Lucas hand tighten on hers.

The Officer continued….

"Miss Sawyer was the victim of a hit and run earlier today and has been taken to the ER by ambulance, her condition at present is critical but I have no other information to give to you. I would appreciate if you could come to the hospital as soon as you can and let us know if she has any next of kin so that we may contact them. If you have any contact telephone numbers or address details that would be helpful to us?"

Brooke was gripping Lucas's hands so hard now he could barely feel the circulation in his fingers. He could only imagine how Brooke was feeling right now and he suspected that she would be devastated; he however was in a state of shock. He did not expect this and to be honest he did not expect to feel the way he did, he felt cold and rigid and he could not in his wildest dreams imagine Peyton hurt. He had fought so hard over the years to protect her from harm so many times and the one time when he was not there for her, she has gotten hurt. How could this be? He could feel the tears seep from his eyes and also knew it was not very manly for a guy to cry but what the hell, it was Peyton.

Lucas cleared his throat and said, "Officer, I will bring Miss Davis to the hospital, if that's okay, I would like to come along too, I know Miss Sawyer very well too and we were very close when we were younger. As for her family, her father is working on a Dredger on the Northern Coast of Africa so it will be difficult to contact him but I will get my sister in law Haley to do it. He won't be here for at least a few days, would that be okay?"

"Yes Mr Scott, that would be fine, however meantime, if you and Miss Davis could make your way to the hospital ER that would be good. If your sister in law is unable to contact Miss Sawyers father for any reason could you ask her to let us know and maybe we could help get in touch with him through their Police Force if possible or his employer?"

Lucas nodded and looked again at Brooke who was sobbing quietly now.

Lucas removed his hands from Brookes grip and stood up, each of the Officers proffered their hand to say goodbye to Lucas who reciprocated.

"Thank you for your time Mr Scott, Miss Davis and I am sorry we had to be the bearers of bad news today"

Brooke was too upset to respond and kept her head down staring at her hands that lay in her lap.

"Thank you for coming Officers, I will see you out" replied Lucas and led the way to the front door.

Lucas led the way to the front door and noticed that Nathan had spotted there was something going on. As soon as the officers had departed, Nathan came out to the entrance hall to speak to Lucas.

"Luke what's going on is Brooke okay?" asked Nathan with concern written all over his face.

Lucas looked at his brother and swallowed before he began "Yeah Nate, Brooke is okay although she is upset, it's Peyton, she's had an accident, and it's not good, Brooke and I need to go to the ER, she's in a bad way" said Lucas as his voice broke.

"Oh man, I'm sorry, is there anything I can do?" asked Nathan

"Yeah Nate, there is, let Jamie's party go on as normal, don't let him know about this and could you tell Haley and Lindsey for me, but wait until we've left, I don't want to ruin today for everyone, but I'll keep in touch"

"Sure man, now go and see Peyton, she needs you both"

"Thanks Nate"

Nathan put his hand on Lucas's shoulder to comfort him and then turned to go back into the party so that no-one was alerted to the goings on out in the hallway.

Lucas went back to the conservatory and sat down beside Brooke and took her hand into his. "Come on Brooke, Peyton needs us, I will drive, and I didn't have a drink anyway earlier"

"Oh Lucas, I am so scared for her, it's not fair, she had that horrible appointment this morning too and I think she got bad news and maybe she wasn't concentrating on her driving, maybe that's what's caused this" said Brooke brokenly

"Really Brook, do you think that her appointment this morning would have upset her that much, I thought she was off scouting for a new band to sign, how would something like that affect her driving and how would it upset her so much if it didn't work out, or is there something that you're not telling me?" asked Lucas suspiciously now.

"Oh God Lucas, she made me promise not to tell anyone but I don't honestly see the point now, if she makes it through this then she can kill me later" replied Brooke.

"Brooke, your killing me here, tell me what kind of appointment was Peyton at this morning?" asked Lucas now becoming impatient. He hated it when either Peyton or Brooke kept secrets from him but then he had no right to know everything about either one of them anymore.

"Okay, well she was going to hospital appointment, she thinks she has something wrong with her eyes and it's she thinks it's serious, she wasn't too well in LA and she decided that she wanted to come home to get better so here we are" explained Brooke.

"What do you mean Brooke, something wrong with her eyes? I don't understand" said Lucas, his gut churning in fear now.

"Oh Lucas, I will tell you but please I beg you don't be angry with me and please don't be angry with Peyton, she didn't want you to know, after all you have a new life now with Lindsey and Peyton isn't your problem anymore"

"Brooke, Peyton is my friend, you are my friend, and neither of you have ever been a problem to me so please don't think like that. I need you to be honest with me now Brooke, for Peyton's sake, I need to tell me so I can help her please?" said Lucas almost begging now.

"Okay, I will tell you everything but can we get going first and I will explain all in the car, we need to get to the hospital quickly and I hate the thought of her being there all alone" asked Brooke.

"Okay, come on then" said Lucas leading the way out to Brooke's Land Rover.

Brooke climbed in the passenger seat and Lucas took the driver's seat and switched on the ignition. They moved out onto the road and began the relatively short journey to the hospital.

Brooke was sitting staring out the window; she took a deep breath before she began her explanation of Peyton's condition.

"Well Lucas, Peyton started having spells of blurred vision and seeing flashing lights, you know something like a migraine but when she went to the doctor he sent her to an Oophthalmologist for tests and it turns out she has a condition called Ocular Melanoma"

She watched Lucas's face for his reaction and as usual he looked brooding and there was no way she could tell if he was upset or not. She thought to herself that maybe telling him this kind of news whilst he was driving was not the best idea but there again there was not a good time to give anyone this kind of news. She watched him closely as she continued and the only sign she could see was a small tick in his jaw which told her that this news was having an affect on him. Maybe he still loves her after all she thought.

"Um she had some tests, a CT Scan and an MRI Scan and other tests and it turns out she has a tumor which is roughly 11cm behind her left eye. There are a couple of ways they can treat it but the best option she has is Radiotherapy which involves a three hour op and a stay in hospital of around a week depending on the recovery" explained Brooke.

Lucas turned his eyes from the road for a second and said "So that's it, she has an operation and she gets better?" asked Lucas hopefully.

"Oh I wish Lucas, I really wish but it's really not that simple, the three hour op is just to insert a plaque behind the tumor and it stays in for 7 days, during that time radioactive rays are sent from the plaque to blast the tumor away. She has to stay in hospital throughout the time the plaque is inserted because her entire body becomes radioactive and she has to be in isolation and in a dark room. She is not allowed to watch TV or anything like that; she can have visitors for a very short period of time. That's to do with the radioactivity and to ensure that no one becomes affected by the rays. After the seven days she has another op to have the plaque removed and that's when the real fun starts" explains Brooke sarcastically.

"Wow Brooke that sounds horrible, poor Peyton" said Lucas in awe. "But wait, what do you mean, the real fun?"

"Well that's when they find out if it's all worked and if the tumor has diminished or not, if not then they may have to remove part or all of her eye and whilst they are doing the op, some of the cancer cells could seep into her blood system or leak into her liver causing secondary cancer so it's quite dangerous" said Brooke.

Fear struck Lucas's heart then as he realized that Brooke had not uttered the words "tumor" or "cancer" until now and he was finding it difficult to concentrate. It was by good luck that they had just reached the hospital and he pulled the 4 x 4 into the parking lot.

Lucas sat there unmoving for a moment musing over some of what Brooke had just told him. He could not believe that Peyton, his Peyton was suffering like this and to add insult to injury she was now the victim of a horrendous hit and run accident. How much pain and suffering could one person take! Life was certainly not fair, to Peyton at any rate and he vowed there and then that he would be with her throughout it all whether she wanted him or not, damn it all, he loved the girl with all his heart and he was only too blind to realize it properly until now. He could not believe that he was about to "settle" for a life with Lindsey. Oh he loved Lindsey and he always would care for her but Peyton was his one and only true love and no one person could ever really come between them, they had always been destined to be together. He was only playing at life and fooling himself with Lindsey, pretending that she was enough for him but it wasn't fair to expect Lindsey to give up so much to be with someone who would not truly love her for the person she was. He would have to deal with him and Lindsey as soon as possible but Peyton was his priority just now.

"Brooke are you telling me that Peyton could end up blind?"

"Yes Lucas, I am but that's one of the worst scenario's, we need to have hope and get through this first before we even entertain the thought of her losing her eye and anyway don't you think we should concentrate on getting her through the trauma of this accident first?"

Lucas nodded and replied "Yeah Brooke, your right, come on, let's go and see our girl"

Both Lucas and Brooke climbed out of the 4 x 4 and made their way into the ER.

As they approached the Reception Desk Lucas noticed that Peyton had been brought in already and was being wheeled into an examination room, surrounded by doctors and nurses. Lucas spoke to the Receptionist and said "Hi, we are here for Peyton Sawyer, she was brought in by ambulance after being involved in an RTA, I've just seen her being brought through" he explained.

"Okay sir and you are?"

Lucas proceeded to give his details along with Peyton's and Brookes. They were asked to take a seat and someone from the Emergency Medical Team would be out to speak to them shortly.

As they took a seat Lucas began speaking to Brooke again.

"You know Brooke, all this time I have been feeling so sorry for myself because Peyton refused my proposal in LA and here she is all the time sick, I deserve a good shake!"

"Yes Lucas Scott you do, but there is something you need to be reminded of here, Peyton did not say "no" and you know it, she said "someday" and ever since that day you have been going on and on about how she refused your proposal when all the time she just wanted to wait a year, but would you listen, oh no, you are your impatience to get married just assumed the worst and threw it all away" said Brooke.

"Whoa there girlie, I'm sorry, I was so positive she would just say yes and I wasn't ready for any other answer so I took it all wrong, I'm sorry about it and I need to tell her that" replied Lucas.

"Yes friend, you do and you have some amount of apologizing to do when she does come out of this, I can't wait to see it either" said Brooke feeling quite determined now.

Meanwhile back at the Scott mansion, Haley had been making sure that the party was in full force, she suspected that something had happened but didn't want to make it too obvious to the children that there was something going on. Once she got the children settled for their party snacks she snagged Nathan in the kitchen to find out what had happened.

"Right Nathan, spill, what were the police doing here and where are Brooke and Lucas?" asked Haley.

"You seen that, I hoped you didn't and I wanted to wait until after the kids had left"

"Nathan" said Haley impatiently….

"Okay okay, well Brooke had been worried about Peyton and she had been trying to get her on her cell phone all afternoon"

"Yes I know that but what were the police doing here?"

"Honey, it turns out that the reason why Brooke couldn't get Peyton is because she was involved in an RTA, something about a hit and run, they took her to the ER so Lucas and Brooke headed over there to be there for her"

"Oh my God Nathan, I need to go there now, I can't just be here when Peyton is hurt, she's my friend and Luke must be feeling awful, Brooke too!"

Nathan put his hands on his wife's shoulders in a comforting gesture and said "Honey, there is no point in you going over there, anyway Jamie needs you here and you can't leave him on his birthday, Luke will keep in touch and let us know how Peyton is"

"Oh I don't know Nathan, I mean what if anything happens to Peyton, I would never forgive myself" said Haley close to tears.

Nathan brought his wife close to his chest and wrapped his arms around her and said "Peyton Sawyer is stronger than any of us give her credit for, look at what she has been through over the years and she is still there bouncing back each time, she's a fighter, you know she is".

"I know she is Nathan but there is something else going on with Peyton right now and I can't seem to put my finger on it. She came back home for a reason and I don't honestly think it was just for Lucas, I know she still loves him but as I said there is something else going on and while I am on the subject, I think Lucas still loves her, what do you think?"

"Yeah honey, I know he still loves her and he is a mess right now, he is torn between some kind of loyalty to Lindsey and his love for Peyton, you know what he's like, he hates letting anyone down and he will put himself through sheer misery just to make sure that he doesn't hurt anyone"

"I understand that Nathan but whilst he is trying to protect Lindsey by not being with Peyton he is only hurting himself and Peyton so how does that make sense, he should just be honest with himself and Lindsey and make a clean break of it now before it gets too messy" said Haley.

Nathan looked down at his wife and not for the first time marveled at how clever she was; she always knew how people were feeling, sometimes before they knew themselves!

"You know Haley James Scott, you always know things that people don't realise, don't you?"

"Yeah husband, that's why you married me" replied Haley.

"Okay, if Lucas still loves Peyton what are we going to do then to help them out and how does he tell Lindsey?" asked Nathan.

"Yes, I'm intrigued you guys, how is Lucas going to tell Lindsey and what exactly is he going to tell me" said a voice from behind them. Nathan and Haley both turned around to see an unhappy looking Lindsey standing behind them.

"Oh I am so sorry Lindsey, we were just talking about Lucas there, sorry!" explained Haley.

"Yeah well, what's that saying about overhearing people talking about you, something about you never hear anything good or something, so are you guys going to tell me as Lucas is obviously not here and can't tell me although I don't know where he has disappeared off to" said Lindsey glumly.

Both Haley and Nathan stood there feeling very awkward and neither knew what to say.

Lindsey spoke again "Look guys, if it makes you both feel any better, Lucas and I are in love and we are about to announce our engagement, in fact we were intending to do it tonite but I seem to have been abandoned at the last minute and I suspect he has disappeared off somewhere with Brooke although I can't imagine why, maybe you two could throw some light on the subject?" asked Lindsey hopefully.

"Er Lindsey, there is something we should tell you, Lucas and Brooke have gone to the hospital, the police were here as Peyton was in an accident and was taken to the ER" explained Haley.

"Peyton, Peyton, Peyton, will he ever stop running after that girl, I mean he wrote an entire book about her, isn't that enough for her? What's she gone and done now and why did Lucas need to go anyway?"

"Lindsey, Peyton has been badly hurt, she is critical from what we gather, Lucas and she have been friends for a very long time and they were more than friends at one time, both he and Brooke are upset and so am I"

"Oh I'm sorry Haley, it's just that when Peyton's name comes up I get quite annoyed, don't get me wrong because at one time I was always rooting for the couple in the book but when Luke and I started dating I put all of that aside and began to hope, I should have known better because a love like that never dies does it? I suppose he still does have feelings for her, do you think he does Haley?"

"I, er, I'm, look Lindsey, that's a subject you should talk to Lucas about, I mean I don't know what he is feeling and I would never….."

Lindsey put her hand up to stop Haley "its okay Haley, I shouldn't put you in such a position, I'm sorry. Look I am going to go over to the hospital to be with Lucas if that's okay with you, I think I should be with my boyfriend just now, for moral support at least. Would any of you like to come with me?"

Haley looked at her husband pleadingly then and he knew that she needed to be with Peyton, Lucas and Brooke, despite the fact that it was her son's birthday. Her little boy was an angel and he always understood.

"Go Haley, it' fine, I will speak to Jamie and anyway the party in just about over now, so go with Lindsey and give my love to Peyton and the rest of them"

"Thank you honey, I love you" and gave her husband a kiss on the lips before heading out the door with Lindsey.

They climbed into Lindsey's sports car and headed to the hospital. During the drive there they talked more about the Peyton/Lucas relationship.

"Haley, I'm not really that slow on the uptake so before you say a word, I do realize that Lucas still loves Peyton"

Haley looked at her sharply then and said "Oh I don't know Lindsey, I honestly have not got a clue what goes on inside that boys head"

"Haley you have been a lifelong friend to Lucas and you know him better than anyone so please give me credit here, I am under no illusions as to how Lucas feels about her but the truth is that he is with me now and she did say "no" when he proposed in LA" said Lindsey smugly.

"Well Lindsey that is not strictly true you know" announced Haley.

"What do you mean, not strictly true?" asked Lindsey.

"Well, the thing is when Lucas asked Peyton to marry him she was in the middle of an Internship at Syke Records so she really didn't want to leave LA and return home to settle down, so she didn't actually say "no", she said "someday". Explained Haley.

"Really? Luke didn't tell me that, he said she refused his proposal. Well, that explains a lot" mused Lindsey.

"What do you mean explains at lot" it was Haley's turn to ask the question.

"Well to be honest I don't think he ever recovered from that time in LA, it was around the time that I met him and I knew he was hurting, so maybe our relationship is built on false emotion, maybe he was on the rebound and transferred all of his feelings for Peyton on to me, so if that's the case he doesn't love me at all, and he has been just using me" said Lindsey on a sad note.

"Oh no Lindsey, it's not like that I'm sure" said Haley quickly

Lindsey laughed gently then and said "Haley, Haley it's okay, I'm really not that stupid, I know that Lucas is deep and he is hurt and I must say he tries very hard to make me happy, I am happy with him but I don't thing I am enough for him, I honestly think he is "settling" with me, his real love is Peyton and I should have realized that a long time ago, I guess I was kidding myself"

"But Lindsey, he wants to be with you, you must believe that" said Haley

"Haley, please I am being realistic here so please give me credit" replied Lindsey

Both girls were quiet for the rest of the journey, both knowing that the other was speaking the truth.

Lindsey pulled her car into the parking lot and parked it alongside Brooke's 4 x 4, they both exited the vehicle and made their way into the ER. On their arrival at the ER, the first people they met were Lucas and Brooke. Lucas rose immediately and made his way to Haley who gave him a cuddle before saying "How is she, have you heard?"

"No Haley, she is in surgery now but it's bad, really bad" explained Lucas

"Oh Luke, I'm so sorry" said Haley almost breaking down, she loved Peyton too and found it really hard trying to be strong for herself, Lucas and Peyton. Life was really unfair sometimes and Peyton and Lucas always seemed to be caught up in it.

Lucas lifted his head and noticed Lindsey standing to the side, Haley pulled away and made her way to sit beside Brooke and took her hands in hers. The two sat together quietly talking and Brooke proceeded to explain the entire story of Peyton's reason for returning to Tree Hill.

Lucas turned to Lindsey who immediately stepped forward and put her arms around him in an effort to console him. Lucas appreciated her being here but he also knew that there was no love between Peyton and her therefore she could only be here to comfort him and he honestly did not want this right now. Not when the girl he loved life was hanging in the balance and the one thing he wanted to do was tell Lindsey he no longer wanted to be with her because of this.

However, there was a time and a place for such things and this was neither of the two. Just as he thought that Lindsey was going to sit down beside him, Brooke and Haley to wait for the doctors, Lindsey asked Lucas if he would pop outside with her for a moment as she wanted to speak to him about something important.

"Luke would you give me a minute or two outside please, there is something I need to talk to you about?"

"Um yeah Lindsey but is it important and will it take long, I mean I don't want to be away from here for long" explained Lucas.

"Oh it won't take long Luke and yes I suppose it is important" replied Lucas.

"Okay" He turned towards Brooke and said "I'm just popping out to speak to Lindsey for a minute or two, if there is any news would you come and get me?"

Brooke nodded and said "Of course I will" and smiled at him.

Both Lucas and Lindsey headed out to the main entrance and took a seat on one of the wooden benches.

"Okay, what's wrong then Lindsey?"

"Lucas, I don't want to argue with you or fight, I just want to say my piece and then move on if that's okay?"

"Er yes, okay…."

""Well the thing is Luke, I know you still have feelings for Peyton and I don't blame you, in fact I applaud you for still loving her as much as you did when you were a teenager. However, because of that I don't think I can be with you anymore, I deserve better, and when I say that I mean I deserve to have someone love me the way you love Peyton, I won't be second best to anyone and for that reason I am leaving Tree Hill today and I won't be back. So, this is goodbye Lucas and I really hope that you and Peyton make it through, I hope she recovers from this and you manage to build a life together as I always did say I was rooting for the couple in the book"

Lucas sat there and said nothing, he could not believe that Lindsey had just opened the door for him and set him free, free to be with Peyton. He was a writer and you would have thought that he would have come up with some poignant speech then and that he should have said something really important but for probably the second time in his life, the first being with Brooke, he could not th ink of a decent thing to say. All he could feel coursing through his body at that moment was sheer relief from finally being able to admit to the girl he loved, to be able to be there for her and get her through this tragic time of her life.

This was not a time for being happy but he was, he would always care for Lindsey but he knew it would never really work for them in the long run because his heart would always be with Peyton no matter where she was in life. She was his and he was hers and that was the way if would always be, he had loved her since he was twelve years old!

"Okay" was all he could say.

"That's it Lucas "okay", that's all I get? I thought better of you than that Lucas, I mean I know you don't love me like you do Peyton but still I thought I would have got more than a simple "okay"?"

"I'm sorry Lindsey, sorry for everything, I should never have gotten you involved in this, it wasn't fair and I can only apologize a thousand times"

"It's okay Luke, honestly it is, I'm just glad it happened now before it was too late, I hope you and Peyton will be happy and I hope she makes a speedy recovery" said Lindsey with sincerity.

"Thanks Lindsey, it was good what we had together, and thank you for the good times, I will miss you"

"No you won't Luke, you will be too busy being happy and making babies with Peyton to think of me"

Lucas laughed and thought to himself that he hoped she was right, he hoped that Peyton would pull through this and the next hurdle with cancer that she had to ensure but that was not something that he wanted to discuss with Lindsey. He hadn't even spoken to Peyton about it and he was sure as hell not going to discuss it with Lindsey, it would not be fair at all to Peyton.

Lindsey slung her bag over her shoulder and stood up, instead of hugging Lucas she proffered her hand to him and he looked at it in surprise.

"That's how we are parting Lindsey, no hug, no emotional goodbye?"

"Lucas what do you want from me, blood? I have feelings to remember so please let's do this the easy way okay?"

"Okay Lindsey" and put his hand in hers.

"Thanks Lucas and goodbye"

"Bye Lindsey"

Lindsey Strauss turned and headed over to her car, as she turned she decided not to look back, she couldn't look back because the tears were streaming down her face. She had just walked away from the love of her life and she thought at that moment that her heart was breaking and it would never heal. She may not be the love of Lucas's life but he was certainly the love of her life but he would never know it as she was a stronger person than that. She had her work to keep her going and she would pass Lucas Scott on to another Editor as she was cutting all ties with him, she had to protect herself someway so she walked off and climbed into her sports car and drove into the distance to a new life far away from Lucas Scott and Tree Hill.

Lucas stood for a moment and watched Lindsey's car disappear into the distance, he then turned around and went back into the ER to be with the girl he loved. That night Lucas Scott prayed harder than anyone he had ever known, he prayed for Peyton to come through this and he prayed that she would be able to tell him she loved him once again and that she would marry him now because now was "someday" and he was ready and he hoped she was too, in fact he was sure she was.