Fandom: One Tree Hill
Pairing: Brooke & Lucas
Summary: What unsettled Lucas the most was how much he missed her. And with the way things were now there was no chance that feeling would ever go away. Future fic.
Author's note: Part 3 of my ongoing future fic. Thanks to Tej for your help!
Flashbacks are in Italics and if you could let me know what you think, good and bad, constructive criticism is always appreciated.
Disclaimer: I don't own One Tree Hill. Or any of the characters that you know and love.
3. Every Good Cowboy has Daddy Issues
“When one has not had a good father, one must create one.”
Tree Hill, North Carolina, June 2008
Lucas sat on a bench at the Rivercourt, looking out on the waterfront. He kept wondering how his life had gotten so out of control. It now felt as it was living him rather then him leading it. As if someone or something else had taken the rudder and he was now drifting afloat on a sea of confusion.
The irony of him once quoting ‘Invictus’ to Haley was not lost on Lucas.
‘I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.’ What a joke.
When he and Peyton had told his mother earlier tonight, her first instinct had been anger, upset even, before her emotions turned her to be supportive. After all, Karen Roe knew better than anybody about circumstances like these. But underneath all her loyalty and love, underneath all that friendly advice she had offered her son and the girl he had gotten pregnant, Lucas had been able to see the disappointment in her eyes.
And for him that was worse than anger. All his life he had tried to live up to her expectations; to make her sacrifice mean something; to prove himself worthy of what she had done for him. Karen had wanted so much more for him, had had these bright hopes for his future. And he had had them, too. Now, they had been taken away from him.
But what unsettled Lucas the most was just how much he missed her. And with the way things were now there was no chance that this feeling would ever go away.
“I thought I'd find you here.”
His head spun around when he recognized the voice, only to find Dan's silhouette towering over him, a shadow against the fading sun.
“What do you want?” Lucas asked, exasperation evident in his voice. There was only so much drama he could stomach at once, and over the course of last week, he had had his full share. Enough for a lifetime, actually.
Dan’s mouth twisted upwards into a smirk. “I don't know. I thought we could, you know, talk.” Only Dan Scott was able to make the suggestion of a simple conversation sound like a pact with the devil. Come to think of it, Lucas found the simile pretty accurate. He chuckled gloomily.
“I don't think we have anything to say to each other.” This earned him a sarcastic snort from the man who had fathered him.
“See, that's where you're wrong. Some little bird tells me we're not so different after all.”
Hearing the triumph and gleeful singsong in Dan's voice, Lucas felt anger rising in him like a tidal wave. “Don't flatter yourself,” he spat, “I'll never be like you.”
“Really? I heard you got a girl pregnant.” Dan grinned. “My area of expertise.” He watched the younger man who just remained silent, the sly smile on his face growing bigger. “And the wrong girl, too. What a pity. You know Lucas, us Scott men always had that thing for... brunettes. It really makes me wonder how we somehow get stuck with the knocked up blondes.” Dan patted his son's shoulder and Lucas' back stiffened in response. “Guess you're my son after all.”
The younger man flinched when he heard the words, cutting in like a knife. Why after all these years, could Dan still get to him like that?
Dan sat down next to him on the bench. “Again, my area of expertise.”
Lucas turned to face the older man, his face full of resentment. “Well you're wrong. I am nothing like you. I won't leave Peyton alone in all this. I will take care of her and our child. This kid will know its father.”
“Wow. Spoken like the true hero you are.” Dan's voice was now dripping with sarcasm. It made Lucas want to hit him. Hard. “Hm... let's see. Correct me, if I'm wrong but you don't even love the girl. You also won't finish college, at least not in the near future. You'll work your ass off to see your kid on Saturdays and shoot some hoops at this lame ass court. You won't be going anywhere; no career, no future, just some dead-end job. You'll pretty much be stuck. After ten years you'll realize that you're nothing but a college drop-out and the father of a child out of wedlock. No parental rights whatsoever, dependent on that girl’s mood to see your own kid. You'll have no prospects. You'll only be a Dad on paper and on weekends. Now that's what I call a real family life, Lucas.”
“Well at least I'll be a dad.” Lucas hissed. Dan grabbed his son by the shoulders, staring into his eyes to find that the younger man held his gaze.
“Maybe that kid will know his father. But don't you see that's not enough? It won't have what you always wanted. It won't have what it deserves. And you won't either. A family.” He paused and when he went on, his voice had almost taken on a gentle, consoling note. It shook Lucas to the core. “You still won't have that family, Lucas.”
After a few moments of silence, Dan spoke again, all softness gone from his tone, as if that moment of truth and honesty had never happened. “It's nice to see you've decided to follow some Scott legacy after all. Just a damn shame your heart is in the wrong place.”
Somehow, Lucas knew that he wasn't talking about basketball.
And with a final scornful laugh, Dan Scott turned around, leaving his son behind.
Peyton was standing in the dimly lit kitchen of her childhood home, finishing the last of the dishes. Karen had been over for dinner, and as much as she had dreaded it, with the support of Larry and Lucas, the news had been delivered as gently as possible.
Telling the mother of your ex-boyfriend that you are pregnant with his child was not really on her list of top ten nice over-a-meal-chat topics but considering the circumstances, it had gone down pretty well. Larry had been stoic, Lucas had been his usual knight in shining armor self and Karen - well Karen had been angry at first but that soon had turned into motherly understanding.
Peyton sighed. In some ways, life was truly messed up. But although this was just another entry in the endless book of personal drama and tragedies in the short 19 years of her life, she couldn’t help but to feel happy. At least a bit.
She was having a baby.
At first, she had been terrified. Thinking about abortion. Or adoption. Not that she had like really considered them.
She was nineteen, she had the money and the support. This was not some eighteenth century novel; no-one shunned single, unmarried mothers anymore. There were no real reasons not to have this baby. Well, apart from the fact that she couldn’t see herself as a mother. Or that she wasn’t with Lucas. Or that she was just so damn unhappy.
But then, after about a week or so, it had hit her. She had stood in the queue at Target and it had just hit her. The realization that there was going to be a person entirely of her own. Someone that could not be taken away from her, someone who would not leave her, unless she let them. Soon she had caught herself looking at those stupid baby books in shops. Or stroking her belly or thinking about murals that would look pretty on nursery walls. Or how it would feel to hold that baby; to have its gentle weight snugly fit into the crook of her arm.
And after that, she hadn't really had any choice.
Yes, it had not been planned but hopefully, it would all work out. Lucas would stand by her. She knew he cared for her deeply, and maybe that would grow into more over time. She just wished that he would talk to her. Peyton still had to wrap her head around all the facts herself but he was dealing in his own Lucas Scott way obviously. Which basically was pretending that everything was fine when it clearly wasn't. After dinner he had excused himself, saying he needed some fresh air.
She knew he was still thinking about her.
Even if that topic was a total taboo between them, she just knew. And Peyton couldn't help but think about her as well. Her long lost best friend. Sometimes she would catch herself in the middle of the day, wondering where Brooke was. Sometimes she lay awake, late at night, asking herself what Brooke was doing, how she was feeling. If she was okay. She was broken out of her thoughts by someone entering the kitchen.
“Hey.” She turned around to see a dishevelled Lucas standing there, a deep frown marring his face.
“Hey. You okay?”
He shrugged. “I drove my Mom home and stopped by the court.”
She noticed that he hadn't really answered her question but decided to give it up for now and instead pointed towards the pot on the stove.
“Want some herbal tea? Or coffee? Of course, if you are really brave and adventurous you can have some of this pregnancy stuff my Dad bought me. It's supposed to help you with your 'mood swings',” she jokingly finger-quoted, trying to ease some of the tension, “but I really don't recommend it.”
Lucas gave her a weak smile. “Peyton... I need to talk to you.” He looked tired. Beat even. “I've been thinking.”
“Uh oh. This sounds serious.” She smiled. “Do you want me to sit down, so that I don't faint during your confession?”
“Peyton.” His tone was almost admonishing. She heard the earnest in his voice and felt fear rising. She swallowed and when she spoke again, her voice came out croaking and strange sounding.
“You, you didn't... uh... change your mind?” She sat down, suddenly feeling heavy and grave, and looked down to her feet, her crimson painted toe nails in those flip flops she wore on hot summer nights like this. The polish looked like blood stains in the dim light. He hadn't answered yet. “...Did you?”
She knew it. He loved Brooke. How on earth could she have thought that he would give that up to be with her and this baby? Of course, he would kind of be there and somehow help her out but how could she have fooled herself into the belief that he was willing to give up his life for her? How could she have lied to herself like that? She knew the answer. It was because she loved him. She had always loved him.
Seeing him standing there so timid and quiet, she felt this love for him only grow.
When he looked up, there was mere confusion and disbelief in his eyes.
“What do you mean ‘changed my mind’? I said I wanna be there for this baby. For you.”
“I know Lucas, but if you can't... If you can't give up everything for it, that's okay. I wouldn't... I wouldn't love you less.”
There it was. She had said it. And seeing the sympathetic smile on his face she wasn't sure if he understood how she had meant it. He stepped closer and brought his hand to her cheek, wiping off the tears she had not noticed falling. At the contact she choked out a sob and closed her eyes.
She shook her head, curls flying and took a few steps back. She couldn't bare him touching her when she knew what was coming, what he was about to say. “Lucas, don't. Just don't say anything.”
Her hand was clenching around the dishcloth, the fabric cutting into her palm. She didn't want to hear it. The explanations and apologies. She only wanted the pain to go away. Why could she never have what she wanted so badly? Did she not deserve to belong to someone, to be wanted? All her life she had been searching for love, for a family. But the only one she wanted and needed was not able to give that to her. And maybe it would always be like that.
Peyton felt as if the tiny last piece of her heart that had still been intact; that last little sanctuary that had kept her sane and alive was breaking now too.
That was, until he spoke again.
One moment, her whole world was being ripped away from her, even the things she had never truly had and the next moment, the whole world was full of possibilities.
“I want a family, Peyton. I want this family.”
She opened her eyes to look into his. She couldn't make out his facial expression; she had never seen Lucas like this. It wasn't until the words came out, that she understood. And even then, she didn't fully grasp it. The only thing she knew was that he took her hand into his and spoke again.
“You did what?” Karen stared at her son in disbelief.
“I asked her to marry me.”
Karen turned around, getting a hold of one of the wooden chairs around her kitchen table, the sturdiness of the solid material under her hands somewhat steadying her. Shaking her head, she sat down.
“I’m sorry. I must have gone crazy! Tonight, I’m learning that my son got a girl pregnant. His ex-girlfriend. And you know, I’m thinking to myself: Karen you’re doing fine, you’re pretty cool about the whole thing considering…“ she inhaled deeply, trying to keep her calm, “considering he is only nineteen and hasn’t finished college, but now you tell me you want to marry her? Are you out of your mind, Lucas?” Even though she had tried not to, she caught herself yelling.
Lucas looked shocked, terrified even. It made her heart and stomach churn and ache for him. For the little boy he had been. For the boy he never could be again.
She took a step closer and gripped his shoulder.
“I won’t allow this Lucas!”
“Mom, I’m nineteen!”
“Exactly! You are only nineteen Lucas! A few months ago you wanted to spend the rest of your life with someone else! And you were in college with a scholarship had so much going for you…” Her voice wavered. “And now you’re…”
“That’s what this is all about, isn’t it?” Lucas’ voice was bitter. “You’re disappointed in me. You think I’ve ruined my life. But I haven’t! You’re just upset that my life won’t go according to your precious plan.”
“You think that’s it? You think I’m upset cause you’ve changed your plans? I’m upset because your heart is not in this! Lucas, this is not something like dropping out of college or a change of career! This is marriage we’re talking about!” Karen tried to calm down a little, to make him see the light. When she saw his stubborn face, she sighed. “Standing by Peyton is the right thing to do. Marrying her isn’t!”
He didn’t respond. He just stood there in the middle of the room and looked so incredibly lost and yet determined at the same time. Karen realized that yelling wouldn’t help matters. He was a Scott after all. And if Scott men set their mind on something, force would never be able to change it. She stepped closer to him, watching him guardedly; she stretched out a hand, running it down his cheek in one long gentle, motherly motion.
“Lucas. Why are you doing this?” Her voice was now eerily calm.
He didn’t answer immediately. She could see that something was eating him up inside and it almost killed her not to know what it was. “I have to.” His tone was void of all emotion.
“Why?” She didn’t understand. “So you’ve screwed up. You were irresponsible and you made a mistake and you want to fix it, I get it Lucas. But two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Lucas merely shrugged. “Mom. This is my decision. I’m gonna marry Peyton. It is the best for her and the baby. And for me.”
Karen was desperate. She played her final card.
“No. It’s not. Because you love Brooke.”
She knew she wasn’t playing fair. In fact, it was downright cruel. She saw his face flinch, as if she had hit him, and then it turned into a mask of stony determination.
“You did that, didn’t you? You waited for years and years, living in that memory of him. Thinking about the family you could have had. For what? All this time, love was right in front of you. Maybe it wasn’t as passionate, as consuming as your first. But it was love, Mom. And you let it pass you by. I’m not going to spend my life thinking about what I can’t have.” He held her gaze, his eyes now steely. “I wish you’d have married Keith. Before it was too late.”
Karen knew he was set out to hurt her, like she had hurt him. And a part of her, a part she thought she had left behind a long time ago, understood. It did not approve, but it understood. She could have told him that she wouldn’t change the years with him for the world, that she had been happy. She could have told him that this longing for Dan, this dream of the family they could have had were dreams of a schoolgirl remembering her puppy love. She could have told him that he would never be able to run from it or hide from it. That he was far too young.
She could have told him all this. And it would have been the truth. And then again, at the same time, it wouldn’t have been.
And so Karen Roe didn’t say anything. She simply looked at her son. So close to her and yet so far away. She didn’t say anything cause there was nothing for her to say.
So instead, he spoke again. “Let me do this. While I can.”
To be continued. Comments are love.