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10 March 2006 @ 09:58 am
Baby, Stay Away  
Title: Baby, Stay Away
Author: Tejal (mrsotown)
Rating: T
Summary: “Because somehow I ended up taking a plane at one thirty in the morning from California to Tree Hill. And because, as much as I tried, they just don’t let you off a flight midway across the country.” BL one-shot, set years after the events in 3x16.
Author’s Notes: This one-shot thing is the bomb! I’m addicted now. Of course I wish it had come at a better time than when I have essays and presentations due in but what can you do? Much love goes to all my metas; Cari, Kels and Neat. Title comes from Darren Hayes’ The Heart Wants What It Wants.


Baby, Stay Away

Brooke brushed past the waiters and the waitresses busily setting out the tables with various table settings, plates and cutlery in their hands. So wrapped up in the upcoming nuptials none of them gave her a second glance and for that, Brooke was thankful.

It made her job just that bit easier.

Slipping through the neutral-colored corridors and taking note of all the numbers written on the doors she eventually found the one she was looking for.

Pausing for just a few moments, she gathered her thoughts and prepared herself. Once she opened that door, there was no going back. Allowing for a split second to curse herself for doing this, she knocked gently on the door and allowed herself in.

“Hey, did you get a chance to-” he whipped around and stopped when he saw her.

There he was.

Eight years, four months and twenty two days had passed and he was still the same Lucas Scott that she’d left behind.

Staring at him from the doorway, she could still clearly remember the sound of his laugh when she made a joke and the way he’d silkily call her name in the mornings. She could remember every single one of his t-shirts and pants, his grey hoodie proudly bearing the name of Keith’s garage and his collection of flip-flops that she always teased him about.

Most of all, she could remember his smile.

But today he wasn’t smiling. Quite the opposite, actually, he seemed to resent her presence.

The t-shirt, pants and flip-flops had been traded in for a tux, a brightly colored waistcoat and a white carnation pinned to his lapel.

“Brooke.” He said. But the voice did not say it in the way that usually formed goosebumps on her skin. It was almost spat out at her.

“Hey, Lucas,” she greeted nervously. Brooke had never been nervous in her whole life, or at least she’d never shown it… until now. “You look great.”

He ignored her compliment, “What are you doing here?”

“Sight-seeing,” she quipped, though her joke fell on deaf ears.

Lucas’ jaw tightened and he stuffed his hands in his pocket.

Brooke Davis.

For the last few years his image of her was the one he’d known and fallen in love with – and slowly begun to despise.

The Brooke Davis who always had a dimpled smile on her face; the one who let him run his fingers through her long, brown hair; the one who winked at him with her gold-speckled hazel eyes; the one who always wore jeans with a cute camisole top.

The Brooke in front of him was different. Her hair had been cut to just above her shoulders in a neat bob, her hazel eyes were now a striking green and the cute camisole top and jeans had become a white sleeveless blouse with a grey pencil skirt.

She’d grown up and she’d changed. He wasn’t even sure if he would have recognized her if it hadn’t been for the slight dimples on either side of her cheek.

“Don’t make jokes.” He demanded. “What are you doing here?” he repeated.

“I heard about the wedding,” she told him. “Congratulations.”

“Thanks.” He mumbled before diverting his eyes.

“I guess you’re wondering how I found out, especially since I didn’t get an invitation and all…” she tried not to sound bitter. She understood, of course, why she didn’t get an invitation. “Haley told me.”

“Oh.” Lucas shifted uncomfortably, “I didn’t know you and Haley still spoke.”

“Well, some would call it speaking; I’d call it the occasional email now and again when we both have time.” The truth being that Brooke had bumped into Taylor, who’d passed on Haley’s email address. Brooke had had it for almost three weeks before sending an email casually asking how things were and Haley had responded a couple of days later.

The emails, though sometimes far and in between, actually brought a smile to Brooke’s face and she enjoyed reading about what Haley and Nathan and their old gang were up to.

At least she did.

“She invited you?” Lucas questioned.

“No… she just happened to mention when it was. There’s only one church in Tree Hill and only one hotel so…” she trailed off. “Didn’t exactly take Columbo to work it out.”

“So you decided to just invite yourself.” Lucas tried to keep himself calm in her presence.

“I’m not staying.” She confessed. “I just… I just had to see you.”

“Well, you’ve seen me,” Lucas walked towards the door and held it open for her. He waited a couple of seconds until Brooke’s eyes narrowed and she crossed her arms defiantly across her chest. She made a small tutting sound.

“This isn’t what I wanted to happen,” she said. Lucas slammed the door and, as it closed violently, Brooke jumped.

“What did you want to happen, Brooke?” he yelled. “Come on, tell me. Did you want me to welcome you back and invite you for some cake? Scream at you? Leave Peyton at the altar?”

“Of course not!” Brooke yelled back. “You think I wanted any of this? I wasn’t even going to come!”

“Then why are you here?”

“Because…” she lowered her voice and sighed, “Because I couldn’t sleep. Because… somehow I ended up taking a plane at one thirty in the morning from California to Tree Hill.” She paused, “And because, as much as I tried, they just don’t let you off a flight midway across the country.”

He pinched the bridge of his nose. “So what? You just decided to drop by after eight years of no contact?”

“I told you. I don’t know why I’m here, I just am.”

“How did you know I was even in this room?” Lucas decided to ask simple questions first.

“I told the guy at the front desk that I was your attorney and you had some questions about a pre-nup.” She shrugged, “Besides everyone is a little preoccupied with getting everything ready.”

“Security is a little lax.” He conceded.

“Listen,” she got his attention back, “I know you don’t want me here so I’ll make it quick. I just wanted to see you… and, um, congratulate you. You and Peyton make a nice couple. I guess you were always in love with her anyway so it all worked out for the best.” She tried to be sincere, hoping it was the thing Lucas wanted it hear.

It wasn’t.

He laughed, but it was tinged with bitterness and anger.

“You still don’t get it, do you?” he asked, not waiting for an answer from her before continuing. “My heart never belonged to Peyton. It never has. I’ve been madly in love with you ever since you stripped half naked in the back seat of my car. I know I made a mistake with her once but I never truly loved her. It was always you. It still is you.”

“Then why are you marrying her?” she was confused.

“Because she never left me.” He looked accusingly at her.

“Lucas…”

“You know, I’ve thought about this conversation over and over again in my head for years. I wondered when it would happen, what we would say, what would happen next… I never thought for one minute you’d be selfish enough to waltz in here on my wedding day and tell me who I was in love with and how things ‘worked out for the best’.”

“You’re not happy?”

“Oh, right now I’m ecstatic. You know, the woman of my dreams standing in front of me seventy-five minutes before I’m supposed to get married. You always had a knack for timing.” Lucas grinned at her. “I don’t love Peyton, Brooke, I’m just settling down.”

“You sound bitter.” She commented.

“You sound surprised.” He told her in reply. “I mean, you’re the one who packed up and left everything behind without even breathing a word to anyone. Where are my eighty-two letters now? Of course, with all the time that’s passed, it should be in the region of twenty-six hundred or something but I have some time on my honeymoon. I could do with some light reading.”

Brooke closed her eyes, cursing herself more violently for knocking on the door in the first place.

“This was a mistake.” She turned to leave.

“The only mistake that was made was me not spending more time tracking you down. After a year, everyone told me to give up and move on. Maybe I should have fought harder for you. Is that what you wanted? Was I not fighting enough for you?” Lucas’ words hit her like a knife. Each syllable and tainted memory twisting it in deeper and deeper until Brooke felt numb inside.

She didn’t even notice the tears beginning to cascade down her cheeks.

Lucas seemed to realize he’d taken it a little too far, but the damage was already done.

“I’m sorry,” she mumbled through her tears as a shaking hand reached for the door knob. She barely touched it when it opened itself and Nathan made his way in, not noticing the sobbing brunette.

“Lucas, we’re ready for-” Nathan’s eyes flew to Brooke and widened in surprise. He looked between the two. Lucas casting his eyes to the floor and Brooke roughly wiping at her tears. “Brooke.” He cleared his throat.

“Hello Nathan.” She struggled to smile at him. The two awkwardly hugged briefly as a sign of politeness. “It’s been a while.”

“It has.” Nathan flicked his eyes towards Lucas again but the blonde didn’t look back at him. “What are you doing here? I didn’t know you were invited.”

“I was just in town. I thought I’d drop by and…” She glanced at Lucas; Nathan followed her gaze, “congratulate Lucas.” Nathan nodded slowly.

“Are you staying?” The question caused Lucas’ head to snap up.

“No.” Brooke said firmly.

Nathan looked between the two again, sensing that he’d obviously disturbed more than a reunion.

“What do you want, Nathan?” Lucas spoke for the first time since Nathan had arrived.

“Um, actually, don’t worry about it. It’s not even important.” Not as important as this, Nathan thought to himself. “I’ll just come back later and let you two finish.”

“We are finished,” Lucas said suddenly. Brooke gulped.

“Like I said,” Nathan decided to take control of the situation. “I’ll let you two finish.”

For the past eight years, Nathan Scott had witnessed his brother fall apart at the loss of his girlfriend. He’d been there for the nights Lucas had wound up in a bar, been there for the tears, the various ‘leads’ he’d found of Brooke’s whereabouts, the string of women Lucas had attempted to be with, the awkward moments where Lucas found something that belonged to Brooke, the nights out drinking and the subsequent AA meetings. He’d been there that day in court six years ago when Lucas was sentenced to six months community service and had his driver’s license revoked.

He’d been there twelve months later when Peyton came back into the picture. He’d been there when Lucas had popped the question a year ago and witnessed the way Lucas always looked uncomfortable whenever the subject of the wedding came up.

But he had never dared to ask Lucas about Brooke after the fourth year. She became the unspoken subject that everyone just let linger in the air or pushed to the back of their minds for fear of seeing Lucas! The Raging Alcoholic again.

And now Brooke was back.

Nathan could almost see Lucas eyeing up the mini-bar.

Darting his eyes between Lucas, Brooke and the mini-bar, Nathan figured he could risk leaving them alone for a few more minutes.

Besides, what happened between them was so much more important than anything else right now. It had been a long time coming and he would pleasantly deal with anything that happened afterwards if it would just mean Lucas would get over Brooke already.

He had nothing against the brunette, in fact he loved her energy and dimpled smiles, and he always had.

But he just couldn’t understand it. How she could just… leave.

He wondered if she knew of the devastation she’d left in her wake. Not only Lucas having to be babysat to make sure he wasn’t drinking, but also Haley. Haley who had been heartbroken at her roommate disappearance. The Haley who cried for days and wondered what it could have been that Brooke couldn’t tell her. The Haley he’d comforted just like he’d comforted his brother.

There had also been Peyton.

Did Peyton know she was back? No, of course not, Brooke only wanted to see Lucas. That much was clear.

Nathan had to admit Brooke was brave to come back and face everything she’d left behind. To see the broken and embittered man Lucas had become.

Seeing and experiencing that was punishment enough for the girl. She didn’t have to see the girl he was marrying. Her best friend. The one she’d always been afraid of because she thought Peyton was the only threat to her.

Brooke had been wrong. Any fool could see Peyton was a mistake Lucas never wanted to revisit again.

Obviously it was a little difficult for her to see that now since their wedding began in little over an hour.

And Nathan? Well Nathan had harbored intense dislike for Brooke in the last eight years she’d been away. But seeing her standing meekly in front of him just dispelled all those feelings.

She was alive. She was well. She was here.

Realizing that he’d been standing at the doorway for the past few minutes after stating he was leaving, Nathan made movements towards the door. He gave a small wave to Brooke, wondering if shutting the door would be the last he’d ever saw of her again.

Alone again, Brooke turned back to Lucas.

“I need answers,” he told her simply.

“I don’t have them.”

It didn’t seem to impress Lucas.

“You haven’t come up with a good excuse yet?” Lucas muttered, “You’ve had eight years to perfect it.”

She groaned, “Don’t be like this, Lucas. Don’t act like you’re the only one hurt.”

“I am the only one hurt. How can you act like the victim after what you did?”

“What did I do, Lucas?” she asked him, her voice beginning to rise. “What did I possibly do?”

“You left.”

Brooke couldn’t help but roll her eyes, irking Lucas further.

“There you go again! Acting like none of this is your fault. It’s all your fault!” He waved his hands around erratically, ignoring the fact he was dressed in his best suit and had his hair all perfect. His angry, red face was a far cry from the happy, if nervous groom he was supposed to be. “This whole wedding thing is because of you!” he pointed a shaking finger at her.

“I didn’t force you to marry Peyton; you did that on your own.” She sighed and put her head in her hands. “This isn’t how I wanted this to happen.”

“How did you want it to happen?” Lucas pressed her for an answer, his response thankfully much calmer than when he’d asked her before, “Because I sure as hell have no idea what you’re doing here.”

“This is confusing,” she placed her hands on her hips. “First you’re pissed off at me for coming down, and then you’re telling me you’ve always loved me, and now you’re blaming me and want me to go? Lucas, this is just crazy! I suppose you’re going to blame me for Peyton limping down the aisle too?”

He squinted at her with piercing blue eyes. The incident at their high school nine years ago had hardly ever been spoken about between the two, but never forgotten. Peyton had been the only casualty, a stray bullet lodging itself in her leg and slightly impairing her walking ability.

But it was the emotional scars that never healed for the rest of them.

Brooke hadn’t been involved in any of the action, having made it out unscathed as it began. Lucas, Nathan, Haley and a handful of their classmates, on the other hand, had been trapped with terror for almost three hours.

And Brooke had been on the outside looking in. Helpless. Lost. Terrified for her friends, and most of all, her boyfriend.

While she’d been crying and waiting for news, her boyfriend and her best friend were trapped together in the school library.

Brooke wasn’t sure what to think about that. It had been her biggest fear. Not the school shooting, no-one could have predicted that, but the two of them stuck in an intense situation such as that was bound to awaken some old feelings.

That was what Brooke remembered about that day. The way she silently prayed that nothing like that had surfaced between the two.

It was thinking that or thinking that they were dead.

She didn’t know which was worse.

Brooke was well-aware that it was a selfish thought, but if anyone had been in her shoes when it had happened before…

When it was all over. Days after the news vans left and the newspapers stopped writing about it. When students and teachers began filling the school again, Brooke was still waiting for Lucas to talk to her.

But he didn’t. He never talked about what happened between him and Peyton and she wasn’t sure what to think about it all.

Maybe it was because she wouldn’t understand. She didn’t know how it felt. She wasn’t there.

No-one knew what it was like, though, to be the one on the outside and looking in.

And that’s how she felt for the rest of the year. Disconnected from them all. Lucas, Nathan, Haley, Peyton, Mouth… even Rachel.

It began eating her up inside. Suddenly she began feeling unwanted and uninvolved. Peyton relied on Lucas more. It was Lucas she called to talk when she had a nightmare; Lucas who rushed to her side; Lucas who invited her to hang with them, making their twosome a threesome.

That’s why she’d left.

“There were three of us in that relationship,” she wondered aloud. Lucas narrowed his eyes at her.

“What?”

“You, me and Peyton. That’s what it became. And I know she was my friend and your friend too, and that she needed help… but you were always there because you’re the type of guy that needs to save people. You just didn’t save me.” She noted sadly.

It seemed to render Lucas speechless. He wasn’t shouting anymore.

“I didn’t… I didn’t know you needed saving.” His voice was quiet now.

“Everybody needs saving, Lucas. Not just the pretty blondes.” She added a wry smile.

“If you’d told me…” he ventured forward but Brooke took one step back.

“If I’d told you, you would have been torn between us and I didn’t want you to have to make that choice. I wouldn’t have been able to let you do it because it would mean that I would have to have let you go.”

“You’re crazy,” he barely whispered those words, “to even think that I would choose her over you.”

“You did in the end.”

“Because you weren’t here!” How many times did he have to say it before she realized? “If you had just—I thought you were happy. You never seemed upset, not like the rest of us.”

“Oh, Lucas, I thought you knew me better than that. I tried to be happy, I did, but knowing I couldn’t make you happy killed me, Lucas. It killed me.”

“You could never make me unhappy.”

“I didn’t see it that way. I saw someone who was drifting further and further away from me and I had no idea what to do. Nathan had Haley and you seemed to have Peyton, and before I knew it, I was back where I was the year before and it scared me. It scared me because I didn’t want to lose you again like that. I couldn’t put my heart through that sort of plain again and so I did the only thing I could to protect myself. I just thought that if I was the one to leave, if I cut my losses and just disappeared, then I wouldn’t have to see you fall in love with her again and lie about it to me. I could just leave you to it.”

There it was.

The reason Lucas has been waiting for was all laid out in front of him and all he had to do was open his arms and forgive her.

“I wouldn’t have chosen Peyton over you. Not again.” He told her. “And Peyton and I never got together until you’d been gone for three years and even then my heart wasn’t in it.”

She cleared her throat, “Like I said, I didn’t know that.”

“So after… when you left Tree Hill. Where did you go? I mean you never went straight to California. I called your parents and they said they hadn’t heard from you.”

“Illinois.” She gave a small shrug, “That’s as far as I could get. I spent six months waitressing and doing odd jobs to pay for a decent outfit. After a couple of years I managed to pull myself together to get a pretty steady job with long hours but survivable pay. It’s harder than you think; reinventing yourself so nobody can see the scars. But it was exciting. It was… the world. Different people everyday and I kept thinking; ‘This is how Haley must have felt’ and then I understood why she’d left and why she’d decided to stay. I also understood why she had come back. The loneliness hits you in the face when you least expect it and it takes every thing you have not to give in and go back. I almost got on a plane three times to come back until I realized I probably had nothing back to go to, and that I’d worked to hard to become somebody to give that all up again.”

“Not even a phone call or an email in eight years?” Lucas sighed, “You knew where I was.”

“You’re not getting it. Calling you or contacting you would have meant coming to terms with what I’d left. I knew that the minute I did I’d want to be with you. Why did you think it took six years for me to get in touch with Haley?”

“I really wish you would have talked to me.”

“I really wish you would have talked to me too.”

“What happens now? Are you staying or—”

She stepped closer to him, neatening his tie and smoothing down his jacket.

“You are going to go get married.” She told him as confidently as she could, trying not to let the sadness in her voice show. “And you are going to have a happy, long life and beautiful children.” Her voice began to falter at the thought of the blue eyed, blonde haired children there would be, and not the varied mix she’d always pictured the two of them having.

“And you?” he questioned again. Pressured for an answer, she sighed.

“I’m going to go back to doing what I do best.” She offered him a bright smile. “You look so handsome.”

Surprisingly, he placed both his hands on her shoulders and brought her closer into a hug; the most amount of contact they’d had in eight years. She held onto his tightly, willing tears not to fall again and willing her mouth to stop forming the words ‘I want you’ escaping from her lips.

“Stay for the wedding.” He asked her. She shook her head.

“I can’t.”

“Not even for a little while?” She shook her head.

“No.”

“So what do I do now?” he asked. “How can I get married if you’re not there?”

“How can you get married if I am?” She replied.

“And us?”

That was a question she hadn’t quite figured out yet.

She pulled away from him, “You have to let me go.”

“You know I can’t.”

“Then you have to at least pretend to.” Before she stepped fully out of his grasp, she reached up and grabbed his head, kissing his forehead gently and resting her own against it.

“Brooke…”

“Goodbye.” She cut him off before he could continue for fear of what he’d say to make her stay.

“I have something for you,” he told her. “Wait here.” She gave a nod as he turned away to his suitcase and began rummaging through it. “It’s been here for a while. I didn’t know where to send it so I just—” He turned around but he had just been talking to air. The door was left slightly ajar and he could see a flash of Brooke’s figure retreating.

He didn’t go after it. Instead he stared down at the envelope in his hand.

The eighty second letter was still left behind. All the rest had been sent to her parents in California if, by any chance, Brooke happened to end up there.

Except this one. This he’d wanted to give personally.

But it was too late.

Placing it in the breast pocket of his jacket, he noticed that she’d left an envelope too. This was a light lavender color with the Hallmark insignia at the back. He opened it up to find a wedding card.

Inside was only scrawled their names and her name at the bottom to sign it off. No personal message, just their names.

Inside was also an old, folded and slightly aged piece of paper. Lucas recognized it immediately. Of course he did, he had discarded it after—shaking his head, he couldn’t suppress his smile as he read the familiar words.

‘Remember tonight for it is the beginning of always...’


The End