This chapter آپ will get to see what Lucas is up to and hopefully answer some of your questions. There are a few things in here that might seem a little confusing (like Lucas’ secret and his guilt over it) but it will all come out later in the story.
Someone mentioned in a review that they were sad that I killed off Naley in the first chapter and I just want to set the record straight that it is not because I dislike Naley, it is because the story wouldn’t work other wise.
Okay please enjoy
“Did Brooke Davis manage to get a hold of you, Lucas?” He’d flown direct to Sydney from Nepal, stopping at his publishes office to pick up urgent messages before going back to his hotel suite to catch up on sleep.
“Brooke?” He frowned, looking up from the فہرست of messages his PA handed him. “Brooke called for me?”
“Last week, Sunday. I gave her the Hong Kong numbers but I knew you’d be on the اقدام so I gave her your cell phone number too. She کہا it was urgent. I hope I did the right thing.”
“Yes, yes,” he said, reassuring her.
Last week Sunday he’d been in the mountains, writing and thinking about his brother. Thinking about Brooke. There had been a message alert on his phone, but he’d ignored it…
“I dropped my damn cell off a mountain. Can آپ get me a replacement?” Then, “Did Brooke say why she was calling?”
“Only that it was urgent. It’s the middle of the night there now,” she reminded him as he picked up the phone; hit the speed dial for her number.
“It doesn’t matter. She wouldn’t have called unless it was…” He stopped as the call went immediately to the answering machine.
“You’ve reached Brooke Davis. I’m sorry that I can’t take آپ call at the moment. Due to a family bereavement, any سوالات regarding shipments should be directed to Rachael Gatina at 555 3226.”
He felt the blood drain from his face, put out a hand to grasp the desk. Grace…
It had to be Grace. Small babies were so vulnerable. Meningitis, cot death…. After so many years of waiting, so much heartache.
“Cancel everything, Lisa. Get me on the اگلے flight to New Brunswick Airport,” he کہا dialing his brothers number.
Someone whose voice sounded familiar, but wasn’t Nathan, wasn’t Haley, wasn’t Brooke, answered the phone.
“It’s Lucas Scott,” he said.
He could hear the phone being passed around and then she was there, her familiar voice saying his name. “Lucas…”
It was all it took to stir up feelings that he’d done his best to suppress.
“Lucas, I’ve been trying to get hold of you…”
“I know. I called your number. Heard your message,” he said. “What happened? Who died? He heard her take a long shuddering breath.
“There was an accident. Nathan, Haley… They were both killed.”
For a moment he was too stunned to speak. His brother was dead. “When? How?”
“Last Sunday morning. I’ve been calling, leaving messages. When آپ didn’t get back to me I thought… I thought…”
“No!” The word was wrenched from him. He knew what she’d thought and why, but it didn’t hurt any less to know that she could believe him so heartless.
But then she already believed that.
She’d been so happy that she was having a baby for her best friends, couldn’t understand why he’d been so desperate to stop her.
“What happened?” he asked.
“The police کہا that the car skidded on a slick of mud. It went through a fence and then rolled. It happened early in the morning and no one found them…”
“The baby, Brooke,” he pressed urgently. “Grace…”
“What! No! She wasn’t with them. She was with me. Nathan and Haley were away for the weekend. It was their wedding anniversary but they left the hotel early. They couldn’t wait to get back…”
Long before she’d stumbled to a halt, he’d clamped his hand over his mouth to hold in the cry of pain. “Luke?”
“It’s okay. I’m okay,” he managed. “How are آپ coping?”
“One breath at a time,” she said. “One minute. One hour…”
He wanted to tell her how sorry he was, but in a situation like this words were meaningless. And in any case she would know exactly how he was feeling. They were faced with the same loss.
یا very nearly the same.
Brooke wouldn’t have to live with his guilt…
He should have been there to make the necessary arrangements, but it had been over a week already.
“Who’s with you? What arrangements have been made? When is the…” He couldn’t bring himself to say the word.
“We buried them on Friday, Lucas. Deb insisted on going ahead and when آپ didn’t call back, no one could reach you…” He heard her swallow, fight down tears, then she furiously کہا “Where were you?”
“Brooke…He looked up at his PA returned. “There’s a car waiting to take آپ to the airport. آپ have to leave now,” she کہا handing him a replacement BlackBerry.
“Brooke, I’m leaving now for the airport.” Then “Keep breathing until I get there.”
Brooke let Rachael take the phone from her as she leaned weakly against the wall.
“Maybe آپ could get some sleep,” She کہا gently, handing her the pills the doctor left when he’d called after hearing the news. “You left plenty of دودھ in the fridge for Grace. I’ll manage the rest.”
She didn’t want to go to sleep, because when she woke she knew there would be a moment when she would thin k it was just another day. Then she’d remember and have to live through the loss all over again. But she didn’t say any of that. Instead she pocketed the pills, hugged Rachael and said, “Thank you.”
“We’re here, Mr Scott.” Lucas glanced up at the façade of the tall Georgian house that Nathan had bought when he and Haley had graduated collage. It was a proper family ہوم with a finished basement and a big backyard. Endless rooms they’d planned to fill with children.
“Is there anything I can do, Mr Scott?” Lucas realized that the chauffeur – a regular who his PA had arranged to pick him up at the airport – was regarding him with concern. He managed a smile. “You can tell me what دن it is, John. And whether it’s seven in the morning یا seven in the evening.”
“It was Tuesday when I got up this morning. And it’s the evening. But I’m sure آپ knew that.”
“Just testing,” he said, managing a smile. He’d counted everyone of the last twenty-four hours as he’d traveled halfway round the world, coming to terms with the loss of his brother. And Haley who was the closest thing to a sister he’d ever had. سے طرف کی turns motherly bossy, supportive. Everything that he’d needed.
Knowing that he would have to live with a world of regrets for the harsh words he’d said. Words that could never be taken back. For holding on to his righteous anger, a cover for something darker he could never admit to…,Brooke needed him. The baby would need them both.
He climbed from the car. Brooke’s baby blue beetle was parked in the drive as he had anticipated but where he had expected to see his brother’s car was a small red hatchback کے, hatchback, دروازوں والی بيک that underlined, in the most shocking way, the reality of the situation.
Realizing that John was waiting until he was inside, he pulled himself together, walked up the steps to the front door as he had done times without number to a house that had always felt as if it were opening its arms to him. Today, though, even in the spring sunshine, with tubs of bright yellow tulips on either side of the front door, it seemed subdued, in mourning even.
The last time he had been here he’d tossed his set of keys on his brother’s ڈیسک – his declaration that he would never return. For the first time since Haley and Nathan had moved in, he would have to knock at the door, but as he lifted his had to the antique knocker, the door flung open.
For a moment he thought it was Brooke, watching out for him, racing to fling her arms around him, but it wasn’t her. Why would it be? She had Owen ‘The bar tender’, to offer her comfort. At least she had the last time he’d come ہوم on a visit.
The women who opened the door was familiar – a little older then the last time he’d seen her, but still very much the same girl he had married and then later devoiced. Their marriage had ended on a happy note – as far as a devoice goes, they both new that there hearts weren’t in it and had decided to remain friends. Lucas had even been best man when she had married Jake, but they hadn’t spoken since she had called and yelled at him for breaking Brooke’s دل a third time.
She put her finger to her lips. “Brooke is in the باورچی خانے, باورچی خانہ but she’s finally asleep. Try not to wake her. She hasn’t been sleeping and she’d exhausted.
“You must be, too” she said, putting her hand on his arm. “It’s a terrible homecoming for you.” She didn’t wait for him to reply, just said, “I’ll go now you’re here, but tell Brooke to call me if she needs anything. Oh and don’t be surprised if Rachael comes سے طرف کی a little later.”
“Thanks Peyt. Thank آپ for being here.” He watched her until she was in her car, then picked up the bags that John had left on the سب, سب سے اوپر step, placed them inside and shut the door as quietly as he could. Each movement slow, deliberate, as if it could somehow steady the sudden wild beating of his دل that was loud enough to wake Brooke all سے طرف کی itself.
He told himself that he should wait. Go down to the basement apartment, take a shower. But to do that, he’d need the key and the cupboard was in the kitchen.
For the first time for as long as he could remember, he was frozen in indecision, unable to move. Staring down at the hall میز, جدول where a pile of mail – cards, some addressed to Brooke, some to him – waited to be opened. Read.
He frowned, Cards? He opened one, saw the lilies. In Sympathy…
He dropped it as if it were burning him, steeped back, rubbed the back of his neck and up through his hair as he looked down the hall. Then because there was nothing else to do, he turned and walked slowly to the kitchen.
He pushed the door very gently. It still squeaked. How many times had Nathan promised Haley that he would fix it?
He’d offered to do it himself, but Haley had just smiled. She liked the warning squeak, she’d told him. Liked to have something to complain about once in a while.
He paused holding his breath, but there was no sound and he stepped into the big southern style room that had always been the hub of the house. Warm roomy, with a big میز, جدول for everyone to gather around. He stopped still when he saw her sitting in a big کرسی, آرام کرسی in the breakfast nock. The baby she had borne with the purest of دل as surrogate for he best friend was lying boneless in sleep against her shoulder.
Nathan, hoping that if Lucas saw the baby he would finally understand, forgive him even, had e-mailed him endless تصاویر of Grace since the دن she had been born, refusing to be deterred سے طرف کی Lucas’ lack of response.
There had been no photographs of Brooke until the دن of the christening and then only in a group consisting of Brooke, as godmother, holding Grace, flanked سے طرف کی Haley and Nathan. A happy picture in which everyone had been smiling and sent, he suspected, with just a touch of defiance. A ‘see what you’re missing’ message.
He hadn’t cared about that and he’d cropped the picture so it was just Brooke holing Grace. He’d had it enlarged and printed so he could carry it with him. Her face had been outwardly serene, but a photograph was just a two dimensional image. It was without warmth, sent. آپ could touch it, but it gave nothing back. But then it had been a very long time since Brooke had دیا anything back to him. Keeping her distance, her eyes always guarded on his visits home.
At least he’d had time to get over his shock that, some time in the last year, she’d cut her beautiful long hair into a short bob.
But this scene was not a photo. This was an intimate view of motherhood as only a husband, a father would see it and he stood perfectly still, scarcely daring to breathe, wanting to hold the moment, freeze this timeless image in his memory. Then almost in slow motion, he saw the empty bottle that had dropped into her lap begin a slow slide to the floor.
He moved swiftly to catch it before it hit the floorboards and woke her, but when he looked up he realized that his attempt to keep her from being disturbed had failed.
یا maybe not. Her eyes were open and she was looking at him, but she wasn’t truly awake. She wasn’t seeing him. He froze, holing his breath, willing her to close them again and drift back off to sleep.
She stirred. “Nathan?” she said. Not quite seeing him, not yet remembering. Still he hoped…
She blinked, focused, frowned.
He saw the exact moment it all came flooding back, and instinctively reached out to her as he had a سال ago. As if he could somehow stop time, go back, save her from a world of pain. “Brooke…”
In that unguarded moment, in those two little words, it was all there. All the loss, all the heartache and, sinking to his knees, this time he did not step back, but followed through, gathering her into his arms, holding her close.
For ten years he’d lived with the memory of her in his arms, the heavy silk of her hair trailing across his skin, her sweet mouth a torment of innocence and knowing eagerness as she’d taking him to a place that until her he hadn’t know he’d wanted to go.
He’d lived with memory of her tearing herself away from him as he did the unforgivable for a سیکنڈ time and then nine years later a third. Brooke had needed security, a settled home, a man who would put her first while, his dreams where just starting to come true. His کتابیں where world wide hits and he had his sights set on far horizons, on traveling.
But nothing he’d done, nothing he’d achieved, not even a hastily conceived and swiftly regretted marriage, had ever dulled the memory of there time together and still, in his dreams, his younger self would fight for her, chose her.
It had been unbearably worse during the last twelve months. Sleep had been elusive and when he did manage an گھنٹہ he woke with an almost desperate yearning for something precious, something that was lost forever.
This. This women clinging to him, this child…
He brushed his lips against her temple and then, his head full of warm, milky scent of baby, he kissed Grace and for one perfect moment all the pain, all the agony of the last twenty-four hours fell away.
Brooke floated towards consciousness in slow, confessed stages. She had no idea where she was, یا why there was a weight against her shoulder, pinning her down. Why Lucas was there watching her.
Then, as she slowly, unwillingly surfaced, he کہا her name. Just that.
Exactly as he had once, years ago, before gathering her up in his arms. And she knew that he really was there, it really was Lucas. Lucas who had his arms around her, was holding her as if he’d never let her go. A return of every dream she’d had since he’d walked out of her life, gone away, leaving a gaping hole in her world. And she clung to him, needing the comfort of his physical closeness. Just needing him.
She felt the touch of his lips against her hair as he kissed her. The warmth of his mouth, his breath against her temple. And then she was looking up at him and he was kissing her as he had done night after night in her dreams.
There was the same shocked surprise that had them drawing back to stare at one another, as if suddenly everything made sense, before they had come together with a sudden desperate urgency, his mouth branding her as his own, the heat of their passion fusing them forever as one. A heat that had been followed سے طرف کی years of ice…
Now, as then, it was the only thing in the world that she wanted. It had been so long since he had held her. Not since his سیکنڈ سال of college when had come to visit her in New York, and they had left things uncomfortable. Nothing to give her hope that it wasn’t just a drunken kiss. Just a simple goodbye.
They had seen each other since then of course, he came ہوم for holidays and special events, full of what he’d seen and done, his plans. Always cutting his visit short, impatient to be somewhere else, with someone else.
But she’d never let her guard down again, had never let him see how much he’d hurt her, never let him get that close again. She’d avoided the hugs and kisses so freely bestowed on the prodigal on his increasingly rare visits home, keeping away until the excitement was over. Making sure she had a تاریخ for the celebratory رات کے کھانے, شام کا کھانا that Haley always made a feature of his homecoming – because there had always been some new achievement to celebrate. His book on the ‘New York Times’ list, his first international bestseller. His marriage…
Yet now, weakly, she clung to him, drinking in the tender touch of his lips, the never-to-be-forgotten scent of his skin.
Needed him as he’d never needed her.
Knowing that even now, in his grief, he would be self-contained, in control, his head somewhere else. He’d comfort her. He’d deal with the legal stuff and then, once everything had been settled, made tidy, the tears dried away, he’d fly off to Sydney یا Hong Kong, China یا South America. Wherever the life he’d made he’d made for himself out there in the big wide world took him. He’d go without a glance back.
At sixteen she had been so sure she could change him, that once she’d proved herself, shown what she would do for him, how she had changed for him. If she loved him enough he would never leave her.
At twenty – eight she knew better and gathering herself, she pulled back, straightened her legs that had gone to sleep so that Lucas was forced to move, sit back on his heels. But try as she might, she couldn’t look away.
He seemed to have grown, she thought. Not physically. He’d always been a larger then life figure. Cleaver, with a touch of recklessness that lent an edge to everything he did, he’d not only dominated the school sports field but stood head and shoulders above the crowd academically, too.
He’d has those broad shoulders even then, but he’d grown harder over the years and these days he carried himself with the confidence of a man who had taken on the world and won. His face was the same apart from a close clipped beard that darkened his cheeks, it added an edge of strangeness to a face that had once been as familiar as her own.
This Lucas Scott was a stranger.
He was ہوم now, but once everything was settled, tidied away, he’d go away again because درخت ہل, لندن was – always had been – too small for Lucas Scott.
AN: I wasn’t going to finish this here but it was getting kinda long, but don’t fret the اگلے chapter should be up later tonight یا tomorrow.