It had been a month since he had gone to Tree Hill. It was three weeks until he graduated with his doctorate degree. It had been three days since he had talked to Karen and it had been an hour since Lucas got his last email from Peyton.
After his first email to her four weeks ago, he and Peyton had become regular email buddies. His first email was just to check in, see how she was. When she emailed him back telling him about her day and her thoughts, it grew from emails to catch up to daily updates. In the last week it was almost like hourly updates.
Lucas sat at his desk and found himself opening up his email. He should be completing his doctorate dissertation, but instead he was re-reading Peyton's latest email for what seemed like the 100th time and he just got less then 60 minutes ago.
So guess where I am? Yep, I am in the gallery. It is finally open. It took a lot of hard work, and I had to bribe Brooke to help me, not really LOL, but the "Yes We Are Open" sign is swinging on the door and there is artwork on the walls.
It is nice to see artwork from local artists hanging in here again. And, though it embarrasses me, yes there is some of my artwork her too. You don't know how much your support means to me to do this. I have missed being here and I really feel like I am getting back to myself again and you helped me get here.
I hope you get back to Tree Hill soon. I want you to see the place. I think you will like it.
Lucas closed the email and sat back in his chair, a huge grin on his face. He was so glad she got her art gallery up and running again. She had just opened it when Liam died. Peyton wasn't the only thing that shut down with the accident that killed Liam, her gallery had too.
He remembered when they started talking about the gallery. He knew she was finally healing when Peyton started complaining about being bored. He had asked her what she did before the accident. When she told him she ran her own gallery, he began suggesting she open it again.
It wasn't long until he had convinced her and she put the wheels in motion to do a re-opening. Of course, it helped that she owned the building and it had been sitting empty since it closed.
With a deep breath, Lucas opened up his word document and tried to get back to work. But deep inside him, he felt a tingle of anticipation for the evening coming up. See, after countless emails and a handful of texts, tonight, Lucas was calling Peyton. He wanted to hear her voice and have her re-count the tale of her first day of the gallery opening. Oh, hell, who was he kidding? He just wanted to hear her voice.
Peyton was busy working on cataloging some new artwork she just received when she heard the door to her gallery open. Looking up, she saw her best friend, Brooke Davis, walk through the door.
"Well, this is what I like to see," Brooke said breezing in dressed in a red and white dress and red high heels. Brooke was always the epitome of fashion, even on a Wednesday afternoon.
"And what is that," Peyton said holding a pencil between two fingers.
"My best friend hard at work," Brooke said as she stopped in front of Peyton's desk. "And that smile," she added. "It looks good on you."
"What smile," Peyton said. She feigned ignorance.
"That one right there," Brooke told her pointing a crimson painted fingernail in her direction. "It just makes me happy to see you happy."
"Thank you, Brooke," Peyton said with the upmost sincerity. Brooke had been her rock throughout the last year. She had held her hand and let her cry and she had been the one to tell her to snap out of it when Peyton told her she wished she was dead too.
"Anything for you, best friend," Brooke told her. Brooke walked around the desk and wrapped her arms around Peyton's shoulders. "I love you." She told her and kissed Peyton on the cheek.
"I love you too, Brooke," Peyton said. "But enough of this, I have work to do."
"Okay, but you are coming by tonight, right?" Brooke looked expectant.
Peyton bit her lip, trying to decide how to, well, blow Brooke off. Lucas had said in his latest email that he wanted to call her tonight.
No one in Tree Hill knew about her emails and texts to Lucas. No one, not even Karen. It was just something between herself and Lucas. And besides, Peyton was afraid people would think it was weird, or even creepy.
At first, when she was still lost in all her grief, she saw Lucas and saw Liam. After all he was his identical twin. And maybe it would have been hard for Peyton to know Lucas if he had stayed in Tree Hill. But he had gone back home, and she started emailing him back, and got to know the Lucas on the inside. Almost forgetting when she was emailing him back and forth, that he bore the face of her dead husband.
He was just Lucas Scott, this amazing man who supported her and joked with her and made her feel alive for the first time in a long time. And sometimes she was embarrassed to admit that there were times Lucas saw her very soul, making her feel she was betraying Liam to say so.
"Oh, I got so much work to do, Brooke," Peyton said waving her hand over the paper work in front of her. "How about a rain check?"
"Alright, but tomorrow it is just you and me," Brooke said and smiled. "See you later," she said and walked out the door.
Peyton looked at the small digital clock on her desk. It ready 2:30 p.m. and she wished it said 7 p.m. because Lucas said he would call at that time.
It was 6:59 p.m. and Lucas watched the clock. He had dialed all of Peyton's phone number but one and was waiting until the clock hit 7 p.m. to push the final number. It clicked over to seven and Lucas pushed the number seven. Coincidence?
On the second ring Peyton answered. She didn't just say hello, she said "Hello, Lucas," and Lucas felt his heart seize up again and his palms began to sweat. He was talking to Peyton. He was talking with Peyton.