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.
"Hey Peyton," Lucas said trying to assure himself his voice was calm. He was a guy after all. He was supposed to be cool about these things. Not let a woman know she had him in knots and that even the smallest things he did during the day made him think of her. Or if he would see something funny on TV and want to email her straight away to share it with her.
Not to mention he didn't even know her a month ago, or the fact that she was his long-lost twin brother's widow. It was the stuff Lifetime movies were made of and he was more of a History Channel guy. And that is what worried Lucas the most – the history. The lack of history he truly had with Peyton, the history she had with his brother Liam, and most of all, what kind of future they might have.
Yeah, he had known this woman for four weeks and he was thinking future.
"What are you doing" he asked. He gripped his cell phone tightly in his right hand. Lucas walked to the door of his townhouse and stepped outside. He wasn't sure why he walked outside. The spring air was cool and his house was nice and warm, not to mention he was in his bare feet, wearing a short-sleeved grey T-shirt and a thin pair of worn blue jeans. But he had to get outside while he talked to her. He felt he couldn't be confined in those four walls. So, he braved the chilly spring day and crinkled his toes against the cold asphalt.
"Well, I am talking to this really cool guy," Peyton said in a saucy tone. Yeah, she just said that, Peyton thought, and groaned inwardly. She wished she could take it back.
"Oh yeah," Lucas said smiling. "I hear you might have to call him doctor soon." Lucas was referencing his earning his doctorate degree.
"I would love to do that," Peyton played along. "And I just might be very proud of him when I do."
Lucas laughed. He genuinely laughed and he felt good. Really damn good for the first time in a long time. He could imagine Peyton holding the phone to her ear, her bright green eyes shining and her blonde curly hair framing her face and he almost stopped breathing. He wanted to see her, he needed to see her.
"So, tell me about this art gallery," Lucas said changing the subject. And she did. She told him every detail and he drank it in, wishing he could have been there to help her. Again, wishing he could see her.
Peyton told him everything. As she recounted her tale of re-opening the gallery and some of the miss-adventures tied to it, she realized something. It didn't really seem real until she told Lucas. And the truth was that exhilarated and scared the hell out of her both at the same time.
She was falling for this man, falling for him hard. And it wasn't the slow progression like it had been with Liam. That was young love, true love, but still an adolescent love that grew into something more.
This was wild and uncontrollable and almost like frenzy. She thought of him every day, and wanted to share all parts of her day with him. She wanted to show him the flowers blooming in her garden or the small tug boat that moored itself on the riverbank last week or tell him about the elderly woman who came in the shop that day. She wanted to tell him it all and she wanted him with her right now. She wanted to see Lucas Scott, she needed to see him.
She was so lost in thought Peyton missed what Lucas had just told her.
"So, yeah, I saw this alien and he took me on his space ship," Lucas started. He knew he had lost her.
"What," Peyton asked in a hazy voice. "You did what?"
"Am I boring you," he said in a teasing tone.
"Oh, god, Lucas, I am sorry," Peyton said. "I was thinking about something. What did you say?"
"I said," Lucas took a deep breath. "How would you feel about me coming to see you next week?"
"You are coming to Tree Hill?" Peyton got up from her seat on her couch and paced around the room. Lucas was coming to Tree Hill.
"Yeah," Lucas tried to sound nonchalant. He walked around in circles in his driveway, the phone pressed close to his ear. "I have a job interview in Harris," he continued.
"Wait," Peyton said. "That is just 30 minutes from Tree Hill." Peyton smiled widely. Was Lucas moving here? Could she have the chance to see him everyday?
"Yeah," Lucas said. Wow he was very talkative. He took a deep breath and told her why he was coming. "There is a job opening at Harris College. It is a small school, but a good school."
"Oh, you are going to teach?" Peyton could see Dr. Scott teaching in a small school in North Carolina.
"No, actually I am applying for the head basketball coach position." He couldn't believe it when the position opened up and his coach at his college told him about it. Lucas hae been helping coach the team since he completed his eligibility and his old coach kept telling him what a great young coach Lucas would make. Applying for this job would allow him to decide if it was something he really wanted to do.
"Dr. Scott coaching basketball?" Peyton was teasing him again. But she had to tease because her heart was about to beat out of her chest just thinking about seeing Lucas and also about the possibility of him moving so close.
"I am pretty damn smart," he was teasing her right back. "So, what do you say? I do this interview thing and then drive to Tree Hill and take you to dinner and you can show me your art gallery."
"That sounds wonderful, Lucas." Peyton breathed out.
"Then it's a date," Lucas said and then groaned out loud. Damn, he couldn't believe he just said that. "Peyton, I didn't mean it like that. I am sorry."
"Its okay, Lucas," Peyton told him. "Maybe it could be."
Did she just say that? Did she just call their meeting a date?
"Look, I have to go," Peyton said quickly. "Email me all your details and the time." She took a deep breath. "And I can't wait to see you. Bye Lucas." And Peyton ended the call.
Peyton had to get off the phone with him. She felt like she might pass out. Lucas Scott just asked her out on a date. And half of her was so excited she felt like skipping through the house, but the other side of her, the dark side, kept telling her she was betraying the memory of Liam. And right at this moment, she wasn't sure who was winning the argument.