Home is Where You Will Always Belong

Chapter 20

About ten minutes after Peyton had said yes for the second time to the love of her life, the doorbell rang. She looked up at Juice and he smiled at her. "Our first guest," he exclaimed happily, "You should go answer it." Peyton raised her eyebrow at him and then took off down the hall and down the stairs.

She opened the front door and she was surprised for the third time that day. "Surprise!" everyone yelled when she opened the door. "What the hell?" Peyton said, looking in astonishment at all of her friends and family that were standing in her front yard. "Congratulations beautiful," Lyla said, standing at the front of the group, "I'm so happy for you and Juice. You guys deserve this so much." Peyton pulled her friend into her arms and hugged her tightly. "Lyla, thank you so much for helping out with decorating the house," Peyton said happily, "It's absolutely beautiful. It's the perfect place to start a home and raise a family." Lyla beamed at her and then let herself into the house.

She looked out and saw everyone important to her. Her mom and dad, Jax and Tara and Abel and Thomas, Chibs, Happy, Gemma, Nero, Rat, Quinn. She looked around and Chucky popped out of nowhere with Evander and Darcy hanging all over him. She laughed. "Come on in everybody," Peyton said, "Come see our new home."

Peyton stood outside as everyone filed inside and she stopped Nero before he went into the house. "Nero," Peyton said, "Thank you, for everything. For helping the club out when Justin kidnapped me. For the wonderful gift of helping us decorate our home. And really for just being a great addition to our family. I love you and I'm so thankful for you." "Peyton, even when you weren't here, you were one of the most talked about and cared about people," Nero said, looking down at her, "I felt like I knew you before I ever met you. I saw how important you were to the club and to Gemma and especially to Juice and I wanted to do my part to help get you back and I wanted to help you in whatever way I could. Gemma adores you and I can see why." He pulled Peyton into his arms and hugged her tight. She held onto him and buried her face in his sweater, praying that the tears wouldn't escape from her eyes.

Nero pulled away from her and looked down into her eyes. "Look, I know things have been rough for you over the last few years," Nero said quietly, resting his hands on her shoulder and smiling at her, "But look where you are now and look at everything you have. You have a few war wounds but I'd say you came out on top." Peyton laughed. "Thanks Nero," Peyton replied, "At this moment I really couldn't be any happier. I have everything I want and everything I need." He put his arm around her and led her into the house. "Let's join the party," Nero said happily.

Peyton walked into the kitchen where everyone was and noticed Juice and Jax outside with the boys. She stood at the window and watched as Darcy and Evander ran around on the grass and then tackled Juice to the ground. The boys looked so happy and so did Juice and this in turn, made Peyton happier than she ever thought she could be.

"It's a beautiful sight," Tara said quietly, standing behind Peyton. Peyton turned and looked at her best friend with a big smile on her face. "I'm so glad it's working out Tara," Peyton said, "Those boys adore him and he is madly in love with them." "Did you tell him?" Tara asked quietly so no one would overhear them. Peyton nodded her head. "It didn't go how I wanted it to," Peyton replied, laughing a little, "He found the test in the garbage in the bathroom. He was in shock when he saw it, but he was crazy happy once we talked about it." "That's so great!" Tara exclaimed excitedly, "I'm so glad."

Peyton saw Lyla across the room talking with Nero and Happy and Peyton began to make her way over to her. "Come with me," Peyton called to Tara. Tara quickly followed behind Peyton as she walked up to the three of them. "You guys don't mind if I steal Lyla away from you for a moment do you?" Peyton asked. They shook their heads in response and Peyton grabbed Lyla's hand and pulled her down the hallway and up the stairs. "What's going on?" Lyla asked with a smile on her face. She looked at Peyton and then at Tara, waiting as patiently as she could for an answer. "Guess we are both going to have to wait and see," Tara replied, unsure of what was going on. Peyton walked into the unfurnished bedroom, let go of Lyla's hand and stood in the middle of the room. Both Tara and Lyla looked at her expectantly.

"Ly, I want you to help me with something," Peyton said, making eye contact with Tara. Tara smiled at her, realizing what she was doing. "Of course, anything," Lyla replied, "What is it?" "I want the three of us to go shopping in the next little while," Peyton said, sounding excited. "For wedding dresses?" Lyla asked. "No... well yes... but that's not what I'm talking about right now," Peyton replied. "Well what the hell girl," Lyla exclaimed, "Clearly you both know what's going on here, so please... let me in on the secret." "I want you...both of you... to help me turn this room into a beautiful nursery," Peyton said, waiting and watching for Lyla's reaction. "A nursery..." Lyla said and stopped, "Are you... holy shit! Oh my God! You're pregnant?!" Peyton nodded in response. Lyla jumped up and down in excitement and then ran over to her friend and hugged her tightly. "Oh my God Peyton," Lyla squealed, "I'm so excited for you!" "Thanks," Peyton replied, hugging her back, "So does that mean you will help me?" "Of course it does!" Lyla exclaimed, "I'm so happy. You deserve this so much! Look at you, finding out your pregnant and getting engaged all in one day!" The three of them hugged each other and giggled like school girls.


They had talked for awhile longer and then decided to go downstairs and join in the fun. It sounded like it had already gotten pretty rowdy down there.

Just as Peyton, Lyla and Tara walked back into the kitchen, Juice walked in from outside with Darcy attached to his leg and Evander hanging from his neck. "Peyton help," Juice said out of breath but still laughing and smiling, "They're attacking me!" "Sorry," Peyton replied, kissing Juice quickly on the lips, "This is a problem only you can get yourself out of." "Thanks babe," Juice replied before he made his way, although difficultly, to the living room where he dropped Evander on the couch and sank down to the ground beside Darcy and they all burst into a fit of giggles. Her heart clenched inside her chest as she watched. That was a sound that she never heard when she was with Justin.

Everyone came out of the kitchen and stood around Peyton and Juice and the boys eventually joined the circle. "So when's the big day?" Jax asked. "Well," Peyton began, "In the next year or so. We haven't picked a day yet and we would like to wait until our new bundle of joy makes its appearance before we get married." The whole room went silent and everyone stared at her and then at Juice. "Hell Yes!" Jax cried out lifting his beer in the air. Everyone cheered and lifted their drinks up in celebration of the exciting news.

Evander looked up at Juice with a big smile on his face. "Me and Darcy going to be big brothers?" he asked. "You bet buddy," Juice said, picking his son up in his arms, "Are you ok with that?" "Yay!" Evander cheered, throwing his arms up in the air. Darcy jumped up and down and cheered in excitement too. "God those kids are adorable," Gemma said, not talking to anyone in particular, "You did good momma." Peyton smiled over at Gemma.

Everyone lined up to congratulate her and Juice on their exciting news. Once everyone had talked to her, Peyton's heart sank. She realized that two of the most important people in her life were not going to be there for these events. She quietly excused herself and walked down the hallway of her beautiful new home and walked into the bedroom. She sat down on the bed and put her head in her hands. Peyton missed Bobby and Opie so much and she wished so badly that she could bring them back. She wanted them here with her and her family and the club. The tears escaped and fell over her hands as the pain of losing her uncle and her best friend pierced her heart. She wished that she had listened or at least considered what Opie had asked of her the last time they spoke.

FLASHBACK

Peyton opened her apartment door to find a big burley bundle of emotions standing in front of her. Opie's eyes were red and glassed over and he looked like he was a mixture of sad and angry and maybe a little bit desperate.

"Opie, are you drunk?" Peyton asked him, looking up at him. "No," he grumbled at her as he pushed his way into the house, "I'm angry and sad and I wish that I could talk you out of this." Peyton now understood why he was there. It was two days before her wedding and her and Ope had argued about the wedding and her decision for months now.

Peyton followed him into the living room and sat down on the couch beside him. He looked at her with tears in his eyes. "Baby girl, I have a bad feeling about this," Opie said quietly, "I know you want to be happy and I so want that for you, but you aren't going to find happiness with a douche bag like Justin." "Ope, he hasn't done anything wrong," Peyton replied, "I don't see what you see. I see a great guy who wants to give me a good life. Ope, I need to move on. I have constant reminders that haunt me and follow me around of what I had in my old life. I can never get that back and I want to start over." "Something just doesn't feel right about him," Opie stated, "I think he's bad news."

Peyton reached over and grabbed her best friend's hand. She could tell that he was busted up about this, but there was nothing he could say to talk her out of her decision.

"Peyton, please rethink this," Opie pleaded with her, "I lost Donna and I can never get her back and I don't want to lose you too." "Opie, you aren't going to lose me," Peyton replied, "I'm just getting married and moving away. We are still going to see each other on holidays and stuff. I could never leave Charming for good. I will always come back." She pulled him into her small arms to reassure him that everything would be ok. "I love you Peyton," Opie said quietly, looking up at her, "I just don't want anything to happen to you. I want to keep you safe and protected." "I know Ope," Peyton said, "But I'm not a little girl anymore. You can't protect me forever. Besides, there might be a new love in your life." "Lyla?" Opie questioned, shrugging his shoulders, "We're just friends Peyton." Peyton smiled at him as if to say "yeah right" and he pulled her into his arms.

"Everything will be alright Opie," Peyton whispered, "I promise." "If you say so," Opie replied.

Peyton laid down on the bed and curled up into a ball and let the tears run freely down her face. She couldn't believe how right Opie had been and how incredibly wrong she had been.

"Knock knock," Lyla said quietly as she let herself into the bedroom. Peyton pushed herself up so she was sitting and wiped the tears from her face. "Hey Ly," Peyton whispered. "What's wrong?" Lyla asked, looking concerned. "I was out there and everyone was congratulating us and it hit me that Bobby and Opie were really gone," Peyton replied, "They aren't here to be a part of it." "They aren't here with us physically," Lyla replied, "but I believe that they are watching from above Peyton." Peyton nodded and smiled slightly at the thought and Lyla gently rubbed her back. "But that's not really what's going on here is it?" Lyla asked, "What's really eating at you?" Peyton looked at Lyla, amazed that she could read her like a book. "I was just remembering my last conversation with Opie," Peyton replied, "He tried so hard to convince me that marrying Justin was a really bad idea. He asked me to rethink it and I wouldn't listen. I wanted a new life so badly that I wouldn't even consider my best friend's plea to rethink my decision. He showed up at my apartment and cried his eyes out begging me to not go through with the wedding and I ignored him."

Lyla sat there in silence for a couple minutes, looking down at her hands. "Peyton, just know that he wasn't mad at you," Lyla said quietly, "He came and saw me that night after he left your apartment and we had a long chat about how he was feeling. In the end, he understood why you had to do it. He was pissed that it was such a private wedding and that only your family was invited, but no matter what he never stopped caring. Up until his dying day, he loved you and hoped for nothing but the best for you." Peyton smiled at her and then leaned her head on Lyla's should. "Thank you Ly," Peyton said quietly, "For being here. For being a good friend." "You're welcome," Lyla replied. They sat there together in silence, feeling at peace and thinking about Opie.


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