Loved and Lost

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"Look at that, we're nearly there."I smiled and leaned on the framing as Ryder's father took off his tool belt. I looked up seeing the separation between the main floor and the second. The stairs hardly built but enough to get us up and down. The ply wood covered most of the main floor giving me more of an idea of what it will look like with walls. Tomorrow we do the outside walls for the second floor and finally, get to the easy parts. Just a lot of nail gun use and measuring. "This place is going to be great."

"Well dad as much as I love your place, we do one of our own."

"Of course," He walked over and pat Ryder on the back. "Mom's making your favorite so don't take too long." He walked away leaving Ryder and me in the space. He walked over to me wrapping me in his arms his warmth spreading around me as the weather was still cold even if the snow was finally starting to fade.

"Just a few more months and we'll have our place." He said. I pulled away and walked over to the large window. The window that faced the mountain and allowed the most beautiful view. The same view we get from our bedroom upstairs with large french doors that lead to a small balcony for ourselves. The house has the most open of spaces as we have friends over and want to actually host get-togethers. We have extra rooms for office space and maybe one day something else. A home for the two of us that will always have the potential for more. A home that can be filled with more love than the one I had lived in before I found this city.

"A few more months, then we can get married," I reminded him. He smiled down at me as he stepped in front of me. "What?"

"Should we really wait until the build is finished to chrisen the place?"

"I mean...why wait?" I watched as his look quickly changed before picking me up and pressed me against the wall his eyes continuing to look deeply in my eyes allowing me to catch something else. "What?"

"You Phoebe Clover...are everything to me. I can not wait to see you in a white dress and then put another ring on that finger."

"Until then," I leaned forward my lips touching his ear as I whispered. "Let's have some fun."

"Peyton, you've done a really good job at hiding everything until this point but you just have to keep going. I'm almost eighteen. After the legal stuff, you won't have to lie anymore," I looked up at Mary as she walked into the break room with Fallon on her hip. "I've got to go but I'll talk to you later." I listen to Peyton say her byes before I ended the call putting my phone in my back pocket. "Fallon!"

"Aunt Bri!"Mary sat her on the ground allowing her to run into my arms.

"Now what are you doing here today?" I asked as I stood picking her up putting her on my hip.

"My parents are sick so she's with us today. I'm going to set up in the corner, can you just help me check on her every now and then."

"Of course," I looked at Fallon. "You want some lunch?" she nodded making me smile I walked off with her to the kitchen asking the cook to whip something up for her. After telling me it'd be done soon I returned to the break room as Mary zipped up her shirt. I set her down in the gated area and watched as she started heading for the coloring books and her large crayon set.

I headed to face the rest of the day with Mary by my side agreeing to check on her every thirty minutes and she'd check every thirty minutes fifteen minutes after I check on Fallon. I got Fallon food and drink when she needed it and continued to work.

It wasn't a way I was expecting my day to go but I'm happy it is. Seeing Mary with Fallon. The love they share made my chest ache. But not in a bad way. I remember the love I shared with my own mother. I remember the love far better than I remember her own face. But I've craved the love for way longer than I can place.

I'm not in the same girl. I don't have the same audience. I'm just a girl who's getting married. I can have that place in my heart filled in a different way. I way I feel more ready for now than I think I ever could.

"Don't get that look," I looked up at Mary as I put my coat on. "Trust me I know the look how do you think Fallon got here."


"I know that's the look. I'm just saying you don't have to do what everyone else around here does no matter how much you love that boy. Wait on the little mess makers."She smiled putting on her own coat.

"Okay, maybe I was," I grabbed my bag and put it over my shoulder. "I was just thinking I miss it. My mom. I love Ryder's mom more than Ryder sometimes but-"

"It's different." I nodded at her as I pulled on my boot.

"But Mary," I sat down on the bench as I kept my eyes on hers. "I have...plenty of savings. I've seen a lot of the world and frankly...I don't want to be anything else other With Ryder. After not having a family for so long, I can't think about it. Besides we're getting married I was going to be thinking about it eventually." Mary sat down next to me and grabbed my hand. "I want my life to be here. I want my family to be here. At least right now."

"I get it. You're right, you're a lot different from me and I forget that a lot. I just want the best for my daughter's godmother. Whatever you do choose or whatever does happen. I'll be right here for you. Besides, I think Fallon having a cousin would be nice. You're my closest friend, please don't ever forget."I sat back as I looked at her. I can tell I'd know and love this girl for years. She deserves everything and more for everything she's done for me and her daughter. There's no way I could leave her behind especially not after giving me the best gift I could ever get.

"Godmother?"I asked. She nodded and I wrapped my arms around her so fast we both nearly toppled over. "Meet me at my house,"

I left quickly allowing myself to prepare for what I needed to do. Ryder was more than excited to have someone else in on the secret besides Peyton who's only been here a few times. While it's nice to have a small secret between us it's different when your girlfriend is actually a famous girl.

Ryder had the pictures ready as I brought her downstairs to our area. Telling her oddly wasn't as scary as telling Ryder. Ryder was always going to be difficult I guess because I was more intimate, in many ways, by the time I told him. Peyton coming to town helped but as close as we were with them there was no hiding Dominick. Ever.

Seeing her jaw to the floor is one for the papers but the shock soon faded after realizing my father abused me for years. That's something Ryder still can't get over and how could he. My own father hit me and kept a smile on his face for the cameras as I covered my bruises with makeup or clothes.

"That ruins so many of my favorite movies."She said before glancing at Fallon making sure she was still passed out.

"No...just the ones after my mother's death," I said with a smile. Ryder slapped my arm and I shrugged my shoulders at him. I deal my way and as of lately it's sarcasm. "Sorry," I watched as her focus returned to me. "I mean...I don't know. I just thought you should know this. You really are like sister to me and I'm honored to be Fallon's godmother. It means I have more family."

"It's a cool thing to be a part of," Ryder rested on the couch crossing his arms. "Meet great people."

"My best friend in LA is coming with her boyfriend next month." I watched as Mary laughed ready to hear everything now.

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