“Are you okay?” Brooke looked up towards the sound. She’d been sitting on their bed, thinking, when Lucas had walked in. It had been an hora since their disaster of a lunch, and although she’d tried to play it off as if it hadn’t been completely terrible, Brooke had not enjoyed it - at all.

Her brief encounter with Nathan had been the only highlight of the afternoon; and not even an amazing one at that.

“I’m fine.” She pulled off her shoes, climbing back onto the bed. All she wanted to do was sleep. She didn’t care that she was in her expensive dress, or that she was wearing makeup. All Brooke wanted to do, was pull back the covers, crawl deep into her warm bed, and sleep for days.

“Are you sure?” He couldn’t have looked mais worried. As Brooke studied him quietly, she realized that dark circles had formed underneath his eyes, and he looked just - generally tired. She almost wanted to tell him to crawl into cama with her, but decided against it.

“Yes, Lucas. I’m sure.” She spoke with attitude in her voice, her thoughts finally deciding they wanted him to leave her alone.

“Okay.” He shrugged. This wasn’t the first time he was worried about her; she could tell. He probably didn’t even sleep at night anymore. Neither did she.

“I just thought maybe, maybe you’d want to talk.” He ventured deeper into the room.

“No. No, I really just want to take a nap.”

“Okay, maybe I’ll-”

She cut him off. “Alone.”

“Brooke, why are you atuação like this?”

“Like what? Lucas, this is what I’m like now! This is what has happened to us. To me.” She frowned, pulling back the covers, and climbing under them, blocking out the outside world in which he belonged to.

“Since when? Why aren’t you happy? I just want you to be happy.” His voice filled with tears, but she didn’t seem to notice, as she stayed underneath the covers, ignoring him.

He stood there for minutes, waiting and hoping for a reply. When she did not give one, he shrugged, leaving the room.

She jumped, upon hearing the door slam, and quickly crawled out of bed, scurrying towards the window, and peaking outside. Her husband’s hands rested on his head, in a confused matter. He growled, kicking at his car, until he finally climbed in, driving off.

She stared after it, and then sighed.

“I’m scared, Lucas.”

-

Peyton applied blush to her already rose cheeks, smiling softly at her reflection the mirror. She tugged at her strands of curly hair, knowing there was nothing she could do to contain the mess.

There was a knock at the door, and she groaned, pulling herself off her bathroom counter, and quickly walking towards the front door.

She pulled it open, and looked at the person on the other end, suddenly happy she’d put on makeup.

“Hi.” David smiled awkwardly, and she gave a slight wave.

“Hi. What are you doing here?”

“I just - well, I ordered food, so I could watch the game in utter happiness. And I accidentally ordered too much. And since you’re my only young neighbor, I was thinking maybe you’d want to come help me get it all eaten up.”

She grinned. “Are you sure you didn’t purposely order too much food?”

Sheepishly, he looked down. “Sorry, but I can’t answer that question.”

A chuckle escaped her lips, and she pushed him out the door. “Well, I guess you’re lucky I’m hungry.”

-

“Haley, come on. Don’t start this.” Nathan rolled his eyes, kicking his feet up onto the coffee mesa, tabela por the TV.

“Don’t start what?” She demanded, hands on her tiny hips. Haley was small, but she could be a fierce woman when she wanted to be.

“Another fight. Like you always do.”

“Nathan, the only reason I always start fights, is because you never want to talk! All you ever do is sit around and watch TV, and eat! You don’t ever want to discuss or do anything with me!”

“That’s because,” He stood, “You’re not entertaining. All you ever want to do is fight! Sorry I don’t feel the same way!”

“Well, then what do you feel? Nathan, don’t you realize that you never do anything? I mean, that could mean a series of things! One being depression. It’s just - I mean, you don’t even ever work! I thought you were working on your big break, or whatever! You’ve done nothing!” She shrieked, advancing towards him. All she wanted to do was open his eyes; allow him to see life through hers. It was hard having to support yourself and your husband, who was willing to do absolutely nothing.

“God, Haley! Why does everything have to have a reason with you? Let me tell you something. Not everything happens for a reason. And everyone that thinks otherwise is completely fucked up.”

“You know what? You are not the man I married at all. You’re-”

“You’re not the woman I married either, Hales! Haven’t been for years! So maybe I’m a little mais cynical then before. Honestly, have you ever given me reason not to be?”

She pulled her hand back, slapping him hard across the face. “Get out.”

“What?” He laughed, although there was nothing funny happening.

“I said, get out! You smug son of a bitch. You’ve never let that go - throughout all these years! I’ve sat here, and listened to you hang that over my head for as long as I can remember! Well, guess what? I don’t feel guilty anymore. You can’t make me feel guilty about that anymore! And you know what? I hate you! I hate you, and the way you make me feel,” She pounded her fists against his chest, “So, get out! Get out of my house!”

He was shocked. Completely, utterly shocked. “Hales, you can’t do that.”

“I just did. Come por between the hours of two and four tomorrow to get your stuff.”

“Fine. Fine!” He laughed, bitterly, “And f-y-i, had it been me, I wouldn’t have ever let myself not feel guilt about what happened.”

-

Lucas pushed open the door, looking around at his surroundings. The bar was anything but classy. It was littered with drunks, and girls with their thongs hanging out of their pants and short skirts.

He frowned, taking a assento at the bar, running a hand through his short locks.

“What’ll you have?” The bartender, an odd looking man, asked him.

“Uh, tequila. Straight.”

“Okay. It’s uh, on her.” He gestured towards the girl sitting a few empty seats away from Lucas. She was pretty, he noticed. Her hair was a reddish, strawberry-blonde color. She wore a tank-top that left little to the imagination, and a short skirt, along with long, flat-heeled, suede boots.

He nodded thankfully towards her, before taking a sip, making a face at the strong, amargo, amarga taste. In seconds, he’d realized that the girl had slid over, and was now sitting beside him.

“Hi.” She purred. He noticed her eyes were green. Not like Brooke’s eyes, which were an oliva, verde-oliva green, mixed with gold. Hers were pure, deep green.

“Hi. Thanks for the drink.”

She smiled. “I’m Hilary.”

“Lucas.” He bit his lip, hoping she wasn’t looking to hook up with him. If that was the case, this would be an embarrassing evening for both of them.

“So, what are you-”

“I’m married.” He stated quietly, lifting up his hand to show her the ring on his finger.

“Me too,” She chuckled, showing him her own, “Of course, my husband and I don’t really have a relationship, so even if I wanted to sleep with you, it wouldn’t matter.”

“Brooke and me, we aren’t like that.” He shook his head, almost sure of it.

“Brooke,” She stated softly, “That’s a nice name.”

“Yeah. Brooke Scott.” He almost smiled.

“So I take it you’re Lucas Scott?”

“Guilty as charged.”

“Well, well, Lucas. I’d say you were very broody. Don’t you ever smile?” Hilary giggled.

He couldn’t help it. The corners of his mouth lifted up, ever so slightly. “It’s been a rough night.”

“It’s always a rough night.” She spoke quietly, so that he almost could not hear her.

They were silent. Awkwardness had settled in, and both stared down at their drinks, having no idea what to say.

She looked up at him. “So, handsome, care to share what’s going so wrong in your life?”

“Not really. But since you bought me a drink, I guess I owe it to you.” He grinned.

“Well, my wife and I, we’ve been going through some problems lately. We never speak anymore, and she’s always really - really sad. I think she might be depressed. Anyway, we went to see my parents tonight, and well, it didn’t go to well. My brother was there, and he and my dad aren’t too fond of each other, so all hell broke loose.”

“Back up. Why’s your wife always so sad? Like, do you have any idea?”

“Yeah.” Lucas nodded, looking down, tearfully.

“Care to tell?”

“She was pregnant,” He’d tried so hard to forget. To pretend it didn’t happen. But it was too hard. Especially for Brooke, “Seven months. And we’d been trying for so long, too, so we were really happy. Things had really been going great for a while, you know? We’d hit a few rough patches, but we were - really, really happy. Nothing was supposed to ruin what we felt.”

Hilary nodded. She had a feeling in her stomach she knew where this story was heading.

“Anyway, one day, she was at the house; I was at work. She was supposed to be in cama all day. I told her that she was too big to be walking around the house, but she was bored. So she didn’t listen. She was walking out of the bedroom, and she saw a man. He was, he was a robber.”

She bit her lip.

“And he’s found this box of hers. This box that she’d kept with all this stuff. It had all the amor letters I’d ever written her, and some jewelry, and some money, and stuff from high school - but mostly, I think she just cared about the stuff that was of me and her.”

“Oh God,” Hilary squeezed her eyes shut.

“So, not even thinking, she yells, ‘Please don’t take those!’. And he turns around, and looks at her with utter hatred in his eyes. And of course, she can’t believe she’s made herself known. He was leaving. He was going to leave, and then she spoke up.” Tears now visibly threatened to spill from the handsome man’s eyes.

“And he just - he just charged at her. You know, I don’t know if she expected him to have compassion, because she was pregnant, or if she knew. But in seconds, he had her up against the wall. He raped her. Brutally raped her. And when he was finished, he threw her down the stairs, as if she were nothing. She lost the baby.”

Hilary covered her mouth, a gasp escaping her lips. Tears filled her eyes at the heartbreaking story.

“And I know she thinks it’s her fault. And she thinks everyone else does too. But it was an honest mistake; her calling after him. If he’d found her, it wouldn’t have been any different.”

“Did they catch the guy?”

Lucas laughed bitterly. “Yeah. But the son of a cadela, puta had the nerve to say that she’d told him not to go, so that they could have sex. Of course, it wasn’t true. But you should have seen this guy. Cruel as could be.”

“I’m sorry.” Hilary reached out, grabbing his hand.

“I haven’t - I haven’t actually ever told anyone that. I mean, that’s the first time I’ve ever told someone what happened to her.”

“It’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay. I mean, it has to be.”

“No. It won’t be. She’s so unhappy. She acts like she’s okay now, but I know it’s an act. And I don’t think she knows that I can see right through her.”

“Then show her.”

“What?”

“Look, you can’t just expect her to go through this alone. Tell her that you’re there. That no matter what, you’re going to take care of her. amor her. Make sure she’ll be okay. Make amor to her, and show her how different you are from that asshole.”

“I don’t know if she wants me anymore.”

“Well, it’s time to find out. Go início to your wife, Lucas. Save your marriage while you still can.” The tears never left her eyes. The sadness didn’t either. It was apparent the woman had been through a lot herself. She obviously had expertise in the area.

“Thank you,” He nodded, beijar her cheek softly, before walking away, “Oh, and Hilary?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m sure whatever’s happened to you, with your husband and everything, It’ll work out. I can tell that you’re a good person. You deserve to be happy.”

She smiled, not so sure he was right. “Yeah. You too.”