Author: Summer (pensivesilence )
Challenge: Lime. Flickering. Nail Polish. Umbrella. Delicate.
It started as a light sprinkle, a tattering on the rooftop and glass windows of her office, but by the time Lucas Scott pulled into his driveway that evening, the rain was coming down in sheets. He scowled as he drummed his fingers against the steering wheel, staring at the front door to the house he shared with his fiancée.
Their place was small and modest, all they could afford at the age of twenty-six. There were two bedrooms and the kitchen opened up to the living room, which also doubled as an office for the two. The front door was a crimson red, providing a stunning contrast to the eggshell exterior, and whenever someone asked about it, they’d just laugh and say it was an inside joke.
Now, that front door was a good fifty feet away. Normally, it wouldn’t seem like a huge distance, but as he glanced out the car window as rain pounded on the side of it, giving him the chills even as he just considered how cold it was… “Damnit,” he muttered, pulling the keys out of the ignition and turning off the headlights before climbing out of the car, slamming the door shut and making a mad sprint for the front door.
It was locked. Of course it was locked. He could see the top of Brooke’s head through the small window toward the top of the door so he waited for a second for her to unlock it. Nothing. He groaned, pulling out his keys and fiddling with the lock himself. She was probably laughing on the other side, enjoying this.
“I hate you,” he murmured as he finally got the door open, pulling her into a bear hug before she had a chance to escape, his sopping wet clothes soaking hers as well.
She shrieked, batting him away playfully. “I hate you more,” she returned as she extricated herself from his grasp, arching an eyebrow.
He laughed as he looked at her; she was really a sight to behold. Her hair was pulled back in a messy bun and the T-shirt she was wearing had big wet marks thanks to their hug, and she wasn’t wearing any makeup.
She looked beautiful.
“Were you napping?” he asked as he took in her disheveled hair and wrinkled pants, so unlike the Brooke Davis he’d fallen in love with years earlier.
She shook her head, darting into the living room and gesturing to the coffee table, where bottles of nail polish and cotton balls were scattered about, a big red streak shining on the maple wood where she’d dropped one of the polishes. “No, I’m getting ready.”
Lucas stared at her for a minute, smiling slightly. She always had a way of surprising him, of throwing him off. Whenever he thought he was beginning to get her, to understand what made Brooke Davis tick, she threw another surprise at him. “In case you didn’t notice, the weather isn’t so great for going out.”
“So?” she returned with a shrug, giving him a coy smile. “That’s never stopped us before.”
She stepped closer to him and placed a kiss on his cheek and he breathed in, the smell of her intoxicating and exhilarating at the same time. He’d never get used to her, he was sure of it. Her hair smelled like citrus and lime, and her skin like coconut.
“What do you have planned?” he asked after a minute, running his hands through his sopping wet hair.
“Why do I need to have a plan?” Brooke responded with a throaty laugh, brushing past him as she headed to their bedroom, leaving him in a state of confusion.
“Do you have any plans on telling me where we’re going?” Lucas asked as he and Brooke drove along a country road, the tattering of rain against glass and metal and the squeak of the wipers the only background noise.
She shook her head as she drove on, licking her lips as she focused on the road. She’d never been that confident of her driving abilities, so he wasn’t really surprised to see he attention mainly on that. It was kind of cute, actually, the way she stuck out her tongue ever so slightly as she concentrated.
He smiled as he watched her, but his smile died as she pulled over to the side of the road. There was nothing here. “Babe… this has the makings of a bad horror movie all over it. You aren’t going to kill me and leave my body on the roadside, right?” he joked.
Brooke rolled her eyes and shut off the car, leaning over and giving him a quick kiss. “Just trust me. Come on.”
She reached into the backseat and pulled an umbrella out, and Lucas cringed as he realized it had been there all along. By the time she’d stepped out of the car and opened the umbrella, she was already pretty wet.
Lucas followed her lead and climbed out of the passenger seat, albeit a little more hesitantly than she had. “Where are we going?” His tone was curious as she led him into the woods.
She clucked her tongue at him and rolled her hand, bringing the hand that wasn’t holding the umbrella to her hip. “You think if you ask me enough I’ll break down and tell you?” Her tone made it clear that wasn’t the case.
He sighed, taking the umbrella from her and ducking under it as he wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her closer so they were both under it, but continued to let her lead the way. “You’re crazy, you know that? Psychotic.”
“Yeah, I know, and I’m getting déjà vu.”
He stared at her for a minute, trying to figure out what she was talking about, before memories of their fight in the rain nearly ten years earlier came back. “You remember that?” he asked, a lopsided grin coming over his face.
She paused, pursing her lips as she looked up at him. “I remember everything,” she told him softly, reaching for the hand that was around her waist and intertwining her fingers through his.
A flash of lightning flickered in the distance and he jumped a little, wondering what had possessed her to think going out in the middle of the storm was a good idea. The winds were starting to pick up now, too, and the whir of the leaves brushing against each other as branches snapped and felt to the ground was almost deafening.
Eventually they came to a small clearing, and Lucas smiled at what he saw. Water trickled down a creek nearby, raindrops pounding into it and causing the ripples to spread. A blanket had been spread out on the ground near the creek, a cooler and a boombox positioned on its side. And in a moment of forethought, Brooke had also set up a tarp which draped lazily above the blanket to keep it dry, except for the edges, which had grown wet due to the slant of the rain.
“I thought we could do something different tonight,” she murmured, her voice barely audible above the rain and the wind as she squeezed his hand and led him to the blanket. “We eat at home pretty much every night, and while it’s good for saving money… change can be good.”
He smiled as he followed her over to the blanket and sat down next to her, studying her. It was true. They didn’t have the money to go out and eat every night, and he couldn’t lavish her with expensive gifts. They were saving up for their wedding, and it would be a while before they’d have extra cash to spend. But this… it was certainly memorable.
“I’m not much of a cook,” she continued, gesturing to the cooler, “But I couldn’t really ask you to cook for your own surprise, so your mom made us some stuff.”
He blinked, a little surprised by this. He hadn’t expected that his mother could be involved in this, and it was the first inkling he had that there was something truly special about this night, something more memorable than just sharing a romantic meal in the rain. “Brooke…”
She grinned and leaned over, pressing her index finger against his lips. “Let me talk.”
“Alright…” He paused, glancing down at the blanket. It was an afghan, zigzagging lines of oranges and reds and yellows coming together to make a very vibrant blanket.
“I was thinking maybe we should put off our wedding for a while.”
It certainly wasn’t what he was expecting to hear and his gaze snapped up to her face, searching for signs of hurt or anger or anything else unexpected. He didn’t see any, though, and her eyes were smiling.
“Because I was thinking… we don’t need a marriage license to prove how much we love each other, and besides, we don’t have a flower girl. But if we waited four or five years…”
Her hand closed over his, her grasp on his fingers delicate as she pulled his hand closer to her, resting it on her stomach. “Maybe we’ll have a daughter to be the flower girl. Or a son for the ring bearer. What do you think?”
It was like the world around them had faded into the distance. The storm hadn’t died down at all but the wind and rain were suddenly muted as he stared into her eyes, his gaze eventually dropping down to where his hand pressed against her flat stomach. “What?”
When he’d imagined this moment, what was certainly not the word that came to his mind. But it seemed almost surreal, and he felt the need to make sure he was actually understanding what she was saying, to hear her confirm it.
Her smile brightened, and even though it was growing dark around them, the wattage of that smile was enough to light up the whole world, at least in his mind. “I said I wanted to put off the wedding. Because really, I’d rather have our own child involved in the ceremony, and a February date just won’t do anymore. I’ll be huge by then.”
He blinked slowly as a smile spread over his face, mirroring her own expression. “Yeah?”
She nodded excitedly, launching herself into his arms and kissing him. “Yeah.”