“Okay, what'd you do?”
Lucas knew the owner of the voice but didn't look up. He was knelt down in front of Keith's grave, on hand on the stone and the other tracing his uncle's name.
A pair of arms wrapped around his waist and the chin belonging to those arms rested on his back. “You always come here to think . . .”
He turned his head to face her, “Peyton, I don't want to talk about it.”
“Of course you don't, babe . . . but you'll feel better when you do. Promise,” Peyton kissed him.
He certainly coudn't argue with that. They knew each other so well . . . and besides, how could he deny such a pretty face?
“I kind of . . . yelled at Buffy,” Lucas sighed.
“Oh, Luke . . .” Peyton hugged him.
“I didn't mean too,” Lucas said, “But she was just asking so many questions about Keith and Dan . . . and it hurts. It hurts to talk about it, Peyton.”
“I know it hurts, Luke . . . but she doesn't know that. She doesn't know what happened in school because she wasn't here,” Peyton reminded him, “She was supposed to be . . . but she wasn't given a choice whether or not to be here. She just wants answers.” She ran her hands through his hair. “She just wants to find out where she comes from. I understands how much this hurts you and your mom and you can take all the time you need to before you tell Buffy . . . but you have to tell her eventually. And you can't shut her out either. She's your twin . . . there must be a connection between the two of you somehere. All you have to do is find it.”
Buffy sat in a booth in Karen’s Cafe, holding a mug of steaming coffee. She stared out the window next to her out into the street.
It had been a few days since her encounter with Lucas at the Rivercourt. Since then she hadn’t really seen him-he’d been staying with Peyton a lot. She’d helped Karen out by watching Lily though.
Her mother still hadn’t contacted her-neither had Willow or Xander or Giles either. She’d gotten one call though . . . she’d picked it up but no one had answered.
No more run-ins with the guy who sat at her table that day either. She'd talked to Karen about him and she'd said he sounded familiar . . . but Buffy still didn't know his name.
The bell on the door dinged as it opened and Buffy looked up. She recognized that trademark blond hair—Peyton. She smiled when she saw Buffy and sat down across from Buffy in the booth, setting her purse down on the table.
“Hey,” Peyton said.
“Hey,” Buffy returned, though not quite as enthusiastically. She stared down at her cup.
“So . . . how you been?” Peyton asked.
“Okay,” Buffy sighed, “I'm just worried about my mom. She hasn't called in a while.”
“You think something is wrong,” Peyton said.
“I don't know,” Buffy said, “It's just . . . she's been sick my whole life. But now it's getting worse. I just wish she'd call me.” Buffy looked up. “She has cancer . . . and I don't want to lose her.”
Peyton nodded, “I know how you feel. I was adopted . . . the legal way . . . and my adopted Mom was hit by a car when I was eight. Since then it's just been my dad and me. Last year, when I found out about my real mom, she died not long after I met her. Breast cancer. Trust me, I'm right there with you.”
“It's hard . . .” Buffy said.
“Yes it is,” Peyton agreed, “But it's easier with people around you to help you through it.” Buffy nodded. “And don't pay any attention to Lucas. He hasn't had it any easier than the rest of us.”
“He told you?” Buffy said.
“Please, he tells me everything,” Peyton waved her hand.
“I don't know what I said but it must have made him really mad,” Buffy said. “I was telling him about my jerk of a father Hank so I asked him about our dad. Lucas said that our dad was never really around either and I didn't want to meet him. He said he always had his uncle . . . but he died. I tried to ask him what happened to that uncle . . . but he got really angry and walked away.”
Peyton sighed, “He did, did he?”
“Yeah. I just wonder what happened. It must have been awful,” Buffy said, “Do you know what happened?”
Peyton froze like a deer in headlights, “Um . . . I don't really think it's my place to tell you. The ones to ask are either Lucas or Karen. It hurt them the most.”
“Okay . . .” Buffy wasn't quite sure what to make of Peyton's response. It just seemed to her that everyone in this town was hiding something from her.
“I'd love to tell you more but—oh shit!” Peyton looked down at her watch, “I've gotta go meet Lucas somewhere.”
“Oh . . . okay,” Buffy said.
Peyton picked up her purse and stood up. Buffy looked down at the table. Peyton turned back, “Buffy?”
Buffy looked up.
“Just give them some time—Karen and Lucas. It's been a hard year. They'll open up eventually.” Peyton told her. Buffy nodded.
“Hey California . . . we meet again,” The guy from Karen's Cafe sat down next to Buffy where she sat on a bench in the park. “How's Tree Hill treating you?”
“Can't complain,” Buffy shrugged, “I was supposed to grow up here but stuff came up when I was younger.”
“That's a shame . . . we might have known each other,” He smiled again . . . Buffy thought she was going to melt.
She cleared her throat, trying to gain back her composure. “Um . . . I suppose still we keep bumping into each other we should probably introduce ourselves.”
“That's a mighty fine idea,” he nodded.
Buffy held out her hand, “I'm Buffy.”
“Name's Jake,” he replied, shaking her hand. “Nice to meet you, Buffy. I've never met anyone with that name before.”
“Yeah, I get that all the time,” Buffy laughed nervously.
“Well, Buffy, I would love to stay and talk more with you . . . but there's something I have to do.”
“Oh . . . okay,” Buffy said.
Jake stood up. He turned to her. “What would you say if I invitedyou for coffee tomorrow? At the cafe where we first met?”
Buffy was surprised . . . not that he'd asked, but at the next words that came out of her mouth. “Sure.”
“Great,” Jake smiled. “How about, hmm . . . 11 tomorrow morning?”
“I'll be there,” Buffy nodded, smiling as well. She stood up, walking away. As she left, she flipped her hair. Jake just smiled.
Buffy walked up to Peyton's house, knocking on the door. After several minutes and no answer, Buffy knocked again. Again nothing. She turned, raising her eyebrow as she saw Peyton's black convertible on the street. She tried knocking again . . . but there was no answer.
Looking around she sighed. She turned the doorknob, finding it unlocked, and went inside. “Hello? Peyton? It's Buffy . . . Lucas's sister . . .” She walked around the house, trying to find her brother's girlfriend. “Peyton?” No answer. She walked up the stairs. “Peyton?”
That's when she heard a voice. It was Peyton's voice . . . “Why yes, Mr. Scott, I would like that very much . . .” She heard giggling.
“Oh really soon-to-be-Mrs. Scott . . . I would like that very much too,” This was Lucas's voice.
Buffy stopped . . . she didn't really want to interrupt them (or see anything that could scar her for life) . . . but she kinda wanted to talk to Peyton about Jake and some mother stuff.
She decided in a split second to knock on the door . . . and once she did that it didn't take long for her to get an answer. Peyton's shocked face appeared in the open doorway—thankfully she was still clothed.
“Buffy . . . hi,” Peyton laughed. “What's up?”
Lucas appeared in the doorway. “Um . . . I was wondering if I could talk to you.”
“Um . . .sure,” Peyton looked at Lucas. “And since you're here . . . we have some news.” Lucas walked up to Peyton and wrapped his arms around her waist. “We're engaged . . . and Lucas is moving in with me.” Lucas and Peyton were smiling.
“That's . . . great,” Buffy attempted to fake enthusiam. “Congratulations!”
“Thanks,” Peyton said. Lucas nodded. “We want you to be in the wedding . . . as one of my bridesmaids!”
Whoa . . .
To Be Continued . . .