Disclaimer: I don't own One Tree Hill
Title: Too Bad
Chapter Three: Let's Talk
It had been two weeks since Luke had walked into the Main Street Diner and found the love of his life. Two weeks since she and her four children had moved in with him. Two weeks since his heart had expanded and made room for the four more little loves in his life.
He had never really thought about having children, yes he knew eventually that he wanted them. But much beyond that, he hadn't really considered them. Now that Brooke and the babies had come into his life though, he couldn't imagine it without them.
It had taken Brooke a few days to be comfortable living in a normal relationship again. After the near constant fear of living with Julian, being with Luke was a major adjustment, not only for Brooke but also for the children.
The twins had taken the least amount of time to adjust, Brennan hadn't taken much longer than his little brothers, but Logan and Brooke were still having a hard time of it.
Luke understood that it would take a while and he was more than willing to wait for them to adjust.
In the first few days they were living with him they had all been on their best behavior, which sounded nice but was so unnatural and uncomfortable for everyone involved. It was as if Brooke was afraid he wouldn't want her if she had any faults. Logan had taken a different approach entirely. She wouldn't come near Luke after that first night.
Every time Luke would speak to her, or even enter the same room, the toddler would clam up, and take refuge in her mother's arms. Both Brooke and Luke had tried to explain that Luke would never hurt her or her mother, but Luke knew it would take time and not just words to prove that to Logan.
The boys however had warmed to Luke in no time. All three of the boys accepted Luke and would willingly go to him for comfort.
He cherished the time he spent with the twins each morning before Brooke, Brennan, and Logan woke up. He would get Bryce and Liam from the play pin by the side of the bed the moment their cries woke him. Carrying them out to the living room so they wouldn't wake Brooke he would sit with them on the sofa and read to them. He would sit with one baby in the crook of each arm and a book in his hands.
Never baby books though, no. He would read to them from some of his favorites. "The Winter of Our Discontent" was the first book he had read to them. While some might find it out of the ordinary both Luke and the boys enjoyed the ritual.
The next child awake was usually Brennan. He would call Luke's name from the back bedroom he and Logan now shared. Luke would go and get the boy, picking up a change of clothes for him and a diaper before returning to the living room and the twins.
Getting Logan ready for the day was always an interesting experience. After having to chase down a naked toddler a few times Luke learned to give the boy something to play with when he changed and dressed him. Now changing and dressing went a lot smoother for both of them.
After getting Brennan ready they would sit and watch TV while Luke made breakfast. Usually Logan and Brooke got up just as the food was ready. They always came out together. Although Luke had never seen it, he assumed that Logan awoke first and then woke her mother, so she wouldn't have to be alone with Luke.
Brooke would help him set the table after she sat the children each in their own new high chair. From the outside it looked as if they were a happy family, and they were happy but if one looked deeper they'd see the flaws.
They would see that Brooke still flinched whenever Luke made a sudden movement. They would see that neither Brooke nor the children would leave the house, not even to see old friends. In fact Brooke refused to let Luke tell anyone she was home. Not Haley, not Peyton, not even his own brother Nathan.
He was willing to give her all the time she needed, but he didn't want her to continue suffering. He needed to know what had happened. So today as they set the table Luke dared to ask.
"Brooke, what happened?"
Brooke froze, her hand hovering in the air holding a plate just out of Brennan's reach. She blinked up at him and before she could reply Brennan stretched up and grabbed for the plate. He managed to knock the plate out of her hands and it toppled to the floor. Luke watched as the Logan and Brennan fell silent and the fear entered Brookes eyes.
Do…don't worry. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. He didn't mean it. I'll clean it up. I'm so sorry. Please, he's sorry Luke. He didn't mean it." Brooke stuttered out. She picked up Brennan and cradled him to her trying to protect him. As Logan looked on in terror, Luke took a step toward Brooke and Brennan. Brooke took a step backwards away from him. Luke stopped in his tracks. Never had a woman been afraid of him, no. Not him, she wasn't afraid of him, this is what that man Julian had done to her. He had taken his Brooke, his strong, beautiful, no-holds-barred, take no prisoners Brooke and turned her into this. He took another step to her and this time she didn't move. He heard Logan yell at him from the table.
"Don't you touch my mommy!" she shouted. Luke glanced over at Logan and saw that she was trying to unbuckle herself from the high chair.
Brooke stood frozen; she couldn't even manage a look over at her daughter.
Luke took another step. Now Brooke and Brennan were in arms reach. He took one more step and they were in his arms. He looked into Brooke's eyes and whispered.
"I will never hurt you."
It was all she needed to hear. Of course he had said it before but this time was different. This time he was proving it was true. Brooke started to cry tears of relief. Brennan was still silent. He kissed the boys forehead and Brennan rewarded him with a smile. Brooke melted farther into his arms. She wrapped her free arm around him and clung to him as she cried. Luke held on to her and Brennan as tightly as he could without hurting either of them.
Soon Brennan started to struggle to get down. By then Brooke's tears had tried and she was ready to leave Luke's arms. She stepped out of the hug with a bashful smile. Luke took Brennan from her arms after the boy reached out for him.
He looked at Brooke again and repeated himself. "I'll never hurt you."
It wasn't much of a talk, certainly not the one he expected to have, but somehow it was all that needed to be said.