Jason had had a hard time forcing a smile while Peyton, his Peyton had announced that she and the spoiled rich kid fromCaliforniawere getting married. He was no longer forcing that smile onto his face now that he was outside standing on the front porch of his best friend’s house. He needed this moment. He knew he should have moved on from Peyton months ago but she just wasn’t that type of girl that you forgot about so quickly. The love they shared had been so different but now it was gone.
Peyton took the time to get hugs from her family and shared a kiss with Jeremy before she noticed that someone was missing. “Excuse me for a moment,” she said to all of them. Peyton headed to the back of the house but quickly ducked out the side door so she could walk around the side and get to the front. “Jason,” she said softly as she walked up the steps and met him.
It had been a long time since she had called him that. It had been Brooks ever since she had met Jeremy and not she was changing her tone. It was too much for Brooks. “Peyton don’t.” he frowned at her. His heart couldn’t take this.
Peyton watched the older man before her and knew that she had broken him. She had not expected him to be at dinner tonight. She had wanted to tell him in a different way. She had wanted to do it just the two of them. Of course that probably wouldn’t have been the best idea. Peyton wasn’t completely done and over Jason but she had someone new and she wasn’t the type of girl to split herself between two men. Her daddy had raised her better than that.
She took another step closer to him; testing the limits. “I’m sorry,” was all she could manage to say. It wasn’t enough but what would be?
He shook his head at her. After all these years she was still somewhat foolish when it came to dealing with him. It made him want her even more. He missed her but he knew he wouldn’t be able to have her again. He respected her too much to try and make her cheat on her fiancée “What are you apologizing for? I knew it would happen eventually, I said it all along,” he said gruffly. He had doomed their union despite Peyton believing she wouldn’t out grow him.
Peyton had believed that Jason Brooks was the one for her despite all complications but then Jeremy came along and she was confused. He had been her chance to get out of this small town while Brooks was the thing that was keeping her there. It had been confusing for her. “But I didn’t thin-,” she began to defend her actions.
But Jason wasn’t here to put blame on Peyton for things. He wasn’t here to hate her or yell at her for ruining what they had. She had outgrown him and he had to move past that. “I know, and that’s because you weren’t quite as grown up as I wanted you to be, but I expected too much of you.” He said, allowing his eyes to cast down at the ground. He couldn’t stand looking at her like this. She was beautiful even in moments of pain.
“Jason I loved you!” she defended but the choice of her words hit him harder than a brick to the face. Loved. She had loved him. But she didn’t anymore or at least she wouldn’t say it. She had moved on and found something better and Jason was going to have to deal with that.
“I know,” “And now you love him.” He said solemnly.
Peyton opened her mouth to speak again but the front door opened. She looked past Jason to see Jeremy standing there smiling at her. He warmed her heart in ways that Jason hadn’t but he lacked the qualities that had made her so attracted to the older man in the first place. Perhaps that was why she had chose him. They were worlds apart.
“P. are you coming in?” he asked simply.
“I’ll be there in a second,” she nodded to Jeremy. He nodded back and then returned inside. She was thankful that he didn’t linger. It would have made her feel awful.
“Okay baby,” those two words rang through Jason’s ears and caused him to just shake his head. He put a hand on Peyton’s shoulder and gave a quick squeeze before moving down off the porch. She turned to look at him but he didn’t turn around.
“Congratulations kid, I best be getting home.” He said with a sigh. Peyton watched as he continued down the drive, got into his truck and took off without another word. She lingered on the porch for a minute, hating herself for what she had done but eventually she had to return to her family. She had an engagement to celebrate.