Notes and disclaimers: all characters property of large corporate entities. not mine. no profit garnered ever. Title from the band Coconut Records. Thanks to Smithereen for awesome beta action.


It's the kind of lame thing Brooke used to tell Peyton every day. Something she'd mention between Peyton talking about music and Brooke talking about boys. But you can do that so much easier when you're in the same town and it's locker talk or quick phone call talk. Now, it's like, you took the time to call to say "Last night I had this dream. And I was saying 'I can't forget you, look, I've written you on the palm of my hand' which I think is some quote. It's definitely a quote, I just don't remember where from. Or where I would have read it. Anyway, I held out my hand and it was all bloody. Like the blood was the writing. I don't get it." And Brooke doesn't get it, but it's not good enough to call about.

Instead she thinks about it all day. Which is just perfect because she has things to do. Things that have nothing to do with dreams about her still best friend in the whole entire world. Brooke has a job. She's a designer. She's actually officially an apprentice designer but it doesn't matter, she'll get that word out of her title quick enough.

Apprentice is so Disney. Peyton thought it was hilarious and sent her a P. Sawyer original drawing with Brooke as Mickey Mouse wearing big white gloves. Brooke put it up in her cubicle area.

So she's way too busy doing all the work, just like Mickey in that movie, to think about weird bloody dreams. Probably just left over from fake Derek the stalker. That's one more story Brooke leaves out of her talk times with her new coworkers and friends and neighbors. Tree Hill was so weird, with tutor wives and half-brothers born 3 months apart and Dan Scott in general and Tim and stalkers so when she even tries to explain, she gets those looks. Like the next story is going to be about how she fucked her cousin. Which Brooke would never. She's from North Carolina, but she's not some freaking hick like everyone around here assumes. She doesn't even have an accent.

But she remembers the dream all day and she ends up annoying herself, scratching at her hand, rubbing her neck. And thinking of Peyton, but she does that anyway, she doesn't need some weird post-traumatic dream to do that. So very post, it was 3 years ago. But the dream is in her head like a sinus condition.

She can't afford sinus conditions or dreams, she's very very busy. She makes everything happen at work. In the dream, she knows it wasn't fake Derek's blood or Peyton's, it was hers. It really had nothing to do with him and she's not in denial about her big fat trauma when she thinks that. So not a trauma anymore. If she told Peyton, Peyton wouldn't even bring that up, she would know.

It's 7 pm before she gets home to her teeny tiny apartment that looks out over more teeny tiny apartments crammed into dull buildings. Welcome to New York City, she mumbles as she walks in. Of course the inside of the apartment looks awesome. Brooke knows how to do that, it's like breathing. Even if she couldn't get Peyton to paint something beautiful for her this time. Brooke adapts.

Brooke sighs and doesn't even look at the mahogany walls or her painted bookshelves. She has her best choreography award from the Classic above her TV, right below the picture of her and Peyton and Haley from the Classic they lost. They're all laughing and falling all over each other. No Lucas, not even Nathan. She wishes sometimes she could paste Mouth in behind them, he's the only guy she'd have wanted there in that moment. He really was an honorary cheerleader. But she wouldn't tell him that because he spent so much time feeling sexless like Deb had shot him in the pants or something already.

She has a picture of Mouth at her office in his best suit from his serious college and its ceremonies and honors that even freshmen can get and he looks totally hot. She has no idea how that happens in 2 years. It's the picture all the gay boys and straight girls stop, look at and say, "Is he single?"

"He's mine," Brooke says. Not because they're dating, but because she's yet to meet anyone in New York City good enough for Mouth. She never did in Tree Hill.

The people she works with and meets are okay, even if they're not good enough for Mouth. Her standards really aren't that high. One time she had some girls over from work. They were impressed with how she'd decorated, the way she'd transformed the space. And they just glossed over the pictures from home and the trophy and even her framed high school diploma. Like the only thing that mattered was now and everything else was sort of embarrassing and past. Brooke has to remind herself every day not to buy into that.

She had it right back in high school. She knew how to do that and she barely knows how to do this. She's never been so completely alone. She has sex, sure, and she has friends and none of it is like it was back when it worked. She talks a good game but she thinks the dream means she's miserable. She was miserable so often in high school but there were people she was miserable with and because of. That matters now when she's a completely different kind of miserable. And she really hates the word miserable.

Last year she spent six months dating this really hot blonde model. They'd met during fashion week and then Brooke dragged the girl home and then they were making out. The last time Brooke had made out with girls had been in high school, before Lucas joined the basketball team. Back when it was a drunk party trick to make Tim go crazy. Peyton always said it was stupid. She insisted that if any of the girls Brooke kissed were actually lesbians, no one from their crowd would have let them into the parties. Which Tim disagreed with because he thought the made-up real lesbians would let him watch. Brooke disagreed with Peyton because she might be a bitch, but she wasn't a homophobic bitch. She would only object to lesbians coming if they weren't hot or popular.

But this wasn't performance, it was a hot girl and Brooke alone in Brooke's apartment. They were even a little bit sober.

No one even noticed that Brooke was dating someone, much less a girl. Or then not dating anyone. Brooke never told Peyton or Mouth. She told Rachel once when Rachel was visiting, but all Rachel had to say was "Brooke, stop being stupid. Girls are even crazier than boys. Don't do that to yourself."

Brooke thinks girls and boys are equally crazy. Everyone's crazy. And everyone, even Dan Scott, is capable of good and bad and being kind and being a bitch. Brooke knows she's done and been all of the above.

She also knows she broke up with that super nice, incredibly neurotic model when she realized exactly how much the girl looked like Peyton. If Peyton lost 20 pounds and stopped eating after that.

"Whatever," Brooke says. It sounds really loud so she turns on her TV, some Friends re-run. There's always a Friends re-run, that's what Haley says. And Haley would know, she's the one up all night with the kid. "Whatever."

She may be miserable, but she's still Brooke Davis. She can handle anything. She digs her cell phone out of her Marc Jacobs purse and hits 1 on speed-dial. Of course Peyton picks up on the first ring.

Brooke says, "P Sawyer, last night I had a dream about you. It was totally gross. You have to explain it to me. And tell me how your day is." Then Brooke stops to listen.


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