Title: Let Me Touch You For Awhile

Author: Anni

Email: asleeper@email.arizona.edu

Summary: Haley has a secret crush on Nathan.

Disclaimer: I am poor. I own nothing. It is very sad.

Notes: The title comes from an Alison Krauss song of the same name. I guess it's a little AU, depending on your definition of AU, but it takes place before Nathan asks Haley to tutor him on the show, but after Lucas has joined the team.

Another Note: I'm home sick today, so this just came to me in my Nyquil induced haze. I wrote it in like two hours, which is a lot faster than I usually write, so I'm very close to the story right now and I can't tell if Haley is a tad on the scary side or not. I don't think she is, but I'm not sure. If she is, blame it on the Nyquil.

Another Other Note: Because I am very talkative, I have one more note. I don't generally write in the first person present because it kind of annoys me, but I did here. We'll just chalk that up to the Nyquil as well!

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The first bell of the morning rings, sending a mass of high school students hurrying to grab the books they need before heading off to their first class. I don't move though. I stand at my locker, shuffling aimlessly through the neatly arranged stack of binders and books, watching you from the corner of my eye.

I know what your fingertips feel like as they brush over my skin and what your lips taste like as they press against mine, but I don't think you know my name.

It happened last fall, the very first weekend of our freshman year. My sister Beth, a senior that ran much more with the popular crowd than I do, dragged me to this big back to school kegger at a football player's house. She made me wear this stupid short skirt and clunky high heels, and I think that was the only time in my life that anyone has had a peak at my cleavage. I wasn't even really sure I had cleavage before that.

But my parents said it would be a good opportunity for me to meet people at my new school, and Beth was determined to show off her cute baby sister.

It was after only five minutes at that stupid party that I promised myself I would never be dragged to another one again. I still don't understand the appeal behind getting so wasted that you can't stand up straight.

You were there, of course. Basketball tryouts hadn't even started, but everyone knew that you would be a star for sure. You're a Scott, and no one plays basketball quite like the Scotts.

I've known you my whole life, or at least, known who you were. We were in kindergarten together. You once put a fake, plastic cockroach in my lunch pail and Ms. Pratt put me in time out when I kicked you in the shin.

We'd never really talked or anything, though. After your relation to Lucas became common knowledge, I did all that I could to avoid you. He's my best friend. I'd do anything for him.

And I was perfectly content not having you in my head as I wondered through the maze of people, already drunk off their asses, trying to avoid the stupid games of I Never or Truth or Dare and slapping at the few random drunken hands that saw fit to try and feel up underneath my skirt.

I was perfectly content not knowing the way that your cologne tickled my nose or how light your eyes got when you laughed or how amazing I could feel in your arms. I was perfectly content not knowing you.

I knew I was in for trouble when Beth came looking for me, that mischievous grin written across her face. And I knew I wasn't going to like the outcome as she grabbed my wrist and started pulling me toward the crowded kitchen. And I definitely knew nothing good was coming my way as she babbled on about how high school was about broadening my horizons and at least I didn't get stuck with an ugly guy. She told me I was going to thank her for this.

Some days I do, and others, I'm not sure.

There you were. Standing in front of a door that led off to small laundry room. I sputtered a refusal, but Beth pushed me through the door, saying that heaven didn't come along often and I needed to enjoy my seven minutes.

The door shut behind you, and the room dimmed down to what would probably be considered a romantic glow were it not for the fact that I was leaned up against an old dryer and the sounds of whistles and catcalls could be heard on the other side of the door. I could see you in the faint glow of an outside light that streamed through a tiny window just behind me. It didn't even take you two steps and you had crossed the room to stand so close that I could feel your body heat.

My heart was pounding in my chest and I'm pretty sure my eyes grew to twice their normal size as your hands settled on my waist. I looked up at you and the only thing I could think of was that I hadn't realized you were so tall. Even with those clunky heels, the top of my head barely cleared your chin.

That famous smirk was written across your features as you looked down at me, but after a moment it faded. Your head cocked to the side and I couldn't tell what was going on in your mind, but whatever it was, I hadn't known you were capable of such deep thought.

A voice in the back of my brain was screaming at me to knee you in the groin or stomp on your foot or anything to get away from you so that I could demand my sister let me out and take me home. But your voice stopped me.

You asked if I was okay.

I remember looking at you, seeing the concern in your eyes, feeling your hands tighten on my hips in an effort to, I don't know, comfort me. It was so weird. It was so not who I thought you were.

Instead of resorting to the self-defense moves that Karen had told me were so important for a young girl to know, I found myself searching for a way to explain. A few stuttered sentences later and you seemed to catch my meaning. I'd never done this before. Not even one kiss.

It was then that your lips curved into that beautiful smile, not a smirk or a sneer, but a smile. You weren't laughing at me. You were telling me it was all right.

To this day, I can't quite put my finger on why I didn't push you away, whether it was how light your eyes got as you gazed down at me or how good you smelt as you lightly pressed me back against the dryer. But I didn't push you away.

And sometimes, late at night, in my bedroom, I can still feel that first brush of your lips. They were soft and gentle, slightly moist as they settled against mine. My first kiss. You were my first kiss.

Your hands slid underneath the hem of my shirt, calloused fingertips skimming along the skin of my back, sending shocks up along my spine. Your grip tightened as you stepped even closer and you seemed to be simultaneously pulling me to you and pushing further into me. My own hands slid up your torso, feeling the hard length of your body beneath your sweater. You were so much harder than anyone I had ever touched, almost like your bones were more dense or something.

Your kiss deepened and your mouth opened and my mouth opened and I tasted you for the first time. And the world shook beneath my feet.

I could feel the sweep of your laughter, warm against my cheek as I cursed those stupid shoes for the billionth time that night. Your hands slid back down toward my hips, steadying me for a moment before lifting me up and onto the dryer. You stepped in between my legs and my skirt slid up, inviting your hands to trail along the outside. Somewhere in the back of my head, I was so thankful that Beth ordered me to shave for this party.

I don't know what it is about you that had me acting that way. I can guarantee you that it was not a situation I would have ever dreamed of being in, and I don't think that I would let myself be in it again. Kissing a boy, touching a boy, letting a boy touch me when we had never even had a conversation before.

But there was just something about you. I couldn't care as long as I was kissing you, as long as I was touching you.

The knock on the door came too soon and an obnoxious drunken voice yelled for us to make ourselves decent. Your lips lingered a moment longer and your fingers seemed reluctant to lose contact with my skin. But you finally stepped back and heaven was over.

I hopped down off the dryer and I didn't look up at you as I straightened my skirt and wiped my lips, hoping to clear off as much smeared lipstick as I could. I froze when your hand brushed mine one last time as you bent down to drop a light kiss against my forehead.

Then you turned and walked away.

The door opened and you stepped out of the room. I lost sight of you as my sister rushed in, giggling and demanding that I tell her the details. She grabbed my hand, pulling me out of the room as the next couple was pushed in.

I didn't see you again until we were leaving. You were sitting in the living room, talking with a group of other athletes and popular kids. You saw me too and you gave me one last smile. One last beautiful smile.

Then you turned back to the blond perched on your lap; that smile fading back into your famous smirk. I found out two weeks later that you and that blond were dating. You're still together.

That night as I washed the make-up off my face and changed into a comfortable pair of flannel pajama bottoms and an oversized t-shirt, I thought about you. I remembered your touch. I remembered everything.

It's been over a year, and you've never acknowledged me. But I still remember everything.

I don't know if it's that you don't remember that night or if you just don't remember my face, but that doesn't stop me from watching you.

It's amazing the difference the past year has made in you. I'm not naïve enough to believe that I know you, the real you, but I honestly feel that I've met him. In that seven minutes, when you smiled at me and you held me, I think you showed me more of that real than you show to the people you call your friends.

We have history together, third period. I sit one row over and one row up from you and sometimes I turn around, as subtly as possible, and I wonder when the last time you smiled, really smiled, like the one you gave to me, was. I wonder about the last time your eyes lit up or the last time you laughed, deep and carefree.

I search for the boy who made me feel more alive than I have ever felt, but your expression is blank. Your pencil taps impatiently on the edge of your desk and you don't pay attention. You are that typical jock that everyone else sees.

I wonder if I'm going crazy, but I can't help myself. I believe that softness is still in there, beneath your stoic surface. I can see it the was your face breaks when you think no one else is watching, when Lucas is talking to your blond or your friends are going on, never seeing the pain that makes you act the way you do.

I wish that I could put you to ease the way that you did for me. I wish I could touch you, just once more, and make you smile. I know that I could smile if I just had the chance.

Knowing the things that you have done to my best friend, I try to convince myself that there is nothing good left in you. I need to give up on you, but I can't. No matter how hard I try. I can't forget you. I can't forget your touch.

And so I stand at my locker, waiting for the last possible moment to turn away and still make it to class on time. I watch you beneath the blanket of my eyelashes as you walk down the hall past me. I think that you must have put on a few more inches over the summer because I'm sure that the top of my head must only reach your shoulder now.

Your gaze flickers over me and for a moment, I think I see recognition in your eyes. I think I see a smile curve your lips. But you look away and continue on to your first class.

I want to reach out to you, to ask you to let me touch you again, but you are already gone.