A/N: Here's the last chapter, guys! I hope you enjoyed it and thanks for the reviews!
"I know you were against it and all, but I have to admit that I'm happy for them," Peyton admitted as she glanced outside and saw Nathan and Haley sitting close together on the patio, talking in lowered voices. She and Lucas had gotten curious when they hadn't heard from or seen Haley and Nathan for over an hour, so they'd gone out in search of them.
It wasn't like they had anything better to do. Tim and the guys on the team were getting drunk with a few of the cheerleaders in the back of the house. Tim's mother, Shari, was blabbing on about a couple's cruise in the living room. The mission was a welcomed escape, and the sight before them was a pleasant one. At least things were going right for somebody.
"It doesn't feel weird for you?" Lucas wondered.
Peyton shrugged, unsure of what he meant. "I guess I'm feeling a little voyeuristic…"
Lucas laughed and shook his head. "That wasn't exactly what I meant."
"But I have a point, don't I?" she asked, raising an eyebrow at him saucily.
He frowned, realizing that they were being more than a little intrusive. "I guess you do."
She grabbed his hand, smiling to herself, and dragged him away from the window they were watching the happy couple through. "So what did you mean by that question?" she asked, maneuvering through Nathan's house with ease; she had spent enough time their during their time together that it had become well-known territory.
"Just… seeing Hales with Nathan. I mean, you guys used to go out…"
"And Haley was your first kiss. So?" Peyton glanced over her shoulder and noted the shocked look on his face with satisfaction. "It's in the past."
"Haley told you about that?"
Peyton laughed as she found what she was looking for: the exit that lead to the back of the house and the tree swing, her favorite spot on the property. She stepped out, letting Lucas follow her, before scrunching down and slowly making her way behind a low line of bushes. "Your teammates are congregated over here getting drunk. Keep your head down unless you want to get dragged out with them."
"Not in the mood to party?" he asked sarcastically.
"I'm about all partied out." She walked carefully along, her heels making quiet sounds against the concrete stones.
Lucas had to stop himself from laughing when he heard Brooke Davis, one of Peyton's friends, telling Tim in no uncertain terms to go throw himself in front of a bus. Apparently the princess wasn't pleased with something he had done in his intoxicated state.
Peyton merely rolled her eyes, used to the back and forth between Brooke and Tim.
When they had made it around the corner successfully, Peyton walked directly to the tree swing in sight.
"You didn't answer my question," Lucas pointed out.
"Haley told you about our kiss?"
She smiled gently at him. "No. You just did."
She shrugged her shoulders as she leaned against the seat of the swing. "You guys have that look about you," she told him simply. "You're close. You've been friends for years. I just thought it made sense."
"I guess. Young experimentation… at the time we both thought it was disgusting, but we had to see what the big deal about it was."
Catching the hesitant but lively spark in her eyes, Lucas smiled at her reassuringly. "You'll just have to wait and see."
"Please tell me you're not studying on a Saturday afternoon."
Haley grinned at the mere sound of his voice, glancing over her shoulder from her seat at her desk and laughing when she saw Nathan watching her from her doorway with a pleading expression on his face. Sometimes it was hard for her to believe that he was so attractive… and hers. "Okay, I'm not studying."
His eyes narrowed playfully as he quickly crossed the room and looked down at the notes on her desk. "Liar."
"You asked for it," she said sweetly, smiling as he leaned over to place a kiss on her lips. When she pulled back a moment later, a content grin was on her lips. "Not that I mind, but what are you doing here? I thought we were going out tonight."
"Right, but you also owe me a reward."
Haley raised an eyebrow at him suspiciously.
"You said that if I got an A on the final test on Crime and Punishment, I'd get a reward. Well, I'm here to claim it," he announced with a pleased smile on his face.
Watching the way he sat down on her bed like he owned the room made her feel oddly settled and disturbed at the same time. The confident smile on his face was charming and yet sometimes she felt like playfully knocking it down an inch. "You're entirely too used to getting what you want, you know that?"
"I'm pretty sure you've told me," he chuckled, reaching out an arm to pull her up from her chair to stand between his legs. "Come on, no more studying today. It's time to go or we'll be late."
Haley glanced at him suspiciously as he pushed back a free strand of hair from her face. "Late for what?"
"You have to wait and see." He got to his feet and started pulling her toward the door, that cute smile secure on his lips. He was excited, there was no way to hide it. He knew that he was about to do the right thing—something they both needed.
"Should I be scared?" Haley asked teasingly as she grabbed her bag in a hurry as he pulled her out her door.
"What, you don't trust me?"
"Do you really want me to answer that?" she shot back, laughing when he turned around to shoot her a mock glare.
"Probably not." They left the house and got into his truck. Nathan pulled away and started driving to their destination, one hand entwined with Haley's on the seat between them.
"I'm going to kick your butt if this turns out to be torturous, Scott."
"Ouch. Where did all this violence come from, anyway?"
"Youngest of six children," she reminded him. "It wasn't violence; it was self defense."
Nathan laughed. "And now?"
She frowned and then shrugged off the question. "Old habits die hard."
It was three weeks after Dan's benefit and things had been interesting since then. Nothing worth the effort came easily, and their relationship was no different. It had taken both of them a little time to settle into a comfortable zone, and the tension between Lucas and Nathan sometimes still bothered Haley.
But things were improving and she was grateful to both her boyfriend and her best friend for trying—and she knew they were trying. She saw them struggle to put their differences behind them every day.
Peyton's presence made things a lot easier. She and Lucas, to Haley's enjoyment, had finally come clean with their feelings and decided to try a relationship. From the very beginning the girls had decided something: they wouldn't tolerate the guys beating up on each other. When things got particularly heated between them, the girls intervened and helped them cool off.
As she watched the road in front of them, Haley began to get confused. She knew where they were going, but she had no idea why they would be going there.
"Nathan? What's going on?" she asked curiously as he pulled up to the park that Lucas and his friends often played basketball in. Her confusion only doubled when she spotted Lucas and Peyton sitting on the hood of Peyton's car, a basketball at their feet.
He grinned at her as he parked the truck beside their friends and shut off the engine, squeezing her hand in his. "You're going to cheer me on while I beat Luke."
His words lacked animosity and venom, and Haley couldn't help but smile as they got out of the truck. "Am I the only one who didn't know about this?" Haley wondered, looking from Peyton to Lucas questioningly.
"No," Peyton answered, a little worried about what may happen in the near future. "It looks like today's the day of surprises."
Lucas and Nathan looked at each other almost apathetically, knowing that it was time to try to start over with each other. They were going to have to spend time together; doing it while hating each other would make everyone miserable and it seemed pointless. There were other things to put their energy toward and that was something they could both agree on.
So as they started to play on the court with Peyton and Haley watching from the sidelines, there was no ill will lingering in the air. Haley watched the scene with a calm sense of pride in both of them for being able to do it. There had been battles in the past and there would no doubt be more waiting for them all in the future, but there was no doubt in her mind that it was worth it.
She had never been one to hold on to dreams. It was a good thing that, just this once, she had.