Author's Note: Hey, guys. What's happening? Well, I'm just here with a quick update to let you guys know that I'm still alive and so is this story. I'm not giving up on it. I'm going to finish it if my life depends on it. I know the exact ending so I'm definately going to finish it, even if it kills me. Anyway, please tell me what you guys think. Enjoy.
"And this is where we work," Haley informed them; waving her hand towards the building she was referring to. She watched Karen and Lucas look it over and she let out a sigh, plopping down in one of the chairs at an outside table. A moment later Lucas was sitting at the table with her, leaving Karen still checking it out.
"It looks nice," she told Haley, though she wasn't completely sure about it. She was looking it over, trying to decide if it was nicer than her Café, the place that Haley used to work. She knew how much Haley loved working there, and she was afraid that maybe she had found a better place to work. Maybe a better boss, as well.
"It is," Haley assured her, not sure what to make of the look on the older woman's face. "The owner's really nice, his name's Jack. Brooke thinks he has a little crush on us, and that's why he always gives us good hours and doesn't get mad if I'm too tired to come in or finish a shift."
"Sounds like you love working here," Karen mused, finding it hard to keep the bitterness out of her voice. She gave the Café one last look before going over to join her kids at the table. Lucas watched in amusement as she pulled out and chair and slumped down in it, crossing her arms over her chest like a little kid that was just told she wasn't allowed to have any candy. He knew actually what his mother was thinking.
"I do," Haley told her with a smile. The smile quickly faded though when she saw Karen sigh and finally realized what was wrong with Karen. "But, but not as much as I loved working at the Café."
"Really?" Karen knew she was overreacting, but after seeing how happy Haley seemed to be in New York, she was starting to worry that maybe Tree Hill and the people that had always been there for her didn't mean as much to Haley as she thought they did.
"Of course," Haley laughed, finding it cute that Karen was getting so worked up over such a silly thing. She knew there had to be another reason for her behavior and she made a mental note to talk to her about it later. "I mean, come on, what's better than working for your mother?"
"Aw, I miss having my daughter work for me too." The two smiled at each other from across the table and both reached out, bringing their hands together. Lucas's amused lessened and he rolled his eyes.
"God," he moaned, leaning back in his chair and motioning for a waitress to come over. "You guys were never this sapping and boring at home, were you? This is all getting a little too girly for me."
"We were always this sappy," Karen teased her son, giving him a wink. "We just never did it around you."
"I guess I should thank you for that, then," he mumbled, ignoring the laugh that the women shared before pulling their hands apart and leaning back in their chairs. A moment later, the waitress that Lucas had signaled for came out with a pad of paper in her hand.
"What can I get for you guys?" she asked without looking up, her attention focused on her paper, ready to write down anything that they said. It was obvious that she was new to the whole thing.
"Courtney?" Haley asked in amusement, trying to see the waitress's face to make sure it really was her friend. She broke out into a smile when the blonde looked up and it was in fact Courtney. She burst out laughing when the other girl gave her a dirty look.
"Shut up, Hay," Courtney mumbled, glaring at the girl that had become somewhat of a little sister to her over the past 5 months. She had never wanted a little sister before, and could never understand why Taylor gushed about Haley so much, but she was really beginning to get the whole little sister fascination that her best friend had. Both Haley and Brooke were like her little sisters now.
"Ah, man, Court, what the hell?" Haley laughed, completely forgetting that Karen and Lucas were sitting there still, probably completely confused at what was going on.
"I thought I told you to shut up," Courtney warned, giving her the most evil look she could muster. She couldn't help but notice how big Haley was though. It had been a while since the last time she had seen her. "Jeez, Hay, you're a freaking house."
"Don't change the subject," Haley immediately snapped at her. "Especially not to how fat I am." Courtney quickly nodded her head and Lucas smirked, even though he didn't know what was going on or who the sexy blonde was. "What are you doing here? Why are you working here? I thought Courtney Douglas didn't work."
"My parents cut me off when I moved out of my dorm," she explained with a sigh, making sure to keep her anger at her parents out of this. "They said that they would only continue to pay for my living expenses if it was in a dorm room where they knew I couldn't get into too much trouble. And as you know, rent costs money, so…"
"How long have you been working here?"
"Um, a few weeks," she answered, smiling when Haley looked at her with wide eyes. "I explained things to Jack and he made sure that we were never on the same shift. I just never expected you to eat here, and on the day I start waitressing. Life sucks."
"Oh, man," Haley laughed, shaking her head at the older girl. "I can't wait to tell Brooke, she's gonna love it." At the other girl's name, Courtney finally realized that the other brunette wasn't there, but Haley was with an older woman and a guy she couldn't help but noticed was extremely hot.
"Where is Brookie, anyway?" she asked, looking at Haley, but also keeping an eye on Lucas. She would definitely have to ask Haley about him later on. "You guys are always attached at the hip." Haley rolled her eyes at her words, but knew they were true nonetheless.
"She's out shopping with Tay for my birthday present," Haley answered as if it were nothing. Courtney's eyes widened at her words.
"It's your birthday!" She couldn't believe that Taylor hadn't mentioned anything to her. She should have known that she would want to get Haley something. Not to mention go out and celebrate with her. "Tay never told me that!"
"It's okay," Haley assured her with a laugh. "Brooke didn't know either. I was kind hoping it would just pass without anybody knowing or remembering, but that didn't seem to work out the way I wanted it to." She sent a playful glare at Lucas and Karen with her words. They both gave her innocent smiles and shrugged.
"Like I was going to miss my daughter's 17th birthday," Karen insisted with a warm smile. Lucas rolled his eyes, hoping they didn't get all mushy again and Courtney raised an eyebrow in confusion.
"Daughter?" she questioned. She had no idea what Lydia James looked like, but she thought the women in front of her looked much to young to have 6 children. And she really hoped that the guy wasn't Haley and Taylor's brother. That would kind of make him off limits, she thought.
"Oh my God, I'm so rude," Haley cursed herself, not believing that she hadn't said anything yet. She smiled over at Karen and Lucas. "Courtney these are two of my favorite people in the whole world, they're from Tree Hill. This is my best friend since forever Lucas and his mom slash my surrogate mom, Karen."
"Oh, so you're the infamous Lucas and Karen, huh?" Courtney smiled at them, not believing that she hadn't put two and two together. "Haley talks about you all the time."
"Isn't that sweet, Hales," Lucas gushed in his usual teasing matter. She glared at him, but it didn't seem to faze the boy in the slightest. "Five months and thousands of miles, and you still can't think about anything other than me."
"Bite me, Scott," she snapped, narrowing her eyes at him. Knowing exactly where this was going, Karen quickly put an end to it by telling them both to be quiet. She couldn't help but smile at their behavior though. She hadn't seen Lucas having this much fun since Haley had left.
"Sorry about those two," Karen told Courtney politely. She held out her hand for the blonde to shake. "It's nice to meet you, Courtney, is it?"
"Oh, man, sorry again," Haley mumbled, sending another glare at Lucas to let him know that it was his fault that she was being rude. "Guys, this is Courtney. She's a good friend of ours. She's Tay's best friend and roommate."
"Oh, you're one of Taylor's friends?" Lucas asked, smiling and straightening up in his seat. If she was friends with Taylor, best friends, she was bound to be a bunch of fun, just like the blonde. He couldn't count the number of times he had a crush on one of Taylor's hot friends. It felt like old times.
"Her best friend," Courtney repeated, smiling sweetly down at him, liking where this was going. Karen rolled her eyes, not surprised at her son's flirting since he liked to hit on anything with boobs, but Haley couldn't believe his actions. She narrowed her eyes at him again and leaned forward, hoping to get her best friend's attention.
"Yeah, and Luke's my best friend," she cut in, getting both of their attention. "Am I the only one that thinks that's ironic? My best friend, Tay's best friend, wouldn't that be weird if you got married? I could be your best woman; Tay could be your maid of honor. Of course, you'd ask Brooke to be a bride's maid, but she'd probably be uncomfortable given the fact that her and Lucas used to date and all..."
"You and Brooke used to date?" Courtney asked, disappointed. Not that she expected much out of him since she figured he was leaving soon, but maybe they could just have a fun night together, two hot people hooking up, nothing wrong with that.
"Well, kinda," he admitted, but quickly continued when he saw her starting to say something. "But that was a long time ago, and the break up was pretty bad, so I doubt she still likes me or anything." Haley and Karen had to stifle laughter at how desperate he seemed.
"Sorry, girl code," she shrugged; decided it wasn't that big of a deal. There were plenty of hotties in the City that she could hook up with. "That's one of the most important rules, man; Thou shalt not covert thy girlfriend's ex-ass. Nothing I can do."
"I understand," Lucas mumbled, slumping back in his seat, crossing his arms over his chest and pouting, much like his mother had done just a few minutes ago. That did not go unnoticed by Lucas or Haley. Haley shook her head at his behavior and looked back up at Courtney.
"So, anyway," she began, looking at Lucas for a moment as she drew out the word before looking back up at the blonde. "Brooke's planning some big night out tomorrow to celebrate, and we thought we'd invite you and Tay. You up for it?"
"I've always got time to celebrate your birthday, Hay," Courtney smiled down at her. "And I know Tay's not busy tomorrow, and I'm assuming Brooke already asked her, so just call to tell us the details once that's all figured out." Haley smiled, glad that she agreed to it. Maybe tomorrow night wouldn't be as much as a train wreck as she had thought it would be.
"Brooke," Taylor moaned when she saw what Brooke was holding up. "There is no way that Haley is going to wear that." Brooke pulled away to look at the maternity pants that she was holding up. She didn't see the problem.
"What's wrong with them?" she asked, looking between them and Taylor. "They're hot, I would totally wear them if I were pregnant." Taylor put her hand on her hip and stared at Brooke for a moment, waiting for her to realize what was wrong with her sentence. "What?"
"When has Haley ever liked anything that you would wear?" she asked, raising an eyebrow, daring Brooke to argue that. Brooke opened her mouth to say something, but quickly shut it when she realized that the blonde was right.
"Shut up," she mumbled with a pout, throwing the pants back on the table and moving around to a different rack. "Then what do you suggest that we get her?"
"First," Taylor began, idly looking through the clothes on the rack in front of her. "We are not getting Haley something. I'm getting her something and you're getting her something. Second, I don't think we should get her anything from here."
"But it's the most fashion friendly maternity store in the city," Brooke pointed out, confused at what Taylor was trying to say. The older blonde let out a sigh and rolled her eyes.
"I don't think we should get her something that she's only going to be using for another two months," Taylor explained, giving up on her search for anything. "Besides, even if Hay wasn't pregnant, buying her clothes for her birthday seems kind of stupid. She's not really into that kind of stuff, you know?"
"Okay," Brooke sighed, seeing both of Taylor's points. She tried to think of something else she could get her best friend for a moment, but came up blank. "So then what am I supposed to get her? She's Tutor Girl, right? Should I get her a book?"
"You can't just get her a random book, Brooke," Taylor laughed, picture the look on Haley's face when Brooke dropped Fixing Cars for Dummies in front of her. "If you can think of a book that will actually mean something to her, than I say go for it, but if not, think of something else."
"Okay, I can't think of anything bookwise," Brooke informed her, turning on her heel and leading her friend out of the store and onto the street. Once they were outside, she still couldn't think of anything to get Haley. She let out a frustrated sigh. "This is so lame. Why can't I think of anything? Whenever Peyton's birthday comes around, all I have to do is grab some old record or ugly band t-shirt and she's happy as a clam."
"Haley's not exactly the most complicated girl in the world," Taylor reminded her friend, giving her shoulder a little shove. "She's not that hard to shop for. Just think really, really hard and it'll come to you."
"Okay," Brooke nodded, linking her arm with Taylor's as they walked down the street towards the Café where they were told to meet the others for a dinner. "Well, what are you getting her?"
"Oh, well," Taylor began, but stopped when her mind went blank. She opened her mouth to try again, but still nothing. She scrunched her eyebrows together in confusion and looked down, trying to remember what she wanted to get Haley for her birthday. Surely she had thought about it by now. Brooke watched her think for a moment before she slumped her shoulders in defeat.
"You have no idea either, do you?" Taylor shot her a dirty look and Brooke chuckled. She shook her head in amusement as they rounded the corner that the Café was on. "We're pathetic. We can't even think of anything to get a simple girl that we both love dearly. How sad are we?"
"Pretty sad," Taylor agreed. "But not as sad as Hay is gonna be if we don't get her something good after you made such a production out of this whole thing when she didn't want to do anything."
"Don't you dare blame this on me!" Brooke exclaimed, bumping her hip with Taylor's and letting out a laugh when she had to keep herself from falling into the busy New York street. "You're her sister, you've known her all her life. You should know what to get her by now."
"Haley is an extremely complex girl, you know?" Taylor tried to convince her, deciding to ignore Brooke's attempt on her life for the moment as they continued to walk.
"Tutor Girl is not exactly what I would call complex, Tay," Brooke laughed, amused at the mere thought of someone finding Haley James complex. Brooke think so, she was just Haley, her best bud. It really shouldn't be so hard to think of a present for her. "God, she's my best friend. This shouldn't be so hard!"
"Give yourself a break, Brooke," Taylor told her, wrapping a loose arm around her friend's shoulders and giving them a light squeeze. She laughed lightly when Brooke continued to pout at her words. "Hey, like you said, I'm her sister and I don't know what to get her either."
"Still…" Brooke tried to protest. God, she was totally overreacting, but she just blamed it on living with a pregnant girl for the last five months. All those mood swings were starting to rub off on her.
"Besides," Taylor tried again with a smile and another squeeze. "The more you think about it, the more awesome it's gonna be. It wouldn't have meant as much if you just picked the first random thing, right?"
"I guess," Brooke mumbled, but didn't complain anymore. "Oh well, we both have until tomorrow night, anyway. That'll give me all night to think about it tonight, and maybe ask Luke or Karen for some ideas or something."
"That's the spirit," Taylor cheered, sending a wave and smile at her sister when she spotted her sitting at their usual table at the Café. "And if worse comes to worse, just tell Hay that she'll have to wait a little bit because you want to make sure you get her the perfect gift."
"Man, I sound like some loser boyfriend worrying about what to get his girlfriend for their first birthday together." Brooke made a face, remembering all the bad Saturday morning shows that tried to play with that plotline and of course failed miserably. She did not want to act like that, ever.
"Well, if you ever want to date my baby sister, you have my blessing," Taylor teased, wiggling her eyebrows comically when Brooke sent her an evil glare. "Okay, I'm sorry. You set it up, I wasn't supposed to take it?"
"Shut up, Taylor," Brooke mumbled, shrugging Taylor's arm off of her shoulder as they neared the Café. Taylor glanced at the table with her sister and friends and smiled slightly when she noticed Lucas sitting there.
"Oh, sorry, I completely forgot," Taylor began, a devilish smile on her face. "I forgot that good old Lucas Scott was in town. You can't hook up with my sister when you're busy pining over the basketball stud, can you?"
"Tay, shut up," Brooke hissed, when they were just a couple feet away from the table and Taylor was talking about her wanting to hook up with Lucas. She saw Taylor about to say something else, and she quickly gave her a harsh pinch in the arm and moved away from her before Lucas could ask what had just happened.
"Hey, Tigger," Haley greeted; smiling sweetly up at Brooke as she walked behind her to get to the chair on Haley's other side. The former cheerleader plopped down in the chair, ruffling Haley's hair and giving her huge belly an adoring rub.
"Hello, family," she greeted Haley and little Brookie before turning to Lucas and Karen. "Hey, guys. How was your field trip? Was Hales a good tour guide?"
"Oh yeah," Karen quickly assured Brooke with a smile. Taylor smiled at her sister proudly, not surprised that Haley knew her way around the city already and pulled out the chair between Lucas and Haley and sat down in it. "She showed us all the things that I've always wanted to see here. It was all so beautiful."
"God, mom," Lucas groaned. "Could you be anymore chick flickish?" All the girls simply ignore him and continued on with their conversation until Courtney came over with another waitress with all of their food.
"I ordered for you guys," Haley told Taylor and Brooke as the other waitress placed the plates around the table. "I hope you guys don't mind."
"Not at all," Taylor told her, looking approvingly at the huge cheeseburger that was sitting in front of her. "You know what I like, sis."
"As long as it's not a pickle and cheese sandwich, I think I'm okay," Brooke teased, which earned her a sarcastic face from Haley. The two laughed, leaving the rest of the people at the table, and all started to eat their food.
"Court, pull up a seat," Taylor told her best friend with a mouth full of food. Brooke didn't even register the invite until she noticed Courtney pulling a chair from another table and fitting in between Brooke and Karen. Brooke stopped mid chew and gave Courtney the once over and almost burst out laughing.
"Oh my God!" she giggled; glad that she hadn't been drinking when she had spotted Courtney. She quickly swallowed the bite of her BLT and brought her hand up to cover her mouth as her laughter bubbled over.
"Yeah, yeah," Courtney mumbled, wondering for the millionth time why she had gotten a job at the Café in the first place. She knew that Brooke and Haley worked there, and even though Jack had agreed to put them on different shifts, she should have known that she couldn't hide it forever. "Laugh it up."
"Oh God, my stomach hurts," Brooke got out between laughs. Haley and Taylor tried their best to suppress their laughter at Brooke's reaction and the look on Courtney's face. "Oh, man, oh, that just made my entire life."
"I hate you," the blonde mumbled, folding her arms across her chest and jutting out her bottom lip to show that she didn't find the situation amusing at all. "I hope you choke and die."
"Ah, I love you, too, Court," Brooke gushed, reaching over to try to play with one of the hanging strings on Courtney's apron. She let out another giggle when her hands were squatted away.
Haley watched on in amusement, not surprised at Brooke's reaction at all. She knew that's what she was going to do when she saw their older friend. She couldn't help but smile as the two girls began swatting at each other, causing the rest of the table to laugh at them. She looked around at everyone and couldn't believe how happy she felt. She had been so positive that night when she watched in on Nathan and that girl that her life was ruined and that she would never be okay again. But as she looked around the table at all the people she cared about it the world, she couldn't help but notice that she was incredibly happy.
She also couldn't help but notice that there was someone missing.
"Alright," Haley stated, leaning forward on the couch in determination. "I don't know about you guys, but I'm heading to bed. It's tiring being pregnant."
"But the movie isn't over yet," Lucas pointed, glaring at her wanting to go to bed so early. It was just like when they were kids and they were having their sleepover. She could never stay up for the whole movie, and when she wanted to go to bed, Karen made him go to bed as well. He missed the ends of so many great movies because of that. To this day, he still didn't know if they saved the world in Armageddon.
"Get over it," she snapped back, surprising Lucas at the sudden harshness. Brooke held back the laugh when she saw the shocked look on his face. She was so used to Haley's mood swings it wasn't even funny. To tell the truth, she hardly even noticed them anymore.
"Don't mind her," Brooke advised her as he shrunk back in his seat on the floor in fear. Haley fought the urge to smack them both as she tried to stand up straight.
"A little help here," she snapped at Brooke, who was sitting beside her and having a glaring contest with Lucas at the moment. Brooke quickly stood up, and bend back down to help her extremely pregnant best friend stand up.
"Okay, let's go to bed," she suggested, keeping a firm hold on Haley's hand when they were both up straight.
"I said you guys didn't have to go to bed," Haley reminded her, feeling bad at the thought of ruining everyone's night just because she was tired. Karen and Brooke both shook their heads to tell her that it wasn't a big deal, while Lucas just pouted. Haley didn't care about him though.
"Oh, we're tired from our trip anyway," Karen assured her, smiling up at Haley's worried face. It was just like Haley to put others before herself, even after all of this time and unfairness. "Right, Lucas?" When Lucas didn't say anything, she kicked him lightly in the back and he nodded, but didn't say anything.
"Might as well leave all this crap to clean up in the morning," Brooke decided, as she left Haley's side momentarily to turn off the television and when over to lock the door. Karen and Lucas stood up as well, and started turning off the lights and anything that they might have left in the room. "All your stuff is in my room already, right?"
"Yeah," Lucas mumbled, stifling a yawn on principle and shuffling his feet towards Brooke's bedroom and disappearing into it after giving them a weak wave goodnight. The three women watched him in amusement, understanding that it's probably tough for him to be stuck with three females all weekend.
"Are you sure you don't mind us stealing your bedroom, Brooke?" Karen asked for the hundredth time that night. She knew that she was probably becoming annoying, but she just couldn't help it. She was like Haley; she always had an overwhelming need to please people.
"Because it's not too late for us to go to a hotel," she continued before Brooke could give her an answer. She glanced at her watch and decided it probably wasn't the best idea to be out that late in the City on a Friday night. "Or we could at least sleep on the couch. I just feel horrible kicking you out of your own room."
"Karen, don't be silly," Brooke told her, making sure that her voice left no room for argument. "I have absolutely no problem bunking with Haley. We have slumber parties most nights anyway. It's not a big deal at all."
"We're sure," Haley said this time, giving her a positive smile. Finally, they saw Karen's shoulders slump and they knew that she had given in. "Good night, Karen."
"Night girls," she said, leaning in to give Brooke a quick hug before moving to stand in front of Haley. She couldn't help but to smile proudly at the life that Haley had made for herself here. Most teenagers would have given up or gone back to their parents, Haley stuck it out. Karen reached out and brushed a stray hair out of Haley's face and leaned forward and kissed her on the forehead. "I'm so proud of you, sweetie."
"For getting pregnant before my 17 birthday?"
"For not letting that ruin your life," she corrected her. They shared a smile and pulled each other in for a hug. It wasn't until she was in Karen's arms in that moment that she realized just how much she had missed her 'mom'. "I love you, Karen."
"Aw, I love you too, Haley-bub." Giving her one more kiss on the forehead and another wave to Brooke, Karen quickly disappeared into Brooke's bedroom just like her son had done moments before, leaving the two best friends by themselves in the living room.
"You okay?" Brooked asked her softly when she saw the sad look on Haley's face. The moment Haley realized that she was starting to cry, she quickly wiped her face and gave Brooke a watery smile.
"I'm okay," she promised the other girl with a nod. She saw the skeptical look on Brooke's face. "I promise."
"If you say so," Brooke sighed, rubbing her hand up and down Haley's back in a soothing fashion even if she wasn't sad. "Come on, let's go to bed." Haley nodded and let herself be led into her bedroom. Luckily the girls were already dressed for bed thanks to Haley's suggestion before they started watching the movie. "I'm just gonna brush my teeth and stuff, kay?"
"Yeah," Haley nodded, slipping into bed. She didn't have the energy to follow Brooke's actions and instead got under the covers and waited for her best friend to come back and keep her company. A few minutes later, a minty fresh Brooke joined her under the covers.
"Do you have enough room?" she asked, shifting in her position until she found one that was comfortable for her. She could see Haley nod in the darkness. The two of them laid in silence for a moment, before Brooke couldn't take it anymore. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"I promise, Tigger," Haley assured her, turning her head to look at the brunette. She knew that Brooke could tell that she was lying. "It's just, with Lucas and Karen here, it just reminded me how much I miss Peyton."
"I know, sweetie," Brooke spoke, reaching out in the dark to grab a hold of Haley's hand. "But it's your birthday tomorrow so I'm sure she'll call. I'm assuming that I was the only one that didn't know it was your birthday."
"Yeah, I think so," Haley said, smiling slightly at the pout she could hear in Brooke's voice. "I'm sorry about that, by the way. I just didn't want to make a big deal out of it at all. I grew up in a big family, you know? We didn't really celebrate birthdays like normal people do. And I never really had many friends, so it was really just me, Lucas, Karen, Keith and Taylor having dinner at the Café. And with three of those people not here, I thought it would just depress me if we celebrated it."
"I get it, Hales," Brooke assured her. "But we're not in Tree Hill anymore, you know that. I think we're gonna have to start some new traditions. What better way to start than by celebrating the day you came into this world?"
"You're the best, Tigger," Haley marveled with a laugh.
"I try," was her ever so modest response. "Okay, enough of this chit chat. You said you were tired and it's not good for Little Brookie to not get her rest."
"You're right," Haley nodded, rolling onto her side so she was comfortable. She rested her head nicely on the pillow and closed her eyes. "Night, Tigger. Love you."
"I love you, too," Brooke repeated in an already sleepy tone. Before they knew it, both girls had fallen to sleep.
Okay, that's all for now. I know nothing too exciting happened in this chapter, but it's setting up for next chapter, which again, will probably not be too exciting either. I don't know, I might surprise you though. Anyway, drop me a review please and tell me what you thought. I would love to hear from you. Anyway, peace out until next update of whichever story. Later.