"This is so dumb," Haley muttered as she took a seat in the stands.

"This is not dumb," Ally said with a small smile as she sat down, her eyes searching for a particular player.

"You drag me here, on a Friday night to watch a couple of guys try to put a ball through a hoop for two hours. Which part of that is not dumb?"

"Because the guys are major hotties."

"Major hotties that we have no chances with," Haley said as she sighed, "You need to get over this crush you have on Nathan."

"He's more then a crush," Ally said with a dreamy smile.

Haley shook her head as she nudged her best friend, "Speaking of the bastard."

"Stop it," Ally said as she slapped Haley playfully in the chest, "He's a good guy."

"You know this how?"

"We've talked," Ally defended as she studied Nathan closely, "In Algebra."

"Talked," Haley repeated as she watched the players begin to warm up, "Talk as in 'hey, you're in my way' talk or as in 'hey, can I get your number' talk."

"He's not like that," Ally replied, running her hands through her long blonde hair.

"You don't know this," Haley argued, "You've had a thing for this guy for like what, months now? Either you talk to him or you get over him."

"I wish you wouldn't be so black and white sometimes."

"I'm being honest."

"Cynical is more like it," Ally said as she watched Nathan shoot.

"Whatever you say, hun. I'm only warning you that I've heard some things about this guy and it's not exactly peachy keen. You know I wouldn't be like this if you weren't my best friend."

Ally turned to Haley and smiled before replying, "I know. The game's about to start though."

"Fun stuff," Haley muttered as she sat back and watched as Ally watched Nathan.

It had been like this for awhile. Since the beginning of the school year, Ally had been crushing on Nathan though she never spoke a word of it, at least not to anyone else. Haley doubted that Nathan even knew about Ally's interest in him but that was the way she wanted it. Ally wanted to admire from a distance. Right now, in her mind, Nathan was perfect and Haley knew that Nathan Scott was nowhere near perfect or good enough for her best friend but she wasn't going to destroy her friend's dream. She wasn't that big of a bitch. She also knew that Ally wouldn't make a move and that Nathan wouldn't either since he wasn't interested in the petite blonde in that way. So, right now, it was safe.

That was always when things got messy. Lately, it had escalated. Ally had become more frustrated with the lack of progress. It wasn't that surprising. After all, everyone's patience would wear thin after months of absolutely nothing. She had been going to more and more basketball games, dragging Haley along with of course. Haley herself had no interest in basketball and would rather be doing something of more substance but she was there to support her best friend, despite the fact she thought the whole situation was ridiculous. Still, she didn't have the heart to break Ally's. So, she went. And frowned all the while.

Sighing, Haley was silently grateful that she at least knew some of the guys on the basketball team. Looking up, she saw Lucas Scott waving to her. Smiling, she waved back and gave him a thumbs up sign. Lucas Scott was probably one of the only jocks she could stand. It wasn't like she was one of those outcast loner types. Haley had friends from crowds of every sort but she wasn't up in the popular crowd. It was because of this that Ally had gotten so much information on Nathan. And, of course, fall deeper and deeper into the infatuation with him.

Haley shook her head, okay, so maybe this was partially her fault as well. Paying attention to the game, she watched as Nathan scored again and Ally cheering her heart out. Laughing, Haley shook her head and said, "You've got the whole cheerleading thing down pat."

Smiling, Ally opted for not commenting and returning her attentions back to the game.

Haley didn't see what was so great about Nathan. He wasn't the most intelligent being on earth. He was attractive, sure, but he was also a bit of an enigma. From the way Ally spoke of him, he seemed sweet and caring but from what Haley knew about him, he was a complete jerk that wanted nothing but sex. So, which to believe? Maybe that was what Ally liked so much about Nathan, the fact that he was mysterious. The uncertainty factor had it's appeal but it certainly wouldn't have been enough to hold her attention for that long.

Then again, she and Ally were different. Looking at her best friend and the glow radiating from her, Haley smiled. Maybe that was a good thing.

Looking back on the court, she watched as Nathan scored the winning basket and the crowd rush up to him as the ending buzzer went off. Ally rushed to her feet and ran down the court, hoping to reach Nathan.

Haley shook her head as she watched the chaos surrounding the players, mainly Nathan Scott. Nathan, used to the overwhelming attention, did the usual and smiled, accepting the cheers and congratulations. Looking at the bleachers, he scanned the crowd and saw Haley James. For a moment, their eyes caught before she looked away, as if she was doing something she shouldn't.

Slightly confused, he shook his head and pushed it away, letting the rush of victory fall over him.

Ally bounced happily as she and Haley waited outside the locker room for the players to come out.

"Can't we leave now?" Haley asked, slightly peeved that she was still here. The game was over and when it was over, people were supposed to leave. So, why weren't they leaving?

"Let's just wait until they come out. I want to congratulate Nathan."

"Oh, dear lord," Haley muttered before she said, "Promise me you'll make a move."

"What?"

"If you make a move, any move. I'll stay. If not, you're walking your butt home."

"Haley!" Ally said in mock outrage, "You can't just-"

"Oh, yes, I can, missy," Haley shook a finger at her, "It's been months. You're in need of a push."

"More like a shove."

Haley shrugged and grinned when Nathan Scott walked out of the locker room, loud cheers signaling his entrance. "Always right on time." She nudged Ally in the back, "Do something."

Ally took a deep breath, silently cursing Haley's name as she walked in front of Nathan, "Hey," she said with a nervous smile.

"Hey," Nathan answered, smiling back before looking up at Haley, nodding at her.

Haley scoffed before nodding back. Okay, so this was a form of greeting now? This was just pitiful. She silently reprimanded herself. This was bad, she was supposed to be supporting her best friend. Switching to supporto gal mode, she cleared her throat, hoping Ally would get her point.

"So, umm, great game out there tonight. You were on fire."

"Thanks," Nathan replied before looking at Haley again who was looking around awkwardly. She seemed to not want to look him the in the eye. Not use to not capturing a girl's attention, he asked, "You guys coming to my party tonight?"

"Party?"

"Yeah, party," Nathan said as his attentions returned back to Ally, "I'm headed there right now."

"At your house?"

"Well, yeah," Nathan said with a small laugh, "You coming?" He looked up at Haley.

Haley looked down and coughed profusely. Ally ignored her and nodded, "Yeah, we'll be there."

"Great, see you guys there then," Nathan said as he walked away, "Gotta go, later."

"Bye," Ally whispered as she waved softly before she turned around, facing Haley, "We're invited to his party. Oh, goodness, I could scream."

"So could I," Haley muttered, "I want to go home."

"Please, Haley, do this for me. I promise I won't drag you to any more of the basketball games if you do."

Haley's eyes narrowed, "Okay, at least you didn't use the best friend excuse."

"That was the next choice," Ally said with a smile, "Thanks hun."

"I never actually agreed."

"Oh, sure you did."

"I'm way too nice to you."

"It's because you love me," Ally replied as she linked her arm through Haley's. "This is going to be good," she reassured herself, "I can feel it."

--

"Are you excited?" Haley asked as she switched lanes. Thank goodness she actually knew where Nathan lived. Then again, who in this town didn't know where the Scott's mansion like home was located?

"Kinda," Ally said with a small smile before hearing Haley's scoff and fessing up, "Okay, very. I'm nervous."

"Why?"

"It's Nathan, Haley. Nathan Scott. I've been in serious like with him since the beginning of the year," Ally explained, "This is big."

Haley nodded before saying, "I hate to be the pessimist but just be careful, okay? I know you think he's Mr. Wonderful and all but his intentions might not be well, you know what I mean."

"You mean he wants to screw me?" Ally asked bluntly.

Haley turned to her, her mouth open and said in mock shock, "Why, Allyson Elizabeth Carson, that kind of language isn't permitted in my presence."

A laugh escaped from her lips as Allyson grinned, "I know, Haley. I'm not some stupid naive little girl. The bad things you've told me about him have gotten through my head but not to it. He's different then everyone thinks."

"How so?" Haley already knew what she was going to say. He was nice and sweet. Blah, blah, blah.

"He's intense," Ally started.

"Intense?" Well, this was different. "As in how?"

"The way he looks at me sometimes, it's like he can see right through me. And, it's the way he makes me feel when he talks to me. His voice gets a little softer and he just makes me feel like I'm the only one that matters," Ally whispered as she closed her eyes.

"Wow," Haley said softly. What else was she supposed to say? Oh, god, this was bad. This was very very bad. This wasn't just some school girl crush. This was turning into a full blown obsession. Ally had never had these feelings for anyone else before. She was talking like she was a girl in love. And, there was no way Ally could be in love with Nathan. She didn't even know Nathan. Looking over at the blonde, Haley sighed sadly. Great, what was she going to do now?

"You're quiet," Ally commented.

"I'm worried," Haley said honestly.

"About what?"

"That the image Nathan is projecting towards you is a false one. I don't want to be a bitch but Ally, he's Nathan Scott, the biggest player at the school. He uses girls and he makes them believe lies. You're falling right into one."

Ally looked down and turned off the radio. The uncomfortable silence wafted over them as neither spoke for a few moments. "I know you don't like him, Haley. I know you think he's scum but I can't help what I feel."

"That's exactly it, Ally. You don't even know him. You've only talked to him a few times and you're acting as if you're in love with him."

"I'm not in love." Ally sighed and looked out the window, "I just like him a lot. He makes me feel special. No one's ever done that before."

The last part was whispered and Haley felt a pang in her heart. "I don't want tonight to be a disappointment. I just don't want you to get hurt."

"You don't have to protect me, Haley," Ally said softly, "I'm my own person."

"You're my best friend."

Ally put her hand on Haley's arm as the brunette parked in front of the Scott's house, "I know. But, just let me experience this, okay? If I get hurt then I get hurt. I need to learn for myself."

Haley sighed, knowing there was truth in Ally's words. She knew that she acted like a mother sometimes but Ally had been her best friend for what seemed like forever. Even as a child, she would be the one to protect Allyson, never letting any harm coming to her. Ally was always the soft spoken one and Haley was the one that was always strong.

Now, things were changing. Haley wasn't sure if that was such a good thing.

"Okay," Haley said after a few quiet moments, "Enough drama. Let's have a little fun tonight."

Ally smiled as they got out of the car, linking her arm through Haley's, "Promise not to be Ms. Crabby?"

"I don't have much of a choice, do I?"

"Nope."

Ringing the doorbell, Haley waited as someone answered the door. She could already hear the music booming through the closed door. Shaking her head, she laughed. Well, this was utterly conformist of her. It's a Friday night and where was she? At a jock's typical get drunk and laid party.

The door opened and Ally walked in, Haley in tow. Spotting Nathan, Ally gave Haley a look and Haley nodded, letting go of her best friend, her inner self opposing but she said nothing. Allyson was right, she could do this on her own. Haley just didn't want to be the one picking up the broken pieces of her best friend. Shaking her head, Haley walked through the throng of people and made her way to the drinks. Grabbing a coke out of the cooler, she gulped down the soft drink as she nodded her head to what everyone considered music these days and leaned against the wall.

"Fancy seeing you here."

Haley nearly jumped at the voice. She turned around and smiled when she saw who it was, "Lucas, you scared the crap out of me."

"That was the point," he said with a boyish grin, "Didn't think I'd ever find you here at one of Nathan's parties."

"Believe me, I never exactly pictured myself here either. Ally wanted to come so here I am."

"I saw him talking to you guys. She was all smiles."

"That's Ally," Haley said as she took another sip of her coke, "You having fun?"

"Ehh, sorta," Lucas replied honestly, "These parties get old and predictable after awhile. It's nice to have some amiable company though."

Haley smiled as she saw a girl eye Lucas, "I think there is more then enough 'amiable' company here, Luke."

"I suppose," he answered cryptically.

"Looking for someone?"

Without answering, his eyes narrowed when he saw Ally talking to Nathan, "Does she like him?"

"What?" Haley asked, caught off guard.

"Ally, she into Nathan?"

Haley clamped her mouth shut before she coughed and tried her best to lie, "N-No. No. No. Of course not. What gave you that insane idea?"

"She's glowing," Lucas answered, his tone cool, "I've never seen her smile so much before."

"Ally?" Haley asked, "She's always smiling."

"Not like that," Lucas whispered before he threw his empty can into the garbage can. He started to walk away before Haley stopped him.

"Lucas, wait-"

"I know," he said as he turned around, "I won't say anything."

"Thank you," Haley said, slightly confused.

--

Haley was sitting in what she presumed was the study when Ally walked into the room, a huge smile on her face.

"Hey you," Haley greeted, a immediate smile appearing on her face. "What's up?"

"He's wonderful," Ally replied, her voice dreamy, "Oh, he's wonderful. I like him so much, Haley," she said as she fell onto the couch next to her.

"I can tell," Haley said as she grinned, "What happened?"

"We talked for such a long time. Talked for real. I mean, it's his party and he could've talked to anyone else. Lord knows we were interrupted a million times but he still talked to me and oh," Ally gushed, "I like him so much."

"Well, this is definitely progress," Haley said as she hugged Ally tightly.

"He asked for my number," Ally said as she bounced happily, "I don't know if he'll call or anything but you know, why else would he ask if he wouldn't, right?"

"Yeah," Haley replied, her voice suddenly worried. Nathan asked for Ally's number? This was never good. "Hey, look, I'm gonna go get something to drink."

"Okay," Ally said, still smiling, "I'll be here."

Haley nodded as she walked out of the study and into the main hallway, looking for a particular someone. And, she found him, with his lips firmly attached to some random girl. Angered, Haley tapped him on the shoulder, her hands on her hips.

Nathan turned around, surprised to see who it was, "Haley," he pushed the girl away. Insulted, the bleached blonde scoffed before walking away.

"You ass," Haley said as she glared at him.

"What?"

"Stay away from Allyson," she spat as she turned to walk away.

"Wait, what the hell?" He grabbed her arm before she shoved him away.

"Don't touch me. You're unbelievable, you know that?"

"I didn't do anything."

Rolling her eyes, Haley forced herself to calm down. Nathan didn't know about Allyson's infatuation and she couldn't just blurt it out. She wouldn't betray her best friend that way. "Whatever," she said as she began to walk away again.

Confused, Nathan grabbed her hand tightly, not letting her pull away. "Why are you pissed and what does Allyson have anything to do with it?"

Hearing her name, Haley's anger flared up once again, "Just stay away from her and let go of me."

"Are you jealous or something?"

"Oh god," she said in disgust, "You are such a cocky bastard."

"You ever gonna explain what the hell is going on instead of just insulting me?"

"Nothing is going on," Haley said, still trying to break away from Nathan's grasp. "Will you let go of me?"

"I mean, you're the one that interrupted me," he said, ignoring her.

"Okay, my mistake. I get it. I'll never bother you again, now let go of me."

"I didn't say that."

"What?" Haley asked, confused.

"I didn't say I didn't want you to bother me."

Rolling her eyes, Haley tried to pull away again but Nathan wasn't budging. He moved closer to her until she was up against the wall, much like the position she found Nathan and the random girl in only minutes before.

"Actually," he said huskily, "I kind of like the attention."

"Yeah," she said, annoyed, "I can tell."

Raising an eyebrow, he leaned in to kiss her but she pushed him back, "I'm not like that, Scott."

Smirking, he nodded and raised his hands in mock defeat, "I love a challenge."

"Stay away from me and Ally."

"Threatening me? I think I like it."

"Is everything about sex with you?"

Laughing, he leaned in and whispered in her ear, "Turns you on, doesn't it?"

"God, you're sickening," Haley said as she shook her head, walking away.

Nathan watched as she walked away, his attentions piqued. This should be fun.