Author's Note: Wow. I'm sorry, there's nothing else I can say. I've been so uberly busy and I just haven't been able to update this. I've had half the chapter written for awhile now and I just couldn't bring myself to write, but it's finished now. It's horrible, but it's something, right. Anyway, I have the last few chapters planned out and then this baby is done. I hope you guys enjoy and please, please review, because it does make me want to update. Thanks.
Also, a few people have asked about the quotes that I use. I get them all from the internet. Well, I've made up a few of them, and you'll be able to tell because those ones suck. I'm glad you all like the quotes.
--- OTH ---
The room was a blur to Nathan as he slowly began to open his eyes. It didn't take him long to notice that it was still the middle of the night, judging by the darkness he could see through the bedroom window. He could hear the rain hitting against the glass and he wondered when it had starting raining. He stretched slightly and it only took him a moment to remember everything that had happened earlier.
This was the second time he had woken up that night. Though this time there wasn't a loud banging at the door and he didn't imagine there would be sex, not like the last time he had gotten up.
Haley hadn't said anything the whole time, not after that one sentence. Nathan had tried getting some kind of explanation from her, but she wouldn't say anything, just continued her actions. If Nathan's brain had been functioning on any kind of intelligent level, he may have stopped them for going too far, but his had won over his head, and they had slept together.
A smile came to his face as he remembered the night's events. Something that he had wanted for a month, but never thought would happen, had come true. He was in love with Haley, he was sure, and he was so happy and relieved that Haley seemed to share those feelings.
With his smile getting bigger and brighter as those wonderful thoughts floated through his head, Nathan rolled over to see if Haley was awake so they could finally talk about all the things that needed to be discussed between them. His face fell when he saw that the bed was empty.
He quickly scrambled into a sitting position and turned on the lamp beside him. He looked around the room for any sign of the beautiful brunette, but there was nothing. All the clothes that had been scattered around the room were gone, and so were the shoes she had kicked off in their frenzy. Haley was gone.
He frantically pulled on some boxers and jumped out of bed to check the rest of his apartment. His bare feet padded into the kitchen and he wasn't surprised to find it was empty as well. Just when he was about to head back into his room to get dressed, a piece of paper on his kitchen counter caught his eye.
He looked around again for anything else before slowly walking over to the island and picking it up. He closed his eyes for a moment, afraid of what might be written on it before he finally let out a breath and read the three simple words that were written in Haley's delicate handwriting. He felt his stomach drop to his feet.
He flashed back to the way Haley looked while she was laying underneath him. More specifically, the look in her eyes. While he had mistaken the look for pleasure at the time, he saw it as empty now, devoid of any emotion.
He closed his eyes again as a rush of nausea washed over him. He held them shut tightly for a moment, silently willing everything away, before he opened them again and reread the words written in front of him.
I'm so sorry.
-- People so seldom say I love you And then it's either too late or love goes. So when I tell you I love you, It doesn't mean I know you'll never go, Only that I wish you didn't have to --
Brooke groaned loudly in her sleep, only aware of the loud banging subconsciously. She shifted around on the couch and buried her face in her pillow, praying the noise would just leave her be so she could sleep.
"Jesus Christ," Taylor cursed as she stormed out of her bedroom, pulled the string of her robe closed as she walked. She smacked her sleeping sister on the head to wake her up as she passed the couch. "I'm coming, I'm coming."
"What the fuck, Tay?" Brooke mumbled as she came to, rubbing her head. The memories of the night immediately came flooding back to her and she moaned, wiping the sleep from her eyes. The knocking wasn't helping her at all.
"Dude, it's two in the morning …" Taylor began to yell as she opened the door. The words died on her lips when she saw a panicked and soaked Nathan standing on the other side. "Nathan, what are you…"
"Where's Haley?" he questioned, pushing into the apartment to look for her. She wasn't anywhere in sight and he turned back towards the blonde. "Is Haley here? I really need to talk to her."
"What about Haley?" Brooke asked, slowly getting off the couch and walking towards the crazy young boy. She glanced at her watch and released that she must have fallen asleep while she had been waiting up for Haley to come home. She followed after Nathan in confusion as he went to check their bedroom. It was empty. "Nathan, Haley's not here. What's going on?"
Nathan couldn't find the word. He opened his mouth to attempt to explain, only to close it just as quickly when nothing came out. Not knowing what he could say, Nathan reached into his pocket and shoved the paper into Brooke's hands. The brunette read it over quickly before looking up at him with fear in her eyes. She locked eyes with Nathan as she absently passed it to Taylor.
"What did you do?" Brooke could feel the bile rising in her throat as she thought about all the different things that Haley's little note could possibly mean. Not a single one of her made up scenarios were good.
"Brooke," Taylor whispered after reading the note. She tugged on Brooke's arm to get her attention. "Come on, you don't know that…"
"We slept together," Nathan confessed, his voice wavered but his gaze didn't. He swallowed, his throat suddenly feeling extremely dry. "She came over while I was asleep. I opened the door and she just attacked me. I didn't know what was going on. We just…"
"Had sex," Brooke finished for him, her eyes boring a hole through him. He glanced away and she looked at the note again. "Where is she?"
"I woke up and she was gone," he told her. "She took all her clothes and left that note." Brooke felt her stomach and heart contract as a bunch of new horrible images flashed through her mind. Haley could be anywhere, and Brooke knew she had to be going crazy.
"We have to find her," Brooke declared as if the other two didn't already know that.
"Great idea," Taylor snapped, crossing her arms over her chest. "Just where exactly do you intend to find her? It's dark as hell outside and it's pouring rain. And she could be anywhere."
"Well, we can't just leave her out there!" Brooke shouted, crumpling up Haley's note. She shook her head and tried to gather her thoughts. Taylor really did have good points, but it didn't matter, not when Haley was out there all alone.
"She'll come home when she's ready," the blonde reasoned with her. Brooke scoffed and shook her head. Taylor had no idea what she was talking about. It was so obvious that she didn't know her little sister the way Brooke knew her. Haley was not going to come to them; they needed to go to her.
"She's not gonna come home!" Brooke told her. She stared her sister down for a moment before letting out a frustrated breath and storming into her room to get dressed. She wasn't surprised when she heard Taylor following her.
"Brooke, you're not going out there," Taylor told her, grabbing the sweater out of Brooke's hands and shoving it back in the younger girl's dresser.
"I'm going to find Haley," Brooke shouted back, pulling the sweater back out and pulling it over her head. She pushed passed Taylor and back into the living room, the blonde hot on her trail.
"I don't give a shit if it's dark or raining or if it takes me all night to find her, I'm going out there," Brooke stated, staring her sister down, but leaving absolutely no room for argument. "She's my sister…"
"Fuck you, Brooke," Taylor snapped. "She's my sister, too. Don't you dare make this about that shit right now. This has nothing to do with who loves her more or who knows her better or what the fuck ever. The fact of the matter is; it's dark, and raining and it's too dangerous to go out there!"
"Which is why I need to find Haley!" Brooke shouted back. She was just barely able to control herself from pushing her older sister. She could feel Nathan's eyes on her back and she imagined he was going just as crazy as she was. She saw Taylor about to open her mouth and she took a step forward. "No, Taylor. I'm going, and there's nothing you can say that's going to stop me. Haley is alone out there, and probably completely freaking out. There's no saying what she'll do."
"Why are you so…" Taylor began, but trailed off when she noticed that Brooke wouldn't meet her gaze anymore. She understood why Brooke wanted to go out and look for Haley, considering what it was like outside, but she didn't get why Brooke was so worried about her. The way she was talking made it seem like Haley was going to do something stupid. It didn't make sense at first until she remembered the conversation she had with Brooke earlier that day. "You didn't…"
"I had to, okay?" Brooke finally admitting, waiting for the lashing she knew was coming. She closed her eyes and prepared herself for the scolding that only a big sister could dish out, and was surprised when nothing came.
"Oh, Brooke," Taylor sighed, stepping back a few feet and slowly sitting herself down on the couch. She needed a moment to process the information. Suddenly, it all made sense; Haley sleeping with Nathan, Haley running out afterwards, Brooke freaking out now. "How could you be stupid?"
"I just wanted to help her," Brooke spoke, the venom and defensiveness leaving her voice now that she was finally seeing the error of her ways. "You know me, Tay, you know how I get when it comes to Haley. I know we're twins, but I've always seen her as my little sister, and I always just want to protect her, and help her and make everything better, you know?"
"Believe me, I know," Taylor nodded, still trying to wrap her head around the events of the evening. It was all taking her by surprise. Everything had been so quiet and peaceful all month and then all of a sudden everything was out of control again. "I am a big sister too, remember?"
"But it's differ…" Brooke began to say, but stopped the moment she saw Taylor's head snap up to glare at her. She immediately shut her mouth and swallowed the words. She really needed to get the whole idea out of her head because she knew she was really starting to piss people off with her whole 'I love Haley more than you so I'm right and you're wrong' attitude. She could see why. "It doesn't matter now, what's done is done."
"It looks like it," Taylor agreed. She took a breath before pushing herself back to her feet. She shook away the thoughts that were swirling around her head and looked at Brooke for their next course of action. She was the big sister, but when it came to stuff like this, she figured it would be best to let Brooke handle the situation. She had much more experience with it, and as much as she hated to admit it, the other girl knew how Haley's mind worked better than she did. "Okay, so, what's the plan?"
"You're gonna let me go?"
"Like I could stop you." Brooke nodded her head at her words and ignored Nathan when she heard him scoff behind her. She had forgotten all about him. "I may not know much about Haley when it comes to how she deals with this kind of … stuff, but I can only imagine what she's thinking right now, and I don't think it's a good idea to leave her alone."
"Okay, okay," Brooke began, letting the plan start to form in her head. She drummed her fingers against her thigh as she tried to get a clear thought. All she could think about at the moment was the look on Haley's face when she stormed out of the café and what she must be thinking right now. "Where do you think she'd go?"
"You know her best, Brooke," Taylor reminded her, holding up her hands in a helpless manor. Brooke growled and turned around to face Nathan, hoping that maybe he'd have an idea as where they could at least start looking for her sister.
"I don't know," he told her weakly. The whole time they had been arguing, he had been racking his brain for places that Haley might have gone, but he couldn't think of anything. He thought of all the talks they had had over the past months, hoping that he'd remember some place that she might have mentioned, but there was nothing. "I can't think of any place special…"
"She's probably not evening thinking like that," Brooke reasoned, wishing she could believe her words. She looked between the two, finally deciding just to start barking orders. They weren't helping at all just standing there. "Okay. Taylor, you stay here and call anyone you can think of that she might have gone to; Peyton, Lucas, Karen, anyone, got it?"
"I think I can handle that," Taylor nodded, a bit of sarcasm slipping into her voice. The last thing she wanted to do was sit around the apartment feeling useless, waiting for the phone to ring.
"I don't have time for your attitude, Taylor," Brooke snapped, knowing what her sister was saying immediately. Taylor backed off right away, choosing not to say anything in return. "Just do it."
"Alright, alright." With that, Taylor made her way back into Brooke and Haley's bedroom, hoping she'd be able to find some kind of phonebook to get some numbers from. Other than the three people Brooke used for examples, Taylor was having trouble thinking of anyone else she could call.
"I'm coming with you," Nathan stated when she turned to him; not giving her a chance to tell him what he was going to be doing. He wasn't afraid of Brooke, and he didn't care what she told him to do, he was going to help find Haley.
"Nathan," she sighed, knowing there was no point in arguing with him. She had planned on bringing Nathan with her in the first place, but seeing the determination in his eyes, she knew that this was going to be a long night.
"No, Brooke, I'm coming," he stated again, not backing down at all. He didn't care what Brooke said to him, there was no way he could just sit around like Taylor and what for some news. Part of this was his fault and he was going to do everything in his power to make it better.
"I wasn't going to suggest otherwise," she told him, a sad smile gracing her lips. He was in love with her sister, there was no doubt about that, and while that would normally be something to be happy about, this whole situation just made her feel incredibly sad for the both of them, especially now, after what had happened tonight.
As hard as it was to imagine at times in the past month, she really did believe that Haley could get through this and then her and Nathan could finally be together, with no drama between them. Haley had been through more than anyone should ever have to go through, all before her eighteenth birthday, and Brooke thought that she deserved to be happy, and she knew that happiness could only be found with Nathan.
Now though, it looked like things might just be ruined beyond repair, at least for the immediate future, and it was all her fault. If she had just listened to Taylor when she told her to leave Haley alone, none of this would have happened. She wouldn't have pushed Haley into proving something with Nathan, and everything wouldn't be completely fucked like they were at the moment.
"Okay," she breathed, running a shaky hand through her hair. She could feel her anger starting to roll through her body and try as she might; she wasn't able to place its origins. She wasn't sure if she was mad at herself, or at Haley. She shook her head, having no desire to entertain that train of thought. "Let's go, Casanova."
"Where are we going?" Nathan asked as Brooke grabbed him by the collar of his jacket and pulled him in the direction of the door. They stopped only long enough for Brooke to throw on a jacket and shoes before they were out the door and jogging towards Nathan's SUV. Once they were inside the dry haven, both brunettes shook the water out of their hair and quickly pulled on their seatbelts.
"Do you have your cell?" Nathan nodded mutely and reached into the back and grabbed the device, handing it to Brooke. She could feel Nathan's eyes on her as she dialed rapidly. She put the phone to her ear and looked at him expectantly. "Drive."
"Just drive!" she shouted at him. He didn't waste any time shifting the truck into drive and peeling out of the apartment parking lot.
"No need to be such a bitch," he mumbled under his breath. It was times like these that he hated Brooke, and normally he would have be yelling back, but he was too worried about Haley to deal with Brooke's attitude. Neither of them would admit it, but they had the same kind of personality, which is why they always had such a hard time getting along.
"What was that?" Brooke asked even though she knew exactly what he had said. Nathan just shook his head and kept his mouth shut, redirecting his eyes back to the road. Brooke glared at him for a moment longer before turning to look out the window as she waited for something to pick up.
"Hello?" a voice finally came through after what felt like a million rings, but was only 3 in reality. Brooke let out a sigh of slight relief when she noticed that Carol didn't sound like she had just woken up.
"Carol," she greeted, her relief slipping into her voice. She didn't know why she was letting herself get excited or less worried, considering she hadn't even found any sort of lead in Haley's whereabouts just yet. "It's Brooke. Is Haley there by any chance?"
"Brooke, thank God," Carol sighed into the phone. She glanced over her shoulder to where Haley was sitting on the couch in tears and quickly left the room and wandered into the kitchen so Haley wouldn't hear her. "Haley's here with me. She came banging on the door an hour ago, soaking wet and in tears. She took a cab up."
"But she's there?" Brooke questioned, not letting herself believe it just yet. She glanced at Nathan beside her and saw him smile ever so slightly at her words.
"She's here," Carol promised her, leaning against the wall behind her. "She's a wreck, Brooke. She refuses to tell me what happened, she won't let me hold her, and she went ballistic when I suggest that I call you."
"I don't think I'm Haley's favorite person in the world right now," Brooke explained sadly even though she didn't think it was necessary. "But that doesn't matter right now."
"She's okay, Brooke," Carol told her softly, knowing how worried Brooke must be. She thought about asking what happened, but decided that it would be best if she waited until she got there, and they would have the conversation in person. That why she could sit both twins down and hopefully she could help work everything out. "I promise."
"Okay. Okay," Brooke breathed, slumping down in her seat and letting her heart beat get back to a normal speed. "Okay. Thank you so much, Carol, for everything."
"I love Haley," Carol assured her, waving off her words. "I'll do anything to make sure she's okay, it's not a trouble at all. I'm just glad that she came here instead of doing something stupid."
"You and me both," Brooke told her. She closed her eyes for a moment, all the horrible images she thought of earlier coming to mind. She was thankful that Haley was at Carol's because things could have turned out a lot worse. "Me and Nathan are on our way. We should be there in like an hour, okay? Just keep Haley there and we'll be there soon."
"You got it," the older woman nodded though Brooke couldn't see her. She could tell that Brooke was still worried about her sister. "She's fine, Brooke. A little upset, but other than that, she's fine. Stop worrying."
"Okay, thanks. We'll see you soon." Brooke didn't wait for a reply as she shut Nathan's cell for a moment before flipping it open again and dialing another number. This time, the phone barely got through the first ring before being picked up.
"Brooke?" Taylor's concerned voice came fluttering through the phone. Brooke laughed sadly at her sister's concern, remembering feeling that worried just moments before. "Where are you? You guys just left."
"We're on our way to Dad's," Brooke informed her, practically spitting her father's name. She smiled sadly when she felt Nathan give her knee a supportive squeeze in an attempt to calm her down. "I just called Carol and she said that Haley's there, so we're driving there to pick her up and we'll probably end up sleeping there since it'll be like three-thirty by the time we get there."
"As long as both of you are okay," Taylor told her, letting herself relax against the couch. She closed her sister's cell phone, having no need to call any of Haley's friends anymore, and let herself take a deep breath. "Just tell her that I love her and that I told you not to say anything to her."
"Shut up, Tay," Brooke spoke, laughing despite herself. "I'll get her to call you later, when we've worked everything out."
"Bye, Tigger." Taylor knew there was a chance that the name would upset Brooke, but she was hoping it would make her feel better.
"Bye, Tay," Brooke replied, hanging up the phone before the tears started. She bit her trembling lip and she slowly closed the phone, done with her calls for now. She thought about calling Lucas because she needed to hear his voice, but decided against it because there was no point in worrying him with this whole thing. Her and Nathan could take care of it. They would get up there, work everything out with Haley and the three of them could come back like nothing had happened.
"You good?" Nathan asked after a moment, not sure what he was supposed to do in this situation. Over the past month and a bit he had seen Brooke cry more times than he had ever seen anyone cry, and it amazed him that even now he didn't know what to do. Normally he would just hug her until she stopped, but he wasn't exactly in the position to do that right now. "Brooke?"
"I'm fine," she assured him, wiping the last of her tears off her face. She wasn't sure if they were tears of happiness at the fact that Haley was okay after being so worried about her, or tears of anger at her sister for doing this to her again. She didn't know how long she could continue living like that, always afraid that Haley was going to lose it. "I just want to see Haley."
"We're almost there," Nathan told her, knowing that it wasn't true but willing to say anything to make her feel better at this point. He needed to focus on making Brooke feel better, so he wouldn't have to think about how crazy this whole night was making him. "Just a bit longer."
"I can't keep doing this, Nathan," Brooke confessed, putting his phone on the dash and turning in her seat slightly to face the boy. "I get that Haley's going through shit, of course she is, and I want to be there for her in any way that I can, but it's just too hard. She was doing it wrong, and I couldn't watch her continue to live that way, I couldn't."
"I try to help and this is what happens," Brooke continues, completely ignoring Nathan's attempt to calm her down. "It's like this whole night as been a big 'fuck you' to me, or something. She doesn't realize how many people love her and how much this effects everyone else."
"I hope she does," Nathan spoke, thankful that Brooke didn't cut him off this time. He didn't like the thought of Haley thinking she was alone in all of this, because she most certainly wasn't. There were countless people that loved and cared about her and felt the pain when she did.
"She just needs to stop acting so damn childish and grow up," Brooke snapped. She knew she sounded harsh, and truthfully she didn't mean to be, she knew that it wasn't just that simple, but she was just so angry at Haley at the moment that she couldn't help it. "She can't keep running away from her problems, or she's never going to heal. And that's all I want, you know, for her to be good and happy. If there's anyone in the world that deserves happiness, it's Haley."
"She'll be happy, Brooke," Nathan assured her, silently hoping that he'll be the one to make her happy. "I promise. You just have to let her get there at her own pace. You can rush her into dealing with this. You're right, this hurts you and it hurts me too, but not the way it hurts Haley, every second of everyday. We can't feel that, and we can't tell her how to make that hurt feel better."
"I know," Brooke sighed, bowing her head and playing with the hem of her jacket. "It's just, I love her more than anything, and sometimes I go a little overboard, you know that. I can't help it, I worry about her so much, and after everything that's happened, I don't think anyone can blame me."
"Haley knows that, trust me," he told her, risking a glance in her direction. He hated seeing Brooke like this, especially when it was about Haley, and he really wished that there were something he could do to just make all of this go away. "She loves you Brooke, and I think she gets where you're coming from. It's just all too much for her to handle right now, but when she's ready, she'll come to you."
"Thank you, Nathan," Brooke whispered, taking his hand off her knee and squeezing it in appreciation. "You have been so amazing, to Haley and to me, through this whole thing, and you didn't have to."
"I love her, Brooke," Nathan admitting, knowing that Brooke wouldn't fight him about it this time like she did before. "I think I have since the moment I saw her."
"She loves you, too," Brooke promised him.
"I just hope we didn't ruin what we could have had tonight," Nathan spoke softly, finally letting himself think about the night's events. He shared a glance with Brooke for a moment, both trying to assure the other of something, before they sat back in their seats and finished the ride in silence.
-- A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing --
Carol must have been standing at the window of the front door waiting for them, Brooke thought, because the moment they pulled into the driveway, she came running out into the rain and greet them. The two teens jumped out of the truck and Brooke quickly made her way around the other side to stand with the other two.
"She's gone," Carol told them, almost having to shout to be heard over the rain that was pouring down on them. Brooke couldn't tell if she was crying or not.
"What?" Brooke shouted back, trying her best to push her wet hair out of her face to get a better look at the older blonde. She was certain she must have heard her wrong. There was no way that Haley was gone.
"She's gone, Brooke," Carol repeated, grimacing at the devastated look on both the teenagers' faces. "After you hung up, I told her that it was you and that you guys were coming and she flipped out and left."
"And you didn't stop her!" Brooke demanded incredulously. She breathed heavily as she fought not to pull her hair out.
"I tried," Carol told her, pushing her own hair out of her face. She felt horrible for letting this happen. She was the adult and she should have done something more to stop Haley from leaving. "She grabbed my car keys and took off before I could stop her. I'm so sorry, Brooke."
"No, no, it's not your fault," Brooke thought out loud. She racked her brain for a second, trying to think of where Haley would have gone. "She ran, just like she always done." She shook her head and grabbed Nathan's hand, pulling him back to his truck. Carol was right behind them. "Come on, Nate, we're gonna go find her."
"She could be anywhere, Brooke," Nathan shouted as he was pulled along. He hadn't said anything since the two of them had stopped talking in the car, and now everything was happening so fast that he couldn't find the words to say anything. "She could be on her way to New York for all we know!"
"No," she said confidently. "I know exactly where she is. Let's go." Nathan jumped into the driver's seat, but Carol grabbed Brooke's arm before she could get into the truck.
"Brooke, I don't think…"
"Call Taylor and tell her what's going on," Brooke instructed her, roughly shaking off the woman's hand. "She'll be worried." Without another word, Brooke slipped into the passenger side and instructed Nathan one where to go.
She didn't know how, but she just knew exactly where Haley was and she had a sickening feeling in her stomach that she also knew why Haley was there. She just hoped that got there in time.
Either way, this bullshit was ending tonight, she thought bitterly. One way or the other.
--- OTH ---
Dun dun dun. See you all next time.
Review, review, review.