Prologue

The Scott Beach House - Summer, 2001

The wind blew through the window, rustling her hair against his chest.

Nathan opened his eyes to find Brooke staring at him.

"Uhh...Hey," he coughed and she sprang from the bed suddenly.

"I gotta go home," she mumbled.

"Oh," he shrugged like he didn't care. Brooke's parents were never home, but if she wanted to escape,
he wasn't about to stop her.

He slipped into his shorts as she finished dressing and began watching him again. Waiting for something.

"So that was fun," he muttered awkwardly.

Her lips tightened and she shrugged, "Whatever. Seeya, Nate."

Nathan sat back on the bed at stared at the condom in the trash can.

Sex. He'd had sex.

Tim was gonna die. Nathan reached for the phone.

Chapter One

Summer, 2004 - AAU State Championships, 18 and Under

The crowd roared in Nathan's ears, drowning out the swish as the ball rolled off the rim, through the hoop.

One more. Too close last time.

Nathan spun the ball in his fingers and stared at the rim. His eyes drifted to Lucas in the crowd and frowned at the empty space beside him. Where was she?

It was an important day for them, for him.

She had to be sitting somewhere else.

The ball was out of his hands before he could recall it and Nathan cursed his distraction.

CLANG - it hit the rim again...and dropped in.

Nathan's team hit him in a swarm as the crowd went wild.

He looked for her in the crowd, but saw nothing.

"Way to go, man!" Lucas slapped his hand at the first opportunity.

"Thanks!" Nathan yelled to be heard, "Where's Haley?!"

"Caught a ride with Peyton," Lucas shrugged.

"Nate! Phone's ringing," Tim tossed him his cell from his gym bag.

'Hell Bitch' blinked across the screen and Nathan rolled his eyes, but flipped it open, "Brooke, is Haley with you?"

"Brooke?"

"She isn't, we were- Haley just-" Brooke's voice broke off.

"Start making sense."

"Haley's not...Haley... Nathan, the car hit us and we..."

"No, she promised she'd be here."

"Nathan, I'm sorry, she's gone, I'm sorry. She died."

She said more, but he didn't hear her.

Lucas called his name, but he walked away. People congratulated him on the way out, but he couldn't hear them.

His vision blurred as his father tried to stop him and he started running.