Chapter 19: Trust Your Feelings, It's Easy Now

Make a promise take a vow
And trust your feelings it's easy now
Understand the voice within
And feel the change already beginning
Oh won't you tell me again
Can you feel it
Won't you tell me again

-Moody Blues

I'm about ready to explode.

"Damn it, Haley, I've been down that road! I know where it leads, and trust me it's not all that it's cracked up to be." I yell at her harshly to get my point across. She flinches at my words and I can tell that she's upset, but definitely not going to leave it at that.

"You don't get to run my life Nathan. Not you. Not my mother. Not anyone, ok?" She bites back at me, but I get the feeling her anger is directed more towards her mother than at me. I get it though, the anger that she's feeling. On many levels I feel the same way that Haley does. The minute I got into trouble, my mother shipped me thousands of miles away. She didn't understand me at all, and I know that Haley's mom treats her the same way. It's so damn frustrating, and the only person to yell at is the only one that is truly listening. I get it, but that doesn't mean that I should let her continue feeling this way.

I watch as she glares harshly at me and then quickly turns her back.

"Haley!" I reach for her and quickly spin her around to face me, "Don't walk away from me." I order her as I pull her closer into my body. I can feel her body soften, and for a moment I believe that she will put down her defenses and give into my embrace. But after that brief moment, I feel her tense up again and shove me away from her.

She screams at me, "Stop it! Stop acting like you can fix everything." I notice that her eyes begin to tear a little as she looks down at her feet. I brush my thumb over her cheek to get her to look back up at me.

Her eyes gaze back and forth between mine own until she finally speaks, "You can't just touch me like that and expect everything to be okay." She breathes in deeply before speaking up again. "You can't help me. You don't understand-" But I cut her off, I'm angry that she keeps repeating this to me. But she knows, I confessed everything to her that night by the docks. She can't keep pushing me away, not when I know I'm the only one that can help her, that wants to help her.

"I know, Haley, I know what you are going through. I told you everything about my past, my parents. Those weren't lies." I slowly reach my hand out to hers and she surprisingly takes it. When she looks up at me I can see the vulnerability, the hopelessness, and the fear.

She surprises me again when she jumps towards me and captures my lips with her own. She kisses me passionately, and I quickly give in to her movements. I know she wants me, and I want her just as badly. She lets go of my hand and places her arms around my neck, bringing me closer 

to her. My body sinks into her as our movements increase rapidly. I move my hands to her back, and I press her roughly into me.

God, this feels so good.

I want to moan, but before I get the chance to I feel empty and cold from the lack of her body against mine.

She moves back quickly, breathing heavily until she finally gains control of her breathing again. I pant for breath at the same time I try to figure her out. First she wants me, then she pushes me away, then she wants me again, and now she once again pushes me away. Damn, this girl is confusing. Before I moved here, I know I would not have wasted this much energy on a girl. I wouldn't have cared this much, to let her constantly mess with my head. But Haley isn't just any girl.

"This is why you can't help me." She says quietly, but I just stare back at her confused. "I want you so badly." It's the first time I hear her confess this to me, and I want to smirk back and reach out to her and tell her that I want her just as badly.

"Why is that so bad?" I say in my argumentative voice, a little angry that she's trying to make excuses.

"Because. Because I'm not her." She finally confesses.

Two Weeks Earlier.

I successfully avoided Lucas that night, and pretty much for the past week I haven't really seen him. Although, the times I have seen Lucas, he seemed more calm than I would have figured. But I guess I shouldn't really be complaining. I made sure that I kept busy with working at the club; for once I'm glad that I have lifeguard duties to keep me out of trouble. It's been comforting knowing that I don't have to worry about Lucas trying to kick my ass, although I know that he in no way would succeed, but it's just the idea that dealing with him and his annoying squinty eyes is something I didn't want to deal with at the time. It's not that I'm afraid of him, in fact after all the shitty things he has done to Haley he has actually made me really want to kick his ass, but the fact that I'm leaving under Keith's roof, and I seriously don't want to ruin what I have here.

The only problem with my lifeguard duties, is that I haven't been able to see Haley, and after everything that happened that night, it's important that I talk to her, explain everything. Even though it's only been a few days, I have a feeling that Haley is avoiding me but it wasn't until I saw Brooke this morning during one of my lifeguard sessions at the club that I realized the situation was worse than I thought.

"Hey." She smiled over at me softly getting my attention and I returned the gesture. "How've you been?" She tried to make small talk, but I knew that she just wanted to get to the point, and I didn't really want to waste time with pleasantries.

"How's Haley doing?" I asked genuinely concerned, but I knew I wasn't going to get a straight answer. Brooke looked over at the people crowded around the pool before turning back to answer me.

"Humiliated. " She then sighed, probably thinking that she shouldn't have been there. "What did you do to her?" I could tell there was judgment in her voice and it angers me a little, but I knew that it would be better to keep my mouth shut this time. "She's pretty upset."

"She didn't tell you?" I asked a little shocked that Brooke didn't know. When she shakes her heard I understand. I didn't really know what to say to her, so I waited until she told me what she was here for.

"Look, she doesn't know that I'm here, mostly because she doesn't want me involved, but I think it's important that you talk to her." She walks closer to my lifeguard chair and looks up at me. "You at least owe her that much." I didn't say anything as she walked away.

That was all this morning. I knew Brooke was right, I owe it to Haley to explain everything, especially why I left her that night, even though I still feel like I did the right thing. She was drunk and pissed at Lucas, and it would have made things incredibly complicated. I knew that I need to explain, and tonight I plan to do that.

I had just finished my shift at the club and I head towards Haley's. Before knocking on the door, I get nervous afraid that she'll slam the door in my face. I pause, take a deep breathe and then knock. I wait a few minutes until I notice a girl that isn't Haley answer the door.

"Hey, I remember you," She smirks over at me which makes me nervously tuck my hands into my pockets. "That night is still a bit hazy," she laughs, "but there is no way I could forget you." I furrow my eyebrows in confusion which makes her laugh again, "I'm Taylor James." She sticks her hand out at me, expect me to shake it. Instead my nerves turn into confidence when I realize that she is Haley's sister, and the weird drunk girl I saw by the docks.

"I'm Nathan Scott." I offer my name instead of my hand. She looks shocked which is followed by laughs. "I wouldn't have guessed you were Haley's sister." She smirks over at me again and then shrugs.

"Most people don't." She opens the front door wider signaling me to follow her back inside the house. I follow shortly, while she continues to speak. "So a Scott huh? You must be related to Lucas." Unfortunately, I think when I walk into Haley's living room and watch as Taylor sits down on the couch. It's weird for me; I'm not used to this small town feeling where everyone knows everyone. It's unsettling to know that everyone in this town knows who I am, or at least thinks they do. Tree Hill's definitely different from my home town.

"So what are you doing here anyway?" Taylor's voice snaps me back to reality. "Did you not get enough of me the other night?" She says playfully, making me smirk a little, this girl is really something else. "Are you stalking me Nathan Scott?" She asks me seductively while tilting her head and raising her eyebrow in a suggesting way.

"I don't even know you," I laugh at little at her and she just rolls her eyes at me.

"That's half the fun though, isn't it?" For a moment I understand what she means. I've had that feeling, the feeling of living on the wild side, of never knowing where the road leads, where your journey is going to take you. I used to live my life that way, always letting life pass me by, living on the edge. The adrenaline would pump through me and make me feel alive, dangerous, wild. I felt like I was invincible, like I couldn't be touched. For a while that's how it was; I never had to face the consequences of my actions, at least not until now.

I look over at Taylor and images from my past flash in my mind. I can easily remember how easy it was to fall back into my old habits, chasing after many different dreams, without a real goal. I could easily be that guy again, the bad guy, the dangerous, conceited one, the guy that made decisions based on impulse.

But I'm sick of that guy.

Or should I say boy. Yeah, because I was a boy, a lost misunderstood boy that really just hadn't grown up yet, and one who looked towards stealing to gain the attention of his parents. I didn't understand it at first, why they had to ship me so far away, but I finally get that now. And it's because of her. I want to be that dependable guy for Haley. I can't afford to be selfish; I can't be that boy anymore and that's why I left her that night. I could have easily gave in to my urges and slept with Haley that night. But that's not what she needs, or what she deserves. I just need her to know that I care, and that I can help.

"Look Taylor, is Haley home? I really need to talk to her." I change the subject and shift my weight back and forth between my legs waiting for an answer. She huffs at me with mock disappointment.

"And all this time I thought you were here for me. Bummer, she's not here though," She stands up from the couch and walks closer to me and places her hand on my shoulder. "When she gets back I'll tell her that you stopped by." I'm disappointed that Haley isn't home, and I know that it shows on my face. I'm curious as to where she is, maybe I can find her.

"Do you know where she is?" I ask Taylor and she nods her head letting me know that she does.

"She's off with Lucas somewhere." I'm stunned. I didn't realize that Luke and Haley had made up. It takes no more than a few seconds to get hot with jealousy and I have the overwhelming urge to hit something. I clench my jaw hard enough to see the bows against my cheek. "They've been hanging out a lot lately. It's actually pretty annoying-"I'm pretty jealous at this point and I know that Taylor can sense that, but I really don't care. I'm jealous; a part of me knows that I'm selfish for not wanting Haley and Lucas to be close again.

"That makes sense. I haven't seen much of him lately." I blurt out my thoughts which cause Taylor to give a questioning glance. "I should probably go-"

Suddenly at that moment, I hear the sound of Haley and Luke's laughter and the rustling of the front door opening. My eyes wander from Taylor toward the entrance to the living room where Haley appears, a beautiful smile planted across her face. It takes them both a minute to notice that Taylor and I are here and it annoys me. I clear my throat to get their attention and it works like a charm. Haley's eyes avert from Luke's and quickly land on mine. I can't tell if she's shocked or upset that I'm here, but we are all silent for a moment until Taylor speaks up.

"Well this is awkward." I then take notice of Lucas, who looks annoyed that I'm here but willing to keep calm.

"What are you doing here?" Haley then unfreezes and moves to put her things on the counter. I still remain silent until finally Luke gets the hint and explains that he needs to be someplace. "Um…Taylor?" I can hear the annoyed tone in Haley's voice.

"Okay, okay. I get the hint." She rolls her eyes and reluctantly leaves the two of us to have another sixty-second staring contest. I decide to make the first move and speak out about why I'm here.

"I came to see you. I wanted to talk to you." Was all I could really muster out. I could feel my hands shaking a bit, nerves taking the best of me again. She looked down at her feet before speaking up.

"Nathan, I-"

"No wait-"I interrupt, "Just, let me explain first. What I did to you was, wrong. I just want you to know that I'm sorry." I begin to fidget with my fingers, impatiently wait for Haley to respond. It takes all my strength I have not to reach out and grab her arm and move her closer to me.

"I know. I mean, I understand. I wasn't necessarily making the situation any easier for you." She looks up at me and pauses for a moment to stare into my eyes and I take this opportunity to do just the same, "I know what it looked like, but this has never been about Lucas, not really anyway. And it wasn't your fault, you didn't do anything wrong. I pretty much was just a drunken idiot. I had too much to drink, Lucas pissed me off-"

"So you wanted to get back at him." I state not really in a questioning way. She pauses a minute before responding.

"I did. At first anyway." She walks slowly walks closer to me, "I'm sorry too." She slowly smiles up at me, and for the first time since she walked in with Lucas, I feel calm. I reach my hand to softly touch her cheek. "I was mostly just embarrassed." We are silent again, doing that staring contest until I find that jealousy takes over once again.

"So you and Lucas?" I say a little unsure of what I want to hear from her as I remove my hand from her cheek. She nods.

"Yeah, we're okay." I know I don't have the right to be jealous. But I am. I back away from her rather quickly, until I hear her voice, "Wait." I stop abruptly, "Maybe you and I can hang out, spend some time together?" I look up and see the desperation in her eyes, I can tell that Haley is nervous.

"And what about Lucas?" I ask, and then I can see her smile as she comes closer to me and gently grabs my hand. She pauses for a moment before slowly reaching up and finally meeting my lips her with own. It's brief, but enough to send chills down my spine. This girl still has that affect on me.

When she pulls away she says to me, "Does that answer your question?" I'm silent so she continues, "He can't stop me from feeling this way, and he won't." My jealousy is suddenly replaced with playful arrogance as I smirk over at her.

"Feeling what way?" She looks down at her feet again before responding.

"Take me out on a date and maybe I'll tell you," We both laugh a little before we make plans.

Later that day I walk in to my room, still pleased with my earlier conversation with Haley, to find Lucas waiting for me. It isn't exactly what I hope for, but I figure this conversation is bound to happen sooner or later. I pause, wait for him to stop squinting at me and finally speak. We do this staring contest until he finally gives in.

"So, you and Haley," He breathes out and I start to get sarcastic.

"Cut right to the chase then huh? Not even a little small talk?" The look he gives me makes me stop acting immature, "Alright, what?" I wait for him to lecture me and tell me that I'm not good enough for his best friend.

"I don't like it, in fact I hate it, but Haley seems too think you're not all bad." Totally didn't expect that, "I promised I would respect her, so this is the first step." I'm quiet while he pauses to hear my reaction, but I don't really know what to say. "I don't trust you, but she does. Don't take advantage of that." That was probably as close as I could get as an apology, but I took it anyway. I really didn't want him in the middle of me and Haley. In fact, I thought it was quite a big gesture for him.

He walks passed me leaving me with my thoughts. We'll never understand each other.

"I usually don't do stuff like this, it's different." I finally say after we finish out dessert. And it's true; I've never taken a girl out to a nice fancy restaurant. Usually it's just simpler things like movies and parties. But I like the change.

She looks up at me curiously, "Different as in bad?" I smile a little noticing her nervousness. I reach my hand across to meet hers, and gently take her hand in mine. I feel her relax at my touch.

"Different as in good," I smirk at her and for a moment we stay in silence. We've really mastered that staring contest thing. Finally I break the silence. "What about you, I feel like we haven't really talked since that one night in Keith's car." She slowly moves her hand away from mine and it bothers me a little.

"You mean have I gone on dates?" She asked a little bit offended but I explained and she continued, "Not many recently. I had a long term guy for a while, but it was complicated." I couldn't tell if she wanted to talk about it or not, but I decided against my better judgment.

"Complicated as in?" I offer and am slightly surprised that she explains.

"As in it wasn't meant to be, but it definitely spun my head a little." She laughs suddenly, "I know that probably doesn't make any sense, hence the complicatedness. His name was Jason, and we dated for about five months two summers ago. He was 3 years older than me; I met him through my sister." I could tell that she was a little uncomfortable but I had the urge to ask her more.

"Did you love him?" I know it was really inappropriate, but sometimes I can't stop myself from wondering.

She paused for a moment, "No. I mean of course I thought I did in the beginning, but I noticed that I was happier just hanging out with Lucas than doing anything romantic with him. Why so curious?" She looks over at me, her eyes filled with excitement.

"I just want to know everything about you." I couldn't help it; I know it sounded majorly corny. But I knew she appreciated it as she smiled.

"So Nathan what about you? Any past relationships?" I could tell that she's definitely interested in hearing my answer, but I have a hard time explaining.

"Actually, there's this girl, girlfriend, we dated for while." She starts to wonder, and begins to realize what I'm hinting at. "She was my girlfriend up until I left." I paused longer again, hoping it wouldn't make things awkward. "We broke up because I left." I suddenly feel tense. I didn't want to talk about her, not now anyway. I watch her facial expressions as she ponders for a moment.

"I guess I never really thought about that before, I mean that you had to leave people you cared about behind. That must've been really difficult for you." I love that she's concerned about me and not at all acting awkward towards me.

"It wasn't easy and I was pretty angry in the beginning, but now I understand why she did it. I was hanging with the wrong kinds of people. I was mixed up in things that I shouldn't have been. I finally understand now that she saved me. My mom is far from perfect, but she did what she thought she had to."It still amazes me that I can so easily open up to her. She can easily break through the barriers. No one could do that before.

"So have you talked to her since you left?" I wasn't really sure whom Haley was referring to, but I just assume that she means my mother.

"Once. It's hard sometimes. We haven't really been a family in a long time." This time she reaches her other hand to cover mine to stroke my own hand gently. This feeling never gets old for me, and I can't help but smile at her touch. Her skin softly caresses mine and it's hard for me to stop thinking about feeling her lips with mine.

"I understand that family can be hard sometimes, well most of the time."She paused, "What about the girl? Do you still-"I noticed that she starts to tense up again, but I'm not sure if it's nerves or jealousy. Either way it's a major turn on. I cut her off quickly though.

"No, it's not like that anymore." I clear my throat, "Come on. Let's dance." I grab her hand and drag her over to the rest of the dancing couples. I know I should have explained more but, it just doesn't feel like the time.

I pull her body so close to mine that I can lightly smell her hair. I get lost in the smell of coconut for a minute before I notice her pull away to look up at me. We dance like this for a while before I dip my head down to kiss her lips. We linger there for a while, slowly dancing while our lips gently touch. She's the first to break away, but I'm not surprised to see her smile. She leans her body closer to mine so that I can wrap my arms around her comfortably.

"This is nice," She breathes out barely above a whisper. I silently agree with her and then gently kiss the top of her head before pulling her away with me off the dance floor.

"I should take you home." It wasn't something either of us were looking forward too, but I figured that taking it slow was much better than rushing into things. Despite my eagerness and impatience, I liked it better this way. It allowed me to appreciate the small things.

I paid our waiter on the way out and then we headed for the car. Before we both knew it, we had parked in front of her house. I turned off the engine to face her. I could tell she was aching to ask me something important.

"Are you alright?" I question, she nods but I could tell there was something. "Hey," I assured her, "you can tell me." She looks out the window to her house for a while before answering me.

"I was just thinking, that maybe," she feels brave enough to face me now, "I could stay with you tonight." I smirk a bit as she nervously bites her lip. Before I could answer back she stars rambling though. "I mean, I know that must sound bad. It's just that I know Luke and Keith and Karen are gone for the weekend, and hurricane Taylor has still taken over my house. I just figured that I could use the quiet, you know with you. But I know it's probably not a good idea, so let's just drop this okay?" She quickly unbuckled her seatbelt, already halfway out the car before I could let out a laugh.

"Haley wait," I demand with a reassuring laugh as I took a hold of her elbow. "Get in." I ordered. She obeyed but looked skeptical about my actions. I turn on the engine again; ready to drive to my final destination.

"Where are we going?" Haley asks me quietly before placing her seatbelt back on. I can tell she is staring intensely at my features, trying to figure out my thoughts.

"Where it's quiet." She seemed to understand me and relaxed as she sat further back in her seat. I could see from the corner of my eyes a smile appearing from her lips.

We drive in silence back to Keith's and we find ourselves holding hands while walking up the pathway to the front door. She stops me abruptly, "Thank you for dinner." She smiles and silently motions for me to kiss her again. I'm about to give in until I hear the sound of a car park in front of the driveway.

The light from a taxi cab shines brightly in our direction, and we both can't help but look over to see who's there.

The girl stepped out of the car and quickly got her bags. It took me a second to finally figure out who it was. She had pretty blond wavy hair, and had a tall slender figure. I could recognize that smile of hers anyway.

"Peyton?" I questioned out in shock. When she heard me, that's when she rushed over to me to give me a big hug. I had forgotten about Haley standing there waiting for me, and wrapped my arms around Peyton. I didn't realize how much I actually missed her.

I knew that I was in for a rough ride. This wasn't going to go over too well.

But in the moment I didn't want to think about it. I let myself enjoy the embrace before the moment ends too quickly.