THE LENGTHS TO WHICH HE'D GO….

Tell me where you're going...

What is going wrong…

Felt you leaving before you'd even gone

Haley sat at her desk, pen in hand and notebooks scattered in front of her. She pushed her hair out of her face, her eyes moving every which way unable to focus because behind her, on her bed sat the man she loved for the past year.

It still amazed her how the mere presence of him elicited so many unyielding emotions. Her nerves rattled within her, passion rippled under her skin, her hands became warm craving the feel of him beneath her fingertips. It took every ounce of will within her not to jump him every time she saw him.

Haley closed her eyes recalling the nights when she had watched him sleep taking advantage of the time by running her hands over his face and favorite parts of his body memorizing him that even in this moment when they weren't even facing each other she could see him.

She tried to picture the smoothness of his skin, the edge of his chin, the pull of his eyes, the unruliness of his hair and the way his skin fell taut beneath his clothes.

Uncontrollably her thoughts wandered to the way his hands felt upon her skin, to the electricity and the giddiness that coursed through her body with his caresses.

How in the quiet moments of their shared nights, his passion filled voice released her name, in a whisper.

Haley opened her eyes in embarrassment; a red blush crossing her cheeks, with a slight chuckle and shake of her head she brought her mind back to the task at hand.

Nathan sat at the edge of the bed his eyes focused on the knob of Haley's bedroom door. He had come over under some lame pretense of needing his paper proof read but the truth was he had needed to see her, even if it was for a bittersweet reason.

Haley had become a big part of his life. She had been there in his most confusing moments and at times she was his only guide through the constant darkness.

He had found a reason to keep moving from moment to moment when he thought all was lost. She had cracked through the numbness that he had guarded himself within and the weight of stones that he carried in his chest had begun to crumble.

She had opened her heart to him and at times he still wondered why. She had faithfully and lovingly given of herself, showing him what unconditional love looked like, what it felt like and that he had deserved it.

He had never felt so much until Haley in her innocence, in her sincerity and originality had seeped into his life. He had given her all of his heart long before the moment where she had put her hand upon his, her eyes so bright with acceptance, promising her love.

He wasn't the same shell of a person that had slipped that Cracker Jack bracelet on to her wrist. He wasn't that same person at all.

That he knew at least.

But Nathan found himself confused at moments, lost and his only relief, the touchstone he depended on was the girl that sat before him.

She was the only person that truly mattered.

A slight chuckle escaped Haley's lips that caused Nathan to break from his current train of thought. A silence fell over the room and Nathan begrudgingly realized that what he had to do, where he was going Haley couldn't follow.

He felt the weight of her happiness upon his shoulders and the guilt, the sadness, a sense of loss so raw clawed at his chest.

He looked to her back, smooth and graceful as it moved against her clothes and the words that sat on his lips broke but his mind had been made up, the choice cemented and he can't turn back now.

Nathan wrestles with the right words and in the end he realizes there aren't any.

"Haley" in a staggered fashion falls from his tongue, she turns to face him a curve of a smile still lingering on her mouth but when her eyes connect with his it falls.

Questions flicker in her eyes and Nathan tries to cover the tension in the room with a smirk but it falls flat because he knows it will only make it worse.

He looks to the door one more time and then back to her confused eyes.

"Am leaving"

She stands from where she was sitting and heads towards the door, placing her back against it so she is facing Nathan.

"Oh really, well my parents are gone for the weekend…" a slight twinkle tumbles in her eyes but as she looks upon Nathan his head bowed the words begin to stagger out from her lips, " so I thought….. We could play a little……..after we finish homework, of course."

Haley tried to force a smile upon her lips but as she spoke the last few words she felt herself begin to shake. Nathan was not looking at her but she didn't need to see him to know that something was wrong.

She didn't want to ask, she already knew that the answer would turn her world upside down.

It was one of those moments you see in the movies, the beautiful girl cries as the man she loves leaves her and Haley just didn't want to know.

Nathan looks up at her and reaches out for her hand. She places her small hand within his and he pulls her towards him until she stands right in front of him. He wraps his arms around her waist placing his head upon her stomach wanting to hold her if only just for a little while.

Haley runs her fingers through his hair trying to calm him into opening up to her but also trying to come to grips with the situation in front of her.

The last time that Nathan was so desperate was when he had collapsed on that gym floor, he had been so lost so scared but he had come so far from that moment and to have him now holding her for dear life only made her realize that what he was telling her, what he was going through was much bigger.

Nathan's grasp of her waist loosens and Haley slowly falls to her knees in front of him. He towers over her and she places her hands upon his shoulders pulling him towards her.

Nathan looks down at her, at the confusion eating up the sparkle in her eyes, the sadness trembling on her lips and he can tell that she is about to cry and he didn't want any of this.

He cups her cheeks, her skin soft against his rough hands, he places his nose against hers…… leaning into her, breathing her in. She wraps her arms around his waist scooting herself between his legs trying to touch every part of him so that she can feels his heart beat against hers.

He pulls away slightly but the feel of Haley tightening her grip around him, causes him to respond by pulling her lips to his. She willingly gives into him, into the softness of his breath, into the familiarity that the curves of his lips offer.

It's tender and sad and as he moves her head to deepen it, Haley can't help but sigh.

Her breath begins to race and Nathan feels the familiar ache of his need for her grow in his heart.

His hands run through her hair as she slides hers along his back. The passion ignites between them, in the magnetic pull of their bodies, but there's an underlining desperation that neither want to admit to.

Nathan can feel the moment move on without him, the control that he had been struggling with for the past hour sways. He wants to give in, to make love to Haley just one more time…

But a part of him knows that it will only hurt Haley in the long run and he didn't want her to hate him. He just wanted to live in this moment forever, in this moment where Haley's lips were upon his and his hands were intertwined with hers…

She could feel Nathan slipping into his thoughts and as she deepened the kiss trying to bring him back to her she felt his hands loosen their grasp within hers…….

A part of her began to cry.

She heard her heart break as their lips separated. She fell back on to her heels not wanting to look at him, not wanting to see the pity, the sadness in his eyes because if she did the lump that was forming in her throat would explode.

Nathan stood up from the bed trying to regain his breathing, trying to find the logic in his reasoning because at the moment as he focused on the knob of Haley's door he couldn't remember why he was leaving.

Then he heard her, a silent echoing breath escape her lips and as he turned to face her back he thought she had never looked so small and he realized that he had done that to her.

"Am leaving" he heard himself say and it crashed into the silence of the room.

Without looking at him she whispered…..

"Where Nathan …where are you going"

She wanted to look at him but instead she closed her eyes letting a tear roll down her cheek.

"Am going to high fliers and……. And then am moving in with my dad" He waited for her to say something but the room stayed silent.

"This is my chance Haley to become the player I know I can be, and this camp can help me reach my full potential…… to actually become something."

He watched as she used the edge of her bed to lift herself up, taking a moment before she turned to face him. Her hair was disheveled, a path of tears cascading down her cheeks and she had never looked more beautiful.

She went to take a step toward him and stopped herself.

Her pained eyes connected with his,

"You're something to me…"

The words were strong as they filled the room they had come from her heart, from the heart that he was breaking apart.

He had known that this wouldn't be easy, not on either of them. He knew that she would probably cry but watching her break before him… it physically tore him to pieces.

But he knew there was no other way, she deserved a goodbye and it couldn't have been done over the phone or by a letter, she meant more to him than that.

What he was doing was ultimately for them ….

She wouldn't understand and he realized now that no matter what he told her or how he told her that both of them would never be the same.

"It's not enough" the words sounded hollow to his ears but he saw her flinch in pain and he hoped that one day she would see that he didn't say it to hurt her.

"Do you love me Nathan" and he can hear the crackle of desperation in her voice…

She looks away from him as if it would hurt her more to see him answer. She backs up until she feels the edge of the bed hit the back of her knees and she feels herself fall onto it.

Nathan stands with one hand on the door and the other at his side, he watches Haley inch away from him and as he waits to answer her he feels the silence swell and pound in the spaces between them.

His hand turns the knob and the creak of the door causes Haley to lift her head…….

Their eyes meet……

"You know I do" He feels his heart constrict as he watches the tears fill up her eyes.

"Say it" Haley is surprised to feel anger overpower her sadness as the gritted words escape through her teeth, "Say it Nathan"