This was just an idea that has been floating around on Fan Forum for months and I decided to take a chance on it and see how it goes. This is my first One Tree Hill ficlet after writing for years Tristan/Rory on Gilmore Girls. Big THANKS to bSusan/b…who not only came up with the idea originally, but edited this, came up with the title and sent me a drabble of the Lucas/Haley conversation and Ally for making the banner on The Rivercourt.
This is Post-Season Two…Nathan did go to High Flyers while Haley stayed in Tree Hill. She's living with Lucas, Brooke and Karen. As for Lucas/Brooke/Peyton the coupling haven't really been established maybe more in the later chapters but for the moment what's going on between them isn't the most important so that's been put aside…the three of them are all good friends. Enjoy and post reviews!
How Do You Keep Love Alive
"Scott," barked basketball coach Whitey Durham. Both Scott boys and co-captains of the basketball team, Lucas and Nathan, on opposite sides of the room jumped up. "Not you two," Whitey says chuckling, highly amused at his two best players. He forcefully gestured next to Lucas, the only other Scott in the room. "Her." Haley James Scott looked up in surprise, as did Lucas and Nathan wondering what in the world would Whitey want with Haley. "You two keep studying. I don't want anyone getting kicked off the team for missing eligibility requirements," he chuckled again, motioning for Haley to follow him. With a reassuring pat from Luke on the shoulder, Haley grabbed her things and made her way out of the library.
Nathan watched the scene with avid interest which caused him and Haley to make eye contact. They both looked away promptly, but only caused Lucas and Nathan to share a sudden glance as well. Nathan shook his head and went back to his books…he didn't need Haley or Lucas in his life, he swore to himself. He desperately tried to continue to work but quickly realized that his studies no longer held the appeal they had last year with a certain tutor that made things interesting…
"Coach Durham, did I do something wrong?" she asked, trailing behind him in the hall.
"We'll discuss this in my office," he responded as they enter the boy's locker room cutting through to get to his office. Haley had never been to Whitey's office before although, Nathan had promised her that they'd do some things in there when they first got married. She smiled at the memory, shaking her head and blushing furiously as this wasn't the time to be thinking about…stuff like that…Instead, she glanced around the office and studied the pictures adorning the walls and shelves. There were pictures of past and present basketball players from throughout the years, but there were three pictures that caught her attention: a much younger looking Whitey in a Ravens basketball uniform and a beautiful girl whose grins were matching in their width, obviously taken after a win. Next to it were two vaguely familiar people that she knew now, in the present; a couple Haley had always wondered about how they got together. "Wow. Is that…" she trailed off and looks at Whitey questioningly.
"Dan and Karen," he answers with a wry smile. Haley half-smiled in response and then she looked at the third picture. It was a girl sitting on the bench sandwiched between two basketball players after an afternoon practice. The three of them looked so happy together, the thing she perhaps missed most: Lucas, Nathan and herself- the next generation of the Scott family. She closed her eyes for a moment…taking it all in before whispering, "How'd you get that?"
"I have my ways," Whitey replied mysteriously with a wink. "Haley, every once in a while there comes someone who influences certain basketball players…who isn't involved in the team or boosters. It happened last year with two of my most prominent players…"
"Lucas and Nathan," Haley answered quickly with a flitting smile.
"Yes, the Scott boys. You seem to have a way with the two of them and I think you'd be a good addition to the team." Haley giggled uncontrollably until she met the stare of a very serious Whitey.
"You're serious? Coach Durham, you can't be serious…we're talking about me, Haley James…Scott," she added awkwardly. "I'm flattered…but for one, you're the coach of the boys team and two, have you seen me in gym class?" Whitey laughed at her colorful reply.
"I see why they both are so enamored with you!" He commented wryly. "But…I'm not asking you to play Haley. We have plenty of boys to cover that. I also know you can't even nail a free-throw without doing it granny style and Tim does that enough," he paused, a grin appearing on his face, "What I'm asking is would you like to be my team manager?" Haley stared at him open-mouthed.
"I'd love to but-,"
"I know you and Nathan aren't back together and this isn't some hare-brained match making scheme. I need a manager…a girl who goes here that's organized, patient, smart and a tutor. I asked Principal Turner to give me a list of the most able students and I think you're the one best suited for the job. You followed the team all last year and know most of the players." Whitey paused…and leaned across his desk at Haley. "But if it makes you feel any better…my Camilla was my team's manager and Karen did it part-time between cheerleading…So what do you say?"
Quickly glancing at the pictures once more Haley answered cautiously…"I guess…"
"Great! Have these insurance forms in to me by tomorrow. Practice starts next week, so see you then. Now I have some things to do so get out of here!" Whitey barked loudly as Haley scampered out of the office as the bell rung signaling the end of class.
There were now boys coming in and out of the locker room. Blushing furiously, Haley tried to get out of the locker room as quick as possible. Instead…she hit a rock hard, naked chest and let out a little gasp of surprise…her pulse quickening significantly.
"Haley," Nathan said coolly as she looked up to meet his piercing blue eyes.
"Nathan," she responded in a matching tone…even though it was breaking her heart to do so.
"What did Whitey want with you?" he asks shortly…but curiously.
"Nothing," she blew out, softly avoiding his gaze.
"Oh. See you around then."
"Yeah…bye." Without a glance back Haley rushed out of the locker room, ignoring the pang in her heart ordering her to stay and fight for Nathan. Boy, did she miss him.
"Please tell me you're coming from there because you just had mad, hot, crazy reunion sex with a certain Scott boy in Whitey's office and got caught!" Haley whirled around, mortified.
"What it could happen," Brooke replies with a smirk and shrug. "Can't blame a girl for guessing…so, am I right or am I right?"
"I tried to stop her," Peyton said, horribly out of breath and she caught up with the two girls.
"P. Sawyer, you're so out of shape! This isn't good for cheerleading…which starts in a week!"
"Brooke, focus on Haley!"
"Right so reunion sex details!" she squealed as Lucas joined the group with a funny look on his face.
"Are you and Nathan back together?" Lucas questioned…squinting his eyes as if he was trying to read Haley's face without finding out too many gory details.
"Oh my god, this is embarrassing, huh?" Brooke questioned unabashed, throwing a smirk at Lucas.
"No, Luke we're not back together," Haley confirmed sadly. "Go do pre-season work-outs…I'll see you later with Brooke…unfortunately,"
"Hey! You guys love me,"
"Whatever you say, Brooke and I do not want to go in there picturing Haley and Na—,"
"Enough!" Haley commanded, laughing at him and pushing him through the door. "Nothing happened." When Luke left Brooke and Peyton both looked at her eagerly.
"Okay, Tutor Wife, dish the dirt!"
"There is no dirt to dish, Brooke!" With Haley settling between Brooke and Peyton the two best friends exchanged a glance. They both had easy access to tickling. "All right, all right!" Haley busted out laughing. "Whitey asked me to be basketball manager," she revealed. Brooke looked at her…now with a full-fledged pout on her face.
"Now, I need to give you another nickname! Haley, what are you doing to me!"
"Sorry Brooke…I'm sure you'll come up with something. Anyway, Peyton, what do you think?"
"Well it's certainly an interesting development in the land of Nathan and Haley," she said smiling. "I think it'll be good for you two to be around each other."
"Not to mention being able to hang out with us during practices!" Brooke said clapping her hands in delight.
"I will not do any more cheerleading moves, Brooke!"
"Oh, God no! All the spots are taken…not to worry and even if they weren't…you're not cut out for cheerleading."
"Thanks a lot," Haley responded dryly.
"Anytime!" Brooke responded in a peppy tone. "Now…Goldilocks and I are going to work out some more so…so see you tonight?"
"Definitely. Where else would I be?" Brooke smiled wickedly.
"Here…in the locker room with Nathan!"
"BROOKE!" Haley yelled, lunging helplessly after Brooke, both her and Peyton took off running.
"Sorry…have to get in shape," Brooke called back with an impish grin.
"Manager of the basketball team…" she murmured to herself…a smile lighting up her face. It would be much better than just moping around and it would give her a chance to fight for Nathan to prove to him…he was her everything.
"Manager? But you don't know anything about basketball, Hales." Lucas stated simply. They were hanging out in Lucas' living room, waiting for Brooke and the pizza she had promised to pick up.
"So? You put a ball through a hoop, it's not that complicated, Lucas."
"Don't tell Nathan that's what you said." Lucas cautioned as Haley made a face at him, indicating her sudden interest in basketball.
"So…that's why you want to be involved…because of Nathan."
"I just want to be around him, Luke," she says softly. "I just…I miss him so much. I can't do anything anymore! I hurt all the time…I love him so much and he just can't see that! Maybe if I do this it will prove to him that I'm so sorry and that I'm not giving up on him and our marriage!"
"I just hope you know what you're getting yourself into, Hales." He hugged her and quietly said, "I know what it's like to have Nate shut you out from his life…he did it with me too…remember? And we're going to have to fight like hell to get him to let you—let us…back in again."
"I know Luke," she replied with a soft smile leaning into him. "That's why I'm glad we're best friends…besides how hard could managing be? It's just getting water bottles and stuff for the guys, right?"
Little did Haley know what exactly she was getting herself into when she agreed to be manager of the basketball team. Whitey had claimed that it wasn't a matchmaking scheme, but could it be exactly that?