Beyond Good and Evil

Chapter Eleven: Welcome Home

The noise was a warning. The mistress of the house was arriving, the princess was back, the devil was returning to her lair. The click-clack of her spiked heels sounded treacherous, but something mixed with the sound that made her sound almost vulnerable. "Vulnerable" was never a word that had been used to describe Haley James, but the lonesome echoing of her shoes in the museum-like house could almost make you feel bad for her. Poor little rich girl. What does she know about misery? A whole lot.

Lucas wasn't home yet. For some reason, his absence made the home seem a lot colder than it usually was, as if the restless energy he possessed could warm the entire townhouse. At this moment, he was with Brooke Davis. This knowledge was slowing eating her up inside. There was always the chance that he was just as weak as she goaded him about being. Lucas might not have broken it off with Brooke at all.

For God's sake, she couldn't even blame him if he didn't. It seemed like simple fundamentals: you can love Brooke, and you can only play games with Haley. Brooke will let you in, but Haley will always keep you at arm's length. Brooke will let you know that she loves you, Haley will try to keep her secret until the day she died. Brooke was warmth, and Haley was freezing. When put in those terms, there was no question that Lucas should pick Brooke. After all, everybody wants to be adored, and it's no use if it's only done in secret.

The coldness of the house was starting to get to her, the shadows creeping under her skin. Strutting across her bedroom as if it were a catwalk, in typical Haley fashion, she made her way to the old-fashioned phone perched on her desk. This was when she realized that she was not quite as alone as she thought.

"Jesus!" she gasped, dropping the phone. As she realized it wasn't an intruder, at least, not a dangerous one, she felt sudden warmth spread through her. Awkward comfort seeped into all those places where insecurity had filled. "Little melodramatic, don't you think?"

"I have a flair for drama," a gorgeous blonde boy deadpanned from the corner. Moron, Haley thought to herself. Why he was wearing sunglasses, she hadn't the foggiest notion, but she was kind of glad he was sitting in the darkened room waiting for her anyway.

"Mind if I ask what you're doing in my room?" she smiled sweetly, aiming a death-glare at him over the intrusion upon her territory.

"I thought you would like to know what happened between Brooke and I," he said evenly. Sliding the sunglasses off his face revealed that his beautiful eyes were bloodshot. Dear God, was he crying? This was worse than she thought. Haley could feel pain darts take aim at her heart, feeling them all over as she thought about how he had been crying over the loss of Brooke. He certainly had never cried over the girls whose calls he had screened. Haley James could feel her resolve steeling, remembrance of a time long ago when her grandmother had provided her with the only advice she had ever taken.

You've got to be cruel to be kind.

"It's over," he said simply, and the frost around her melted somewhat. As if catching herself in the very act of thawing towards him, she forced herself to maintain rigidity. There was no use accepting this as reconciliation when his heart was still in Brooke Davis's dorm room.

"Did she cry?" Haley smiled maliciously, watching as Lucas winced slightly at her question. He had never really understood her love of the damage she'd caused. They both led the lambs to slaughter, but she was the one to stick around and watch the bloodshed. It had been fucking painful to see that it was Brooke's which had been shed.

"Devastated beyond repair. I doubt she'll ever trust a man again," Lucas said, his voice hollow.

"Well done," Haley smiled sardonically, and her mocking tone hung in the air long after she had closed her mouth. Lucas held up a bottle of champagne and spoke in a falsely chipper tone.

"I thought we should celebrate!"

"I'd love to, but unfortunately, I'm expecting some company."

Something clouded Lucas's expression then, something suspiciously like jealousy, but Haley didn't dare to hope. "Oh, so it's true that you've been chasing after Jake Jagelski lately."

"I haven't been chasing anyone," she sneered.

"Well, in any case, this is from Jake," he held up a stiff white envelope that seemed to glow in the dim light. "I haven't had the chance to read it yet, but I'm fairly certain it says something along the lines of "yadda yadda yadda, you mean a lot to me, yadda yadda I hope we can still be friends. Blah blah thanks for all your help et cetera et cetera." Lucas smiled grimly, obviously pleased at his own foresight. She knew she'd have to wait only minutes for him to boast. It had been the same for years.

"You see, I expected your sort of bullshit so I took the liberty of arranging a meeting between Jake and Peyton Sawyer. Don't they just make an adorable couple? Right now, they're having a little get-together in my love shack at the Grand Central Hyatt. I'm so sorry he chose Peyton over you, but I promised him I'd see you through your crisis."

"Well done," Haley echoed her previous sentiments, struggling to contain the rage that boiled within. Lucas always knew exactly which buttons to push. He was angry with her for taking away the toy he loved most, and so he would drag back into the picture the girl she most despised. As if she hadn't just spent a large amount of her time stripping Peyton Sawyer of one hot, rich, popular boyfriend, now she'd have to do it all over again.

"Thank you," he smiled, so self-satisfied that she had a strange urge to kill him. It wasn't a new one. "Now, where were we? Ah yes. But what shall we toast to?" he bustled about, avoiding her eyes as he always did when there was something on his mind. Handing her a glass full of bubbling liquid, she stared at it, then to his bloodshot eyes where tears still moistened his cheeks, and knew what she had to do.

"To my triumph."

He looked utterly nonplussed for a second, before shrugging and downing the drink. "It's not my choice of toasts, but it's up to you. To your triumph over Brooke."

Her laughter sounded disembodied, echoing around the midnight blue room, seeming to bounce off the chandelier and mirrors and smack both stepsiblings in the face.

"What's so funny?"

"Silly rabbit," Haley cooed, making her way around a coffee table to perch on an 18th century French sofa. She had to keep her distance, to remain out of reach. If he couldn't touch her, he couldn't reach her, and he couldn't break through her guise. She had to fool him now, to let him go, because she loved him in such a twisted, blackened part of her heart that the only thing she could think to do was hurt him and force him to be gone. "My triumph isn't over her. It's over you."

"Come again?" he sputtered, but the look on his face wasn't one of outrage or surprise. It looked as if he knew exactly what she meant, but couldn't figure out why she was saying it. Was she trying to hurt him?

Well, yes.

"You were very much in love with her and you're still in love with her. But it amused me to make you ashamed of it. You gave up on the first person you ever loved because I called you names. Don't get me wrong, I'm flattered that you chose me over her, but please understand, I never loved you, Lucas. You're just a toy. A little toy I like to play with. And now you've completely blown it with her. I think it's the saddest thing I've ever heard," Haley smiled, a wide smile baring all of her teeth, an animal cornered in its cage, lashing out to save itself. "Cheers!"

Clinking her glass against his empty one, Haley kept her light eyes locked on his own as she downed her champagne. God knows she needed it, and maybe a few more afterwards, for this confrontation. Lucas, on the other hand, looked as if he was already ill.

"In any event, you still owe me my reward," his eyes glimmered at the prospect, fighting to keep his temper down. In all his years, he had never struck a lady, and didn't plan on changing that now, but Haley's mocking tone seemed to fill his mind, taunts of 'You're just a toy, Lucas' filling his head until he'd do anything to make her leave him be.

Well, almost anything.

"I'm sorry, but unfortunately, I don't fuck losers," she said it slowly, annunciating each word brutally, as if each one was delivering him a blow. And so he struck her. Before he realized what he was doing, Lucas's hand had raised as if of its own accord and backhanded the first woman he had ever loved.

In that instant, he was frightened. Not because she was a girl, which meant that she was very likely to cry, or because he might have hurt her. No, in his mind, the logical next step was retribution. The look on her face wasn't hurt or betrayed, but shock. It screamed How dare you hit me! And for a moment, he wondered if she'd ever been hit before.

For the second time that day, a girl flung themselves angrily at him. Her tiny fists flew wildly as they toppled to the floor. Struggling viciously, Lucas would freely admit that he was scared shitless at what would happen if Haley got the upper hand. Pinning her to the ground, he attempted soothing words for only a moment. Haley wasn't Brooke or any other girl. She wasn't even a girl, she was a woman, and she would not be pacified by empty words or promises.

"Nobody hits me!" she snarled, still thrashing long after her back hit the hardwood floor.

"Calm down!" he whispered harshly, noticing the close proximity between them. Their noses bumped gently as Haley's movement slowed.

"Fine, then get off of me."

Her finely featured face was confident now. Anger still burned in her eyes, but it was settling into the cold fury it usually held. Haley James had a vendetta against the entire world, an irritation at being born into the so-called "weaker sex" and in her mind, for that, everyone should pay. With this grudge, she had manipulated everyone around her, using it as justification. Now, it felt like it was all she had, but if with it came control, she could deal. She looked certain that he was going to obey her, and all he felt like doing now was showing her that he wasn't anyone's fucking toy.

So he kissed her.

And to his surprise, she kissed him back, and continued to do so until air became an issue. Resting his forehead against hers, he noticed how tired she looked. Her face was picture perfect, of course, but something in her eyes had grown old and given up, and she managed a weary, "Just get off, Luke."

Complying reluctantly, Lucas Scott stood, blushing off his designer suit and lending a land to Haley. She got up, this time it was she who was deliberately avoiding his eyes.

"I'm very sorry about…" he tried to find words. I'm sorry I just slapped you? No, not quite it. "….that."

"Apology accepted. Now get the fuck out."

"What?" he actually looked surprised, and the gorgeous blonde congratulated herself on the ability to shock the unflappable Lucas Scott. But he wasn't really him, not really. Being with Brooke had made him weak, but judging by his recent actions, there was hope for him yet. "We had an agreement."

"Well, once upon a time, we both agreed that we'd never fall in love, but you had no trouble going back on that one. Forgive me if I return the favor," bitterness sprung a leak within her, filling every bit of her tiny body as she glared menacingly at him.

"I'm not leaving," he said plainly, breaking the stalemate between them.

"You're in love with her," Haley countered, stomping her foot.

"Yeah," Lucas admitted, blushing slightly at this weakness in their eyes. "But I'm not leaving you."

"Why the hell not?" Haley was confused now, and she didn't like it one bit.

"Because I love her now, but damn it Haley, we're a team. I've always loved you, just like you've always loved me, and we both love head games even more."

She was silent for a moment, her downcast eyes tracing lines on the expensive floors as his own eyes bored holes into her head.

"We're Lucas and Haley. Haley and Lucas. We're like an indomitable source of evil. If we break up, then who's going to fuck up the world? You can't do it alone, whether you like it or not," his voice sounded pleading now. He was begging her forgiveness, pleading to take him back after betraying each rule they had ever lived by. She surprised even herself by being willing to. There was a strange truth in his words, and like it or not, they were eternally bonded together. They were twisted and cruel and lonely, but they had always had each other to share in the vast emptiness.

The world was theirs to own, to control, and to manipulate. But God, it was cold at the top and deep down, Haley was just like every other girl—dying to keep warm.

Curling her arms around his neck, it no longer felt to Lucas like she was the vines sapping the life out of him. She was the life within him, the blood pumping through his veins. Brooke was certainly something to him, but Haley was everything, and he'd be even more of an asshole than people thought if he let that go.

Together they stood, because divided they fell. It wasn't really peaceful, their moment wrapped around each other, because it was really just them stepping over the cracks. Their relationship was wounded, both their prides had taken a blow. They were carefully avoiding their weak spots now, because for the moment they would rather just be. Outside the midnight blue of the bedroom, the world waited to tear them apart. A desperate and hurt Brooke Davis was seeking revenge, along with allies who could prove equally treacherous. Outside this bedroom was a world far less understanding of their intricate relationship. Outside the haven where they embraced, there was an entire world waiting to see the James- Scott family fall from its pedestal.

But Haley wouldn't worry about that now. When the sun arose, casting shadows among the expensive belongings, her enemies would still be laying in wait. And so they could wait. In this moment, the beautiful blonde wanted to just enjoy the fact that she loved him and he loved her and for the moment, they were safe.

But only for a moment.

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Hey guess what. I was wrong. There's nowhere near enough time to give this the ending I originally planned, so you'll have to settle for this and the sequel, and I hope I didn't completely fuck it up.

This is it, guys, and I'm really sorry. There might just be an epilogue, and there's most definitely a sequel. This story will be updated once more, even if there's no epilogue, to give you a teaser towards the sequel. I've absolutely loved reading this, and for my brucas fans… keep the faith for the sequel. Hint? Perhaps. Thank you all for reading, I really adore you guys, and I'm flattered beyond belief that you stuck with it even when the pairings you wanted went to hell lol. It means more to me than you know.

Thanks for reading,

Xo Sam