Author's Note: Hey guys I really hope you enjoy this. This story is completely AU and centers around Haley mostly and her relationships. I don't want to give anything away, but let me just say I'm a huge Naley so that should defintely tell you where this story is going. This will not be a short story and if you guys like please review because this is my first time on this board and I really want your opinion good or bad. Even a short "Good Job" would mean alot to me. :)
Chapter One "Shattered"
"For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace."
Timeless, that is what she has been described as since her birth. The story has been told that her Grandmother, Catherine James, took one look at her and said she was blessed with a timeless beauty, a timeless soul, and one day a timeless love that would overshadow anything she would ever experience in her life.
As she grew up her grandmother's prediction could not be denied by anyone who ever took one look at her or spent one minute in her presence. You could place her in any century and she would be breathtaking to those around her. One look into her deep soulful eyes and you were under her spell.
Now at the tender age of 24 she knew of her gifts and enjoyed them to the fullest. Every woman wanted to be like her and every man just wanted to be near her. She was Haley Catherine James, daughter of Jim and Lydia James and sister to Caleb Addison James. Even though the name James may strike you as ordinary her family was anything but. Addison James, her grandfather, started out acquiring a small hotel in 1942 and turned it into the largest luxury hotel chain in the world. They had real estate in every single country and their name was synonymous with the elite. Their fortune could only be rivaled by a select few. They say money can't buy you happiness, but it sure makes it easier she always liked to say.
However, one thing she could never put a price on was her family. Her father and mother were every bit the involved parents they should have been. They never forgot a birthday, holiday, or just an ordinary dance recital. They were there for her and Caleb in every aspect of their lives even when she or her brother disappointed them. Which can happen a lot when your every move is captured on film.
She still finds it amusing that someone like her graces the cover of every gossip paper in the world and she has never done anything to deserve it except to be born into the James family. Every thing from her latest fashion trends to her latest boyfriend is splashed all over the pages. Sadly, the good she does in the world through her many charities isn't deemed news worthy in comparison to what she wore to pump gas in.
"HALES!" a man's voice shouted from the main foyer of her family's enormous 20,000 sq. ft Beverly Hills manor.
Haley was snapped out of her daze of staring at her Grandmother's hand painted portrait by her best friend in the world's booming voice. It was Jake, her Jakey, the one person beside Caleb that knew her better than she knew herself. She giggled as she took off running around the corner, leaping into his arms and wrapping her legs around his waist.
"Whoa there, you almost knocked me on my ass little darling" he said as he hugged her tightly to him. He sat her back on the ground and appraised her. She looked stunning in a simple short white satin robe and her naturally wavy hair cascading over her shoulders. With not an ounce of make-up on and a huge smile on her face he could honestly say he would never meet a more beautiful girl in his life inside and out.
"Jakey it's been a month, I can't believe how much I've missed you." she said as she began dragging him up to her private floor.
"I know you missed me more than life itself so no need to reply back" she went onto say before she stopped from dragging him long enough to turn her head back to him and give him a huge grin. He looked so gorgeous in his black Armani tux she thought to herself.
"So I'm here only 5 seconds and you are already dragging me off to your bedroom to have your way with me" he said while chuckling at her enthusiasm.
"Now Jake you know we stopped doing that when we were 18 due to the fact it could ruin our friendship forever." she stated dramatically while finally reaching her destination and directing him to sit on her plush red chaise.
"So then why did we do it from 16 to 18? You'll have to refresh my memory because it's been a long flight and seeing you in that robe is causing all my blood flow to travel south." he said as he looked her up and down with a huge smirk on his face while she proceeded to sit on his lap in a teasing manner.
"Because we were burdened with over protective parents and hounding paparazzi and being caught with our pants down or dresses up, in my case, before the age of 18 would have been "disgraceful" as our parents would say. Therefore they told us to stick together and instead of transferring our sexual frustration into eating we decided to master the fine art of sex with each other." she said coyly as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
"Damn and master it we did. Do you remember that one time when we were stuck at that Opera in that private balcony? I sure as hell had you screaming some higher notes than those big boned chicks on stage." Jake said as he smiled at the image that was forming in his head.
Haley climbed off his lap, kissed his cheek and ventured toward her closet that contained the very latest in sexy haute couture.
"Ok perv please quit picturing me naked and as I recall I had you moaning a lot more than I ever did that night." she laughed as she threw a pillow at his head before she entered her closet.
Sure they had been friends with benefits for a couple years in their late teens, but he knew just like her they were destined to be best friends. Neither would ever risk their friendship for something they knew in their hearts wasn't meant to be more. They would always have each other no matter what. They had been inseparable since they were in diapers when their fathers partnered up in some real estate ventures. Their parents were best friends and it was expected they, along with Caleb, would be too. It never felt forced though, it just felt like the most natural thing in the world like fate almost.
She laughed after saying the word fate in her head. She knew her grandmother was laughing up above. Fate was right there with the word timeless in her grandmother's vocabulary whenever she spoke to Haley or as Haley liked to call it lectured. She was really missing her grandmother today for some strange reason. It was like she woke up and felt her grandmother's presence surrounding her and she felt comforted, but at the same time fearful. Her Grandmother always told her she'd be there for her in her darkest hours. So while Haley enjoyed feeling her presence and thinking of her she had a sense of dread in her stomach she couldn't shake.
"So Hales, you summon me here an hour early for the annual James Corp. fundraising kiss ass fest for what reason exactly?"
"Hey, your family throws this thing with us and besides you know you love to test drive all the gold digging whores that think they actually have a chance with you. Little do they know the only way they will ever marry you is through me, so they better think of another way besides sexual favors to impress me. Because contrary to your perverted fantasies I only trade sexual favors with men" she yelled at Jake from her massive closet.
"Do I need to get out the Spring Break 2000 video of you and that hot brunette in that Jacuzzi?" Jake yelled back in a challenging voice.
"Also, don't forget same goes for you in the approval department, if any prospective guy does not know what a lay up or a touchdown is out they go. I won't have you marrying some lame French artist who talks about lighting and bitches about Americans all day."
"One, making out with that girl in the Jacuzzi was a dare, made by you I might add, and two I only slept with Jean-Pierre twice, so please give the French thing a rest. Now how do I look" Haley said as she emerged in an emerald green satin Dolce gown. It was a halter style neckline that stopped at just the right spot to reveal her ample cleavage and was practically backless.
"OK remind me again why we can't have sex?" Jake said has he openly ogled her as he watched her twirl.
"Ugh Jake I'll take that and translate it from horny guy language to gentleman language to mean stunning and or breathtaking." she said as she rolled her eyes at him and retreated back into her closet to grab her emerald and diamond jewelry in the wall safe behind the large brass mirror that was used to hide it's existence.
Jake was about to respond when the lyrics to Kanye West's "Gold Digger" began blaring out of his pocket.
"That's appropriate for all the hoes you date Jake" Haley poked her head out and yelled to him before she returned back to the task at hand.
"It's probably your brother smartass!"
"Thank god, does he know how late he's going to make us? Damn I love him, but I am not in the mood to go into this thing without both of you on my arms. So until he graces us with his presence we're all late!"
Not a minute later she heard glass shatter and her heart sunk. Somewhere deep inside she knew her life was about to change forever. She rushed out into the hallway where Jake was on his knees beside a broken antique vase. She grabbed Jake's shoulders and stared into his vacant eyes hoping with everything she had that what he was about to say wasn't true. She still didn't know exactly what she was about to hear, but somewhere deep in her heart she knew. She felt a sense fear and loss she never had before and couldn't explain it. With all the courage she had she pleaded with Jake to tell her what happened.
"Who's gone Ja…, oh god please don't let it be him. Don't say his name Jake please" she begged of her lifelong friend.
Jake stared into those beautiful soulful eyes and watched as something inside them broke when he said the word. "Caleb".
Nothing would ever be the same and what killed him most was wondering if Haley would ever find her way out of this darkness.
One Month Later
"Haley, Haley wake up" someone whispered into her ear.
"What time is it?" she asked to who had awakened her.
"3am and we can't stop tradition, so get you lazy ass out of bed."
Haley opened her eyes to find her 24 year old twin brother staring down at her and she laughed. Ever since they were 5 they had been sneaking down on Christmas day to shake the gifts and peal back the tape to catch a peak at their loot. They had perfected the art of gift snooping over the years and they could unwrap and rewrap a present in under 20 seconds flat. When they were older Jake had asked them why they couldn't wait a few more hours to find out what they got. However, no matter how many times they were asked that question it was just something neither of them could explain. It was a brother sister thing that just bonded them even more. It was just theirs and even now in their 20's it still made them giddy like they were 5 years old in their Flintstones pajamas racing down the stairs.
"Ok I'll race you" Haley replied and with that they took off out of her room and down the stairs not aware that her parents were peaking out of their door from the second floor landing watching their full grown children nearly kill each other while heading down the stairs. Little did Haley and Caleb know this had been their parent's most treasured tradition every Christmas morning too.
"Ok Caleb I'm opening the one from you first and I pray it's not more gift cards to liquor stores. It wouldn't kill you to actually try to get me something meaningful one year" she whispered to her brother who was busy digging through his own pile.
"Quit your bitching and just open it" he responded gruffly back to her.
Haley rolled her eyes and went about opening her gift. She gasped as she looked at the two items in the large Tiffany's box. In a smaller box within was a gorgeous 18kt white gold and diamond Tiffany MARK bracelet watch that was just her style. However, what really astounded her was the second gift he had given her. She slowly lifted it out of the box and took in every inch of it. It was a Sterling silver Tiffany's frame with a black and white photo of the two of them at the age of 6 standing in front of a newly built sandcastle with their arms around each other smiling for the camera. That image brought tears to her eyes, but what made them start to fall were the words engraved on the frame below the smiling siblings, "Timeless". Usually her brother had always made fun of Haley being called that and their grandmother spouting off similar words, but seeing this made Haley realize that their relationship meant as much to him as it did her. Their bond was never ending no matter how many silly fights they had or miles they were from each other.
"Caleb, I can't believe you did this!" she turned to her brother with tears streaming down her face.
"Hales this emotional crap is kind of scaring me, so suck it up and get back to work before the parents wake up."
"Jackass, you always have to ruin the moment."
Caleb scooted over to his sister and gave her a big kiss on the cheek. "It's what I do best, but you still love me."
She ran her hands over the frame again and then said "It's because of moments like this I do. Although, these moments also keep me from killing you the other 364 days a year so don't get too cocky." She giggled enjoying the banter with her brother.
"Hello, that was funny why didn't you laugh? Caleb?"
Haley turned to where her brother was not a second before and he was gone.
Jake walked into her Haley's room to find her tossing and turning repeating Caleb's name and clutching that photo. The site broke his heart every time he found her this way.
It had been a month since Caleb's car accident and nothing seemed to be helping Haley. The press had been relentless and Jake's father had done his best to keep them at bay while taking on all of Jim's duties in the company until recently when Jim returned to take the reigns again. Haley's mother had thrown herself into her charity work and was seeing a therapist 3 times a week. The only James that couldn't find a niche to deal with their grief was Haley. She stayed in bed for a week straight only rising to attend the memorial and funeral. After that week she slowly started to reconnect with the outside world and Jake later learned the only way she was able to even do that was with the help of Xanax. The third week she put on a front for everyone and the media by going out shopping, attending to her own charities, and having lunches with the gang. Everyone thought Haley was finally finding her way back, but Jake knew she was only going through the motions.
They weren't there to find her crying herself to sleep and then discover her like she is now holding onto a photo of her and Caleb for dear life. She was slowly dying inside and Jake knew he had to do something now. She needed a change of scenery and she needed find where she belonged in this world. It was always easier for Caleb he just knew what he wanted from the start. Caleb had always wanted to be a doctor and was in just about to start his first year residency at Boston General before his death. Haley had a degree in public relations from NYU and she loved working for charities especially children's. She always did non profit jobs because she never saw the sense in being paid when she had more money than she knew what to do with.
However, Haley was never happy in California and neither was Caleb for that matter. Haley had only moved from New York after graduation to be near her parents because she always felt that was her place even if she wasn't truly happy. She loved her parents, but she hated being surrounded by the fakeness that existed in her circles in Beverly Hills. She was suffocating and Caleb's death was the catalyst for her to finally break free and live her life. Jake knew her desires of traveling more, of finding love, and of having a family and he knew that she would never find that staying here.
"Hales come on!" he finally grabbed her arm and made her sit upright.
"Jake, why can't everyone just leave me the hell alone." she groggily spoke as she tried to force herself out of his grasp.
"Because we love you and because you and I are going on a trip." He watched her stare at him like he was insane and then he saw her remember her reality and tears fill her eyes.
"I had that dream again Jake. Why won't it stop?" she barely got out before her chest heaved and she let out a gut wrenching sob into his shoulder.
Jake let her cry for awhile before he finally spoke to her. "Hales, did you ever thing Caleb is trying to tell you something?" he paused till he heard her sobbing settled down. "Think about it, of all the memories you have of him that's the one dream that won't stop. That Christmas was when he gave you that photo you haven't let go off for a month. Maybe instead of remembering what you have lost remember what you still have." Jake said as he sat her fragile body back against the pillows and took the frame in his hands.
"I don't believe in all that fate crap usually, but don't you think it means something that the last Christmas you two had together he gives you this frame and you can't stop having that dream now? Just remember the word engraved and instead of trying to hide from the pain, start dealing with it and embrace that bond that will never end with Caleb. He's always going to be with us and you know that better than I do. You have to start living again though and just carry him with you. He may not be with you in the flesh Hales, but he's always in your heart. Now, you know if Caleb was here he'd be busting my balls for being so emotional, but it needed to be said." Jake finished with a slight laugh followed by a sigh hoping what he said sparked something in her.
Haley smiled through her tears at her friend and whispered "Thank You."
"Yeah, Yeah, now let's get you packed your family's Italian Villa awaits. Damn I can't wait to put another huge dent into that wine cellar. Lounging around the decks drinking wine, listening to music, eating feasts prepared by the love of my life Isabella, and taking the boat out on Lake Como."
Haley genuinely laughed for the first time in a month as she climbed out of bed towards her shower. "Jake, Isabella is a 70 year old women"
"Hell any women who can cook like that has the key to my heart." he retorted back as he rolled her Louis Vuitton luggage out of her closet.
She watched him for another moment before she walked into her bathroom over to her marble tub and started the water. As she lowered herself into the tub the thoughts of the Villa made her heart feel lighter and she knew it was where she needed to be. She knew dealing with Caleb's death was going to a long road, but with Jake by her side she knew she would be ok. She also had Caleb with her and nothing would ever break that bound not even death.
Tomorrow morning she would awaken in Italy and she was determined to make the most of it.
Little did she know a whole new phase in her life was upon her that contained twists she would never see coming and be powerless to stop.