Look Beneath the Surface

Background:

Haley James and Nathan Scott met in eighth grade and hated each other (because they were so different)… at first. They slowly grew to become friends and then by ninth grade, they started dating. That lasted about five months until Nathan met Peyton Sawyer, the tortured artist, popular cheerleader. That's when things started to unravel for them. Nathan dumped Haley and started dating Peyton. Haley was devastated, of course. She began questioning her worth and had thoughts of suicide, but never acted on them. Instead, she slipped into a depression and when her parents finally noticed, they packed her things up and shipped her off to live with her aunt and uncle to finish the rest of high school.

Characters include: Nathan Scott, Haley James, Lucas Scott, Brooke Davis (will be introduced later on), Peyton Sawyer (will be introduced later on), Scott James (will be introduced later on) and Jake Jagielski for now.

A/N 2: So, that's the basic background information. This story will jump around quite a bit, to the distant past (background- first meeting and beginning of their relationship), to the more recent past (basically, when Haley re-enters Nathan's life after high school when they attend the same college in North Carolina) to the present. Both Haley and Nathan will be the narrators (separated by /) - mostly Nathan- telling their own points of view and all of that. All right, I tend to go off on a tangent when I write these things, so, enough from me, here's the first chapter:

An Unfriendly Encounter: Cruel & Unusual Punishment (Introduction/Chapter One)

/I am Nathan Scott, son of basketball legend, Tree Hill native, Dan Scott. My mother is Deb Scott and my half-brother is Lucas Scott. His mother's name is Karen Roe and his step father is our uncle, Keith Scott. We grew up together in a huge house that my aunt, uncle, and parents share. We're quite a dysfunctional family, I know, but we're a family nonetheless. I was popular all throughout middle school, while Lucas lived off my coattails and through high school. I am a professional basketball player now, but then, in eighth grade, I was just an immature jock and she could see that about me right away.

Some things aren't always clear to you when they first happen to you because you're usually caught up in the moment. But in retrospect, they could either mean nothing or everything. Like when I met her. At the time, I didn't pay much attention to her. I just thought she wasn't worth my time but later on, I would come to realize just how much she actually meant to me. Funny how things work out, isn't it/

"Hey, Nathan!" Lucas Scott shouted to his brother in class. Nathan practically jumped up in his seat. "I'm awake, Mrs. Cook. I'm awake… What?" Nathan said. He realized he had been sleeping on the bus, not in class. Lucas laughed at him. "What the heck was that about?" he asked. Nathan shook his head as he yawned and wiped the drool off of the corner of his mouth. "Nothing. What were you saying?" Nathan asked. Lucas rolled his eyes and then shook his head in amusement. "I was just reminding you that there's a new girl today," Lucas said.

Nathan looked at him. "Do you remember anything? Seriously, you've got the worst memory of anyone I've ever met. Mrs. Cook told us that we have a new student coming today and we're all supposed to make her feel welcome," Lucas said. Nathan thought long and hard and then he remembered when their teacher had kept them all before recess to tell them of the new girl that would be in their class the next day. Nathan nodded.

They were all sitting down in their seats. Nathan could already see Lucas holding hands with his steady girlfriend, Brooke Davis, under their desks as they sat beside one another. Mrs. Cook walked to the front of the class and a girl trailed behind her. The girl was petite. She had a few nice curves, and an approachable heir to her, but other than that, there was nothing special about her. She looked rather plain in his opinion. Nothing special about her, that's for sure.

Mrs. Cook smiled at the girl and showed her to her seat right next to him. Just great, he thought to himself. She sat down beside him and opened her bag and brought out a notebook and a pencil. "Everyone, this is Haley James," Mrs. Cook said. A few of the other kids in the class turned their heads and gave Haley a friendly smile. He could feel her shaking beside him. He thought she was going to jump out of her skin. "Nathan, I'd appreciate it if you showed her around today," Mrs. Cook said. On the inside, Nathan was grumbling. The last thing he wanted was for some girl to follow him around like a lost little puppy. On the outside he smiled and nodded. "Sure thing, Mrs. C," he said politely. Mrs. Cook nodded at him in approval.

He turned over to Haley who was unaware that she was being examined. She had her face pointed towards the front of the class as if she was actually listening and she was writing something down on the notebook, but her left arm was covering part of the page, so he couldn't see what she'd written. He knew she wasn't hiding it on purpose. It was probably just a habit of hers. He knew because if she were hiding it, she would be hunched over and covering it with more of her arm so if Nathan decided to lean forward, he wouldn't be able to see it. But she wasn't. If Nathan had the desire to, he could lean forward to see what the new girl was writing, but he didn't.

They continued with their history lesson and Haley even volunteered a few answers which made Mrs. Cook smile at her. She even asked Haley how far her other school had been in history and apparently, they were far ahead. Nathan didn't really care. He barely even listened to the conversation.

At recess, Nathan quickly left the room and grabbed his basketball and met up with his friends at the court outside the double doors leading to the school playground. He had meant to show Haley where her locker was, but he didn't know where she had gone. He had quickly forgotten all about her as he started playing the game. Then in the middle of the game, Skills grabbed the ball and threw it off court. "So what do y'all think about the new girl?" he asked, smiling as he noticed Nathan glaring at him.

They all shrugged. "She seems pretty harmless, if you ask me. She's not terrible looking either," Lucas said. They all looked at him in shock. "Don't let Brooke hear you say that," Nathan warned. Lucas shook his head. "I'm allowed to look. Besides, I'm not interested in Haley," he said. The others exchanged the same basic opinion of Haley: she seemed nice, sweet and rather harmless. She was cute, but nothing special. Nathan couldn't argue with all of that, but he didn't want to go with the flow. He liked to make waves and stand out from the crowd. "I think she's kind of lame," he said.

Lucas looked at him in shock. "What do you mean?" he asked. "Well, how do I put this nicely? She's a nerd. I saw her actually paying attention to Mrs. C and jotting down notes for class," Nathan said. "So she's a good student. That doesn't necessarily make her a nerd," Lucas said. "It doesn't make her one of us either," Nathan said. "Since when has there been a 'one of us'?" Skills asked. "Since this new geeky girl showed up," Nathan said. Then the bell rang. Nobody noticed when Haley came out from around the corner. She had been sitting down against the wall thinking the whole time until the basketball players had started talking about her. Now, she was mad.

/"What a jerk!" I thought at the time. I couldn't believe someone who seemed so nice could be such an ass. I'm the youngest of six children and I have five older brothers who used to pick on me when they were younger all of the time so I can take a certain amount of ridicule.

In a way, my brothers toughened me up. The only brother who actually treated me like an equal was the youngest of my older brothers, Scott James. He was a year ahead of me in school so when we moved to Tree Hill, I had to come to terms with the fact that I would be all alone in a new school, which was not something I was used to at the time. But I somehow managed to get through it. How, I couldn't tell you, but I did.

As an army brat (my dad is a lieutenant in the military), I was pretty much used to moving around and being the new girl. In grade seven alone, I had switched to three different schools. So being an outsider was a familiar role for me, but I always had Scott as a companion then, but now I had to learn to be alone and tough. When I think back on it, I think I did a pretty good job in eighth grade./

They all sat down and Haley came into the room last and plopped down in her seat next to Big Mouth. She couldn't remember his name at the moment. She paid attention to the math lesson and then started on the homework. About fifteen minutes later, Big Mouth tapped her on the shoulder. She turned her head to look at him questioningly. "What's the answer for number nine?" he asked. Haley chuckled at the irony of the situation. He had made fun of her for being smart and now he wanted her help. "I might be a nerd, but that doesn't mean I'm a helpful one," she said. He stiffened and looked at her in confusion.

His eyes seemed to be asking her if she heard the conversation. She nodded, signifying that she had. "Look, whatever you heard, you misunderstood," he said. Haley laughed. "How many ways can you misunderstand, 'She's a nerd'?" Haley shot back. She turned back to her work and ignored Big Mouth the rest of the day.

/And that's pretty much what our daily routine was. We clashed right from the start. We argued constantly and that really sucked because we were constantly thrown together on assignments the rest of the year. I resented her because she was smarter than I was and she resented me because I judged her before getting to know her.

At the time I thought I knew Haley James down to a tee. Turns out I was wrong…/

/So eighth grade hadn't turned out exactly the way I planned. But when high school came around, I became excited because I would once again be reunited with my brother at school and I was determined to turn things around. I wouldn't let people like Big Mouth get to me. I even thought I could avoid him all year. Boy, was I in for a surprise.../

Haley walked into her ninth grade math class and looked around. She noticed a seating plan on the overhead and looked for her name. She saw H.J. next to a N.S. and quickly sat down.

/High school at last! This would be the highlight of my life, I was sure of it. No more scowls from Haley James. I would be on the basketball team, get a good girlfriend, party and have some nerd do all my homework for me. But what I neglected to realize at the time was that I was in ninth grade, not in eighth grade anymore, so I would have to do my own homework. I didn't mind that too much. But at least I didn't have Haley James sitting next to me. Right? Wrong/

A few minutes later a familiar scent of cologne caught her attention. She looked to the person heading towards her and groaned inwardly when she realized it was Big Mouth Nathan Scott. She smiled when he rolled his eyes as he saw that she was in his class. Then, when she sat down beside him, Haley shook her head. "You've got to be kidding me. What, am I cursed or something?" she asked.

Nathan turned to her and rolled his eyes. "Not a whole semester next to you again," he said, echoing her disappointed tone.

A/N: So, I hope you liked the first chapter and I would love to know what you thought of it. If you have any questions or are confused about a part of the story (any part), just ask them in a review and I'll respond to them there or email me if you want. Updates for this story will be sporadic at best. I'll try to update as often as I can, though. Don't forget to review. I would love some feedback )