Title: Double Tree Hill Hotel

Author: Sweet Sarcasm

Rating: PG-13 for language and teen situations

Author's Note: Words don't even begin to express how deeply sorry I am. Let's just say that I'm having a very rough year, and hopefully 2008 will be much better. :( And of course, we have my favorite game, Good News/Bad News. Good news is that my writer's block has disappeared, so I've started writing again. Even better news is that I've once again attempted to finish Chapter 4 of The Bachelor. I might even update that story this weekend, depending on how fast I get the chapter written. It might be a bit short, but I haven't updated for a year, so it's better than nothing. Bad news…while I do have a plot written out for The Bachelor, I need to locate it and actually find the strength to write out the chapters because I have a strong dislike of writing my favorite characters with people who clearly don't belong with them. And for this story…I'm afraid of making this too drama-packed and regretting ever writing this story. I need to outline the plot again and figure out where this is going. I have an idea on how the next two chapters are going to be, but after that is the unknown. BUT, this story has been strongly influenced by The Boy Who Loved Lily, so I might tweak the storyline to fit that.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize. The game featured in this story has been copied from Hana Yori Dango, Meteor Garden, and of course, The Boy Who Loved Lily by the fabulous RinoaJ (Love you, Jasmine!). I tweaked some of the lines from her story, so all credit goes to her.

Kissing is a means of getting two people so close together that they can't see anything wrong with each other.

-Rene Yasenek

"Rise and shine, buttercup!" a cheery voice rang out. Haley groaned. She felt as if someone had dropped a bag of flaming bricks on her head. She blinked, but it took a few seconds for her vision to get in focus.

She groaned again. "Why do I feel like hell?"

"That makes two of us," moaned Brooke, rolling over to face Haley. Peyton laughed. "Peyton? What are you doing here?"

The curly blonde was sitting on the edge of Brooke's queen-sized bed as if she had been their friend for years. "Man, you guys were wasted last night." She got up and handed each of them a glass of water and some aspirin.

"You were drinking as much as I was," grumbled Haley, accepting the water. "Why are you so…perky?"

Peyton shrugged, walking over to the dresser. She began to brush her hair and continued, "I can handle my alcohol unlike some people." She shot the two bedridden girls a look. "Besides, I really didn't drink that much. I had soda most of the night."

Brooke groaned and buried her head under her pillow. "What happened last night?" she mumbled.

"You guys don't remember how you got here?" Peyton asked, amused. Both girls shook their heads.

"I don't even remember telling you where I live," mumbled Brooke, sipping her water. "Gah, my head hurts."

"Wait…I remember feeling sick," Haley said suddenly. Peyton snorted.

"That's a start," she replied, clearly amused.

"And…I remember going outside…and talking to Nathan…and…oh my God!" groaned Haley. "I threw up on him!"

Haley swayed a little bit, but she managed to catch herself. She held on to the other cars in order to get to Nathan. "Well, well, well, if it isn't Mr. I-Can-Get-Whatever-I-Want. Don't worry, even if I was eavesdropping on you, you rejecting some girl like that Clean Teen is no new news. You're like Charlotte's newest hero."

"Like I wanted to be!" snorted Nathan. "I never wanted all the hotels or anything like that. If I act like the way I am, it's because I have to. I told you all of this from day one, so why don't you stop making me seem like the bad guy?"

Haley sighed heavily. "You're right. I'm sorry. But even without the hotels, I think you would still be an asshole."

Nathan rubbed his eyes, exhausted from the night's events. "We should get you inside the car." He grabbed her arm, and she collapsed onto him. "God, how much did you drink?"

"You know, I think you should apologize to me," murmured Haley into his chest.

Nathan tried to straighten her up and fish for his keys at the same time. "Apologize to you for what?"

"You did promise me always and forever," mumbled Haley, her vision getting slightly blurry.

Nathan frowned. For some reason, those words seemed to have an effect on him. "What are you…oh my God!" He tried to push her back, for she had started to vomit on him. "These are my new shoes!"

He caught Haley in his arms as the alcohol finally took its toll.

Peyton laughed as Haley commenced to turn bright red and bury her head under the pillow. "You passed out right after that. Oh, and don't worry, Nathan's shoes are fine." Haley almost started to cry from embarrassment.

Brooke laughed a little, even though her head was pounding. "Ha, ha, Tutor Girl! I wish I was there." Haley just groaned in reply.

"And while Haley was throwing up on Nathan, a certain Miss Davis was trying to dance with Lucas," said Peyton, her eyes gleaming. "Well, that was before you threw up. Not on him, though."

Brooke brightened up a little. "Oh, well, at least I didn't pull a Tutor Girl," she said happily.

"Anyways, there was no way in hell that we could have brought you back to our room," continued Peyton. "So we called up Jake and he told us where you lived. Nathan smelled like shit the whole way." Haley moaned again. "Thank God your parents aren't here, Brooke. I think they would have killed us for trespassing."

"They wouldn't have cared," muttered Brooke. "How did you guys get in?"

"We used Nathan's credit card," Peyton said simply.

"A credit card?" Haley said skeptically. "Huh?"

Peyton smiled a little. "You have no idea how many times Lucas and Nathan have locked themselves outside of their house. They can break into any house, no problem. I stayed the night so that I could watch you guys. I didn't know that you guys live together."

Brooke and Haley exchanged a look. "Haley is over here so much that she practically lives here," Brooke fibbed. But it was true. Sort of.

"What time is it?" asked Haley, suddenly aware of the sun shining in through the windows.

"Eleven thirty," answered Peyton, checking her phone. The girls' eyes widened, and they quickly sat up. "Don't worry, you guys don't have to go in today. They're just moving things around for the party. Besides, Nathan managed to sweet talk your manager into giving you guys a day off. You know, I never saw Nathan as a Prince Charming type till last night." She giggled as Haley glared at her.

"Man, this is tough work," Tim complained as he blew up more balloons.

"Tim, you're still drunk," Lucas told him dully. Tim just nodded.

"So, Luke, I heard that you broke up with the red whore," Keith Scott told his nephew, smiling a little bit.

"Mr. Scott! I thought you didn't speak badly of women!" Tim said, shocked. Keith rolled his eyes.

"She was a whore, though," agreed Jake, tying some string to the balloons.

"She came home at five o'clock," Lucas said monotonously. "She was still drunk, but I told her it was over."

"So is she still staying with you guys?" asked Jake, passing one of the employees the balloons. "It's gotta be awkward to be sharing a room with her."

Lucas shrugged. "She still has to help out with the party. Maybe she can stay with one of her boyfriends." He sounded bitter.

Tim swung an arm around the sullen blonde's shoulders and patted his head. Lucas just stared at him. "No offense, man, but I always thought you were a wuss for not breaking up with her. I mean, she's hot and everything, but she slept with every guy she met. Except me."

"And me," chimed Jake.

"She tried to, though," pointed out Lucas. Jake just shrugged. "I know I should have broken up with her ages ago, but I don't know. She was just a constant in my life."

Keith gave him a pat on the back. "I know what you mean. Now, we only have ten more hours till Nate's party. So let's move it, move it, move it!" The guys groaned.

"So, we'll see you later, Mr. Scott," one of the men told Nathan. He just nodded, and buried his head under his arms after they closed the door. Moments later, he heard a knock and was startled when that person just walked in without his permission.

"Oh. I didn't know you were in here," a voice said, surprised. Nathan lifted his head off the table to face the person who was speaking to him. It was Haley.

"It's you," stated Nathan disgustedly. "Are you here to apologize for ruining my shoes?"

Haley bit her lip from letting the sarcastic remarks combat his words. However, one of them managed to escape. "Dude, even I'm not that hung up over my shoes. I guess you swing the other way, huh?"

Nathan's jaw tightened as he surveyed the tiny auburn girl. "If this is you apologizing, you suck at it."

"Who said that I was here to apologize?" retorted Haley. "I actually came here to work. Oh, but wait, you probably don't know what work is. Working is what grown ups do!"

"You are an ungrateful brat," gritted out Nathan. "After you throw up on me, I lug you home and manage to get you out of trouble with your boss and a day off. And this is how you thank me? You know, if you ever need your life saved, go ask someone else because clearly helping you isn't worth it."

"I never asked you to help me!" cried Haley, her fists tightening to balls. "I'll even tell my boss that I got wasted and that's why I came late if it makes you happy." She spun around to leave the room, but Nathan walked over to her in two strides and grabbed her arm.

"Why do you have to be so stubborn?" he groaned, running a hand through his dark hair. Haley just glared at him. "Look, you shouldn't even be here. You should be at home, sleeping your hangover off. God, just come back later tonight."

"Don't tell me what to do," snapped Haley. "And who said that I even want to go to your stupid party? Your last one sucked anyway!" The words escaped before Haley could stop them, and her eyes widened. Nathan blinked.

"What are you talking about?" he asked slowly. "When did you go to any of my other parties?"

Haley yanked her arm out of his grasp. "Never mind," she said quietly, avoiding his gaze. She sighed. "Look, you're right. I'm sorry I threw up on you." Nathan cocked his head, surprised at the change of events.

"It's okay," he said gruffly. "You're not the only one." He leaned against the wall, towering over Haley.

She nodded. "And…thanks. For everything," she added, looking at him to make sure he got the meaning. Nathan nodded.

"No problem," he said softly. Haley gulped as his dark blue eyes locked with her brown ones. He slowly picked up the cleaning supplies that she had been holding earlier. "Now, you should go home and get some rest. I wouldn't want you to have a horrible time tonight."

Haley involuntarily held on to the doorknob in case she keeled over. "I…I don't know if I'm going."

Nathan frowned. "Why not? Brooke and Jake are going to be there."

She looked down, shuffling her feet. "I don't know. Clearly, after last night, I don't think I want a repeat of what happened. Besides, there are probably a lot of other people who will be working at the party, so you wouldn't even need me."

The frown was still etched on Nathan's face as he stared down at Haley. Finally, he spoke up. "Haley, I don't want you at my party to work. I want you there as my guest."

Haley could have sworn that her heart skipped a beat. Was she really still talking to Nathan Scott, jackass extraordinaire? He was standing right in front of her, his hard blue eyes now softened and he seemed pretty sincere.

"It was my fault, Mrs. James," Nathan admitted tearfully. "I'm sorry." His lower lip started to tremble, and unshed tears were housed in his sad, blue eyes.

"Oh, Nathan, it wasn't your fault," consoled Lydia. "It was just an accident. They happen all the time."

Haley whimpered and burst into tears when her mother applied Neosporin to the wound. Nathan turned slightly pale.

"Nathan, why don't you go find your mother?" Haley's mom suggested quietly to the young boy. "I think Haley needs to rest for awhile." Nathan nodded, and turned to Haley.

"I'm sorry," he whispered. Haley just looked away, and dejectedly, Nathan walked away.

The next day, Haley sat by herself in the hotel kitchen, trying to read a picture book. She was soon joined by Nathan, who was gripping on to a Cracker Jack box. Haley tried to ignore him; she was still angry with him for yesterday's incident. Nathan sighed and opened up the snack box. Inside was a multi-colored plastic bracelet. He smiled at it, and then slipped it onto Haley's wrist. "Don't say I never got you anything," he told her.

Haley smiled. The scar on her palm and that bracelet would remain with her for years to come, a reminder of what had happened so many years ago.

Haley blinked. Where had that come from? She then realized that she had been staring off into space and Nathan was watching her. "Are you okay?" asked Nathan, still looking at her face.

Haley nodded quickly. "Oh, yeah, I'm fine," she fibbed. "You're right, I should go home." She started to make her way out of the room before Nathan called after her.

"You're still coming tonight, right?" he asked urgently. Haley turned around and flashed him a smile, the first one that Nathan had ever received.

"Why not?"

Later, when Haley got back home, she headed straight for her bed. Brooke was taking a shower, so she had at least an hour to herself. Getting on her knees, Haley removed a dusty shoebox that had been buried there ever since she had moved in with Brooke. She sneezed when the dust started to fly everywhere, but she didn't really care.

On the very top, there lay a faded plastic bracelet. However, anyone could tell that at one point the bracelet was painted with vibrant colors. Haley had stopped wearing the bracelet right after her parents had abandoned her for the world. But now, as she cradled the bracelet in her palms, Haley smiled to herself and slipped it on her right wrist. She turned her palm over to examine the deep scar that was still etched on her skin.

"Haley?" Brooke came out of the bathroom in nothing but a robe. She was drying her wet hair with a towel.

Haley quickly stood up, kicking the box at the same time. "Oh, hi. What's up?"

Brooke frowned suspiciously. "Nothing," she said slowly. "Why did you come back?"

Haley shrugged and walked away from her bed. "I didn't feel like working," she replied. "They're just setting up for the party."

Brooke smiled beatifically. "Speaking of which…"

"Uh oh," said Haley nervously, not liking the expression on Brooke's face. "Why do I have a feeling that I'm not going to like whatever you're about to say?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Brooke protested. She circled the poor girl, examining her from head to foot.

"Brooke," Haley said warningly.

Brooke threw her hands up in defeat and dropped the towel. "Okay, okay! Don't get your panties in a bunch." Haley glared at her. "I just got bad news. Turns out that Jamie's parents surprised her with a trip to Tahiti for graduation."

"And she didn't invite you? That bitch," joked Haley. Brooke shook her head.

"I know, right? But that's not it. You see, Jamie was girl number ten in my routine for tonight and…"

"No," interrupted Haley.

"But Hales!" whined Brooke. "I really need you!"

"No, no, and no," Haley said firmly. "I'm not gonna do it."

"If you loved me, then you would help me out!" countered Brooke.

"Don't try that crap with me," Haley told her. "You know that I hate dancing in front of people."

"You didn't last night," muttered Brooke. She was silenced with a glare. "But I need you!"

"Why don't you call someone else? There are fourteen girls on the squad," said Haley, really not intent on performing that night.

"Okay, Alicia, Cindy, Heather, Serra, Lila, Hope, Ella, and Isabel are already coming tonight. But Trina's doing this summer camp thing, Tessa and Valerie are in San Lucas, and Jillian is already in New York. That makes me girl number 9, and it wouldn't look right unless there are ten of us!" explained Brooke. "Please, Hales?"

"Brooke…" sighed Haley. Then her eyes lit up. "Why don't you get Peyton to fill in for you? She's a cheerleader!"

Brooke shook her head. "She's already doing her own routine with her squad, remember?" she reminded her friend. "It would be too controversial if she was in both."

"Oh, the humanity!" Haley cried out dramatically. She sobered when Brooke just stared at her. "Sorry."

"Please, Hales, I swear I'll never ask you for anything else again," pleaded Brooke, getting on her knees. "I just really need you for tonight."

Haley sighed as she stared down at the pouting brunette. "Why is this so important to you?" she asked. "I mean, it's not like it's a national competition or anything."

Brooke got up and sat on her bed. "You don't understand. I have to prove to everyone that I'm the best at something. I'm not smart or athletic or whatever. The only things that I have are cheerleading and my clothes, and right now, the latter isn't going anywhere. I just need to prove to all those rich kids that I can still do this on my own."

Haley was quiet. "I'm probably going to regret this, but…" she trailed off. "Why the hell not?" Brooke squealed and jumped up to give Haley a hug.

"Oh, you're the best! Whatever you want, you got it," promised Brooke, the glint returning to her eyes.

Haley chuckled. "I'm holding your word for it, Davis," she laughed. "So you better deliver."

"Will do," dismissed Brooke. "Now, we only have a few hours to get ready! Shit!" She dragged Haley downstairs to start practicing.

The rest of the team joined the girls later. Haley wasn't lying when she said she wasn't a dancer; she was a total klutz. Several times, she bumped into the girls and stepped on their feet, apologizing profusely. Brooke placed her in the back where no one could really see her, which made Haley feel slightly better. She had managed to learn twelve eight counts in six hours, and Brooke changed the ending so that Haley would have an easier time.

Three hours before the party, the girls began to get ready for the party. Brooke managed to find an extra uniform for Haley, which fit her perfectly. True to her word, Brooke was also in charge of doing Haley's hair and make-up, much to her dismay. "Please don't make me look like whore," begged Haley as Brooke examined Haley's face.

"What's your definition of a whore?" Brooke asked innocently, twirling the blush brush between her fingers. Haley gave her a look. "Oh, come on, Hales! Think of this as a Broadway show or something. You wouldn't wear light make-up if you're performing. The lighting will definitely pale your face and the people in the back won't be able to see anything except for a very white face. That's why we need to go bright and bold."

"Don't worry, Hales, it won't be as bad as the Spring Classic or Halloween," Cindy reassured her. She was a petite blonde who also ran track whenever she wasn't cheerleading. She was the tomboy of the group. "Just…don't piss Brooke off." She shuddered as the other girls nodded in agreement. Haley gulped.

"Are we teasing our hair, Brooke?" asked Hope, a strawberry blonde. She was holding a small comb in one hand and a curling iron in the other.

Brooke screwed her eyes shut for a second, contemplating the matter. "Yeah. We're doing high pigtails, so divide your hair before teasing it." Hope nodded, and she put down the iron.

Haley groaned as she touched her ponytail. "This night is going to be hell," she moaned.

"No, it won't," Brooke said absentmindedly. "Now stop blinking or else I might poke your eye with this!" She held the eyeliner pencil menacingly.

"Happy birthday, Nathan!" a pompous woman greeted Nathan. He offered her a tight-lipped smile.

"Thank you," he responded for the millionth time.

"It's a shame that your father couldn't have been here today," the woman continued, shaking her head sadly. "It's not every day his son turns eighteen."

Nathan gestured to Lucas, who was busy talking to some of his friends. "He was there when Lucas turned eighteen."

The woman turned to Lucas, and sniffed. "Oh, yes, how could I forget?" she said dismally. Nathan sighed.

"Hey, Nathan," a voice greeted him from behind. Nathan almost sagged in relief to turn his attention away from the arrogant woman. He turned around and found Jake awkwardly standing there.

"Hey," he said back, then turned to the woman. "If you'll excuse me." She nodded, and gave him a fake smile. He inwardly rolled his eyes.

"Looks like you're having a blast," joked Jake, noting the bored expression on the birthday boy's face.

"Really? Is it that obvious?" Nathan said dully. He noticed that Jake was alone. "Where's Haley? I know that Brooke's coming for sure," he quickly added, not wanting Jake to get the wrong impression.

Jake gave him a weird look, but didn't call Nathan on it. "With Brooke. They're doing some last minute touch ups." He looked around the room. "It's so weird to see that half the people here are either in basketball jerseys or cheerleading outfits and then the other half are wearing nice ballroom clothes." He himself was wearing a Suns jersey while Nathan sported a Bulls jersey with Michael Jordan's number on the back.

"What's even more disturbing is to see some of the people wear the jerseys or short cheerleading outfits when they shouldn't be," shuddered Nathan. He was referring to the woman who he had been talking to. Apparently, she was trying to pass off as a Lakers girl.

Jake laughed. "Hey, are all of your parents' friends and stuff going to hang out with us, or are you sending them to another room? I mean, the things we have planned for you aren't exactly parent-friendly."

Nathan rolled his eyes. "Of course! After dinner, they're going to one of the ballrooms where my mother and her associates are going to be discussing their many charities," Nathan said mockingly. "Thank God."

"Jake! You made it!" Lucas approached them with a few guys in tow.

"Hey, man, good to see you," grinned Jake, giving Lucas the half hug. "Magic Johnson? Classic."

"Nice choice with Nash," nodded Lucas. "The man's got game."

"With a huge ass nose," one of the other guys added. "I'm Junk. This is Skills, Mouth, and Fergie." Each one nodded in response.

"Jake," he said in return. "Nice to meet you."

"Can you believe the people with Lakers jersey?" scoffed Fergie.

"Hey, are you guys dissing the Lakers?" a new voice rang in. It was Peyton.

"Of course not!" Junk said innocently. "Just the people who support them." Peyton stuck her tongue out.

"Please. Next year, they are so going to own," she snorted, flipping her short, curly hair. There were a lot of "yeah, rights" and "uh huh" in response. "They are! And anyways, Brooke and I are going to change into our Lakers outfits later because we're cool like that."

"Ugh, I thought I told her to burn that thing," grumbled Jake. Peyton glared at him.

"Oh, and Lucas, is it okay if I kick your girlfriend's ass tonight? That bitch tried using hairspray on me!" complained Peyton, tugging her hair.

"Actually, it's ex-girlfriend and be my guest," corrected Lucas. Peyton's eyes widened.

"Oh, my God, when did this happen?" she asked.

"Oh, at around five o'clock in the morning," Lucas said bitterly.

"Please, you're better off without her," Nathan told his brother. "You deserve way better." Peyton smiled; she loved how the Scott brothers had each other's backs. Lucas just sighed.

"Man, every time I see you, you're always brooding," someone commented from behind them. "I think I'll call you Broody!" Everyone turned to see Brooke, her hands on her hips and looking up at Lucas.

"And every time I see you, you're always cheering," Lucas replied dryly. "Maybe I'll call you Cheery."

"Broody and Cheery," Jake said aloud. "Sounds like two of the missing Seven Dwarves." Brooke just rolled her eyes. "Where's Hales?"

"Hmm? She's right behind...Tutor Girl! Get your ass here right now," commanded Brooke. When no one appeared, she stomped her foot in frustration. "Ugh!" She marched over to one of the pillars, pulled someone from behind it, and dragged her to the rest of the group. "Ta da! Isn't she fabulous?"

"Haley…you look…very cheerleader," Lucas told her, laughing a little. "You just don't look like a cheerful cheerleader."

"Yeah, you look like you're about to bust a move," choked out Jake. Haley glowered at him.

"She's an evil Nazi," she muttered. "She seriously thinks of ways on how to torture people and then she does it and she's just pure evil!"

Peyton laughed. "Aw, Haley, I think you look cute," she told her, smiling. "Right, Nate?"

Nathan, who had been trying his hardest not to stare the moment she walked in, just gave an incoherent answer that only Brooke and Peyton were able to interpret. Haley blushed, and looked away. Jake's eyes narrowed slightly, and Lucas just grinned. Deciding it was time to save the day, he nodded towards the stage. "Hey, there's your mom, Nate. I think we're going to start now."

Everyone turned to see a pretty blonde standing at the microphone. "Hello, everybody! First of all, I just want to wish my son a happy birthday. So, happy birthday, Nate!" All the people, young and old, turned towards Nathan with their glasses raised and a ripple of happy birthdays were directed to him. Nathan's friends laughed and nudged him while he just grinned, acknowledging his audience. "I can't believe that my baby's growing up!" Everyone laughed. "Sorry, Nate, I'll try not to embarrass you in front of your friends anymore." Nathan groaned. "Anyways, Nathan's friends have something planned for him, so the rest of us old people will be in the Aurora ballroom next door where there will be a presentation on HIV awareness."

"Hey, does that mean Rachel will be next door?" muttered Peyton, making Haley and Brooke laugh.

"So, here's to Nathan," Mrs. Scott continued, holding out her glass. "Have a great time!"

After everyone clinked their glasses, those over the age of thirty made their way out of the room. Lucas replaced Mrs. Scott on the stage to make a speech. "Hey, everybody," he said into mic. Sporadic cheers and catcalls to Lucas were made, and he just shook his head, grinning. "Well, it's Nate's big eighteenth bash, and well, we're gonna have a blast. So get comfortable, grab some food, and I promise that you'll have a good time. Happy birthday, bro!" Lucas stuck his fist in the air, and Nathan nodded in return.

On that note, the DJ started playing the music, but a large group of teens made their way to the food. Haley, Brooke, and Jake got their own table in the back corner while Nathan and all of his close friends got the long table in the front.

"I feel like I'm on My Super Sweet Sixteen," whispered Haley, looking around the room in awe.

"Yeah, do you think the elephants and the Spice Girls are hiding in the back?" commented Jake sarcastically. His eighteenth birthday had involved a surprise party at Chuckie E. Cheese with a bunch of his younger cousins. Needless to say, he was still a little bitter.

Brooke clapped her hands excitedly. "That makes so much sense! The Spice Girls are finally united since from forever, and their first gig is a birthday bash for one of the hottest (Right, Hales?) hotel heirs in North Carolina!"

"You do realize I was being sarcastic, right?" Jake asked her worriedly. Brooke rolled her eyes.

"So was I," Brooke told him cheerfully.

"Dear God, if that was you being sarcastic, then I don't want to know what you're like when you're actually being serious," Jake moaned.

"Hey, I didn't know that the Spice Girls are back together," Haley said suddenly. Brooke's eyes lit up.

"Yeah! They were united on June –" Brooke was interrupted by the arrival of the rest of the cheerleaders. "Oh, hey, guys."

"Damn, this sure beats out all of my birthday parties, including my fifteenth," sighed Alicia, a pretty girl with dark brown hair. "You guys remember that?"

"You mean the birthday where we got stuck a cornfield for five hours?" Ella snorted, taking a sip of her water. "Yeah, I'm still trying to forget about that." Alicia stuck her tongue out at her.

"So, Jake, how's Jen-Jen?" asked Hope, turning to the only male at the table. She had always had a little crush on him, and while she was a very nice girl, Jake just didn't like her in that way.

Jake smiled. "Oh, she's doing great. My cousins are watching her right now, actually."

"If you ever need anyone to watch her, just let me know," Hope said shyly. Jake nodded, smiling a little bit.

Lila turned to Haley, who was sitting on her left. She was a pretty Asian girl and one of the most outspoken students in the school. Grinning, she said, "So, Haley, I heard that you've been crushing on one of the guests here."

Haley turned scarlet, taken aback. She shot a glare at Brooke, who just shrugged innocently. "Wh-where did you hear that?"

The rest of the girls giggled. "I think it's romantic," Hope told her. "Childhood sweethearts who haven't seen each other in years finally reunite once again."

"And yet here I am, working for him," Haley muttered.

"Hey, you can be like…"

"Say Cinderella and I'll stab you in the jugular," finished Haley, glaring at the table. They all laughed.

"You know, I would have never thought I would be alive to see the day where innocent Tutor Girl would be threatening me with a knife," Lila said thoughtfully.

"Clearly, you've never met Haley James," replied Brooke, nudging Haley was still grumbling and glaring.

The rest of the meal was filled with great food and laughter. Haley was still feeling tense about the upcoming event, but she kept her nerve. After all, it's not as if she knew many people here. Most of the people she knew would be performing on stage with her, so they wouldn't be watching her. Jake, yes, Jake would give her a hard time, but if she begged, he would leave her alone. That just left Peyton, who she loved; Rachel, who she wouldn't even talk to even if she had the chance to be given millions of dollars; Tim, whose eyes would probably not even be trained on her; and Lucas, who was too much of a gentleman to say anything to her (though he would be probably watching the other girls, since he was a male).

Oh, and Nathan, but he didn't count. He was a chauvinist pig who would probably make fun of her and bring it up constantly. He'd probably make rude remarks just to get a rise out of her. After he was done, then he'd demand a supply of whipped cream and condoms for himself and his newest fling.

She sighed. He wasn't really like that. He could be a jackass, but he wouldn't stoop that low. And maybe he wouldn't do all those things. Maybe he'd be a complete gentleman and just not bring up the subject again. Which would make her like him even more. Dammit.

Not that she liked him in that way, of course. Just as a person and potential friend.

She hadn't even finished her dinner yet and already she was overanalyzing things.

"Haley? Are you okay? It looks like your brain's caving in or something."

And now she looked like a complete idiot.

"Maybe it was all the hairspray. We did use like, ten cans in one hour."

"Wow, cheerleaders really are concerned about global warning. Way to go, ladies."

"Please, Jagelski, we were indoors when we were doing our hair."

"Dear Lord, spare me now."

"Hey, Jake, man. Introduce us!"

"What's wrong with Haley? Why is she hitting her head like that?"

"Haley, are you okay?"

"Her brain's caving in because of all the hairspray they used to deplete the ozone layer."

"Yeah, that would give me a headache, too."

"Broody, everything gives you a headache."

"And Cheery, I think you might be the cause of them."

"You haven't even known me for that long."

"First impressions last."

"And I've already pegged you down for typical jock. You know, shallow jock, fake bimbo cheerleader."

"Funny, the last bit was how I pegged you."

"Maybe you guys should do us a favor and go find yourselves a room, then," snapped Haley, tired of the endless conversation.

Brooke and Lucas exchanged a disdainful look and looked away. "Yeah, right, we don't know where he's been," Brooke whispered, careful to make sure that he wouldn't hear her. Haley rolled her eyes, knowing she was referring to Rachel.

"Jake!" whined Tim, making not-so-subtle glances at the other cheerleaders. "Introduce, man!"

Jake sighed, knowing the only way to make Tim shut up was to give him what he wanted. "This is Hope, Lila, Cindy, Alicia, Heather, Serra, Isabel and Ella. And hopefully, you already know Brooke and Haley. Ladies, Tim."

"What's up, ladies?" Tim said suavely, taking a seat next to Isabel and Alicia. They rolled their eyes.

Peyton sat in the first empty seat next to Brooke and Haley. "So, Rachel's over there, bragging how our routine is going to upstage yours'."

All the girls, excluding Haley, who was still peeved, rolled their eyes. "Oh, please, that girl is all talk," snorted Brooke. "Her team couldn't even win the Winter Classic! Her routine's probably overused."

"It is kind of too mainstream for me," Peyton said thoughtfully. "But it's not that bad."

Brooke patted Peyton's hand. "Hey, no matter what happens, no hard feelings, okay?"

"Even if we win?" grinned Peyton.

"Um, no, I don't want you to have any hard feelings against me or Hales when my team beats your asses," corrected Brooke. The other girls cheered.

"Yeah, well, just be glad that it's cheerleading you guys are competing in, not basketball, because we all know who's going to win that," Lucas told the confident brunette, seeming to forget that two of his new friends had attended the same school as her. The whole table sensed that a less friendly argument was about to begin, and yet only Haley tried to prevent it.

"Um, you guys…" she began, but she was interrupted by Brooke.

"Oh, please, our basketball team could so take on your team any day, any time," she retorted. "Just because you won one championship –"

"Actually, seven in a row," corrected Lucas. The brunette's eyes narrowed.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I meant seven championships," spat Brooke. "But I bet you guys would get your asses kicked by our team if there was a rematch."

"God, this is probably going to go on forever," groaned Haley, making sure the two volatile teens wouldn't hear her.

"It's weird, Lucas isn't usually this argumentative, unless it's about something he loves, like literature," Peyton said, frowning a little bit. "Brooke really brings the worst out of him."

"Definitely. But they're so into each other," Lila, the relationship guru, observed. "Watch, they're getting married in a few years, if not earlier."

Everyone, sans the ones being talked about, stared at her. "You just met Lucas literally thirty seconds ago and you're already planning their wedding?" Jake said, dumbfounded.

"The scary thing is that she's usually right about these things," Isabel said grimly. "I lost so much money to her after the Brad/Angelina hook-up. And the Tom-Katie marriage. And Pamela and Rick. And…"

"Basically every tabloid couple, then," Haley said dryly.

Isabel nodded. "She even knew that you and Jake were going to get together, but you would break up for Brooke, and then they would break up. And this was like, freshman year."

"We didn't even know each other freshman year," Jake told her, confused.

"Exactly," shuddered the dark-haired cheerleader. They gawked.

"I don't get it," Tim spoke up. "He's always moping around and reading books. She's…really hot." Peyton smacked him on the side of his head. "Ow!"

"Opposites attract," Lila replied, rolling her eyes.

Rachel decided to make her appearance at that moment. "Hey, we need to introduce the first performers," she told Peyton and Tim. She wasn't too happy that Lucas and Brooke were still quarrelling over God knows what. "You ready?"

The two former Tree Hill students stood up. "Luke. We gotta go," Tim informed the angry blonde.

Lucas pulled out of the argument with one last glare, and walked towards the stage, Rachel and Tim at his heels. Peyton smiled at the red-faced Brooke. "Why is he so infuriating?" griped Brooke, her jaw taut.

"Hey, you were singing a completely different tune last night," Peyton told her. "You thought he was hot." Brooke snorted.

"Yeah, right," she said, rolling her eyes.

"No, I'm being totally serious. You even told him to his face," added Peyton. "You were a little tipsy, though, so…" Brooke's eyes widened.

"Oh my God, I didn't kiss him, did I?" she whispered, completely repulsed by the idea.

Peyton laughed. "Um, no. But I vaguely remember watching him hold your hair while you puked outside." Brooke groaned.

"Kill me now," she moaned.

"At least he's being a gentleman and choosing not to hold it over you," Haley offered helpfully. Brooke just glared at her.

"Peyton Sawyer! Now!" shrieked Rachel from across the room. Peyton rolled her eyes and stood up as well.

"Well, the evil bitch is calling, so I have to go. See you guys in a few minutes and good luck!" She gave Haley and Brooke a hug before trotting off to the front of the stage.

Haley's face paled after Peyton left. "I think I'm going to be sick," she murmured, slinking down into her chair. Jake squeezed her hand in reassurance.

"Hales, you're going to do fine. Just relax and have fun," Jake told her. This did little to mollify her.

"Shut up, I can't hear what they're saying," hissed Isabel, motioning towards the stage. Everyone turned to see Tim, Peyton, Lucas, and Rachel on stage. Nathan was sitting at the high table with a bunch of his other friends.

"Hey, is everyone having a good time?" called Peyton. All the guests cheered in response. "In celebration of Nathan's birthday, we're going to have a lot of awesome performances tonight. First, our very own Black Ravens are going to perform their newest album." All the students from Tree Hill screamed in excitement.

Tim took the microphone from Peyton. "After that, prepare for some sexy dancing from the cheerleaders! Bam chicka wah wah!" Everyone laughed while the girls just rolled their eyes.

Rachel snatched the mic away from him, giving him a dirty look. "But these routines are going to go extreme. Not only do we have our kick ass cheerleading team here today to perform, but we're having a dance off with the local Charlotte High Cougars. Why don't we give them a hand?" she said in a bored, monotone voice.

The Tree Hill students clapped politely while Brooke's table, sans Haley, went crazy. Nathan caught Haley's eye and rolled his eyes. Haley shook her head and smiled.

"After all those 'fun' festivities, our rockin' DJ Mouth McFadden will spin some discs all night long," Lucas finished up, pointing to a skinny boy in the corner. He raised his hand in recognition.

"Happy Birthday, Nathan!" finished the four teens. Everyone started to cheer and scream again.

Serra rubbed her hands together. "This is going to be fun," she said excitedly. "We're so going to kick these losers' asses."

Brooke slapped the back of Haley's head, who recoiled. "Hey! What was that for?" whined Haley, rubbing her head.

"You need to relax," Brooke emphasized. "If you keep freaking out, then you're going to get sick and we need all ten girls! Besides, you've done this before in front of hundreds of people who actually know and love you. I don't know why you're so nervous."

"Maybe it's because her luv-uh is out there," murmured Lila. Haley glared at her, but was too nervous to snap back.

"Is that what this is?" asked Brooke, suddenly understanding her friend's current state. "Because of Nathan?"

"No!" cried out Haley. "God, I'm so fed up with everyone trying to link everything to him! You know I get stage fright, particularly when I'm going to dance in front of thousands of strangers! I suck at dancing! All those times I subbed for you for basketball was mind-numbingly easy. This actually requires effort."

"Well, I don't think that there are thousands of people here tonight," Jake said easily, doing a quick survey of the room. "And while you do suck at dancing ("Thanks a lot," said Haley), this is almost like us performing at Star. Just think of it like that."

"Yeah, you're an amazing singer, Hales," Hope chimed in. "Jake's right. With singing, you only have like, three other people onstage with you if you're lucky. But tonight, there are nine other people and you're in the back. So chill, okay?"

Haley sighed. She knew that everyone was right, but she was still feeling the butterflies fluttering in her stomach. She took a deep breath, smiled at the table, and decided to enjoy her last moments before their routine.

The Black Ravens was a decent group, even though Jake and Haley both knew that the bass player probably had started playing two months prior to this performance and the singer was off-key on some of the notes. Ella and Alicia developed a crush on the drummer and the singer, and were two of the many screaming groupies at the base of the stage. At the end of the set, their table clapped enthusiastically as the band finished their last song.

Tim took their place. "Hello, ladies!" he crooned to the girls assembled by his feet. A lot of them walked away, and he pouted. "Anyway, the Black Ravens rocked, as usual. But to make things a little bit steamier, we have our Tree Hill Ravens! Make Tim proud!" All the partygoers went wild as the music started and the lights swiveled towards the Tree Hill cheerleaders.

"Ours is so much better," Brooke told Haley, shaking her head. Rachel's routine consisted of many standard cheerleading moves danced to the summer hits that were constantly played on the radio. Peyton was one of the girls dancing in the front, and Haley was surprised to see the grungy, artistic girl transform to a bubbly cheerleader.

By the end of their routine, Haley felt as if her stomach was about to drop to the ground at any moment. All the other girls were hyped up and determined to show the suburban teens not to mess with them. As Rachel and her team jumped up and down, cheering for their former high school, Jake gave Brooke and Haley a hug. "Go kick some ass," he told them.

"Will do!" Brooke said cheerfully. Haley was still unable to form any words.

On their way up to the stage, Peyton also gave a hug to the two girls. She was grinning from ear to ear. "Good luck, you guys!" she told them, her voice one decibel higher than usual.

"You did awesome out there!" Brooke told her, letting the rest of her team go on the stage before her. "I would have never pegged you for the cheering type, P. Sawyer."

Peyton's grin never faltered. "Well, let's see what you got, Nazi Cheerleader."

Rachel appeared right next to Peyton. "Yeah. Let's see you bring it on."

Brooke smirked, flipping her long hair. "Oh, we will. After all, I do think that the Winter Classic trophy is sitting on my nightstand."

Peyton laughed while Rachel just rolled her eyes. "Break a leg, Hales," Peyton told the stationary Haley.

"Not literally," Brooke said quickly. Haley nodded mutely.

"Brooke! Haley! Let's go!" hissed Serra, motioning them towards the stage.

Brooke grabbed Haley and dragged her onstage. Tim was already up there, ready to introduce the next act. "Well, we all know that our girls kicked ass, but let's see if our hot competitors can do any better. Let's hear it for the Charlotte High Cougars!"

There was a smattering of applause here and there, and Brooke and the rest of the cheerleaders jumped up and down, trying to pump them up. There was a short pause as they waited for the music to start. "Go Haley!" cheered Lucas, who was sitting right next to Nathan. Haley smiled nervously and was glad that she couldn't see anyone due to the lighting.

Everyone chuckled as the beginning notes of "Paradise City" by Guns 'n' Roses started. Unlike Rachel's routine, Brooke had a lot more stunts and different types of dances incorporated in her routine, and the music was definitely a change compared to the hip-hop songs cheerleading routines usually consisted of. Despite this being the "rival" team, the crowd loved it.

Haley was doing an okay job, stumbling a few times. But since she was in the back, no one really noticed. Brooke had placed her as a back spotter for the stunts, which was one of the easier jobs. Haley had begun to relax and really enjoy herself for once. But she was apprehensive for the ending, where the ten girls would form a kick line and do high kicks in unison. Haley had never really grasped the technique of the high kick and knew that her feeble kicks would look bad among the others'.

Among the audience, Nathan was laughing and cheering along with everyone else. For some reason, he couldn't keep his eyes off of Haley, who was semi-hidden in the back most of the time. He was staring so much that his brother couldn't help but notice as well. "Haley's looking pretty good up there, isn't she?" he yelled over the noise.

Nathan jumped. "I can't hear you!" he lied, tearing his gaze away from the auburn girl.

Lucas chuckled. "You should ask her to dance tonight!" he said loudly.

"Why should I?" Nathan said rather rudely. Lucas just shook his head, amused.

As the music reached its climax and ending, the instrumentals rapidly picked up and the girls prepared for the kick line. "Ready, Hales?" screamed Brooke over the music. Haley shook her head frantically, and Brooke just laughed, throwing her arm around her shoulder.

"Right leg. Left leg. Right leg. Left leg," Haley said to herself. She was placed towards the middle next to Cindy and Brooke, whose high kicks were two inches higher than her own. But she overestimated the strength of her kick and ended up landing on her butt. A loud gasp was heard throughout the large room and for two seconds, none of the girls knew what to do.

Haley just gazed up at Brooke in horror, whose face had scrunched up. Haley squeezed her eyes shut, bracing herself for Brooke's wrath. But to her utter shock, Brooke started to laugh. The other girls looked at each other in confusion, wondering if their Nazi cheerleader had finally lost it. But Brooke helped Haley to her feet and started jumping up and down, making weird faces, and doing her version of the robot. While the audience looked at her like she was insane, her team caught on to what she was doing and started doing their own moves. Even though Haley was thoroughly humiliated with herself, Brooke grabbed her hand and twirled her around. "Just relax!" she yelled, a glowing smile on her face. Haley laughed when Brooke started to do the running man and let herself go with the music.

Peyton, who was sitting next to Mouth and Lucas, grabbed the both of them and started dancing. Pretty soon, everyone else had followed her lead and was rocking out to the music as well.

The song finally ended, and everyone began to cheer wildly. The girls held hands and bowed, waving and smiling all the while. When they got off the stage, they were bombarded by Rachel and her team. "Well. I guess everyone likes your routine better than mine," Rachel said coolly, directing her statement to Brooke. "Even though your friend screwed up at the end, they still liked it."

"Thanks!" beamed Brooke. "You did a great job, too, Rachel." She held out her hand, and Rachel grudgingly shook it.

"Let's go girls," she told her squad, and they all followed their fearless leader, nodding at the other squad in recognition. Peyton stayed behind.

"You guys can go eat," Brooke told her squad. They all cheered (they were, after all, cheerleaders), and raced towards the buffet table.

Peyton wouldn't stop smiling. "Well, Nazi cheerleader, I'm impressed. Using a Guns 'n' Roses song was definitely original. The ending, however, was the best part."

Brooke giggled. "Thanks, P. Sawyer! But I'm just really proud of my Tutor Girl." She nudged Haley playfully.

"I'm just glad it's finally over!" Haley sighed in relief. "My ass hurts, too." They all laughed.

Jake and Lucas made their way to the girls at the same time. "Haley, I'm so proud of you!" Jake told his ex-girlfriend, giving her a big hug.

"Yeah, you were great out there!" echoed Lucas, giving her a hug as well.

Brooke planted her hands on her hips. "Hey, about me? You know, the head cheerleader who totally saved Haley's ass out there?"

Jake laughed and gave her a hug. "You know you were awesome. I just don't want to inflate your already huge head." Brooke stuck her tongue out at him.

"Yeah, you were okay out there," allowed Lucas, folding his arms. The brunette smiled.

"Thank you, Broody. It means a lot to me that you think that," she said, a shadow of a smirk staring to appear. Lucas made a face. She turned to Haley and Peyton. "Are you guys ready to shake it out there?" She motioned to the dance floor, where a large group of people had already started to assemble.

"More dancing? I want to take a break," complained Haley.

"Fat change," Peyton told her, and she and Brooke dragged her onto the dance floor.

"How could you date her?" Lucas asked Jake. Jake just shrugged.

"Obviously, you've never had Brooke Davis' charms directed towards you," Jake sighed.

Lucas shook his head. "I'm pretty sure I'm strong enough to resist them," he declared, shooting one last look at the pretty brunette. Jake just smiled knowingly. "Hey, do you want to hang out by the table? Us guys aren't really into dancing, so we'll probably be there all night long."

Jake shrugged. "Sure, why not?"

"Wow, this music is great!" Brooke remarked loudly. She, Peyton, and Haley were at the core of all the dancing.

"Can I sit down now?" Haley asked for the umpteenth time.

"You and your complaining," Peyton said teasingly. "Fine, go take a seat."

"Thank you!" exclaimed Haley in relief, and she raced towards the beverages table before they changed their minds. She grabbed the ladle and poured herself a glass of punch, wincing as she tasted the alcohol laced with the fruit juice. "Yuck."

"Not ready for another night of alcohol?" a voice said from behind her. Haley whirled around to find Lucas smiling at her.

She shook her head. "Ugh, not really. I think I learned my lesson last night," she grimaced. Lucas grinned.

"Yeah, I think Nathan's shoes did as well," he teased. Haley just scowled at him. "Kidding! But I do think that you should stay away from any of the beverages that's been exposed to the public, mainly Tim. You're no fun when you're wasted."

"Gee, thanks," Haley said sarcastically, putting down her glass. She sighed when the music changed to a slower song and all the couples trickled onto the dance floor.

Lucas noticed this and asked, "Hey, do you want to dance?" He offered his hand out to her.

Haley smiled and took it. "Sure." He then guided her onto the dance floor among all the other swaying couples.

Across the room, a certain birthday boy glowered as he observed the dancing couple. Jake, who had considerably warmed up to Nathan during the course of the night, also noticed the new development and glanced at Nathan. He shook his head in amusement. "Maybe you should ask her to dance," he suggested lightly.

Nathan's jaw tightened and his brows furrowed. "Why should I? We don't even get along that well. Besides, it looks like she's having a pretty good time with Lucas." He spat out his brother's name in distaste. Jake didn't make any further comments, but just smiled knowingly.

The song finally ended and a more upbeat one took its place. Lucas and Haley headed towards Nathan's table to rest for a while. They were greeted by a sullen Nathan and had just walked into one of Rachel's rants. "This party is so boring! Nothing exciting is happening," she complained. "We need some drama."

"We already have it," Nathan said under his breath, but no one really heard him.

Tim laughed drunkenly and suavely put his arm around Rachel's shoulder, only to be swatted off. "Want to make this shindig a little bit more interesting? I think I have just the thing."

He hopped off his chair and made his way to the DJ booth, where he exchanged some words with Mouth, who nodded reluctantly. Haley nervously looked away from Nathan, who seemed to be watching her every time she glanced in his direction. "Hey, Tutor Girl!" a loud voice chirped. "What's happening?"

Haley shrugged and gestured to Tim. "Tim is trying to make the party more exciting."

"This place is already hot! The music is awesome," Brooke commented, pushing back her hair away from her glistening face.

"Yeah, well," mumbled Haley, catching Nathan looking at her once again. Was it just her imagination, or did he keep glaring at her and Lucas?

"Hey, everybody, I have a game!" Tim announced over the microphone, slurring his words a bit. "I all know that we've been dying to kiss a certain someone, so right now's your chance!"

"What the hell is he talking about?" Peyton asked in confusion. Everyone shrugged.

"When I say go, Mouth is going to shut off all the lights for eighteen seconds, cause, you know, Nate is turning eighteen," said Tim, adopting a "no duh" tone. "When the lights go off, everyone is going to find that special someone and they get to make out with them for eighteen seconds. Boy on boy is strongly discouraged, but girl on girl is more than welcome." He waggled his eyebrows.

"TIM!" all his friends exclaimed in horror.

"Are you ready?" asked Tim, ignoring all his friends. Everyone else seemed psyched, if not confused. "Ready…set…go!"

All the lights flickered off at once, immersing the entire room in darkness. Most of the girls screamed out of instinct, but pretty soon there was a flurry of movement as everyone scrambled around, trying to find someone to kiss. There were a lot of angry curses as a lot of the girls tried to claw their way towards Nathan and Lucas.

Haley, who had been standing the entire time, was horrified when she could faintly make out a large mass pushing their way towards her. She squeaked when they pushed even harder, causing her to fall. She was dismayed when she realized that she hadn't smashed her face onto the floor, but rather onto a person, who was groaning in pain.

Before she tried to push herself up, the lights came back on and she was surprised to find her lips firmly planted onto…

Nathan Scott's.

Oh, kiss me beneath the milky twilight
Lead me out on the moonlit floor
Lift your open hand
Strike up the band and make the fireflies dance
Silver moon's sparkling
So kiss me.

-Kiss Me, Sixpence None the Richer

Author's Note: So this wasn't the best chapter in the world and there were a lot of parts that might have seemed totally OOC and unbelievable, but this is my longest chapter to date. I've been getting a lot of hits for this story, so please review this chapter! (And I'm talking to all you lurkers. :D) To all my other reviewers, thank you guys so much! Your reviews seriously make my day.

I think I've babbled long enough so I hope you all enjoyed this chapter and happy holidays!

Peace. Love. Review. :)