Chapter Twenty

After that night things changed between them. The past had not been forgotten, but it had been forgiven and they started anew.

Four and a half months later, Nathan was standing in front of a mirror attempting to tie a bowtie around the neck of his dress shirt, getting ready as fast as he could for the ceremony that would begin in a half hour.

"You know, it'd be a lot faster if you just asked someone for help," his brother informed him, announcing his presence in the room.

"Haley is the one that usually helps me," Nathan replied.

"Well, that's too bad because the bride and groom aren't supposed to see each other before the wedding. Bad luck," Lucas reminded him, amused with annoyance.

"What a load of bull," Nathan remarked.

"Haley believes it," Lucas said.

"Only because her maids of honour filled her head with all that superstitious garbage," Nathan snapped, annoyed with Brooke and Peyton for messing with his fiancée's head. "We saw each other on our first wedding day."

"And look how that ended," Lucas joked.

It had ended with divorce.

"Are you here for a reason?" Nathan asked.

"Brooke insisted that I should keep you company," Lucas replied.

Nathan looked at him curiously. "Really?"

Lucas nodded but with further glaring from Nathan, he finally sighed. "And Peyton said someone should keep an eye on you," he added.

Nathan stared at him incredulously. "Does she think I'll go AWOL on Haley or something?" he demanded angrily. He hadn't gotten back together with the love of his life just to walk out on her on their wedding day.

His brother looked at him uncomfortably in the mirror. "You don't want to know what she said."

"Why does your partner still hate me?" Nathan asked.

"She doesn't hate you," Lucas replied instantly and an eye roll was his brother's initial response.

"Could've fooled me." Nathan snorted.

"She's just being herself. I mean, you should've heard some of the things she was saying to Haley," Lucas added, smiling in amusement as he recalled how his best friend had responded to Peyton's jibes.

"A pregnant Peyton is a mean Peyton," Nathan concluded.

"Yup," Lucas agreed.

"How is Haley doing?" Nathan asked curiously.

"When I left, Brooke was doing some last-minute adjustments to the train of her dress and she seemed fine," Lucas replied.

Nathan looked at him carefully. "Was she nervous?" he asked.

Luke smiled. "She was excited, Nathan," he said, curbing his brother's insecurity.


"She was beaming the entire time I was there." Lucas nodded.

"Good," Nathan said, his proud smile widening into a grin, "I can't wait either."

"You've had two ceremonies before, Nathan," Lucas pointed out. "The third time's a charm."

He glared at him in annoyance. "This will be the last wedding for the both of us," Nathan promised.

"You two are going to work out this time," Lucas said seriously.

Nathan smirked. "Of course we are because I'm not going to screw it up this time."

"What if another Rachel comes along?" Lucas asked, leaning forward in his chair.

"I lived without Haley for six years, Luke," Nathan reminded him.

"And?" Lucas shrugged.

"I'm not going back to that life," Nathan replied simply but with a deep sense of conviction.

"Haley, would you hold still for God sakes?" Brooke demanded in frustration as the bride once again squirmed in her dress, thus causing Brooke to stick her finger with her sewing needle.

"If you hurry the hell up," Haley replied irritably.

"I'm almost done," Brooke insisted.

"That's what you said last time and here we still are ten minutes later," Haley reminded her.

Brooke stopped what she was doing and glared up at Haley. "Do you want a dress at all?"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Haley asked, rising to the challenge.

"It's supposed to mean that I have a pair of scissors in my hand," Brooke said, holding up the scissors as proof. "All I have to do is snip, snip, snip and poof: no more dress."

"And all I have to do is punch you in the face; you'll be out cold and in need of a nose job," Haley retorted, raising a balled fist. "Shred the dress. I dare you."

Brooke fell quiet as if she was actually thinking Haley's threat over. Then she remembered she had been hit by the girl before- in senior year after Haley found out that Brooke and Rachel were the ones that had stolen her key to the tutor center's copy of tests which had gotten her fired as a tutor- and it had hurt like hell.

"I'm almost done," she said meekly and then went back to her task.

"That's what I thought," Haley smirked.

"I keep seeing more of Nathan's personality in you every day," Peyton Jagielski remarked from her seat in the far corner of the room.

Haley glanced at her in the mirror. "You make that sound like a bad thing," she said.

Peyton chuckled. "It is bad, Hales," she confirmed.

"What's wrong with Nathan?" Brooke asked.

"Never mind," Peyton said as her face suddenly went red. "I'm just being mean." She shrugged the conversation off and glanced down at her pregnancy bump. "This is going to be the death of me."

"Actually, that will go away a while after the baby's born," Brooke said.

"I meant being pregnant- hormones and all that," Peyton replied.

"You'll be fine," Haley said.

"I'm cranky all the time and I'm even more opinionated than ever before," Peyton babbled.

"I didn't think that was possible," Haley chuckled.

"I could mouth off to the wrong person, piss them off so much that they slit my throat and I'll be dead," Peyton continued.

"Now, you're just being ridiculous," Brooke said, finally standing up. "I'm done."

"Why am I being ridiculous?" Peyton asked.

"Because your crankiness has had one target in particular and if Nathan hasn't slit your throat by now, I doubt anyone else will," Haley replied.

"Peyton, come here and let me look your dress over one last time while we still have time," Brooke said.

Peyton scoffed. "I'll stand up when it's time for Haley to walk down that aisle and not a moment sooner."

"But your dress-" Brooke protested.

"-is fine." Peyton finished for her with a menacing glare.

"You should get up now," Haley said.

"Why?" Both girls asked.

"Because it's time for me to get married," Haley said.

"Again," Brooke added in amusement.

Nathan walked two steps forward to meet his bride at the end of her long trek down the aisle and clasped her hand in his as they walked up to the priest together.

"You look beautiful," he whispered in her ear as he pecked her on the cheek.

"So do you," Haley returned, smiling as he rolled his eyes at the feminine description of his appearance. "Oh, sorry, I mean you look handsome."

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the union of this man and this woman in holy matrimony," Father Tomas began slowly. "This ceremony is celebration of the commitment that Nathan and Haley have promised to make to each other. They will, through their vows, promise to honour and love each other forever."

"We've stood here together before," Nathan started, glancing up at her to find that there were already tears in her eyes. "And while I vowed to love you always and forever then, I know that I didn't honour that promise. I didn't think that I deserved another chance. The fact that you gave me one after what I did tells me that this relationship is worth fighting for, worth having."

"And that the things that matter the most are the things worth fighting for." Nathan handed her a Kleenex which she grudgingly accepted because she hated crying in public. "So I want to thank you for fighting. I love you, Hales."

"You saved my life," Haley said simply. "Eight years ago when you asked me to marry you and again, when you let me stay with you while I was hiding. You make me feel safe and brave."

A few minutes went by as Haley continued to cry tears of joy. "I love you too, Nathan."

Rings were exchanged.

"With this ring, I thee wed," both Nathan and Haley repeated after the priest as they simultaneously slipped golden rings on the other's ring finger.

"I now pronounce you husband and wife," the priest said.

"Let me stop you right there," Nathan said as he raised his hand in a silencing gesture. "I know this part off by heart." He took two steps forward and anchored Haley to him, kissing her deeply.

"You may continue kissing your bride," the priest said, chuckling in amusement.