Starting Over
by superscar

Tree Hill High School, Ten Years Ago

"Hey, dude, check it out!" Tim Smith handed Nathan Scott his cell phone and the movements between the people on the screen were unmistakable.

"Don't you watch enough porn at home?"

"I don't know what this 'enough' is that you speak of - but this is totally different, man - they go to our school!"

"What!" He had to take a closer look, though he could barely see anything on the tiny ass screen. "How'd you get it?"

"I think the dude in it sent it to his friends and now everyone has it. Probably on the Internet by now."

Jake Jagielski walked up to where they were and shoved his gym bag in his locker. "Is that the infamous tape?"

"I have no idea who it even is," Nathan shrugged.

"Never fear, I'll e-mail it to you so you can see the good stuff," Tim snickered.

Jake shook his head, "You're such a jackass."

"What? I'm not the one passing the file around."

Nathan felt the need to clarify, "Actually, you are."

"Shut up, dude," Tim shoved him, "I'm not the one who made the video - anyone that tapes themselves going at it knows this is a possibility."

"Riiiight," Jack nodded, "Jack ass."

"Whatever - Nate, totally didn't think she was the type, did you?"

Nathan was losing interest in the conversation. Most of the girls he knew were definitely the type to have sex on tape but if they were really one of his friends, he couldn't watch it. At the very least couldn't let anyone know he did.

"I don't even know who we're talking about and the bell's gonna ring at any second," he picked up his back pack and headed toward the door of the Boys' Locker Room.

"It's that girl who used to tutor you. Kaylee something, right?"

Wrong. His tutor's name was Haley. Haley James.

She was twenty minutes late to school because she'd spent almost half an hour in the shower, just dreaming about her boyfriend, Chris. How he'd sang to her and they took the next step in their relationship the night before. Sex was different than she thought it would be. Like there would be some huge change or fundamental shift once she had it.

Not being a virgin, she'd come to discover, was really only a big deal to virgins. The other side of the wall was pretty much exactly the same.

It was the emotion that was different. The L-word that came out of his lips during the song. That was overwhelming.

Haley couldn't help giggling as she hurried to her class room.

When Haley hadn't been in his English class that morning, Nathan couldn't help but be relieved. Maybe she already knew what had happened? Decided to do the smart thing and move to Charlotte?

Haley James was one of the most innocent people on the face of the planet and the fact that there was a sex video floating around school with her in it was unbelievable. And the fact that he'd heard her boyfriend, Chris Keller, was the one to send it out to his buddies in the first place disgusted Nathan beyond belief. He'd never been that disrespectful of a woman in his life, and he'd had more than his share of one night stands. But then, he'd started early in life.

Everyone was whispering about her and it made him uncomfortable. He hadn't said anything, he didn't even know her, really. She'd tutored him for maybe a month at the beginning of the year. But she was a nice girl, he remembered that about her. Unassuming.

He hoped she escaped this mess with her life.

The door knob turned and Nathan winced when Haley herself walked through the door. She looked happy, ready to fight another day. Acid spread through Nathan's stomach.

"I'm so sorry I'm late," she handed the teacher her pass.

The whispers started up immediately as she went to her seat. Every guy checked her out and a few of the girls giggled.

Nathan recognized her confusion and couldn't watch anymore.

It had to be her imagination, Haley instructed herself firmly as she took her seat. Her mother had always told her that secretly, everyone is way too paranoid about what others think of them to worry too much about what you're up to.

But her mother wasn't there with her because she could swear every single eye was on her. And a few of the girls were laughing.

Haley smoothed a hand over her hair self consciously.

"Hey Haley," a guy next to her whispered and she turned to him expectantly. Maybe he would let her know if there was something in her teeth or she somehow came to school with toilet paper stuck to her jeans...? "Glad you made it," he winked and ran his tongue over his lip suggestively.

Haley grimaced in revulsion and shrank back into her seat. Her eyes were beginning to sting as possible reasons for the harassment ran through her mind in a whirl. Was it possible Chris had...said something? She dismissed it almost immediately. He couldn't have. He loved her. Right?

The twenty minutes left of her first period class crawled by as she focused on her teacher and didn't meet the eyes of anyone around her. Get through this class, find Peyton, figure out what the hell was going on. That was her goal.

She watched the clock as 10...7...5...3... the bell rang and she sprang out of her seat immediately, tripped on someone else's bag and only barely escaped a face plant.

"Are you okay?" one of the guys asked her, but she didn't look at him, just pushed through the rest of the students and to get out of the classroom.

Even though Haley had just totally blown him off, he really couldn't blame her, considering everyone had been pestering her the entire period.

Nathan didn't think he had anymore classes with her other than first period, which was just as well, it was like watching a car crash in slow motion.

"Nathan Scott!" His teacher yelled his name, waving him over to her desk. She was holding her phone in her hand.

"What'd you need, Ms. Thomas?"

"The office is on the phone, they'd like you to go see them?"

"Sure," he shrugged, "Which office?" There were only about a million in this school.

"Guidance Office."

That threw him, but he headed down there anyway. If it was the Vice Principal's office, it would have been about watching Tim's video this morning. If it was the Attendance Office, it may have been about a certain day he hadn't exactly had the stomach flu the week before.

But he hadn't been to the Guidance Office since, well... had he ever been there, actually?

"Peyton, thank God," Haley caught up to her best friend at her locker, "People are being really weird today."

"Haley, what were you thinking?" she hissed, looking around for anyone listening in on them. "Why would you let him tape you?"

"Tape? Who?" Haley frowned, totally baffled.

"Chris, he sent out a tape of you know," Peyton looked horrified just talking about it.

Haley's stomach dropped to China. "He...of It's on...a videotape?"

"People have been watching it on their phones. God, Haley, you didn't know?"

"He taped it? But... Oh my God," tears poured down her cheeks and she tried to get oxygen.

It didn't matter that she was having a breakdown in the middle of school. Vaguely, she felt Peyton pulling her out of the main hallway into the girl's bathroom, but she didn't care where she was. Her life was over. How could he do this to her? What had she done to possibly deserve this?

"Nothing," Peyton told her, "He's a jackass. A dead jackass as soon as I see him."

"Hey!" a girl came out of the bathroom stall and looked at Haley curiously, "You're that chick from the video, right? Right, why else would you be in here crying your eyes out, sorry."

"Ummm...have we met?" Peyton asked.

"Brooke Davis," she held out her hand, "I think we had Bio together last year or something."

Peyton shook her hand hesitantly and Brooke smiled.

"So, are you guys gonna kick the shit out of him soon, cause I'd like to be there for that."

Haley cracked a smile, "Nice to meet you."

Nathan walked in to the Guidance Office not really knowing what to expect. But his father wasn't even in the realm of possibility.

"Hello, son," Dan Scott gave him a big toothy grin that gave Nathan the creeps.

"What are you doing here?"

"Picking you up, you're moving."

"What are you talking about?" Nathan noticed his mother was in the room with him, "What is he talking about, mom?"

"The court gave him custody, Nathan," her voice cracked and he could tell she'd been crying.

"They WHAT? Are they insane?" Nathan glared at his father.

"Your mother was arrested for drug possession, Nathan. The court agrees you'd be better off in a stable, two parent home."

"Fuck off, Dan," Nathan pronounced the N very clearly, lest there be any confusion.

"I can bring an officer in here if you feel it's necessary, Nathan. Deb? A little help?"

Deb sighed, "Nathan, this is the best thing for everyone right now. I'll get you back here as soon as I can. I'm so sorry."

"Fine. Whatever, Mom. See you around, I guess."

He walked toward the door, not caring if Dan followed, he just needed to breathe for a second.

Unfortunately, he didn't notice the girl coming out of the bathroom because he plowed her right over.

"Shit, are you okay?"

"God, Nate, what the fuck?" she looked up at him.

"Hey Brooke," he offered her a hand and pulled her up as two other girls came out of the bathroom. Jake's girlfriend, whose name he could never remember and Haley James, who he had completely forgotten about in the midst of his own drama.

Silence. He realized he was staring and turned back to Brooke.

"No broken bones, right?"

"Nope, I'm flexible," she winked at him and felt himself go slightly red, much to his annoyance.

"Well. Good. So, I've gotta go and you guys, have to go. So I'll be seeing you. Or, well, probably not, actually," he laughed to himself. Seeing as he was moving across the state or something.

None of the girls seemed to know how to respond to this, which he really couldn't blame them for.

"Nathan," Dan caught up to him in the hall, "You coming?"

"Yeah," he gave Haley one more glance, "Hang in there."

She looked like she wanted to respond for a second, but she didn't and Dan guided Nathan out the door and on their way.

He caught one last glimpse of her through the glass in the door and never expected to see her again. But ten years later, Haley James would come walking right through his door.

To Be Continued