After the Fact
Haley James set her keys lightly on the counter and poured herself a glass of orange juice like she did every day.
"Hey Honey, how was work?" her roommate came through the door with a smile. "Hey, is there more of that?"
"Work was fine," Haley answered automatically, pouring Brooke a glass.
"Okay, don't look," Brooke turned her OJ into a screwdriver with a smile, "I know how you get jealous," she pat Haley on the head.
Haley rolled her eyes.
"Hey, how'd you end up dealing with what's his fuck? All hands guy? That wouldn't leave you alone?"
Swallowing her drink carefully, Haley answered the question, "Not well."
"Oh yeah?" Brooke seemed excited by this, "You went off on him? Serves him right. God, hitting on a pregnant woman is just so fucking wrong. On so many levels. Not that you aren't gorgeous, honey."
Six months into pregnancy, Haley was used to Brooke's not-quite-successful attempt at compliments.
"Unfortunately, Brooke, sometimes management doesn't always like it when their waitresses go around smacking the shit out of their asshole clientèle."
"You HIT him!" Brooke laughed, "That fucking rocks, baby! Way to go!"
"When the baby gets here, you'll have to try to cut down on words like 'fucking' you realize."
"Umm, right, I'm sure that'll happen. So what happened? Tell me about the look on his face when you hit him. Damn, I wish I'd been there."
Haley smiled, "He was shocked. Then angry. Then he got me fired. So yeah."
Brooke's smile froze. "Oh honey... I'm sorry. Do you want me to talk to them? I will bitch them into taking you back, fear not. I've never lost at something like that yet."
"No...I'll find something else. I can't go back to school right away anyway with the baby coming..."
"You have to be saving money right now, though, we did the budget last month..." Brooke looked more and more worried.
"It'll be fine," Haley insisted. It had to be fine. There wasn't really another option available. "Look, Brooke, I just got fired, can we just eat dinner, watch some TV and sleep on it before we start freaking out?"
"Sure, honey. It'll be fine."
But it wasn't fine. The next week taught Haley that not a lot of people wanted to hire someone who planned to be gone for a couple months in the near future. And those that did, didn't pay enough in the first place.
"Shoot me," Haley sighed, falling onto the couch next to Brooke.
"Shh, during the commercial," Brooke was absorbed in her TV. She'd rediscovered That 70s Show and the damn thing marathoned every day. It was beginning to cut into Haley's bitch-about-life time, and she resented it.
"Okay, NOW we can talk," she hit pause on the commercial.
Haley gaped at her. "This is a tape?"
"You could have hit pause when I came in!"
"Could have..." Brooke shrugged, "Didn't. Is that option to shoot you still open?"
"Fine, watch the commercial, see if I care," Haley sat back mutinously.
"Okay," Brooke hit play and fast forward.
"Wait, go back," Haley grabbed the remote out of her friend's hand and hit rewind.
"What the hell, psycho."
Haley ignored her and hit PLAY.
"-join us as the KNICKS take on the SPURS only on-" Haley hit pause on one of the player's faces and her heart sped. "That guy. Who is that?"
"Uhhh, Haley, you're talking to me, Brooke Davis. I make it my business to never give a fuck about sports. Why do you care?"
"That's him. That's the baby's father."
Brooke Davis had never in her life googled a basketball player. But luckily, it really wasn't all that different than looking up actors and singers, which she had loads of experience with.
"Bingo. You ready Hales? Nathan Scott," she read off his bio, "Shooting guard for the New York Knicks. Considered short for his profession at 6'3". Short, that's hilarious. Anyway, it's his second year on the team, drafted right out of college at Duke. Man, you'd think a smart guy like him would know about condoms-"
"What? Yeah, I know, he wore one, but he couldn't have put it on right, look at you."
"Can we find out the facts without the commentary?" Haley sighed.
"Fine, anyway, first round draft pick, yada yada, apparently he's good. They list stats... Oh," Brooke made a face.
Haley had no idea why hearing that hurt so much. They'd had a one night stand six months ago. It was nothing. Well, it had turned into something, but not because they had some kind of emotional connection. It was, at best, a physical one. An intense one, if memory served. Though clearly more memorable for her than him.
"Figures," Haley shrugged, "Aren't pro ball players always screwing around on their women?"
"I guess," Brooke didn't seem ready to let it drop, but all Haley wanted to do was forget she'd ever found out who he really was. She liked the tall, dark stranger fantasy better than this harsh, engaged reality.
"C'mon, let's watch your show."
It was the one sure way to get Brooke off a subject – dangle something shiny in her face. Like TV or jewelery.
It became clear in the following weeks that Haley wasn't going to do what Brooke considered the obvious. Instead, she kept looking for jobs, fruitlessly, as their baby savings kept slipping into the abyss.
Well, Brooke wasn't having it. And if Haley didn't have the balls to get the money they needed, then Brooke certainly would.
She walked into the elevator of a massive building and hit the button. As the number clicked up one by one, she tapped her foot anxiously. Has to be done, she repeated to herself. Haley refused to take anything for herself, Brooke would have to do it for her.
The elevator dinged and Brooke went straight up to desk, "I need to see Lucas Scott, is he available?"
The secretary looked her over, "Do you have an appointment?"
"It's kind of...personal," Brooke winked, "Think he has a break coming up?"
The woman tried, very unsuccessfully, to reign back her disgust and picked up the phone, "Mr. Scott, friend of yours to see you. Sure," she hung up the phone, "He'll be right out. Please take a seat."
Brooke sat, not even bothering to rearrange her skirt as she crossed her legs, allowing it to ride fairly high up her thigh. Some people were blessed with stunning good looks. Others were blessed with modesty. Brooke Davis wasn't one of those rare souls with both.
A very attractive blond man opened the door and Brooke tossed him a slow smile. This was Lucas Scott, and he looked even better than his Internet pictures.
"Lucas!" she sprang from her chair and walked toward him, "It's been so long! Bet you thought I wouldn't call!"
He looked adorably confused, but from the way his slid over her body, she didn't imagine he'd admit he didn't know her. "I didn't think I'd get so lucky," he admitted finally.
"Oh, I'm sure you can get even luckier," she winked.
Lucas coughed, "Umm...would you care to see my office?"
"Sure," she followed him down the hall and into an office covered with various basketball crap.
"So," he smiled, "Remind me how we met again?"
"We didn't," she sat down, "I'm here because your asshole brother knocked up a friend of mine."
Lucas's friendly smile dropped from his face and he sat down in his chair, "Give me a reason not to call security."
"Give me a reason not to call the press."
"Nathan's engaged. Happily engaged to his college girlfriend. They've been together for years, why would he cheat on her?"
"I don't know why men are cheating bastards, Mr. Scott, I don't particularly care about his motivation."
"You're here for a reason, though. Money, I suppose?"
"Child support," Brooke snapped.
"Is that how you're going to avoid calling this blackmail?" he asked. "Look, Miss, I don't know what you think you're trying to accomplish with this, but if you even think of going to the press with this, Nathan will be suing you for more than you have. So drop it. That's all I have to say."
"I really doubt that will fly after the paternity test results are public, but do what you have to do."
"How much are we talking about?" Lucas asked.
"$1 million over five years. That's pocket change to someone like Nathan."
"Not if he blows out his knee tomorrow."
"Well, tell him not to do that," Brooke shrugged. "If we took you to court, we could get even more. I think you know that."
"That's provided what you're saying is true. And I doubt it."
"Then call him and ask," Brooke shrugged, "I can wait."
Nathan Scott was beginning to reconsider having his brother be his agent. 10 missed calls while he was at practice. It was probably about some lame ass Nike commercial he didn't give a shit about anyway.
The phone started to ring again and he rolled his eyes, "What?"
"Oh, thanks, baby, love you too!" a woman's voice came over the line.
"Sorry, thought you were Luke."
"It's the sultry blond thing."
"You find my brother 'sultry'?"
"Peyton?" he asked again.
"Honey, everybody finds your brother sultry. Jealous?"
"Sultrier than me?" he whined.
"Only a little," she laughed.
A beeping came across the line and he looked at the caller ID.
"Baby, I have to go, it's Luke."
"Ohh, say hi for me."
"I hate you," he clicked the button, "What do you need, dickhead?"
"Get over here," his brother told him, "Now."
Whatever Lucas's drama was, Nathan wished he could have waited until after dinner.
"What's the big emergency?" he finally got to the office to find a frankly, completely hot brunette waiting there in the office with his brother. "Nathan Scott," he offered his hand, "And you?"
It was a first, to say the least. He knew about that reaction, in theory, but he'd never actually believed a girl who'd said it before.
"Luke? What's the deal?"
"Do you recognize this person?" the woman pulled out her cell phone and showed him a picture of an auburn haired woman in her early twenties.
"She seems sort of familiar...why?"
"Because you knocked her up," the brunette smiled and turned back to Lucas, "Now you believe me?"
"I did what?" Nathan gaped at her, "No. Whatever she said, she's full of it. Get this bitch out of here, Lucas."
"Fine," the bitch shrugged, "If you don't want to deal with this quietly..."
"Hold up, Brooke," Lucas instructed and turned back to Nathan, "You're one hundred percent sure, Nathan? There's no possibility that it is yours? This was what, six months ago, right?"
Nathan froze. Six months ago. "Umm...can I see that picture again?"
When Haley got home, Brooke was unusually chipper. "You will NEVER guess what you got in the mail!"
"Brooke, mail tampering is illegal. You know that, right?"
"Well, I didn't know what it was! How else are you supposed to figure it out?"
"Wait until I get home?"
"It's a check, Haley! A HUGE check, look at it!"
What little annoyance Haley had at her nosey ass roommate was lost in her eagerness to rip open the envelope.
"It's a from a bank. For a settlement," she looked at Brooke, "What settlement?"
"I believe that is the bank that owns your diner than that guy was always sexually harassing you at?"
"Brooke Davis, what did you do?" Haley smacked her friend playfully.
"Did you SEE how much I got you?" Brooke didn't even try to pretend it was an accident.
"Yes, two thousand dollars!" Haley grinned.
"What? Why?" Haley's eyes bugged as she re-read the check.
Two Months Later
She decided not to bother getting a job until after the baby came. Brooke still wondered why on earth she had considered it in the first place. With the money appearing out of nowhere, she could maybe even afford to go back to school after the baby came. At least it was an option, maybe. They'd have to see what happened.
She had one month to deliver and Haley was doing her new favorite thing: browsing the junk food isle at the grocery store.
"Oh my God," girlie squealing joined her in the aisle and suddenly there he was, Nathan Scott and a very skinny blonde woman that Haley couldn't help but dislike on sight. It probably had something to do with the fact that the woman had clearly just recently been making out with the reason Haley had such a Cheetos obsession in the first place.
"Oh, baby, I forgot to grab the protein powder for those shakes I wanted to start making, can you go grab that?" Nathan turned to the woman Haley could only assume was the fiancee Brooke told her about.
The second she was gone, he was at her side and Haley didn't know whether to shield herself from attack or brace for passion. "What are you, stalking me now?"
"I'm what?" Haley's mouth dropped, "I haven't seen you in eight months!"
"Already ran through your first installment, maybe looking for another hand out?"
Did he think she was someone else? They'd only met briefly. Well, not really briefly but it was quite awhile ago. And they hadn't exactly been sober.
"I'm just...trying to get cheetos," she mumbled.
"You think that is healthy for the baby?" Nathan glared at her. "Get some broccoli for God's sake."
Haley snapped, "Are you fucking kidding me? You don't call. We see each other eight months after the fact and you yell at me and give me nutrition advice?"
"If I want to add in some free advice with my million dollars, I guess I can!" he was practically yelling.
"What are you talking about?"
"Are you playing so many people that you can't keep track in your head? Fuck, Haley! Let me refresh your memory. I'm paying you a million dollars to get out of my face and keep out of the press with that baby, which I doubt is even really mine!"
Haley couldn't think or speak, she just stared at Nathan.
But her need to respond was overwhelmed by the footsteps clicking toward them. His girlfriend was back.
To Be Continued...