Disclaimer: I do not own One Tree Hill or any of its characters
Summary: Desperate to keep her son, Haley James marries Nathan Scott, a stranger who despises her. What is her secret and will he warm to his new wife?
Chapter 1 - Upside Down
Haley smiled widely as she watched Tobias waddle towards her with his arms outstretched.
"Mommy" he squealed excitedly as she lifted him up into her arms and blew a raspberry on his pudgy stomach. She had just finished bathing her son and was about to get him ready for his afternoon nap.
"Hey Toby. How about we read a story before your nap?" she suggested knowing that he would be asleep before the end of the first page of his book. He giggled in response throwing his chubby arms around her neck allowing Haley to nuzzle his soft baby skin, breathing in his freshly clean scent. It was her favorite smell in the entire world. And to think two years ago she had never even known it existed.
It was hard to believe that her life had been so different back then. She had been an average 19 year old college student with big dreams when Toby had come along. She rarely thought of what her life had been like before he entered her life. He was so unexpected, yet she would never want to go back to a life without him, not for a second. Sure, her life was different to that of most 21 year olds, but it didn't matter to Haley because Toby had become her whole world.
After settling Toby in their bed and cleaning up their cramped New York flat, Haley sat down to drink a cup of coffee. She was glad for a few moments peace and quiet after enduring an especially tiring shift the night before at the café where she worked and then staying up half the night with Toby who had suffered an upset stomach. She was soon interrupted, however, by a loud knocking on the front door. The blonde glanced quickly towards the bedroom hoping that Toby wouldn't wake up so soon after falling asleep, before making her way to the door.
"Miss James?" asked the stranger at her door. It took Haley a few moments to register that he had actually spoken to her as she was far too taken in by the appearance of this devastatingly handsome man standing before her. He stood at 6'2", much taller than her petit 5'4", and had broad shoulders, a strong jaw, dark hair and the bluest eyes she'd ever seen. Unfortunately those amazing eyes glared at her icily causing her to gasp quietly and take a small step backward.
The man sighed in frustration before asking again "Are you Miss James?"
Pulling herself together Haley replied softly "Yes. Can I help you?"
He surprised her by pushing past her small frame and entering the flat. Her home felt tiny at the best of times, but with this tall stranger and his dominating presence, it felt even smaller than usual.
He looked around the flat, poking his head around doorways as though he was looking for something in particular. By this time Haley was feeling slightly scared, but her overruling emotion was irritation. How dare this man walk into her flat without an invitation?
"Excuse me. But who are you and what are you doing in my home? I don't recall inviting you in." she said bitingly
The force of his cold glare made her gulp audibly. "My name is Nathan Scott. I believe you knew my father… Dan Scott." He spat at her looking her up and down with disdain.
Dan Scott. Toby's father. That was a name she had hoped never to hear again! And after learning the news of Dan's death, Haley had thought that might just be the case. "Well Mr Scott. What do you want?" she asked uneasily glancing quickly in the direction of the bedroom where her son lay sleeping. Now she was praying that he didn't wake up. The last thing she wanted was for Dan's son to know about his half brother.
"I think you know that Miss James… What's your first name?"
She thought about lying but decided it wasn't worth it. He could easily find out if he wanted to. Maybe if she cooperated with him she'd be able to get rid of him without much fuss.
"Haley" she said lifting her chin in defiance. She would try to be civil towards him but she would not tolerate this man treating her as though she were lower than he. She could see the contempt in his eyes as he looked around her home and the look of scorn as he glared at her. He was unbelievably arrogant... and handsome. A deadly combination.
"Well, Haley… I'm here for my brother. Where is he?"
Haley's eyes widened in panic. She had hoped that Nathan didn't know about Toby, but obviously her worst fears had come true.
"Don't even bother trying to lie. I can see the fear written on your face. Now where is he?"
Haley sighed in defeat. "He's sleeping in the bedroom. I don't want you waking him, he's only just gotten to sleep." Haley flopped down on the sofa, her legs feeling like jelly. "What do want? Dan didn't even want to acknowledge Toby's existence, so what on earth do you want with him?"
He took a step closer causing Haley to have to crane her neck to look up at him. The sight was very intimidating. "He's a Scott. He belongs with his family. I want to take him back to Tree Hill."
Haley felt as if he'd slapped her across the face. Nathan wanted to take Toby away from her. Well she couldn't let that happen… wouldn't let that happen.
"No!" she cried. "He is my son and you can't take him away from me."
Before Nathan could respond they both heard Toby's cries from the bedroom. Haley quickly stood up and raced into the other room where she found her son sitting in the middle of their double bed. Money had been tight since Toby came along and Haley struggled to make ends meet on her salary as a waitress, therefore the best she could afford was a one bedroom flat where she and her son shared a bed.
Toby raised his arms for his mother in invitation to pick him up after the fright of waking up to her loud cry of protest in the lounge room. She held him in her arms and whispered sweet words in his ear while rubbing her hands gently on his back to soothe him. He soon quieted down and pulled away from her shoulder staring inquisitively behind her.
Haley spun around to find Nathan resting against the door frame watching them intently. She felt panicked now that he could actually see the boy and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness was taking over.
"Who dat?" asked Toby with wide eyed innocence.
It was rare for him to see a man inside their flat. Haley had not had a boyfriend since he was born and the only regular contact the child had with any male was her friend Jake. Jake and his girlfriend Peyton were friends of hers from college and were her only friends to stay in touch after she dropped out to look after Toby. The couple both took turns looking after him for her while she worked at the café.
Nathan strode forward and lifted the toddler out of her arms before she even had a chance to protest. She watched the interaction between them and grudgingly admitted that Nathan was good with Toby. Her son had a tendency to be shy around strangers, but he was already laughing at Nathan who was pulling funny faces and acting like this was the most normal situation in the world. He turned to Haley and said "We obviously have some talking to do, so how about you get us a cup of coffee while I get to know Toby." It was said in a gentle voice with a smile plastered on his face, all for the child's benefit, but the look of contempt in his eyes made it clear that it was more of a command than a suggestion.
She thought about objecting, telling him to shove his coffee where the sun don't shine, but then realized that he was right. They did need to talk. She needed to figure out exactly what he wanted. Did he want to take Toby for a quick visit, did he want his family to have visitation rights, joint custody… full custody? That last thought was enough to make her stomach churn.
Haley took another sip of her coffee and watched as Toby played happily on the floor with his toys. She was about to question Nathan on his earlier comment, but he beat her to it.
"I'm not going to beat around the bush here. I know about your affair with my father. I know that you tried to trap him into marriage by getting pregnant. You thought he would divorce my mother and put you up in the lifestyle you aspire to but are so obviously not accustomed to" he said with a smirk while looking around her humble flat. "But you apparently didn't know my father very well. He was never one to give into the demands of others and he told you where to go. I don't know how he got you to stay away and keep quiet. I had assumed he paid you off but after seeing where you live, it appears you didn't end up getting anything out of him at all."
Haley began to protest his vicious allegations but was quickly interrupted. "Don't bother denying it. I didn't even know that Toby existed until last week when my father's lawyer gave me some papers explaining that a third of his estate was to go to his third son… as long as he was given the Scott name and brought up within the Scott family. As usual, my bastard of a father wasn't thinking about how his actions would affect his family, especially my mother. I was tempted to pretend I never knew of my half brother, but it is not his fault that he had a prick for a father and whore for a mother. I intend to give Toby the life he deserves, but I will not hurt my family to do so. Therefore I have decided to claim him as my own. From now on, as far as my family and the rest of the world is concerned, I am Toby's father."
Haley visibly paled at Nathan's words. "You can't have him! I won't let you take him away from me!" she choked out unable to hold back the tears.
"Stop with the waterworks already." He barked harshly, but then softened a little. "I had originally planned to offer you money to disappear or maybe even sue for custody… and we both know I would have won. It's obvious that you can't provide Toby with everything that I can give him, but that would have been messy and embarrassed my family. I must admit you've actually surprised me Haley. Under the circumstances I had expected you to be an unfit mother considering you only got pregnant for financial gain, but it's easy to see you love your son. I am willing to compromise with you. I believe that we can come to an arrangement."
"What arrangement would that be?" asked a shell-shocked Haley
"We will raise Toby together. You will come back with us to Tree Hill… as my wife."
Silence fell as Haley tried to comprehend what Nathan was suggesting. He wanted to marry her and for them to raise Toby as their son. She wanted scream out how ridiculous his 'arrangement' was and that she would rather burn in hell than marry such an arrogant, spiteful man, but she was terrified of the alternative. If he discovered the truth, then she would have even less chance of keeping Toby. She had no choice. She would have to go along with Nathan Scott if she wanted to be a mother to her son.
But that was the problem… Toby wasn't her son. She was actually his aunt. Haley's older sister Taylor was the one who was guilty of the accusations he threw at her earlier. It was all true. Taylor had had an affair with Dan Scott and gotten pregnant to force him into marriage. By the time she realized she was wasting her time, Taylor's pregnancy was too far along for her to terminate and so she grudgingly gave birth to a son. Two days after Toby was born, Taylor left New York…and her son behind.
Haley who had supported her sister all through the pregnancy had come to visit her new nephew and discovered him screaming in his crib with no sign of Taylor. There was an envelope in the crib with a note from Taylor stating that she never wanted the baby and for Haley to take care of things. Haley knew that she wouldn't be hearing from her sister again. Rather than giving Toby up for adoption as many people suggested, she decided to fulfill the role that her sister had thrown away. So at the young age of 19, Haley had become a mother.
She looked up at Nathan and sighed in defeat "Okay."
She could tell by the surprised look on his face that he was expecting a battle. And God, how she really wanted to give him that battle, but if her secret got out she knew she would lose Toby forever so she was going to do it. She would marry Nathan Scott and move to Tree Hill. She would sacrifice her happiness to ensure that she wouldn't lose her son.
After a few minutes silence, the sound of Nathan's chair scraping the floor brought Haley out of her daze. "We leave tomorrow. I'll be here to pick you up at 2pm so just pack the necessities. We can send for anything else you need later on."
Haley didn't respond. She just watched as Nathan picked Toby up off the floor and gave him a hug and a kiss goodbye before making his way to the door. He turned around abruptly with a cold, piercing stare. "And don't even think about running Haley. You won't get very far. I will see you tomorrow."
And with that he was gone leaving Haley to grasp the fact that her world had just been turned upside down and nothing would ever be the same again.
Author's Note: I'm really excited to be writing another story. I know it's only been a couple of months since i finished my last one, but it seems like a lifetime ago. I hope you all enjoy Mistaken Identity. I decided to go with an AU story again because I feel it's too hard to write based on the current storylines while the show is airing. Please review as i would love to get your feedback on the beginning of this story and the plot in general. Thanks :-)