Chapter One

"Brooke, that guy is staring at you again." Brooke Davis doesn't need to glance over her shoulder to know what guy her best friend is talking about. She knows that if she half turns in her seat, she'll catch the gaze of the gorgeous guy with the amazingly blue eyes that has been watching her for the last two days.

"Oh God Peyton, don't make eye contact with him," Brooke moans, nudging her best friend lightly to draw her attention away from the guy and back onto her. "He might decide that it's an invitation to come over and introduce himself."

"Fine with me, maybe when you inform him that you have a boyfriend I can console him." Peyton arches an eyebrow suggestively and offers a devilish grin. "Who knows, maybe he's my prince charming."

"Or maybe, since we are in a hospital and not a country club, he's got some deadly communicable disease and he's looking for someone else to infect before he dies."

"Hey, I thought I was supposed to be the dark, negative one! Besides," Peyton's gaze wanders to just over Brooke's right shoulder, "if he's as good in bed as he looks, I think I'd take that trade."

"Oh my God, you're impossible." Brooke laughed, thankful that Peyton was here with her. Peyton had been there every day to distract her during visiting hours for the two days she'd been committed to the hospital for "testing". Frankly, Brooke was tired of testing. She was tired of being poked and prodded for god-knows-what tests. She wanted answers. She wanted to know why she'd fainted in English two days prior. Mostly, she wanted them to tell her that it was some strange case of anemia and she had to take iron supplements or whatever it was you did to take care of anemia. She just wanted to be able to stop worrying about it.

"Impossible? Not me, you're the one not willing to acknowledge that a gorgeous guy is clearly very interested in you." Peyton shook her head, her blonde curls bouncing with the movement.

"I've already found my knight in shining armor, remember?" Brooke grinned despite the fact that she didn't really remember collapsing in English. All of a sudden the world had gone black, but Peyton had told her that Chris had caught her before she hit the floor.

"Oh yes, where is the oh so charming Chris Keller today?" Peyton and Chris had never gotten along. Peyton said he was a cocky ass and Chris, well Chris said nothing negative because Brooke threatened to castrate him for saying anything awful about her lifelong best friend. In Brooke's own opinion, they were too much alike to get along with one another: the brooding, music-loving, artsy type.

"He took off for spring break today. He stopped by this morning to say goodbye." Leave it up to Brooke to land herself in the hospital on the last day before spring break. "Speaking of..."

"No," Peyton cut her off with a firm shake of her head, "we are not talking about this again. I am not going to run off to go to the beach and leave my best friend behind in the hospital." Brooke was an only child, as was Peyton, and they'd been best friends their entire lives. As a direct result, they were more like sisters than best friends.

"I know we talked about this already, but it's ridiculous you staying here and hanging out with me for the entire break. Besides, my dad's last day in court is today and my mom got someone to cover her at the shop, so needless to say that they are going to be hovering twenty-four-seven. I'm not saying that you'll be in the way, it's just – at least one of us should be having fun on our last spring break of high school."

"Brooke." Peyton frowned, looking doubtful. Peyton Sawyer was a great many things, and her loyalty to Brooke was one of her strongest attributes.

"I'm serious, Peyton. Go, have fun and get a tan for both of us." Brooke offered a dimpled grin. "And take that bikini we bought the last time we went shopping. I can think of a certain hot basketball slash guitar player who would appreciate it. I have it on good authority that a certain Mr. Jagielski will be in attendance on that group trip."

"And you'll come up as soon as they release you, right?"

"If I can convince my parents that I am alive and well, not dying, then of course. I will be there, even if it's only for a day or two." Brooke kept telling herself not to worry, that her parents were worried enough for all of them. That her parents were overreacting. That when she walked out of here, she would walk away with a prescription for something for migraines, and that the headaches and the fainting were totally unrelated. But as the hours ticked by, the longer she stayed and the more tests they gave her, the more her faith that she was fine was deteriorating. "You should go, call Jake. I'm sure he'd be willing to ride out there with you tonight."

"I can hang out for a little while. There's no rush getting out there."

"Of course there's a rush. The kickoff party is tonight and I'd be sorely disappointed in my best friend if she missed the party of the year." Brooke knew it probably felt like she was kicking Peyton out of the door and part of her was. She was tired and she could feel a headache starting just behind her eyes and she'd rather not have to confess that to Peyton, or Peyton would stay and hover. And her parents were doing enough hovering for all of them. "Besides my mom is closing up the shop early today and she was going to bring in food. I'm done with testing so my doctor cleared them for bringing in Yangs for dinner."

Peyton wrapped her arms around Brooke. "You'll call me if you get any of your results? Even if it's a clean bill of health?"

"Of course." Brooke clung tightly to Peyton but eventually released her vice grip. "I love you, P. Sawyer. Don't do anything I wouldn't do." She winked.

"So that rules out, what?"


Brooke took long deep breaths, she'd just pushed her parents out the door. Visiting hours were over and her mother had been attempting to make arrangements to spend the night, but with the aid of the nurse on duty they'd convinced her that it would be better for everyone involved if she spent the night at home. And now that they were gone and done hovering, she wasn't as relieved as she'd thought she would be. Alone in the hospital without her mother's chatter about celebrity gossip and her father filling her in on the case he'd just won, she could hear all the noises of the hospital. With visiting hours over, there was no quiet chatter that you could usually hear from people walking past her open door, instead there was the sound of the medicine cart making it's rounds and the squeak of a rubber soled sneaker on the linoleum. But for the most part, it was silent and that scared her more then she'd care to admit. Brooke had never been very good at being alone.

Stop it Brooke. You're eighteen years old, plenty old enough to spend the night alone in the hospital. With resolution, Brooke picked up the top magazine from the stack her mother had left on the bedside table, she'd always been a magazine fiend. She had a subscription to every fashion and gossip magazine out there with a couple other random magazines like Better Homes and Gardens. Why? She wasn't exactly sure but she loved flipping through home magazines as much as fashion ones.

A knock pulled her out of her analysis of whether the latest starlet had an eating disorder or a drug addiction. Glancing up, she was confronted with the pair of blue eyes that had been locked on her in the rec room when she'd been with Peyton. "Lucky me, it looks like I've won myself a stalker."

He smirked at her and Brooke had to admit that he's, without a doubt, gorgeous and she gets the impression that he's more then well aware of the fact. "I'm Nathan Scott." His voice is deep and almost hoarse sounding as he crosses the room to shake her hand. His grip is firm and slightly rough.

"Brooke Davis."

"I know," he pauses, and then off of her taken aback expression hurries to add, "I asked the nurse."

Brooke's eyes narrow suspiciously. Who did this guy think he was to walk in here and act like he knew her? "And you're here because?" She keeps her voice cool, borderline annoyed. It was a tone that had easily put guys off; making it perfectly clear that she wasn't interested in their flirtations.

"I'm here because you're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen and I figured we should get to know each other, since you're the girl I intend to marry.


A.N. So yes. I've started a new story. Bad Amanda? lol Anyway this entire story is mapped out and I know how it's going to end. Thanks go out to Jess for making me do this, and Elena for holding my hand as I wrote this. And to Christina, Miranda and Maggie for betaing for me! Review please! I'm a review whore. Thanks!! Oh also credit for the idea goes to Lurlene McDaniel's book Til Death Do Us Part.