Chapter Eight

"Where the hell are we?" Brooke glances at the surroundings around her. They were at some deserted air field or something, and the instant Nathan had thrown the car into park, he'd bolted. "I um, realize that your parents pissed you off, but if you're bringing me here to kill me or something..." She attempts to pass it off as a joke but Nathan looks angry enough that she doesn't know what to expect from him.

"I'm sorry you had to see that," Nathan's words come out forced. It's obvious that he's trying not to snap at her but there's a fine line.

"What exactly happened?"

"Dad and Uncle Keith own that auto shop, family business, you know. Cooper and I both work there, but on the weekends we also race cars sponsored by Scott Brothers Automotive."

"Well, God, no wonder your mom freaked out." Brooke had to admit that maybe those weren't the right words to have come out of her mouth but they're out before she can stop them, as are the words that followed. "I mean, Nathan you've got a life threatening illness that makes it hard enough for you to breathe without being exposed to all of those racing fumes and stuff. And I mean what if you crashed?" Brooke's shocked to find that she's actually worried that he would crash, that he could possibly hurt himself. She'd only known the guy for about a week and he'd managed to get fully and completely under her skin. "You could kill yourself."

"It's my choice to make," Brooke shrieks slightly when he grabs both of her shoulders so that she faces him completely. His blue eyes are flashing dangerously and Brooke's heart pounds, "My choice, my life. I thought you of all people would understand that Brooke."

And she did. With shockingly realization she knew exactly what he was talking about. He hadn't asked to be born with a life threatening illness. She hadn't asked to have a brain tumor. And they had no choice about their forms of treatment. It was either take the medicine or die. They're lives were completely mapped out by people who knew how to keep them alive and it left little room for any choices, for anything to control. How could she fault him for something he'd found to help him? He found something that he could control and since the doctor had walked into the room with the news that she had an inoperable brain tumor she'd been scrambling to find something that would give her the same feeling.

No sooner then the sob escaped her lips Nathan had released her shoulders and pulled her to him in a crushing hug. She buries her face in his shirt and he gently runs his fingers through her hair,

"I'm so sorry, Brooke," he murmurs softly as she gently lifts her chin so that her tear filled eyes are locked onto his. He moves slowly, giving her time to move away, to put plenty of distance in between them but she doesn't. His lips just barely brush hers, but there's enough chemistry there to leave both wanting more.

Nathan places a light kiss on Brooke's forehead before pulling away enough to look down at her, "I want you to do something for me."

"Alright, Stalker Boy," Brooke teases using a free hand to brush away the tears on her cheeks, "Don't get all dirty on me."

Nathan rolls his eyes, "Just get in the driver's seat smart ass." With a hand placed lightly on Brooke's lower back he guides her to the driver's side.

"Where to sir?" Brooke tips an imaginary cap at Nathan.

"Pull up, right here," Nathan motions toward the edge of the airstrip. Off of Brooke's 'what now' expression he explains, "I want you to hit the gas."

"What?" Brooke stares at Nathan, an eyebrow arched and her dimples just barely giving away her amusement.

"Just do it."



With a shriek, Brooke presses down on the gas pedal but her shrieks turn to laughter as she shifts gears. As it picks up speed Brooke pushes the pedal down further. The speedometer hits sixty before she has to break to turn from one runway onto another. It's only moments before she's regained her speed again and she can feel the adrenaline pushing through her body. Everything else is forgotten. The last hour, the blowout at dinner. The last week. The last month.

Everything is long gone before the speedometer needle hits ninety. None of it matters anymore. All that matters is that Brooke's hand stays stead on the wheel and that she maintains control of the car. She could kill them both if her focus slipped even remotely from the runway. It was all about control. If she could control the car, right then, in that moment then she could control everything around her, even if it was only for a few minutes. She got to choose if they lived or died. As Brooke maneuvers the car from concrete strip to concrete strip she grips the wheel more tightly and somewhere in the back of her mind she can register that there's sweat trailing down her face and pouring down her back.

It's not until she down shifts and slows the car to a stop that she realizes she's been holding her breath for most of the time. When she turns to look at Nathan she's got tears in her eyes and a smile on her face. "I understand."

Nathan grabs her hand across the seat, "I thought maybe you might." Brooke's eyes lock onto Nathan's and she doesn't fully understand what has brought them to this. How so quickly one person could mean so much to her. It's disconcerting but at the same time is brings Brooke a huge amount of relief. She has friends and family who were more then sympathetic and willing to give her any sort of comfort she needed. She could sit and talk for hours and explain how she felt in great detail and they'd listen for as long as she needed them to. But Nathan was empathetic, he understood without a word that she didn't need him hovering over her but she needed someone not to comfort her. Someone to help her see that her life wasn't over, not yet anyway. It was just changed. She may be dying but she wasn't dead yet and there was no point in giving up on her entire life because in a few months she could be dead.

"Thank you." There are no more words needed, he understands what she's trying to express and for that Brooke's grateful because the adrenaline that had been pumping through her body while she directed a car going a hundred miles an hour is gone.

"So, you wanna drive?" Nathan offers Brooke his standard smirk.

Brooke leans her head back against the head wrap and laughs, "Absolutely not."

Nathan laughs, as he lifts up the arm rest between them "alright, slide across."

Brooke, glad to not have to stand because she's pretty sure her legs couldn't support her weight at this moment, slides across the smooth leather seats, right into Nathan. "You need to get out and drive, unless you have an invisible driver I don't know about hanging out in the backseat."

"I will," instead of making a move to get out of the car though Nathan wraps an arm around Brooke's shoulder pulling her body to rest against his. Brooke doesn't protest. There's a safety in Nathan's arms, and she's content to let them stay there, in the middle of an old air field, lost in their own world.

A.N. No I did not forget about you my loving readers. I just temporarily lost my mind. Went home for a week. Went back to school for summer sessions. Changed majors. Anyway. It's an update, not a long one but um you got your Brathan. What more do you people want from me. Lol. I hope to have a new update soon!