Title: Sitting on Santa's Lap
Author: Sweet Sarcasm
Pairings: Naley, minor Brucas and Jeyton
Summary: Haley really wants just one thing for Christmas. So when she goes to the mall with her friends, she decides to ask Santa...
Author's Note: Okay, so I'm a horrible person. I promised the next chapter of Double Tree Hill Hotel ages ago, and I haven't quite finished it yet. Please don't kill me. -ducks from flying knives- School's been super stressful lately, and I'm not even supposed to be on here right now. But I really wanted to post it as an apology and an early Christmas gift. So I hope you all like it. :)
Disclaimer: This story was inspired by Cosmo!Girl. I don't own any of the characters, places, quotes, or songs. I wrote something similar to this last year, except it was in the Harry Potter fandom. I liked the plot so much that I decided to rewrite it to fit the OTH fandom, only with a slightly different plot. So I guess I'm kinda plagerizing myself in a way.
Note: This is slightly AU. This is my take on what would have happened if Haley broke up with Nathan after the porn stint back in Season 1. It takes place during their senior year. Obviously Haley and Nathan are not married, Jake stayed in Tree Hill with Jenny and is now dating Peyton, and Lucas and Brooke are still in their non-exclusive phase.
I don't want a lot for Christmas
There's just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true...
All I want for Christmas is you...
-All I Want for Christmas, Olivia Olson
"Hey, buddy!" Haley James looked up from her book to see her best friend, Lucas Scott, approaching her. There was something different about him…he had a bounce in his walk. She sighed. It was the doings of Brooke Davis.
"Hey, Luke," Haley said weakly, putting her book down. "What's up?"
Lucas grinned. "Not much. What you reading?"
Haley held the book up. "The Virgin Suicides." Lucas blinked.
"Well. How…convenient," he murmured. Haley glared at him, and slapped him on the head with the book. "Ouch! Hey!"
"What do you want, Lucas?" asked Haley, opening the book up again. She had been staring at the same page for twenty minutes now, and the words weren't processing into her brain. She couldn't think about anything…except for him. She sighed.
"You're not depressed right before Christmas, are you?" commented Lucas, easing into the chair across from Haley. "C'mon, Hales, cheer up!"
"Why are you so happy?" grumbled Haley, finally giving up on reading the book. She stuffed it into her backpack. "What happened to the broodiness? The tortured athlete persona you took a few months ago? Where is my Lucas?" She put a hand to her forehead and pretended to swoon dramatically. Lucas was unfazed.
"Cheery happened, my friend. Also known as Brooke Davis," Lucas grinned.
"I thought so," muttered Haley. "So you guys are officially 'exclusive'?" At this, Lucas' face fell.
"Well…not exactly," he admitted, scratching his head. "But I can tell she's warming up to the idea. Before Christmas, she will be mine. All mine." Haley rolled her eyes.
"Ever since you guys have been 'non-exclusively' started going out, I've barely spent any time with you," whined Haley, pouting a little bit. "You've been hanging out with her and…her gang."
Lucas raised a brow. "Ah, so that's what's been bugging you. A certain brother of mine, eh?"
"No," Haley quickly said. "Nathan…Nathan has nothing to do with anything. All I'm saying is that we don't hang out anymore. And I miss hanging out with Rocket Roe." Lucas smiled impishly.
"Aw, I love you, too, Bunny Brigard," Lucas tossed back. "Hey, why don't you sit with us at lunch today? It'll be fun."
Haley forced a smile. "Sorry, I have tutoring."
"Planning on falling in love with this one?" teased Lucas. He instantly regretted it when Haley shot him a hurt look. "Sorry, low blow."
Haley playfully punched him, though she was feeling rather distressed about the whole conversation. "Yeah, well…maybe some other time."
"How about tomorrow?" Lucas quickly suggested. "I know for a fact that you hate tutoring on Thursdays." Haley laughed, throwing her head back.
"You know me so well," she said, smiling fondly. "Okay, sure, why not?"
"Great!" Lucas stood up and gave her a quick hug. "I gotta go, Brooke wanted me to get her a piece of chocolate chip cake." He shook his head ruefully. "I'll see you later."
Haley nodded. "See ya." She watched as her best friend walked out the library, slapping hands and greeting various people. So much had happened over the last school year, and Haley would have never imagined that any of that would happen to her and Lucas. She smiled sadly. Lucas may have messed up a lot, but he still got the girl in the end. As for Haley…she had messed up big time, but she didn't get the boy in the end. And it was all because of her stupid pride. Sighing, she got her book out again and made another attempt to read it.
The next day, Haley went to her locker to find Lucas and Jake Jagelski standing there already. Well, Jake she could understand since his locker was next to hers. Haley couldn't help but wonder if Lucas was waiting for her or for Jake. She sighed, and walked over to them. "Hey," she greeted them.
"Hi, Haley," Jake said warmly. He smiled at her, and Haley was reminded again why Peyton was dating him. Jake was a well-liked guy at Tree Hill High, and he was such a sweetheart to his daughter, Jenny. It didn't help that he was totally cute and a great basketball player.
"Hi, Jake. Lucas," she nodded at them. "What brings you here?"
"You promised to eat lunch with us, remember?" Lucas reminded her. "I'm here to make sure you don't bail out on your word."
Haley frowned, putting her English book back into her locker. "Of course I remembered. Why would I bail out?"
Lucas and Jake exchanged a look, and then looked at Haley. "No reason," they chorused. Haley raised a brow, instantly suspicious.
"You guys…" she started out, but Lucas grabbed her arm and started to drag her to the cafeteria. "Hey! I still need to get my calculus book!"
"You can get it after lunch," Lucas said in that annoying cheerful voice of his. "Now let's go, someone might take our spot." Jake was at Haley's other side, making sure she wouldn't escape.
"You guys are the most popular people in the school," grumbled Haley. "Who would take your precious table?"
"Other popular people," Jake said cheerfully. "Now come on, I'm starving!"
When they reached the coveted table, Brooke, Peyton, and Tim were already seated, eating their lunch. "Hey, baby!" chirped Brooke, standing up to give Lucas a peck on the cheek. She noticed Haley, irritated that she had been dragged across the school. "Tutor Girl! What's up?"
"The sky," Haley said dully. Brooke looked confused for a second, but then settled into another dazzling smile.
"This is so great! Why don't you sit next to Tim?" She gestured to the seat closest to the end of the bench.
"Wassup, Lil H?" Tim said, making some weird finger gesture. Haley raised a brow, and uncertainly slid in next to the tall basketball player.
"Actually, I prefer 'Haley'," she told him, knowing it would be no use.
"Hey, Haley," Peyton said, smiling at the tutor. Haley relaxed; she and Peyton had formed some type of friendship during their junior year.
"Hey," she said, opening her lunch. Jake and Lucas had taken a seat next to their respective girlfriends (the term loosely used to describe Brooke), and had begun to eat their lunches.
"What'cha eating, Tutor Girl?" Brooke asked cheerfully. Haley wondered where the head cheerleader got all her energy.
"Um, macaroni and cheese," replied Haley, holding up the container. Everyone except Lucas was surprised to see the different food. Everyone else was eating a standard sandwich.
"Mac and cheese? What type of food is that?" asked Tim, inspecting Haley's lunch. She snatched it away from him, slapping his hand. "It's for five-year-olds."
Haley smiled. "No, it isn't. It's the food…"
"Of the gods," a voice finished for her, amused. Haley's heart skipped a beat. She'd know that voice from anywhere…
"Hey, Nate," everyone greeted the tall, dark-haired basketball player.
"I see that we have a new addition to our gang," he remarked, bemused. He slid in next to Haley, the only available seat at the table. Haley bit her lip, the pieces connecting together. She glanced down the table, shooting Lucas a look. He just shrugged, smiling devilishly.
Haley stabbed her macaroni and cheese, imaging it being her ex-best friend. There was a long pause, with everyone focusing on his or her food. Haley had never felt so self-conscious in her whole life, and she avoided looking at her ex-boyfriend.
Attempting to break up the awkward silence, Brooke cleared her throat loudly. "So…what's everyone doing for Christmas?" It was lame, but effective.
"Having dinner with Mom and Keith."
"Going on a cruise with Dad and Shari."
"Dad's coming home, so we're cooking dinner."
"Getting drunk and trying to avoid my parents, as usual."
Everyone glanced at Haley, who seemed rather uncomfortable with the spotlight on her. "Wh-what?" she stuttered.
Brooke rolled her eyes. "What are you doing this Christmas? Family dinner, vacation, what?"
Haley shrugged. "Who knows? I'll probably be sitting home alone, watching It's a Wonderful Life eating cold turkey and drinking hot chocolate. Depending on what time zone they're in, my parents might actually remember to call me and tell me to lock all the doors and not let anyone in. I think they're in Vermont this year, visiting my sister and her family, so they might call."
Everyone was quiet. "Hey, at least your parents remember to call you," Brooke said suddenly, her voice strained. "My parents are partying in Rome, and they send me Christmas cards three weeks late. Of course, there's always cash that comes with the cards, but no amount of money can really cover their presence." Lucas put his arm around Brooke and squeezed her shoulders. She smiled a little.
Haley bowed her head, and Nathan wanted to put his own arm around her and whisper that everything would be fine, just fine. But he didn't, and just turned away.
Lucas broke the silence. "Well, you guys can come over if you want. Mom would love to have you, and it would be just like old times. Right, Hales?"
Smiling, Haley raised her head and faced Lucas. "Oh, yeah. I can't believe I forgot about that. It's been such a long time."
"Every Christmas, Hales would come over in the morning and we'd open our presents before eating this huge breakfast my mom would cook for us," Lucas told everyone. He smiled nostalgically. "After that, we would go outside and have a snow war."
"One year, Lucas was running after me, claiming that he could hit me, and he ended up slipping on some ice and falling on his head," laughed Haley. "There was so much blood on the snow. Didn't you get a concussion?"
Lucas glared at her. "That's not funny."
"He came home with his head wrapped up. Sometimes, I think he still suffers from the side effects," Haley said in a low voice. She laughed when he threw a napkin at her.
"You have pictures, Tutor Girl?" asked Brooke, her eyes gleaming. Lucas groaned.
"Oh, yeah. His mom has half an album dedicated to that Christmas," grinned Haley.
"Come to think of it, sometimes you do blank out on us, Luke," Jake commented. Lucas just groaned again.
Haley sighed happily, and she unknowingly put her hand on top of Nathan's. She jumped a little at the contact, and quickly rested her hand somewhere else. It scared her that the sparks were still there, and she was afraid to look up. But it was as if a magnetic force drew her eyes toward his, and she couldn't tear her eyes away from his startling blue ones, the ones that were intensely staring at her. Haley gulped, and finally tore her gaze away, not noticing the knowing looks that went around the table.
Brooke, always the instigator, decided to shake things up. "So, Tutor Girl, are you seeing anyone lately?"
Haley flushed, not really knowing where this was going. She didn't see the glare that Nathan shot the pretty brunette. "Uh…no. Not at the moment. Why?"
Brooke flipped her hair, and smiled beatifically. "Oh, no reason," she said flippantly. "There are just some boys who are wondering, that's all." She kicked Peyton under the table, cueing her to play along.
"Oh, really?" Peyton wondered aloud. "Like who, Brooke?" She grinned as Nathan sunk down under the table, wishing that he would disappear. Poor Haley had turned an interesting shade of pink, and she tugged at her collar, as if it were very warm in the cafeteria.
Brooke's eyes twinkled. "Oh, certain bask…" She was cut off by Haley's phone. Haley and Nathan both sighed in relief. Haley sent a quick prayer of praise to the father of timing.
She checked her phone and found a text message from one of the students she had been tutoring, Felicity Sanderson. "Oh, I have to go. Tutor emergency." She grabbed her stuff, and crossed her legs over the bench.
"But you hate tutoring on Thursdays," protested Lucas, frowning at her. Haley gave him a quick, apologetic smile.
"I know. But this is an emergency," she explained. She looked at everyone, carefully avoiding a certain basketball player's gaze. "It was nice having lunch with you."
"Bye," Tim waved after she left. Everyone let out a breath they hadn't realized they were holding.
"Since when does she hate tutoring on Thursdays?" Nathan frowned, looking at his brother.
Lucas shrugged. "Since forever. Of course, she made exceptions." He looked pointedly at Nathan.
"I have to say, that was one of the most awkward lunches I've ever sat through," commented Peyton, stealing some cookies from Jake.
"Agreed. Who knew that Tutor Girl could be so intimidating?" Brooke put in. She rested her head on Lucas' shoulder, and he smiled.
"I hate you guys," mumbled Nathan, flicking water at his friends. They laughed.
"Dude, it's so obvious you're still into her," remarked Jake, shaking his head. Nathan turned red, and wouldn't respond.
"So why were you late, Nate?" asked Tim, munching on some chips. His eyes lit up. "Hey, that…"
"Finish that sentence, and I'll pummel you," threatened Nathan, though he was secretly glad that the subject had changed.
"I was talking to Turner. He wants me to play Santa Clause next Monday at the mall," he said nonchalantly.
Tim burst out in laughter. "You? Santa Clause? Dude, you're freaking skinny." Nathan punched him lightly on the arm.
"Yeah, why you out of all people?" Peyton wondered. Nathan made a face.
"Because my dad is the mayor, and it would be a great image if I was the friend of small children or some crap like that," grumbled Nathan. "Bastard."
Jake laughed. "I'll be sure to take Jenny to visit you." Nathan threw a piece of sandwich at him, and pretty soon, it turned into a full-fledged food fight.
The next afternoon, Brooke and Peyton sauntered into the Tutoring Center, as if they were used to visiting the tutors of the school. Haley's eyes narrowed suspiciously as they took a seat across from her. "Okay, Felicity, just do these problems right here and call me if you need help. Okay?"
The freshman smiled at her. "Got it. Thanks, Haley. Have a merry Christmas." She picked up her stuff and walked out of the room.
"Hey, Tutor Girl! Great job with the tutoring," Brooke complimented. "I should stop by sometime."
"I'm just surprised you found it in the first place," Haley said dryly. "Do you guys need something?"
"Just to apologize for putting you on the spot yesterday," Brooke said cheerily.
"Yeah, sorry about that," Peyton said ruefully. "We don't usually do that. I mean, I don't usually do that." Brooke made a face.
"Oh, please, P. Sawyer," she scoffed. "The only reason why we did it was because we were waiting for you to profess your undying love for Boy Toy." She gave a pointed look to the flustered Haley.
"Wh-what are you talk-talking about?" stammered Haley, rustling through papers. She looked at her watch. "Oh, will you look at the time, I have to go." She stood up, and was pushing her chair in when Brooke grabbed her arm.
"Tutor Girl, we're not trying to scare you," Brooke told her. "We just want to talk. So have a seat."
"Please, Haley?" Peyton said, pouting a little. Haley sighed and finally gave in.
"Okay, what do you guys want?" asked Haley tiredly. She knew where this conversation was going, and she didn't like it. It made her blush just thinking about it.
"We want you and Nathan to get back together," Brooke said simply, examining her nails.
Haley coughed wildly, pounding her chest. "WHAT?"
"I have to admit, I was a little jealous when I saw how Nathan looks at you," Peyton said, ignoring Haley. "And then I saw the way you looked at him, and I got over it. And I have to say, Brooke knows her shit when it comes to relationships."
"Come to think of it, why did you guys break up?" Brooke frowned, finally looking up at Haley.
Haley's face fell, and she started to fiddle with her jacket. "We-we're very different. I mean, he's the most popular guy in the school. He can get any girl he wants! I'm just…me," Haley said lamely. "Tutor Girl. I can't even get a chance to sit on the sofa in the bathroom." Brooke and Peyton exchanged guilty looks. Haley knew for a fact that whenever they walked into the restroom, they had the opportunity to sit on the sofa whenever they wanted.
"And wasn't there also that whole porn slash Peyton stint?" added Brooke. Peyton rolled her eyes.
"There was that, too," Haley allowed, twirling her hair with a finger.
"I don't see what's wrong with that," Brooke said breezily. Peyton and Haley each raised a brow. "I mean, every guy goes through it. Nathan's no different."
"But I can't compete with those girls or Peyton!" cried Haley, the hair still twirling around and around her index finger. "I just can't." A tear rolled down her cheek, and she furiously brushed it away.
Peyton leaned over and gave the auburn-haired girl a hug. "Haley, those girls aren't real, and Nathan and I are just friends. He deleted all of that crap for you. I don't love Nathan and he sure as hell doesn't love me. He loves you, and everyone knows you love him. That's all he needs."
Haley sighed, defeated. She couldn't argue with the truth and she was tired of fighting it. She buried her head under her arms. "I screwed up."
Brooke laughed, breaking the tension. "You sure did." Peyton shot her a look. "Sorry. But we're not here about Nathan, actually. Okay, we are, but I have a favor to ask."
"What?" Haley asked warily. Brooke's brown eyes softened.
"Well, you're Lucas' best friend, and I have no idea what to get him for Christmas," confessed Brooke, hanging her head. "So I was hoping you could kinda help me out?"
Haley smiled. "I know for a fact that he'd love to have an exclusive relationship with you." She was surprised to see the head cheerleader blush.
"You know, Haley, I know you probably think this is crazy, but we're so much alike," Brooke said softly, reaching for Haley's hands. "You play hard to get because you need to know that the other person's feelings are real."
Haley blinked, a lump growing in her throat. That was the thing with Brooke; she always said what was on her mind. But Haley never knew that the brunette possessed the gift of speaking what was on other people's minds. She had never looked at it that way. But it was true, oh-so true. A tiny part of her had always hoped that Nathan would chase after her, that he would never give up. But he did, and Haley would never forgive herself. "That's love, huh?" she commented quietly.
Brooke smiled. "I love Lucas, I really do. But it's all about timing. So will you help me next Monday? We're going to Tree Hill Mall."
Peyton, who hadn't quite understood what the two girls had been talking about earlier, added, "We're taking Jenny, too. She'll be able to visit Santa Clause." She grinned.
"And Santa can solve any problem," beamed Brooke, winking at Haley. "So what do you say?"
Haley bit her lip, and then broke out in a grin. "Sure, why not?"
On the first day of Christmas break, Haley met Brooke, Peyton, and Jenny at the entrance of the Tree Hill Mall. It had been decorated to resemble a winter wonderland, with huge snowflakes dangling from the tall ceilings, candy canes posted in every corner, and beautifully decorated Christmas trees in the center. "You made it!" exclaimed Peyton, hugging Haley. "What took?"
"Ugh, snow and traffic are so not a good mix," groaned Haley, giving Brooke a hug. She tickled Jenny, who giggled.
"But snow is so pretty," protested Brooke, linking arms with Haley. Peyton pushed the stroller, and they began walking. "Magic happens at the first snowfall." Haley smiled fondly.
After completing most of their shopping, the girls decided to grab some hot chocolates. "I can't believe that we had to go to twelve extra stores just to find something for Lucas," groaned Peyton, adding marshmallows to her cup. She gave some to Jenny, who started gnawing it. "I found Jake's gift on my first try."
Brooke rolled her eyes, blowing some steam away from her cup. "Unlike Jake, Lucas is a complex, soulful man," Brooke said triumphantly. Haley stifled a giggle. "He needs something to stimulate his mind…and I need something to stimulate his body." She waggled her eyebrows. Haley and Peyton groaned. "What about you, Tutor Girl? Are you finished with all your shopping?"
Haley shook her head, taking a sip from her cup. "Nope. I still have to go shopping for my sister Vivian, my neighbor Patrick, um, you guys, and um…"
"Nathan?" suggested Brooke slyly. Haley blushed.
"Well, I've gotten everyone else in your group, and it would be rude to not get him something," babbled Haley. "And okay, so we haven't talked in months, but we're kind of friends, right? Plus, what if he gets me something? I don't know what to do!"
"Whoa, Haley, relax!" Peyton said, shocked. "I've never seen you worked up over some little thing."
"Get Nate a present, he'll love it," Brooke told her. "I think it's sweet."
Haley took a deep breath. "You're right, I'm just overreacting. But what will I get him?" she moaned.
"You'll think of something," replied Brooke, patting her hand. "What do you want for Christmas? Besides, Nathan, I mean." Haley blushed again.
"I don't know," mumbled Haley. "You don't have to get me anything."
"But of course I do! We're becoming friends," Brooke smiled, hugging Haley. Peyton joined in, forming a group hug. "Aww, this is so sweet!" But the moment was ruined by Jenny's wails.
Peyton checked her watch. "We have to be back in forty minutes," she said, sighing. "Jenny needs to take a nap."
"We have enough time to take a picture with Santa, then!" exclaimed Brooke, jumping up and down. She grinned at Peyton, who laughed knowingly. "Let's go!"
At the center of the mall, Santa's Workshop had been set up for all the children to enjoy. A train went around and around a circular track, while the children clanged a bell as they passed their parents. A gingerbread house workshop was situated at one side, while a toy drive was held on the other. In the middle of all this was Santa and a long line of children and parents weaved around the wonderland to take a picture with the greatest toy giver of all time.
Jenny clapped her hands in delight, and pointed to the train. Peyton pushed her stroller towards it. "Hey, you guys fall in line while I take Jenny on the train," she called over her shoulder.
Brooke and Haley went at the end of the line, laughing as they watched Jenny bounce up and down as she waited for her turn. "You know, Peyton will make a great mom one of these days," Haley said aloud.
"Yeah, she will," agreed Brooke. "She really loves Jake and Jenny."
The girls waved at Jenny when she got on the train. Jenny got out of her grumpy mood and was giggling, waving her chubby little arms around. Haley tickled the little girl when she and Peyton joined them. "Did you like the train ride, Jenny?" Jenny giggled in response.
She quickly befriended a two-year-old girl who was standing in front of her with her parents, and the two babbled in their own jargon. "We should take our money so we won't be scrambling for it when we get up there," suggested Brooke as they inched closer to Santa's throne.
"Good idea," agreed Peyton. The girls took out their wallets, and a small picture fell out of Haley's.
"What's this?" squealed Brooke. She snatched it up before Haley could grab it.
"Brooke…" Haley's eyes widened.
Brooke was quiet, and showed the picture to Peyton. "It's of you and Nathan," Peyton said, smiling. "You still keep this?" Haley remained silent, her eyes fixed on a spot on the ground.
"You guys look so happy," remarked Brooke, handing it back to Haley.
"Thanks," Haley said softly, taking it. But she didn't put it back in her wallet; she just held it in her hand, staring at it.
The line went faster, and finally the girls made it to the front. "Jenny can go first," Peyton suggested, handing money to the photographer. She walked over to "Santa" and put her on his lap.
"Are you going to take a picture with Santa?" Haley asked Brooke, grinning. Brooke laughed.
"Yup. I do this every year," she said, watching Peyton and Jenny. "Maybe Santa will have some guy advice for me." Haley giggled. "Can I go next?"
"Go ahead," Haley nodded. Brooke smiled, and went and sat on "Santa's" lap. Haley was surprised to see Brooke converse with Santa; it was almost like they were friends.
Brooke hopped off of Santa's lap, winking at him. He rolled his eyes. "It's your turn!" she sang.
All the lights are shining
So brightly everywhere
And the sound of children's
Laughter fills the air
And everyone is singing
I hear those sleigh bells ringing
Santa won't you bring me the one I really need
Won't you please bring my baby to me?
Haley rolled her eyes at Brooke as she walked over to Santa. Brooke just smiled knowingly as she joined Peyton and Jenny, who was sucking on a candy cane. Haley didn't see "Santa's" eyes widen as she approached him because she was watching her friends quickly walk away the moment Haley had reached Santa. How odd. "Um, hi, Santa," Haley giggled nervously. She was a little put off that Santa had just nodded curtly at her, his mouth shut closed. He flinched when she lowered herself onto his lap, and Haley couldn't help but feel unwanted. The photographer, posing as an elf, snapped their picture.
"So, what do you want for Christmas?" Santa finally asked, his voice unusually deep. He tugged at his collar, shifting uncomfortably.
Haley's hand tightened on the picture she had been holding, and her eyes squeezed shut. "Oh. I really don't think you can help me with that. I don't think I really deserve him."
Santa unknowingly brought her closer to him, and Haley was too distraught and distracted with her thoughts to notice. "No, tell me. Maybe I can help you." His voice was soft and comforting, and Haley found herself spilling her heart to this complete stranger.
Slowly, she raised her cupped hand and showed him the picture she had been clutching the entire time. His breath hitched, and he just looked at Haley, waiting. She took a deep breath. "Okay, you see, there's this guy. Nathan. And…I was such a stupid, selfish person for letting him go." She blinked, trying to fight back the tears. Out of instinct, Santa held her closer. "I just want him for Christmas," she whispered. "I would be so happy if I knew he still wanted me back because I'm still in love with him."
She looked up at Santa, tears blurring her eyes. But it didn't stop her from looking into his eyes; Nathan's eyes. "Oh, my God," Haley whispered. She jumped up, backing away from him. He stood up as well, coming closer to her. "Don't tell me…"
"Haley," pleaded Nathan. "Please, don't…"
The tears were definitely streaming down Haley's face as she ran away from him, ran away from Brooke and Peyton, and just ran away from that Winter Wonderland…
Lucas found her sitting in the middle of River Court, splayed on the snow all by herself, her warm tears melting the snowflakes. There were only two other times when he found her like this; and it was always about Nathan. "Haley," he said softly, approaching his crying friend. He was about to wrap his arms around her when she leapt away from him, her arms crossed. "Hales?"
"Don't talk to me, Lucas!" she screamed, pushing him away. "You…you set me up! You humiliated me!" Her eyes were red and puffy, and Lucas had no doubt that she had been crying for hours.
"Haley, I didn't do anything!" he protested. "And you didn't humiliate yourself!"
"Yes, I did!" Haley shot back. "I just told him everything!"
"Which is how it's supposed to be!" Lucas threw back. "You'll tell a stranger at the mall about how much you love Nathan, but you won't even tell Nathan himself! Nathan deserved to know, Haley. You were being selfish, Haley James, and you know it! Nathan loves you! He loves you so much, you have no idea!"
"Then why did I have to make the first move?" screamed Haley. "Why did I have to put myself in that situation? Why couldn't he have told me himself?"
"It was always him, Haley!" Lucas bellowed. "He's the one who always made the first move. You're the one who rejected him! It was your turn to go first."
Haley stared at the panting, red-faced Lucas. "I can't do this right now. I just can't." She trudged away from her friend, not really knowing where she was going.
It was Christmas Eve, and Haley was still at the café. "Haley, thank you so much for helping me out. It's horrible of me to ask you to work on Christmas Eve, but I had no idea that we would be this busy," Karen said apologetically. Haley smiled, and continued to clean the counter. The café was finally empty, and it was past nine.
"It's no problem," she said offhandedly. "It's not like I had plans or anything." Karen's face softened.
"Haley, do you want to come home with me and spend Christmas with me, Lucas, and Keith? I think Lucas is bringing Brooke, too," Karen said warmly. "It'll be like old times." Haley smiled a little and shook her head.
"Thanks, but it's okay. I kinda wanna be by myself for a while," sighed Haley, moving some mugs to the sink.
"No one should be alone on Christmas," Karen prodded gently. "But if you want to be by yourself, then I won't bother you. You know that our door is always open."
"Thanks, Karen," Haley said quietly. "Why don't you head home right now? You should be with your family and I got everything covered."
Karen bit her lip, and Haley knew she was going to cave. "Well…I really don't want leave you here, but I do need to wrap Brooke's present…" Haley gave Karen a small push towards the door.
"Go. You deserve it. I'll stop by tomorrow, okay?" Haley gave her a hug. "Merry Christmas."
Defeated, Karen returned the hug. "Merry Christmas, Haley. I'll see you tomorrow." With a final wave, she finally left the café, leaving Haley in peace. She sighed, and turned up the radio.
I don't want a lot of Christmas,
This is all I'm asking for.
I just want to see my baby standing right outside my door.
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know.
Make my wish come true,
All I want for Christmas is you.
There was a jingle by the door, indicating that someone had entered the café. "We're closed!" Haley called, bending down to return the bottle of disinfectant. When she looked up, she was shocked to find Nathan on the other side of the counter. "Na-Nathan?"
"Hi, Haley," Nathan said shyly. Haley gripped the counter, afraid that her knees might give way.
"What are you doing here?" she managed to get out. Nathan smiled, amused by her bashfulness.
He slid an envelope across the counter. Haley opened it and found the picture of her on Santa's lap. She sighed. "I thought you might want that."
"Thanks," she said quietly, her fingers tracing the edge of the photo. She walked around the counter, snapping the radio off. "Well, Merry Christmas." Her back was still turned to Nathan as she reached for her coat.
"Haley, wait!" Nathan reached her in two strides. He put his hand on her shoulder, and Haley unwillingly raised her head to stare up at him. "Can we talk?" He held his breath, wondering what she would do.
Haley gently removed his hand from her shoulder and slowly shook her head. "I-I'm actually going home right now," she said softly.
"I'll drive you back, then," Nathan offered quickly. Haley shook her head again.
"Thanks, but I kinda want to walk back home," she said, walking around the counter to the door, grabbing her jacket. Nathan followed her, and opened the door for her. Haley whirled around. "Nathan, you really don't have to…"
"It's okay," Nathan cut in. "It's not like I have anything better to do." He sounded bitter at the last part.
Biting her lip, Haley locked the door, her back turned to Nathan. She started to walk off without him, leaving him to catch up with her. "Haley, c'mon."
"What?" croaked Haley, still walking at a quick pace. Nathan grabbed her arm. "Nathan…"
"Haley, we need to talk," he told her firmly. Haley fixed her gaze on the ground, but nodded slowly. He sighed again. "Please, don't be this way," he pleaded with her.
"Be what way?" Haley said quietly. She unknowingly shivered, and knew it wasn't from the cold. Nathan hesitated, then put his arm around her. She flinched, but didn't move away. They started to walk down the empty street, with all the shops closed up. It was like they were the only ones there, and the rest of the world didn't exist.
They walked in silence, just marveling at the quiet beauty of winter. Snowflakes had begun to float down, and one glided and kissed Haley's cheek. She shivered again, and cuddled against Nathan. Nathan just held her tighter.
They reached the River Court, where Nathan's car was parked. "You know, my house is in the opposite direction," Haley finally said. Her head told her to move away from Nathan, but her body and heart did otherwise.
"I wanted to show you something," Nathan said simply. He led her towards the court, where something had been drawn on the ground. Squinting, Haley moved away from Nathan to properly see what it was. Written in huge letters on the ground was:
I LOVE YOU
Haley whirled around to find Nathan standing directly behind her so that she bumped into him. She became shy, but didn't move. "Nathan…" she whispered.
"Haley, I love you. I was an idiot to let you go, and those pictures don't mean anything to me! They're not real. And even if they were, I still wouldn't do anything with those girls because it was always you. You mean more to me than any other girl does. And my pride is saying, just walk away and let Haley deal with the fact that she's clearly threatened by a sexual relationship. But my heart says, just forget about your pride, you idiot. You love this girl. And even if you're going to catch pneumonia, your ass is going to stand out here in the snow till you convince her to forgive you and take you back. So come on, Hales, just meet me half way here?"
Haley tried to fight the tears that sprung from her eyes. "What if I'm scared, Nate? What if we weren't meant to be together?"
Nathan just closed the gap between them. "I highly doubt that," he whispered before leaning down and kissing her. When they came up for air, he added, "Besides, didn't you hear? Santa asked me to bring you your present for him."
He took out a thin, velvet box from his pocket, and removed a beautiful diamond bracelet. Haley gasped. Smiling, he clasped it around her wrist. "Don't say I never gave you anything."
I don't want a lot for Christmas
There's just one thing I need
I don't care about presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true...
All I want for Christmas is you...
Author's Note: Okay, do you think Nathan's little speech was a little too much? I think I might change that...it just fit. But still, less is more.
Anyways, even if I don't deserve it, reviews are love. Leave a review if you liked it. Thank you! Happy Holidays!