A/N Ok so I was going to end it with that last chapter and despite conflicting views from several reviewer, having read it back myself I agree that it needed just one more part to round it up completely. I hadnt really given much thought to Haley/Nathan and I suppose in my own mind I had figured they would be ok. I hadnt really accounted for you guys wanting to know what happened to them! which was a complete and utter over sight on my part so sorry for just leaving you guys hanging there. But anyway, this is it. the end. No more! I'm out of amunition for this story now. Lol! This story has been fun to write but I'm glad its done! Let me know what you think of this ending instead. I think I have pretty much resolved EVERYTHING now! Thanks to everyone who reviewed and for your comments. Its always helpful to receive advice and it does make you a better writer.


Nathan wasn't particularly looking forward to facing his mother. They had hardly been close since he had married Haley. She didn't approve of her stealing her little boy from her and potentially ruining his life. Nathan understood that her fears came from her own experiences with his father but he wished she would understand that Haley was nothing like Dan. Unlike his parents he was happily married and although they had had some teething problems in the early stages of their marriage it was nothing like his parents.

He had decided to ask his mother for the money rather than his father. He knew Dan well enough to realise that whatever he gave him would come at a steeper price than what he had lent. Walking up the drive way of the familiar house that had once been his childhood home before his emancipation he paused at the door and knocked, his eyes roving around the familiar scene, wondering if there was any way he could get the money without asking for help. However, he was desperate and desperate times called for rather desperate measures. After a moment the door opened a crack and his blonde haired mother appeared. She frowned a little seeing him but then smiled.

"Nathan! What a wonderful surprise!"

Taking a deep breath, Nathan walked into the house as she opened the door further to let him step in. for a brief second he wanted to turn and leave, feeling his mother's hand closing around him, suffocating him, stopping him from being who he was but it passed as swiftly as it had come. He was not under her grasp yet and hopefully if she would help him he would not ever be. Following her into the kitchen, he declined her offer of food and took a seat at the breakfast bar, wondering how to start this conversation.

"You look well." Deb said, pouring herself a coffee and joining him at the bar.

"Thanks." Nathan muttered.

"How's school?" He shrugged.

"Same as always."

"Your grades are ok?" She asked. Nathan didn't want to make small chat with her but he needed her help. Humouring her he nodded.

"Yeah they're fine. I'm doing good in class. I uh got a new job."

"Oh? Doing what?"

"Just retail."

An uncomfortable silence developed and for a moment Nathan wondered how they had come to this. Surely it was not normal to feel this awkward with your own mother and yet the nature of their relationship had been such for so long that he couldn't imagine sitting down and talking to her about normal every day stuff.

"How's Haley?" Deb said after a moment.

"She's fine, mom. It's just…"

"Just what?"

Nathan paused, wondering about the best way to tackle this situation. He knew he had to be careful about how he asked for the cash or else he ran the risk of his mom telling him no. taking a deep breath he raked his hair back off his face.

"Mom, I'm in trouble." His brow knitted as he said it and when he glanced up at Deb she too was frowning.

"What kind of trouble, Nathan?"

"I got into some money problems and they're threatening to take the apartment unless I get them the cash immediately." He buried his head in his hands. "I don't know what the hell to do."

Deb went silent for a moment and Nathan wondered what she was thinking. Did she see this as a perfect opportunity to have Nathan move back home with her. He would never say it to her face but he would rather live on the streets than be thrown in between his parents arguing again. In the early days of Deb and Dan's divorce he had been nothing more than a scrap of meat to be argued over. It had been some of the most unpleasant months of his life. He didn't want to get back into that situation again.

"How much do you need?" Deb asked after a brief silence. Nathan winced.

"Just over two thousand dollars."

"Nathan!" She exclaimed. "How on earth did you get yourself in such a mess? I really think this living by yourself crap isn't the best idea for you!"

Scowling, Nathan found his defences going up despite willing his temper to remain calm. "Well whose fault is it that I'm living by myself? If you and dad had just sorted your crap out without dragging me into it…" He sighed, trying to calm himself down. Getting angry was counter-productive. He needed her help and screaming wasn't going to get it. "I love Haley, mom, and my life is with her. Our apartment is part of our life. If we loose that we're both homeless."

"You have a home here Nathan!"

"But Haley doesn't?" He snapped. "God mom, when are you going to realise that me and Haley are married and that we're going to spend the rest of our lives together."

"Come to me, Nathan, in five years time when all your dreams are broken, when all your ambitions are dead and when your life has become nothing more than a passage into slavery. This dream of love you talk about doesn't exist. I was in love with your father and look at me now."

Nathan rose to his feet and dropped his hands onto his hips, frustrated at the way in which the conversation was going. It was an enviable argument but it wasn't one he relished in having.

"I love you mom but I won't choose you over Haley. If you won't help me then I guess I'm homeless. Live with that on your conscious." He turned to walk out but Deb called him back.

"Nathan wait." He glanced over his shoulder at her and resisted a small smile as he realised she was waning. "I would never see you on the streets, no matter how much I hate it that you live with her. I'll give you the money."

Grabbing her purse off the side she pulled out her cheque book and wrote him one for his rent and handed it to him. Nathan lowered his eyes to it and saw that it was made out for five thousand dollars and snapped his gaze to her.

"Mom this is wrong… the rents only $1700."

She gave him a wry smile. "I might regret giving you this Nathan but it will see you sorted for a while at least. Just spend it wisely, ok?"

He glanced at her, frowning deeply. "Why have you given me this?"

"Because you're my son Nathan and I love you. I can't just switch my feelings off and pretend you don't exist and I can't sit and do nothing when you're in trouble. I just… I just can't."

Nathan smiled a little at her, feeling as if she had just solved all of his problems in that moment. they could pay their outstanding rent and with this money they could pay at least the next four months or so and have a little left over for bills. As always Haley had been right. She had said his mom would help him. Somewhat hesitantly he embraced Deb and for a second he almost wished he could get his relationship with his mother back. However he was not naive and he realised that it would take time and even then he was not sure it could happen. Tucking the cheque into his jacket pocket he turned and left.


A Week Later….

"Have you got the balloons?" Brooke demanded at Haley from the bottom of the ladder the small tutor was precariously balanced upon. Pushing the tack into the corner of the 'Welcome Home' banner, Haley turned and glanced down at the brunette cheerleader.

"They're on the side in the kitchen." Brooke half turned but stopped herself.

"How you doing Haley?"

"What do you mean?"

"You and Nathan. I said you guys were having some problems, I just wondered if you had sorted it."

Haley smiled slightly and nodded. "Me and Nathan are going to be fine."

Truly glad to hear this – after all Haley and Nathan were the ultimate couple, if they couldn't make it no one else stood a chance! – Brooke turned around, spinning on her heel and with a slight skip, headed into the other room and rooted through the grocery bag until she had located the packet. She could hardly contain her excitement at Lucas' return home from the hospital and although she knew she grinning like an idiot she didn't care. She knew somehow everything was going to get better and that her life had some kind of direction now.

"Hey…"

Brooke glanced up at the familiar voice and half smiled at Peyton as she entered through the back door. She wasn't sure how she felt towards the blond haired girl but she liked that they were at least speaking again. Brooke wasn't sure she was ready to call her a friend yet but she hoped in time it would come. She had lost so much by distancing herself from her former best friend and she just hoped that it wasn't too late to fix it.

"Hey."

"Do you need any help?"

"Uh…" Brooke glanced around and then threw the balloons at her. "You can help me blow these up."

Peyton caught them and ripped the packet open, handing Brooke a balloon. The pair of them shared an almost comfortable silence for a moment before Peyton spoke.

"You looking forward to Lucas coming home?"

Brooke smiled broadly. "Yeah, I am."

"I really hope things work out between you two, Brooke and I really mean that."

"Thanks." Brooke replied, truly meaning it. She didn't particularly need Peyton's blessing but it was almost a relief to have it.

"Brooke?" She turned as Haley entered. "The living room is done."

"Good." Brooke said clapping her hands together. She could hardly contain her excitement.

The three girls sat and talked, laughing and joking as they continued with the party preparations. It felt so nice and for the first time in a year Brooke felt contented. She hardly noticed the time flying by until Nathan pushed the door open and appeared with a number of their friends. Skills and Mouth took position at the kitchen counter and began to help, although they were more of a hindrance than anything else. It wasn't long before Lucas himself arrived.

For a moment the boy looked confused at the people crammed into his tiny house but then he laughed and embraced everyone in turn. Brooke watched him with a knowing smile on her face and after a few minutes he headed over to her grinning.

"Was this your idea?" He asked, dropping his hands around her waist and lowering his head to kiss her.

"It might have been." She replied whimsically allowing him to kiss her. "Do you like it?"

He glanced around the room pulling a face. "Well…" Smacking him in the arm he grinned, kissing her again. "I love it. Thank you."

She pulled out of his kiss for a moment and gazed into his big blue eyes, wanting him so badly in that moment.

"Luke?"

"Uh huh?" He muttered, gazing warmly at her.

"You do love me don't you?"

He leaned into her and brushed his lips over hers. "Does that answer your question?"

"Not really, but it helps."

"Brooke, I love you with all my heart. You're the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. You're the person I want with me, at my side when all my dreams come true."

She kissed him. "Then I'm the person who will be stood at your side Lucas."

Lost in each other's embrace they held each other never wanting to let the moment pass. Brooke realised that love was the strangest of all the body's needs. It's not predicable. It's not always right but when you find that one person you love and who loves you back then keep hold of them and never let them go. Brooke knew now that she would never let Lucas walk away from her again.