A/N: So, I must say that Brathan is by far my guiltiest pleasure. And when I saw last night's episode this oneshot just jumped out at me. I will admit Nathan seems a bit out of character and Brooke maybe too, but…I had to make them a little OOC for this to work. Enjoy! Oh and review if you're feeling charitable! And maybe...just maybe I might add a second part...but no promises.
Disclaimer: I don't own One Tree Hill. If I did…oh the changes that would come -glares- Oh and I borrowed the title from Emily Dickenson. I don't know why but I thought it fit.
Tell the Truth, but Tell It Slant
It was a beautiful night, and she was a beautiful woman. Words can't express it, the feeling you get when you steal a glance at her sparkling eyes and bright smile. She is your forbidden fruit, a string of pearls atop a vast and frightening mountain. Unattainable. Unreachable. Desired. Loved.
You have seen her for many years. Most do see her, but you really saw her. Your brother claimed to have broken her wild and bitter shell, but really you both know it was you who saw past it first. As much of a jackass as you were, you could always tell there was more to her than everyone saw. She was complex and even your brother had yet to really figure her out. Not that you were claiming to be an expert. She still did things that ceased to amaze you.
You were both such similar people. Broken, loveless families. Sense of duty and being honorable. No room for mistakes or failure. Haley, Lucas and Peyton don't have to deal with those things. They don't know what it's like to live your whole childhood in a vice grip surrounded by traps. One wrong move can mean your timeless disgrace. And you both watched those around you fall. But you both survived and you both found and unspoken bond in each other.
She's dangerous. She makes you feel alive. She's a constant breath of fresh air. It's why you keep her away, distant from yourself. It's why she doesn't come around as often now that you're back with your wife. Because you know she wants you. She makes it clear in moments like this. You know you want her and it's not something of lust that some would argue for. You've had her like that before and while it was fun, it wasn't enough. You wanted more. You still want everything with her…God; you're starting to sound like Lucas.
Martyr. Peyton called you a martyr. If she only knew that you're not a martyr rather a coward. You're putting people first because if you put yourself first it would mean chaos and pain for everyone but you. You're not doing this because it's the right thing, to stay in a marriage where you've lost the spark and deny yourself what may be your soul mate. You're doing this because you like to take the easy way out.
We all settle, you think. Peyton settled for Jake. Lucas settled for Brooke. Brooke settled for Lucas and Chase and God knows who else. You settled for Haley. Settling is easier than fighting for what you want. Because when you settle there is a sense of security. You wish you hadn't settled. You wish Brooke hadn't either. It's moments like this that remind you why you wish these things.
You're running through the wet and slippery grass, chasing her, like you always do. Finally, you reach her and you place your hands on her waist, stopping her from getting away. You throw her over your shoulder. The ability to touch her, something you denied yourself for so long, is now painfully present in your mind. And when you feel her squirming on your shoulder and hear her laughing like an angelic chord has been struck, you almost drop her. You've entered into a trance, as if she was a siren luring you into rocky waters. Part of you knows that's exactly what she is.
Eventually, you both fall to the ground, water still falling over you from the sprinklers. You smile over at her as your laughter subsides, and she gives you a soft smile of her own in return. Your shoulders are touching, your hands intertwined as you both look up the sky, the celestial beauty spanning above you. They say up there is heaven. You say down here, next to her is heaven. Because heaven is a time and place of perfection. Of worry-less bliss. And that's what you feel when you're with her.
You whisper your thoughts on the future aloud as she listens intently. Ten years from now you'll be divorced with a few kids you're sure. You'll have a good job in a place far from here. She'll be a famous fashion designer in a big city with a couple divorces under her belt (she chuckles at this). You'll both meet and be in love and get married. You're positive you two will grow old together.
"Foolish," she whispers back, timidly. You give her a look and she elaborates, "You'll always be Haley's." Her voice holds no bitterness, no anger nor fear. Just acceptance and traces of sadness. You bring her hand to her lips and kiss it softly. She should know better by know.
"Now that's a lie," you sigh and you feel her squeeze your hand briefly. "I'm yours."
"You've promised her always and forever." Her eyes are closed as she says it. "And I'd hate to think you're lying to both me and her."
You turn to her, propping yourself up on an elbow, eyes wandering all over her frame. You quickly glance around making sure no one is around to shatter this fragile moment. And then without hesitation, you swoop down and capture her tender lips.
A soft and timid kiss. Something uncharacteristic of Brooke Davis and of you, Nathan Scott. Both of you were characterized as wild, fierce and passionate. You devoured not savored, but when you are together, you become something beautifully fluid and gentle. Though, there is passion, it's not something you feel the need to exploit for all it's worth. It's manageable and under control. It's what makes you both so natural.
You pull away from her lips and you see the tears trying to disguise themselves as sprinkler water. You kiss them away before you lie back down next to her. This is killing her. It hurts her more than it hurts you. Because she isn't the type of person to chose a man over a friend. It's not in her nature, but she knows, deep down, that she makes that choice every day she wakes up and thinks of you. And it's eating away at her inside.
"It's a beautiful night," you note, "I'd almost say I could pass for happy."
"We're going to hell," she admits, "We're liars and cheaters. We're betraying everyone who loves us. How can we possibly ever be happy with the guilt we carry?"
"Do you really feel guilty right now?"
"No," she whispers, "And that's what makes this worse…" Her vulnerable voice trails off.
"It'll all work itself out eventually. Ten years from now. I'm sure," You feel like you're rambling and not making sense but she must get you because she's silent. Her shallow breathes coaxing you into an almost sleeplike trance.
"Haley deserves better," she blurts out and you feel her tense.
"So did Lucas," you say bitterly.
"You're playing one of my best friends."
"You played my brother."
"He played me too!" she hisses removing her hand from yours. You quickly grab her wrist, keeping her from standing up.
"We're both wrong."
"Okay then," she nods, her body relaxing next to you.
"You're so stubborn," you chuckle. She reaches over and slaps at your chest.
"I just don't like it when you judge me. It's hypocritical."
"I'd never judge you. I'm just stating facts."
"Then if those are facts, we're going to hell." You sigh at her pessimism.
"We'll cross that bridge when we get there."
"You'll forget me soon enough." It's at this point that you turn to face her and your eyes meet.
"I could never forget you," you say tipping her chin up, "You're Brooke Davis." You just stare at each other for a moment, neither of you saying anything. Just looking and branding the image of the other into your minds.
"We should go back inside," she ventures. Back to Haley and Nathan Jr. Back to Chase.
"Okay." You jump up and extend your hand. She accepts it without hesitation and you pull her up bringing her flush with you. She wraps her tiny arms around your waist and places a chaste kiss on your chest, directly above your heart. After a moment, you break apart and you're already missing the warmth.
"Until we meet again," you whisper as you bring her hand to your mouth and kiss it. She smiles shyly and then you let go. And you both back away from each other. She heads back in first and you stay for a moment to study the scene before you. The water still falling over the grass, the stars shining down, and the imprints on the grass where you bodies were. You take a deep breath and smile.
"One day," you whisper to no one in particular, "One day."