First off, I want to thank everyone who supported me and my story. Let me tell you, this was one heck of a journey. I think I probably went through a dozen, if not more really long hiatuses in this story and the only reason I came back was for you guys. You people never cease to amaze me. I'm so thankful you guys never gave up on my story, even if there were times I was on the brink of giving up.
A big thank you to everyone who put this story on Story Alert, made it their favorite, made me their favorite author, put me on Alert and did whatever was possible to show me their support. Personally, I never expected this story to be so huge. It was just something I randomly came up with and I was just glad to have people reading it. Thank you for all the wonderful reviews. It's just amazing to open my e-mail and see everyone's reviews and the praise and constructive criticism I'm getting. It really, truly does mean the world to me.
Also, another huge thanks to all the other authors here on this site and elsewhere. I cannot tell you guys how much your stories have inspired mine, and you honestly have brought me out of a lot of writer's blocks. You cannot imagine how much I am inspired by your works.
Lastly, thank you to you, whoever you are, if you are still reading up to this point. I'm thanking you just because it's either you have the surprising patience to put up with my ramble or, it's just because you've stuck with me until the end of this story. Thank you for staying with me in this crazy, awesome, beautiful ride that is writing this story. Look forward to my new stories, and enjoy this last chapter of Collide.
Five years ago, I was asked to write an article about Nathan Scott, but it was anything but a normal article. I was asked – okay, more like ordered to live under the same roof with him for two months to get to know him. It started out easy enough, but then the public scrutiny got to us. Things shifted from professional to something entirely different, our new relationship was discovered, stories were made up to cover for the real purpose of me being with him and we almost broke up a few times, but hey, what is a relationship without the drama?
I recall meeting Nathan in a bar for the first time. It's been a long time ago and I would never forget the hellacious hangover I got the next morning, but those never stopped me from remembering the look in his eyes. Nathan has a look in his eyes for everything. He has one when he doesn't want to get up so early in the morning, one when he sees a basketball that he just threw to shoot through the hoop, one when he is having a petty but affectionate argument with his brother, the list goes on. What I'm trying to point out is that I could name any look in his eyes, but I still didn't know how to identify the one he had that night. It was something different – something I never saw in anyone else, unsettling and confusing. To tell you the truth, it was that look in those blue eyes that made me want to talk to him. You'd think that by now, I would know what that look meant, but I honestly don't. I still think about it sometimes, and see it for a few brief moments, and it just brings me back to where it all began.
I guess this is the part where I'm cued to say that the rest is history. I guess I could say that. A lot has happened in the past five years and a lot of things have changed. A whirlwind marriage in between a seven-month world tour, two pregnancies, a beautiful baby, a new house, and a few awards thrown in the mix, I guess you can say my life is officially perfect. Sure, our new family had our fights in between, like arguing on who was supposed to do the grocery shopping, or who left the skateboard at the foot of the stairs, or whose turn it was to pick a movie to watch. We had our arguments about important things too, like where should we raise our kids, what school were they going to attend and why we didn't need that fourth car. People thought our marriage wasn't going to last, but Nathan and I have proven a lot of people wrong in our lives. We intend to prove them wrong again now.
Still, there are some things that haven't changed. Five years ago, I wrote about how Nathan was a caring, thoughtful person who only needed a push in the right direction once in a while. I wrote that like many people, Nathan was only human and made mistakes like the rest of us, and said that all my first impressions of him were very wrong. In the short time I got to know him, perhaps I already know more about him than many other people in his life think they do. I saw the relentless passion and drive he had about his sport, and his determination to not let anyone down. I saw the stress that took its toll on him, and how much in his life he had lost to have what he had now. And yet, I saw the person who was only striving to make some sort of difference in this world.
I could say that somehow, Nathan has made a difference in my world – a rather big difference, when I think about it. I couldn't imagine a time in my life that I wasn't this happy or content. I was always striving for some sort of inner peace and calm I couldn't find, no matter how much I tried. Nathan taught me to be strong in all situations, to never back down, to be true to myself, and to shoot a basketball – but the last one, I still can't do, no matter how hard I try. He always gives me this sense of comfort and protection whenever he's around me, and he makes me feel like I could do anything. I suppose I can, because he never fails to let me know that he supports me in whatever I want to.
Nathan is many things; A-list celebrity, talented basketball player, the constant headline in a magazine, the regular topic in gossip shows … I could go on and on about what he is to many people but for a few lucky people, he is a good friend, a supportive brother, a loving husband and father. I sometimes look back at my life and try to envision one without him and all those things that he is, and I couldn't see it. Maybe it was fate that brought us together, faith in our relationship that gave us hope time and time again, intuition that made us realize what we could be … all I know is, I could never see a future without him by my side.
There is something beautiful in writing about the one you love because when you do, you somehow find yourself writing about all the wonderful and amazing things about that person, instead of the things that annoy you, and I suppose that is the whole point of writing that article in the first place. Well, Nathan is still as stubborn as ever and there are times I wish he was easier to wake up in the morning, but writing something like this two times, it really makes me see why I love and always will love this man.
As Nathan gently folded the manuscript in his hands, he couldn't help but feel his heart surge with pride and love as his mind ran through the words Haley wrote about him. His gaze fell on the pages, her neat handwriting coupled with several erasures and annotations here and there. It was clearly far from completed, but her words filled him up completely, causing a smile to form on his handsome face.
The smile quickly turned to a grin as he recalled how far they had gone. He had persuaded Haley to not leave the tour and accompanied her the whole time. During those seven months, he gathered up the courage to finally ask her to marry him, and as soon as she said yes, he drove her to the seashore of one of the beautiful, pristine beaches in the city where a small ceremony was already being set up.
He remembered the radiant smile on her face and the sparkle in her eyes when she teasingly asked him, "So sure I'd say yes?"
"I knew you couldn't resist me." He had teased back with a smile that matched hers.
Nathan let her complete the world tour before they went off on a honeymoon and not long after they had gotten back, Haley was already pregnant. After nine months of raging hormones (that Nathan personally loved), endless mood swings and strange food cravings, James Lucas Scott was born into the world. It had shocked Nathan to see how much he looked like his son, and he actually cried the first time he held his little boy.
He remembered that moment – how tiny and fragile his baby was in his arms as he cooed at him, how Haley was resting against the pillow, smiling tiredly at them. He remembered how he had reached out and kissed Haley's sweat-soaked temple, whispering how proud he was of her, how much he loved her, and how much he loved their baby boy. And even if Haley was too exhausted to even smile back, he saw the happiness shimmering in her big, brown eyes. Nathan would always remember that moment.
It was amazing to be a father. He watched his little boy grow up before his eyes, astonished at how much he looked like his dad every single day. He had inherited his mother's blond hair, but everything else was all Nathan; the startlingly beautiful blue eyes, the mesmerizing smile, the cute little frown and Haley even proclaimed that Jamie had his father's famous smirk. His son's personality however, was a wonderful mix of both of them. He had his father's amazing talent in basketball and his mother's brains. Best of all, Jamie inherited Haley's immense kindness and Nathan never failed to see it every single day – whether it be bringing home a wounded bird he found or simply cheering his dad on whenever Nathan had games. It was mind-numbing, this feeling. It brought about a certain rush in Nathan that he couldn't explain, something that had finally filled the void his younger life so lacked and wanted.
Jamie was four years old when Haley told Nathan that she was pregnant once again. Nathan fondly recalled lifting her high up in the air and kissing her passionately, and with a wry smile, especially what happened after. She was two months pregnant now, and a tiny baby bump could already be seen. There were nights she would fall asleep ahead of him, and his hand would constantly be on her stomach as he silently whispered how much he loved this new baby, promising her the world once she was born.
Nathan was absolutely certain that Haley was pregnant with a girl, and even when she laughed it off and told him that Scott genes never produced a girl, he was adamant. He could see his baby girl now with her blond hair and big, mesmerizing brown eyes just like Haley's. His heart swelled with joy even more. He was pretty sure that he had never been this happy his entire life. Everything changed when Haley came into the picture, and he had been such a blind fool to almost let her go. He couldn't imagine life without her or his children.
He slipped the manuscript back into the drawer where he found them and went back out to the living room. He leaned against the doorframe and watched his family – Haley humming while she strummed on the guitar and Jamie on the floor with crayons and pieces of paper strewn around him. Occasionally, Haley would glance down at her son and with an affectionate smile, ruffle his hair and praise his drawings.
Nathan couldn't help but stare at his wife in wonder. It was amazing how she seemed to grow even more beautiful every day. She had cut her hair short and colored it a rich, dark brown which set off her mesmerizing eyes. They had been together for five years but every time he set his eyes on her, it was like he was only seeing her for the first time, and he couldn't believe his luck that this woman was all his.
All mine, he repeated in his head and almost instinctively, a smirk appeared on his face.
"What are you smirking at, Mr. Scott?" Haley asked him. She had stood up from the couch and was already absentmindedly playing with the collar of his shirt.
"Just thinking about you, Mrs. Scott," he answered, his smirk widening as he emphasized the last two words.
"Oh? And what is it about me that made that infamous smirk appear?" She asked interestedly, playing along. She ran her fingers through his dark hair, softly brushing the strands away from his face.
"Oh, just about everything," he replied and leaned down so he could whisper into her ear, "Especially last night – as I distinctly recall."
"Don't forget this morning," she reminded him with a seductive smile.
Nathan growled into her ear and nuzzled her neck. "Especially this morning," he corrected himself. "God, I am a lucky man."
Haley laughed, blushing deeply as she led him to the couch. She let him take a seat first before she sat down next to him. She tucked her legs beneath her and buried herself against his side. Nathan leaned down to give her an affectionate kiss on the top of her head and turned to his son. "Hey buddy, aren't you going to give your daddy a hug?"
"Well you two were so busy awhile ago." Jamie said, rolling his eyes as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Haley giggled and reached out to Jamie as he sat on her lap. "Aren't you going to show your daddy something?"
Jamie's big blue eyes immediately brightened as he dug into his jeans pocket and brought out a folded piece of paper. "Look at this, daddy!"
Nathan exchanged a smile with Haley. His eyes widened as he exclaimed, "Well, will you look at that, Hales? A gold star!"
"Not just two gold stars, daddy – two of them! I was the only one who got two stars in the whole class." Jamie said proudly as he pointed at the star stickers on the paper.
Nathan's eyes widened even more. "Two stars?! Wow! Back when I was a kid, I was lucky enough to just get a smiley face."
"I get smiley faces all the time," said Jamie, his face scrunching up.
"Yeah well, daddy isn't a good, brilliant boy like you, Jimmy-Jam." Haley said as she pressed a kiss on his chubby cheek.
"Yeah …" He paused. "Hey!" Nathan said indignantly.
"But daddy was really good in sports. Didn't you see all his neat medals and trophies in our room?" Haley said, pride evident in her voice. She gave Nathan a small smile, which he returned.
"Uh-huh, there were thousands of them!" Jamie said as he spread his arms wide to prove his point.
"Thousands? You really think it's that much?"
"Yeah, momma. I counted it all." Jamie answered, nodding.
"Wow, I must be really good then to earn a thousand awards." Nathan joked.
"Tommy watched your game live, daddy. He says that you were awesome." Jamie said, his blue eyes brimming with pride. He always loved it when his friends would say that his dad was the best basketball player ever, but he loved it even more when he watched his dad actually play. There was one time that he and his mom were sitting on the couch watching one of his dad's games live, and Jamie ended up explaining a lot of things to her. When Jamie had told his dad about it, he had roared with laughter and claimed that he wasn't at all surprised.
"Well tell Tommy I said thanks," said Nathan, giving his son a kiss. "It's getting late though. Say good night to your mom and little sister then go upstairs to brush your teeth, okay?"
"Okay, daddy," Jamie turned to Haley and gave her a sloppy, wet kiss on her cheek. "Good night, momma!"
"Good night, Jamie. We'll be upstairs to tuck you in as soon as you're done brushing your teeth, alright?"
Haley heaved slightly as Jamie crawled off her lap. He gave Haley's tummy a kiss and whispered, "Good night, baby. I'll see you soon, okay? I'm going to teach you a lot of stuff as soon as you come out."
After she watched him go up the stairs, Haley began to gather all the pieces of paper Jamie left on the floor. "Thank God Jamie isn't like other kids."
"What do you mean?" Nathan asked as he helped her clean up the living room.
"I mean, other kids would already be so jealous or insecure that another baby is going to take up all the attention. Jamie is just so excited to see the baby."
"Well, Jamie's a pretty amazing kid."
"That's because he's our kid," said Haley as she wrapped her arms around him. "Don't forget, he has a basketball game this weekend."
"I wouldn't miss it for the world, Hales." Nathan promised.
Haley simply nodded, believing him. Nathan's career took him all over the world and there were times that he missed milestones in his son's life, and she knew that it greatly pained him to be gone but it was his career. He was simply grateful that Jamie understood and that he was probably the proudest person of him, aside from Haley. She was that way, too but she was lucky that Peyton and Jake understood why she couldn't be as active as other artists. She was still a singer and her past two albums had been so successful. For now, she just wanted to take her time and be with her family.
"Did you finish that song you were writing a couple of nights ago?" Nathan asked her.
"Well, not really," she sheepishly admitted. "You were always distracting me."
Nathan laughed at her blush. Five years later, and she still blushed deeply like they were still dating. "Oh, so I'm in big trouble with Peyton and Jake now?"
"You're lucky they like you," teased Haley, giggling when he pretended to be offended. "Not that I minded the distractions, though."
Nathan laughed just as Jamie called that he was ready for bed. He looked around with dismay when he saw that the living room was still messy. "Distracted again," he chuckled. "Why don't you go ahead upstairs and I'll clean up?"
"Are you sure?"
"It's the least I could do, Hales. I've been away all day."
"Okay, I'll see you upstairs," she said brightly. Before she could turn to leave, he spun her around and pulled her against him. He gently brushed his lips against hers and said, "Thank you, Hales – for everything. You and Jamie are my life and I couldn't imagine it without you in the picture. I just – I can't believe you're with me."
"Well believe it. I love you so much, Nathan." Haley whispered, gently stroking the side of his face.
"I love you too, Hales." He swept down to capture her lips with a searing kiss that made her weak in the knees. When they pulled away, they were both panting.
"Keep that up and we'll never leave this place," she kidded and with a playful wink, she skipped outside and went up the stairs to Jamie's room.
Nathan watched her walk away, the smile on his face slowly growing with every step she took. With a rather satisfied sigh, he bent down to pick up the rest of the papers Jamie had drawn on. One drawing caught his eye and when he picked it up to take a better look, Nathan breathed out a quiet "Wow."
It was a drawing of their family – Nathan, Haley and Jamie in front of a big white house with a sprawling garden. He noted the doghouse Jamie purposely drew in the corner and smiled, taking a mental note to have a talk with Haley about getting their son a dog. Beneath the whole thing was the words scrawled "My Family – Forever."
Nathan chuckled at the correct spelling, wondering if Jamie had asked Haley how it was spelled to make sure it was right. He was just like his mom - always making sure everything was perfect. As he walked into the kitchen to tape the drawing on the refrigerator, he couldn't help but slip into a memory …
"Tell me a secret," she told him.
They were walking hand in hand down the sands of the seashore barefoot, the wind making their damp clothes stick against their bodies. Haley's hand was gripping Nathan's as her thumb played with the wedding ring on her other hand, spinning it over and over. They had just gotten from the small wedding that Nathan set up for them and Haley's heart was still beating madly with everything that happened that night.
"What kind of secret?" Nathan asked her.
"You look really sexy in that white dress." He teased her.
"Well, that's not really a secret anymore, is it?" Haley teased back.
"Oh, so who's being cocky now?"
"Shut up," laughed Haley, elbowing him. "I learned from the best, anyway."
"Well, it is true," grinned Nathan at her, giving her a kiss that made them stop in their tracks. When he slowly pulled away, he whispered, "You really want to know a secret?"
Nathan fixated his gaze on hers, the dark blue orbs more intense than she had ever seen them. "I have never been as happy as I am right now."
"Never. Tonight is the happiest night of my life. Maybe a few months ago, if someone asked me when I was happiest, I would say that it was when I won my first championship."
"So it's not anymore?"
"It's a really close second," laughed Nathan. "Are you happy, Haley?"
"I'm very happy, Nathan. And that's Haley Scott to you." She corrected him with a cute scrunched-up face.
"Haley Scott," repeated Nathan quietly as he gazed at her. "I love you, Haley James Scott. Always."
"Forever." She whispered back.
Nathan's gaze fell on a small, framed photograph that hung on the wall. It was one of many shots that night in the beach. Her arms were wrapped his waist as she laughed at the camera. He stared at the picture for a few moments before looking back at the drawing he just taped on the refrigerator door.
"My family … always and forever."
Well, there you go. The story is over. So for the last time in this story, I ask you to please tell me what you think. Thank you again for the amazing support for all my stories. I'm posting a new story soon and continuing Sway, so watch out for those. Love you guys!