Author's Note: Thanks for the reviews guys, I really love reading them. Also, one of the Scott brothers will be coming within the next two chapters, and the other pretty soon after. I've started planning this story out more thoroughly and I'm pretty excited for it. Oh, I kind of stole an OTH and put it in here, which I'm sure you'll notice. Heh. Enjoy and review.

Change in the Weather

Chapter Four: Where You End and I Begin

She didn't know how to be the strong one.

As Haley lay in her lap, tears falling like an endless waterfall from her eyes, sobs ripping so loudly from her body that Brooke herself winced from them, she realized that she had no idea how to be the one that held together her broken best friend. Sure, she knew how to keep herself together; it was all a matter of the wall she'd forced herself to build. For some reason, she was pretty sure Haley hadn't built a wall similar to her own. In fact, she was sure Haley had never experienced this type of pain before.

Haley had grown up in a loving family, had really only seriously dated one guy, and had then married him. Of course she was freaking out right now! Brooke just wasn't sure she knew how to handle it. There was only so much a back rub and the repeated phrase of, "It's going to be okay, Hales," could do.

"It's going to be okay, Hales." One more time couldn't hurt, and besides, too much time had passed without her and Haley speaking; or rather, her speakingto Haley, who just cried, and cried, and had yet to stop since she'd walked in the door hours earlier.

Her words had apparently been wrong, because seconds after she uttered them, Haley's cries grew louder and more agonizing. "Okay, don't do this to me," Brooke sniffled as tears began to roll down her own cheeks. "I know I'm supposed to be strong right now, but I can't have you crying in order to be strong."

Despite herself, Haley laughed through a sob, and then began to sob harder. Before either girl knew it, they were a sobbing heap on the bed. Brooke couldn't help but feel thankful that Ava usually slept like a log; otherwise they'd be enduring some pretty curious questioning right now.

Finally, once Brooke had finally pulled herself back into a sitting position, and was dabbing her eyes with her cardigan, Haley rolled over to face her, swollen eyes opening wide and her lips parting to speak. "You know," she said quietly, "just this once, I deserve a big, fat 'I told you so'."

She smiled softly, pressing her lips to her friend's forehead lightly. "Well, you won't get it from me."

Haley sighed loudly, pulling herself up into a sitting position. Subsequently, her head began spinning, and before she knew it she'd thrown herself back down onto the bed. Brooke lowered herself to her friend's level, pulling Haley's hand into her own.

"Why does this hurt so much?" Haley whimpered.

"I wish I could tell you, babe. What exactly did he say?" As much as she wanted to be supportive, she felt, in order to be fully supportive, she needed to know every detail of the entire evening. But with the way Haley was acting, she was sure she'd end up kicking Jake's ass before the night was even over.

Haley rolled onto her back, shaking her head. "It was so stupid. He actually - he said there was someone else."

"Whoa, what?"

"Yeah, apparently her name is Nikki. I couldn't really find out much else about her, because you know, I was busy throwing water at his face."

Brooke nodded, smirking slightly. "Saves me a job."

"I'm sorry I didn't listen to you," Haley started, causing Brooke to shake her head vigorously.

"Honey, I think we can both argue that listening to me is not usually the route you want to take."

Both girls giggled to themselves, and soon after Haley closed her eyes, groaning loudly. "This sucks. I don't even want to think about it."

"So don't. Fuck him. Let's not let him get to us." Brooke shrugged.

"Yeah," Haley snorted. "It's just too bad I'm legally bound to him and am also currently housing his child."

"Well, there's that."

"Brooke,"

"Yeah?"

"Will you stay here tonight?"

Brooke grinned, nudging her friend. "Well, I was planning on it. I'm here for you, buddy."

--

"Mom, seriously… mom! No. No, tell Dad I'm fine. I'm fine… I'm not discussing my sex life with you, mother… Why not?Why would I?.. No, that's not healthy! Okay, I'm hanging up now. I'm- Mom! I'm hanging up,okayyeahbye." The end of her sentence came out in one long, rushed breath as she slammed the phone down, rolling her eyes.

From her perfect eavesdropping spot at the kitchen counter, Brooke sighed loudly. "Man, your mom is so cool."

"Urgh," Haley grumbled, rubbing her temples furiously. "Mom was actually threatening to come with dad and 'make sure I'm okay'." She mimicked her mother's voice terribly, and Brooke would have told her this had the circles under her best friend's eyes not been so big and dark.

"I wouldn't mind seeing her." She shrugged. Lydia James was the mother she'd never had. When she'd been in high school, Lydia had been the woman she'd talked to about everything. And when Haley had gone away to summer camp over the summer after Freshman year, Brooke had spent multiple evenings in her bedroom and just hanging out with Lydia. When Haley had pulled away from her mother's smothering hugs, annoyed, Brooke had been waiting with arms wide open. In fact, the hardest part about leaving Tree Hill had really been leaving Lydia. She'd felt like she was separating from her own mother, and really, saying goodbye to the woman that had actuallygiven her birth hadn't been hard at all. It was strange, really.

"Well, of course, because you and my mom are best friends forever!" Haley deadpanned, rolling her eyes immediately afterwards.

"Okay, grouchy. So I'm guessing me suggesting that you call your parents and tell them wasn't the best idea?"

"No, it was," Haley nodded. "But only because now the bet's over and everyone finally has to pay Taylor who was… right. For possibly the first time of her existence," pause. "I need coffee. Or maybe gin. You?"

Brooke made a face. "Nah, I'm actually good. But thanks," when Haley got up to enter the kitchen, she shook her head. "Haley, come on. Don't you think it was kind of time to tell your parents? It's been like two weeks since dinner with Jake."

"Yeah, but I hadn't even told my daughter yet."

"Uh-huh, your daughter is three."

Haley stuck out her tongue. "Point being?"

Her face growing serious, Brooke stared Haley in the eye. "You're handling this well, Hales. I don't… I don't even know if I'd be up right now if I were you."

"Well, I've definitely got obligations," Haley gestured towards the sleeping child on the couch in front of them, and Brooke nodded. "I'm terrified of her finding out. Divorce can really ruin a child, I've heard."

"Nah," Brooke counseled. "I've got a cousin whose parents divorced when he was like, five. And that's supposedly the age where it's really supposed to affect you."

"Which cousin?"

"Bobby."

Haley closed her eyes, lifting her index finger and thumb to pinch the bridge of her nose. "Brooke, Bobby is the starring woman in that burlesque show, 'Viva Las Gay-gas'."

"Yeah, that has nothing to do that. When we'd play house when we were kids, he would alwaysbe the girl. Willingly. He also tried to steal my Ken doll several times, and this was all before his parents divorced."

Haley chortled. "What about all those little journal entries he wrote in pre-school for the teacher? 'Daddy packed his stuff today', 'daddy and mommy are always fighting now'. Your aunt had social services called on her!"

Brooke bit her lip. "Again, nothing to do with the divorce. That woman was just crazy." She shuddered.

Haley exhaled, her eyes drifting once more from her crazy friend to her sleeping child. "I just don't think I can do it. I don't even know how I would explain it to her."

"Hey, no one said it was going to be easy. But we'll do it together. She'll be fine. You're her mother, after all."

"That's what worries me." She grumbled. For a moment she began to wonder just how well Brooke knew her. After all, shouldn't her best friend know that inside, she was crumbling? That this was something she had never prepared herself for; that she was now doing everything in her power just to remind herself to breathe?

Brooke rolled her eyes. "Okay, breathe."

Haley frowned. Scary. "Okay, Brooke, I don't think I can tell her. You do it. Please?"

"Haley!"

"What? I thought you were my best friend." The lighter-haired of the two pouted, crossing her arms over her chest.

"Seriously?! You're playing the best friend card?" Brooke hissed, and after a moment, the defeated Haley sighed, dropping her head.

"No, I'm not. I'm just barely handling this myself. I think I should wait until I'm ready to deal with it before I make her start to deal with it."

"Or," Brooke added, "you could just not tell her. She'd probably forget him eventually anyway.."

"You're right. That would probably be the mature way to handle the situation." Haley grinned admiringly at her best friend. Through every problem she'd ever have, she could certainly count on Brooke to make light of the situation; it was one of her best qualities.

Brooke crinkled her nose. "Who said anything about maturity?"

"I-" Haley stopped herself, shaking her head. "Okay, I'm going to go upstairs and take a bath. You, behave."

--

It was hard to behave when you were bored. Brooke had realized this in her life several times before; when she'd been left alone to work at Vic's Café, when she'd been left alone period, and especially at times like this, when she'd been left alone with nothing to do but watch a baby sleep for hours.

Haley had been in the bath for over four hours now, so long that Brooke had taken several trips to the bathroom just to make sure the girl was still afloat. Of course, every time Brooke entered, prude that she was, Haley would be sitting in the bathtub with her arms crossed tightly over her chest and with a frown so deep that would frighten Brooke so much, she'd sputter out some excuse and hightail it out of there before any punches were thrown. Or rather, bars of soap.

She realized she needed to get a life - or perhaps a job - considering just weeks before, she'd been out partying every night, and now she spent most of her time sitting on Haley's couch waiting for Grey's Anatomy on Thursdays and then Friends re-runs every other second of the day. That is, if she wasn't watching Ava or Haley for that matter.

Brooke sighed loudly, eyes focused on the quiet television. Ava was still sleeping (deep sleepers were certainly a James Family gene, except for when it came to Haley, who enjoyed waking up before the sun even did) and it was already dark, so Brooke was forced to watch Friends on mute. And as much as she enjoyed trying to read lips, she was five seconds away from pulling Haley out of the tub herself.

There was a knock at the door, and Brooke searched her mind for people that could be knocking, and found that she came up with no one. Yeah, she needed a life.

"Haley!" She called out as she stood. "Someone's at the door!"

"So, answer it!" Came the annoyed reply.

"Yeah, but you should come down here, anyway! You know, just in case it's someone really cool." She really just wanted an excuse for Haley to get out of the friggin' tub.

"I'll pass, Brooke!"

"Alriiight," she sang, "but what if it's Justin Timberlake? What if he's decided he's going to have sex with the next person that answers the door no matter what?"

"Well, then have fun!"

"Okay," she rolled her eyes, "but what if it's Yoko Ono? How disappointed are you going to be if Yoko Ono is at your door and you're not the one to answer it?"

Whoever was at the door was now getting impatient and ringing again. Damn person.

"Brooke, answer the door!"

She sighed, pulling the door open. At the sight of Vivian James, her eyes narrowed. The eldest James sister stood before her with condescending eyes and a fancy business suit.

"Aren't you going to ask me in? Or are you really still that rude?"

Well, this should be fun.