Bon jour! So, I had planned on posting this earlier on in the summer but then… summer happened. Anyway, now here I am, posting it…!
I truly hope you like reading it, and um, I really do like reviews. giggles
Written by: Fatima/littledarling o5/ForeverYoung/CrazyGirl9123
Rating: Teen. Chapters with higher ratings will be pointed out.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. At least nothing to do with the fictional land of Tree Hill.
Spoilers: Er, none. This is COMPLETELY AU.
Summary: You should hold onto every moment and memory as long as you can.
Haley James has always shied away from anything that threatens her to be herself. But when she spends the summer with her Grandmother, she discovers a whole new world, and realises that life is meant for living.
Thank you to Mihika for beta-ing this chapter for me. And also thanks to Lizzie for her much appreciated second opinion. (:
Okay, without further ado...
EVERY SECOND COUNTS
"I was right there beside him all summer long
And then the time we woke up to find that summer gone,"
Two months, and one week ago...
When I was younger - much younger, I never really thought of how my first love would end. I always just assumed it wouldn't. It would last and last… and last. The way it lasted every time I saw it on the silver screen, every time I read about it. Apparently some of us are just fated to be the Romeo and Juliets of life, instead of the Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcys, though.
The thought refused to leave me alone as I sat near the edge of the cliff, one of my legs dangling dangerously, the other pulled up to my chest, my arms wrapped tightly around it. My hair was tucked messily into the back of my dusty-blue sweatshirt, a few strands of my dirty blonde bangs sticking to my cheeks with the salty wetness of tears. The tears that seemed never-ending, the tears I had been positive would come.
I picked at the few overgrown weeds that covered the edge of the crumbling stone, delicately ripping them into tiny shreds. The droopy plants looked just like I felt; exhausted. I dropped them from the top of the cliff, letting the pieces fall far below.
Now I knew what my mother had been talking about. Love. That ever special first love that almost everybody experiences in their lifetime. The kind where you get goose bumps even in the warmest of weathers, and when you have to keep your hands tucked under your thighs to stop them from shaking, every single time the person in question speaks. The kind when you get butterflies for the longest time, and you can swear that your heart flutters every time they say your name, or smile that special smile for you, or simply just look at you. Even that love has to come to an end one day. Whether it's happily, tragically or mutually, it does.
The Present Time...
I sat in the passenger seat of the car, trying my best to keep a straight, bored, and blank face as my father, Jimmy, constantly cursed under his breath at nearly every other passing driver.
"Haley, fasten your seatbelt," he suddenly admonished. We were in his dark green Peugeot, driving a state away.
I withheld my sigh. We were barely even moving at the moment, and when we were, it was at an 'impossible-to-have-an-accident' rate of fifty miles per hour anyway.
"Aren't you excited?" He asked, once I had clicked both sides of the belt together - with a little struggle - and leant back in my seat, trying my hardest to get comfortable.
Sending a simple shrug his way, I didn't fail to notice his slightly confused eye roll.
June. It was June. The weather was scorching hot everywhere, it seemed. And I was being sent to the other side of the country to stay with my slightly eccentric grandmother, willingly of course. It wasn't exactly like I had no say in the matter whatsoever, quite the opposite actually. But I just wanted to please Jimmy.
Tree Hill, North Carolina was where I was headed. My dad was spending the rest of his summer in Italy, with his new girlfriend, Andrea, someone who I refused to acknowledge. It wasn't that she was some sort of a monster (quite the opposite actually), I just couldn't let myself like her, much as I tried. Andrea's younger sister was getting married in Italy; Jimmy decided it would be the perfect opportunity for a vacation. Of course they both had insisted that I come along and while in any other circumstance I would have agreed almost instantly, my father and his most recent flame were really not people I wanted to be holidaying with. I knew for a fact, it wouldn't paint the prettiest picture.
"Uh, so when exactly are you going to be back?" I questioned innocently; I love my father; I want him to be happy and that's why I try not to interfere in his romantic relationships as much as possible.
He glanced towards me, turning the wind wipers on at the sudden spurt of rain splashing silently against the windshield.
"Well, I'm thinking sometime early July," he replied, I could tell he wanted to reassure me that he'd be back for me soon enough, even though I had insisted on this. "I'll come pick you up as soon as we're back, if you want."
"No," I answered a little too quickly. "I mean, when do you guys get that much time together? This is perfect; you'll have the entire summer." I grinned at him, knowing it was probably the most pretentious smile I'd ever shot someone. I also knew I didn't believe a word I had just uttered. I'd rather have him all to myself, but he deserved Andrea and she was a good person, as much as I tried to convince myself otherwise.
"Plus, I haven't stayed with Gran in forever!" I put in for good measure, making sure to exaggerate my words just a little.
Jimmy grunted something in response.
I leant forward, fiddling with my bag that sat on the floor in front of my seat. After about at least a good three minutes of searching, I pulled my iPod out, unwrapped the earphones from around it and quickly placed them in my ears.
I could never stand these sorts of silences. Awkward silences.
"So, you've got my number, my e-mail, the address we'll be staying at…" Jimmy rambled -- something he did often. I'd learnt to drift off into my own thoughts, without getting caught by now.
"Dad!" I interrupted, "I have everything, even Andrea's." I decided to leave out the fact that I really didn't get why I needed her contact information. "And I'll call you every weekend, all right?" I forced a laugh. He was worse than me when it came to needing reassurance.
He smiled widely at me. "All right then."
We both stepped out of the car and I took a glance around. I recognized my grandmothers house, it looked the exact same as it had the last time I was here, seven years ago. It was just like a house straight out of the movies, the kind that belonged to a completely All-American family; a well-trimmed, green grass lawn, a small, white picketed fence surrounding it, and a flag on the porch; my grandfather always was a patriotic man.
"Let's go let Grace know you're here." Jimmy broke into my thoughts.
I nodded eagerly. I truly was excited to see my grandmother, it had been a long time. Reaching up, pulling my ponytail tighter, I followed him to the door.
Hugging Jimmy tight one last time, I bid him a final goodbye. I turned my gaze away when I felt a tugging on my arm, looking up I was met with the smiling face of my Grandma Grace.
"Still as beautiful as ever." She sighed, as she held my face in her hands, looking at me intently. "Just like your mother." She smiled at me then.
I didn't fail to notice the hint of sadness in her eyes though, or the smile that looked a little more broken then it did the last time I saw her.
I swallowed, the terrible feeling of discomfort overwhelming me. Whenever somebody mentioned my mother, I acted unaffected, and turned off my feelings. I never wanted pity; it really wasn't comforting at all.
I flashed her a weak smile and she dropped a kiss on my right cheek, before letting her hands fall from my face.
My Grandmother had always been someone I had admired. Aside from my parents, she was the closest family I had. Somebody who I loved dearly. Even now, when I felt like I hardly knew her.
I was at the tender age of ten, when my mother Lydia had passed; Jimmy had gone into a mild depression; Grandma Grace and my Grandfather Edmund had taken care of me, flying back and forth from Tree Hill to my home in Florida. And I would forever be grateful to them for that.
Just seven months after the death of my mother, Grandpa Edmund too passed on. Gran said it was from a broken heart… he just wasn't himself once my Mom was gone. Lydia was their first and only child, one of the two things they had left in this world.
But once my grandfather had died, Gran just wasn't the same either, and her visits were less frequent. If I were to tell the truth, I would say it stung but I understood.
"How have you been, Haley?" Gran asked, as she ushered me into the quaint, cosy house and onto a sofa.
Taking a quick glance around at my surroundings, I spoke, "Okay, I suppose. I mean, school's great."
She laughed then. "You haven't changed in the slightest." When I didn't answer, she spoke again, "And I'm glad."
Looking up, I smiled. In all honesty, I had no idea what to say. Here I was, with a woman - my Grandmother, who I hadn't spoken to in person for at least five years, there wasn't much I could say, was there?
"Okay, well lets get your things upstairs. You must be exhausted," she mumbled as she stood to her feet.
I followed her lead and swiftly intervened. "No, it's okay, I can take my bags upstairs." Quickly, I pointed towards the two reasonably sized bags that had my clothes and other necessities stuffed into them. "They're light, I'll manage," I explained, as I smiled gratefully.
"It's great to see you again, Nana," I called out to her, as I headed towards the stairs, ready to try and settle into the house that would be my home for possibly the next three months.