You girls, boys, creatures make me smile and blush, and then you make me smile all over again.
Once again, this chapter is un-beta'd (?) I kinda just whipped it up in a half hour. It could be the last one for awhile.
College started today, and I already feel swamped. I swear I can feel the stressful headache coming on already. I have vowed to myself not to misbehave (or something) this year...studying is something I'll be forcing myself to get familiar with. :p
Anyway (sorry for boring you), here is the 3rd chapter!
And many thanks to the loveliest reviewers in the history of reviewers. You all rox, dudes.
EVERY SECOND COUNTS
"I was right there beside him all summer long
And then the time we woke up to find that summer gone,"
The dense summer haze was overpowering, to the point that it had me squinting and shading my eyes with my hands.
The day before, after Grandma Grace and I had eaten dinner, she let me know that there was a car sitting in the garage, if I wanted to use one. At first I was unsure, it looked terribly old, like if I shut the door too hard, it would surely collapse. But I did need a car. How else would I be able to get around town? And the prospect of walking for hours in the heat was not something I wanted to consider.
Now though, I was stranded on the side of a seemingly deserted road. Just me, and the ancient car, with its peeling white paintjob. I didn't want to bother my Grandmother, and even if I did call her, she wouldn't exactly be able to come pick me up.
Just like yesterday, the sun shone brightly. The ground burnt the skin on my hands when I sat on the sidewalk.
Even knowing that there was no-one else to call, and in the end, I would be calling Nana, I flipped my cell phone open and close continuously.
It was at times like these I wished I hadn't used the card the triple A man had so kindly given me, to put my chewed gum in.
"Need some help?" A voice called from a car, as it passed.
It was a males voice, and I prayed he was harmless.
I looked up. It was that Nathan Scott from yesterday.
"Need some help?" he repeated.
I scolded myself mentally. This was now the second time in two days I had made an idiot of myself.
"Please. Thanks," I answered.
He was out of his extremely nice, black Jeep in a flash. Slamming the door behind him, walking over to me.
I was up off the ground by now, standing a safe distance behind him as he lifted the hood of the ancient car, feeling a little mortified.
As Nathan leaned over, I took the opportunity to examine his back, again. Today he wore dark blue jeans. I noticed they hung perfectly around his nice-looking butt.
I thought of a friend back home; Amy Kopansky, and how she'd congratulate me for being such a pervert. That instantly had me snapping my head away.
When he turned around, he explained to me what was wrong, and I pretended I understood. Really though, I memorised his voice.
"I'm Nathan. I think we…met yesterday," he introduced, offering his hand.
I nodded. "Haley," I said, taking his hand. It felt firm, it made my own hand feel feeble. I could feel the heat in my neck, it was rising upwards, towards my face. Quickly, I let his hand go, not wanting to embarrass myself further.
Nathan smiled. "Well, I can't do anything to the car now. But if you bring it by to Keith's, I'll have it fixed in no time," he informed me.
"Er, Keith's?" Hopefully, he would realise I was new here, and had no idea who or what Keith's was.
He pulled the edge of his lip between his teeth and I swallowed. When he let it go, he smiled lopsidedly.
"You're new here." It wasn't a question.
I nodded with a small smile of my own.
"Well, I can give you a ride to wherever you're headed, if you want…?"
Ignoring his question, I asked, "What about the car?"
"I'll come pick it up later."
"Um. Okay," I agreed, taking up on his offer
I followed him to his car, still a little unsure. So Nathan seemed like a decent-ish guy, that didn't mean he wasn't a psychotic rapist or axe murderer or something.
I realised my paranoia was working overtime again, and bit my tongue; saving myself from superfluous humiliation.
"So, what's your story?" Nathan asked.
We were driving across yet another smallish road. I wondered if Tree Hill even had any sort of a main road.
"I have a story?"
He grinned. "Everybody has a story," he said matter-of-factly.
I shrugged. "I'm staying with my grandmother for the summer."
Nathan looked at me, almost sceptically.
"You're nosy!" I accused, with a little laugh. Surprised by his "interest", or forwardness, as some would call it.
"I am not!" He insisted. "Just…curious." As though he could read my mind, he quickly added, "And that's not the same thing."
I shrugged sheepishly. "Fine."
"Well, my dads fiancée's sister is getting married in Italy, and they're both going. I didn't want to cramp their style." I grimaced then, and I'm sure he noticed. But I ignored his inquisitive face, and continued. "So, er, yeah, that's about it. I decided to come down to Tree Hill to stay with my Grandmother; I haven't seen her for years." I shrugged, finalising I was finished with "my story".
Nathan nodded. "So your parents aren't together?"
I noticed I hesitated for a moment. "Um yeah, no. They're not," I answered. I barely knew the boy, and I hated telling people personal details.
"Sorry," he offered. He looked unsure when he did apologise, like he wasn't certain if he should or not.
"Don't be," I told him, shrugging. Eager to get the conversations focus off me, I quickly opened my mouth, before he could. "How old are you?" I blurted.
Nathan laughed, and I noticed he had a wonderful laugh. It was almost rough and sweet at the same time. I found myself wanting to hear it again.
"I'm seventeen," he said.
"Me too!" As soon as the words left my mouth, I cringed inwardly. My response had sounded a little too excited, even to my own ears.
"Er… cool." His eyes were laughing, and yet again, I wanted to die because of how I acted in front of him.
I laced my hands together, the only word I could utter being "Yup".
"Well, we're here," he chuckled, suddenly.
I looked at him blankly, then turned to look from the window. Sure enough, there it was. The golden white sand laid ahead of us, and I could hear the soft splashing of water. The familiar breezy scent of the ocean filled my nostrils, and I inhaled deeply, appreciating every second of it. Realising Nathan was probably waiting for me to get out of his car and get lost, or at least, reply, I quickly turned to him, feeling only remotely idiotic.
"Well, thanks for the ride, Nathan. It was nice to meet you." I giggled. Did I just… giggle to him? I found myself wanting to slap myself.
Nathan's expression was amused. "The pleasure was all mine," he winked.
And even though, in usual circumstances I would have rolled my eyes at his cheesiness, I found myself biting my lip, fighting the impulse to smile wide.
Instead, I nodded.
"Well… bye." I waved awkwardly, as I stepped out of his Jeep, ready to head down to the welcoming beach.
"Are you sure you're going to be okay by yourself?"
I laughed at his expression. "Yeah, I think so." I stepped fully out of the vehicle.
He laughed too then, making an uneasy but adorable face. "All right. Bye Haley," he shouted from the rolled-down window.
I turned away, listening to him drive away. And then I ran down the path to the sand, eager to take a walk close to the shore.
I kept on running, right until I reached my destined spot. Bending down, I rolled my jeans up until they reached just under my knees, and then I walked. The cool water continuously lapping against my bare calves.
Every thought that had been swimming in my head just a few, mere days ago vanished as I concentrated on watching the sun sparkled water as I strolled.