A/N: Yeah, I totally know I have like five other stories in progress but this wouldn't get out of my head. I'm kinda excited about it. And I hope lots and lots of people will like it too. It's a Naley, eventually and the other couples are wildly mixed up. It's pretty much completely AU and I like those kinds of stories. It's somewhat based on the movie, as in the title and a part of the plot but I haven't seen the movie and so chances are, it's going to be completely different. So enjoy and leave me lots and lots of love:)
And The World Spins Madly On
A bitter chuckle escaped her lips before she could even stop herself. She hadn't meant to come out that way, but things lately never seemed to end up the way they were supposed to. Giving her friend a look that told her she was disinterested she turned her attention to look straight ahead once more through the windshield. The brunette, leaning on the open door window, sighed before opening the car door and sliding into the passenger seat. Picking up and shaking the empty bottle between the two, she threw out another concerned look as the broken girl beside her let out a loud hiccup.
"Brooke, you haven't called me that in years." Haley shook her head, placing her hands on the steering wheel, gripping it tightly. "And I believe you know how to pronounce your D's now."
Brooke gulped, wondering what she could possibly say. There were no words, no sayings, and no possible sentiments that would ever make this any better. They remained in silence for a few moments, both staring out straight ahead into the empty and dusty barn. It was part of her job to comfort families, comfort wives, and fathers, and best friends, and coworkers on a day to day basis. But as her best friend, her chosen family sat next to her, a shell of the humble and happy human being she was the day before, she suddenly forgot how to do anything.
She had looked everywhere she could possibly think of in search of Haley. It wasn't an easy feat. When they were kids playing hide and seek or Marco Polo; if Haley didn't want to be found, she made damn sure of it. When they got older, and started sneaking out, it always infuriated Brooke to get caught doing the same thing Haley did, only she did it better. This time, even as adults, was no different. She understood though. If she was going through anything remotely similar…well, she really didn't want to think about that. But if she was, she wouldn't want to be found either.
"He didn't know I knew he kept this out here." Haley spoke, bringing them both out of the reverie. She picked up the empty handle of liquor, her eyes full of annoyance. "Whiskey. God damn Jack Daniels. Why is it that men always thing they can pull a fast one over their wives? Like my brain just automatically turns off when he flashes his sexy smirk and winks one of those beautiful eyes." She gulped. "When he did."
It was a sobering though. She had drowned the entire bottle, her husband's secret stash and she still felt nothing. There was something horribly wrong talking about her husband in the past tense. If there were ever a thought in the history that seemed so ridiculous it was that. She supposed there would always be a part of her heart that would always be married to him no matter what had happened. Resting her head against the back of the seat she wiped away some of the dust on the dashboard before she spoke up again.
"And this God damn car." She scoffed flicking the dust of her fingertips. "I begged him to get rid of it years ago. But no, he couldn't get rid of his first 'baby.' He never did anything with it. He swore up and down that he would fix it and get it running one day. All he ever did was tinker with it here and there."
"Haley, everyone's looking for you." Brooke swallowed wanting nothing more to help her friend. It was obvious that she hadn't cried. It wasn't healthy for someone so obviously broken to bury things to deep and pretend they weren't real.
"Nobody has left me alone for the past eighteen hours." Haley bit out, slamming her fist into the middle of the steering wheel. She blew out her breath and turned to look a Brooke, her face weary and torn. "I just want to sit here. I just want close my eyes and pretend everything is okay. Even if it's not. Even if it's only for a few moments. Even if it never will be again. Right now, that's the only thing I've got that I can latch onto. So please, if you love me, if you're any kind of friend you will just let me have this. "
Brooke nodded, giving Haley's hand a squeeze before stepping out of the car. Haley waited until she was gone from the barn to let out an angry scream. She had hoped, probably foolishly, that no one would ever find her sitting in her husband's broke down and dusty Mustang, resting in their even more broke down and dusty barn. Leave it up to Brooke though. When she got determined, she could do absolutely anything. But Haley had despised the car, hated the wasted time spent on it, but her husband had loved it. That was the only reason she was now sitting in it.
Denial (de-ni-al): an assertion that something said, believed, alleged, etc., is false
That had last a whole five seconds. There were few things she was sure of in life. Things she just knew. She knew she could make the best quiche in the entire county even if that was never going to be useful. She knew that if she heard a piece of music once she could repeat it verbatim and it would be absolutely flawless. And she knew that if someone came up to her and told her that her husband was gone, that their word was as good as gold. Because she knew her husband.
Anger (an-ger): a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire
It was obvious that she was beyond angry. Pure unadulterated rage was a more suited statement. An eight year marriage and a nearly decade courtship; gone. Because being with him, even in the bad, especially with the best, couldn't be called anything but a text book romance. He brought her flowers, breakfast in bed, the bubbly feeling in the pit of her stomach when he pushed a strand of hair out of her face, and that crinkle in her nose whenever he threw a wink in her direction. Only now, he was gone. That was gone.
"Oh my God." Haley exasperated as her slightly younger brother slipped into the car. "Seriously? Didn't you're wife give you the message?"
"Please." He rolled his eyes, before glancing at the empty bottle. "Hales."
"Jake." She mocked giving him a pointed look. She motioned to herself dramatically. "Look. I'm fine. My wrists aren't silt, there's no noose hanging from my neck or anything. And I can't even crank up the damn car to poison myself with gas."
"You're not cute when you're being morbidly sarcastic." He snapped, shifting in the seat uncomfortably. "Haley you're not even dressed."
She glanced down at her worn jeans and converse sneakers. "There is nothing wrong with what I'm wearing. It's what I wear all the time."
"Brooke didn't say anything about what you're wearing?"
"You're wife knows better." Haley glared picking at her t shirt self consciously. "Leave me be Jake James. You know better. Remember, I made your preteen years a living hell and you will certainly rue the day you challenged me in your adult life."
"Sweetie, you haven't scared me since I grew a foot on you in the ninth grade." He retorted, receiving a backhanded slap in the chest from his sister. "Come on. It's almost time to start. And you're not wearing that."
"The hell I am, Dad." She threw her arms across her chest in indignation. "Now leave before I bludgeon you to death with my empty bottle of whiskey."
"Fine." He relented, getting out of the car and slamming the door shut. Leaning down on the window sill he gave her a softer look. "Sis, the kids, their asking for you. They're confused enough as it is. You need to be there for them now."
Well, she knew that her children needed her. They were her babies. They would always need her whether or not they admitted it. The fact remained; she still needed time to accept it. She wasn't that far ahead in her stages of grief and trying to make her kids understand when she didn't wasn't going to do either of them any good. Honestly, she needed her children now as much as they needed her. They were the only part of her husband that she had left.
Because she was about to bury him.
"Damn you Cooper."
Walking back into her house, her home, was not something she had prepared herself for. The long walk from the broke down and dusty barn, her thoughts had been on any and everything except the funeral she was about to attend. She wasn't thinking about all the people waiting for her. She wasn't thinking about her lack of apathy towards the entire thing. She wasn't thinking about how she was going to explain to her children that they were really never going to see their daddy again. She wasn't even thinking about how they were simply going to survive now that the breadwinner, her husband, her supporter; her best friend was gone forever.
She was however thinking that she forgot the bread at the grocery store. Coop's dry cleaning was still down town waiting to be picked up. Their daughter's dance recital was at the end of the week but she couldn't make it because she was trying to pick up as many shifts at the café as possible. The air conditioning was broken, again, and they were miserable in the sweltering North Carolina heat. There were four loads of laundry waiting to be folded in their spare bedroom. She had to sew the button back on her son's favorite pair of overalls.
Life moved on.
The instant they had told her that her husband had died, seemingly the world stop. And it was only for a moment. Walking into her home, the one she had made lovingly with her husband, the quiet, the still that engulfed her was enough to make her feel as if the world had stopped once more. Someone dropped their coffee cup on the floor. Muffled sobbing could be heard from somewhere in the living room. Nobody appeared to be aware of the stifling heat at she was. And it seemed that the eyes of every one of the most important people in her life were all staring at her. Maybe it was because she was wearing jeans and t shirt to a funeral. Maybe it was because she wasn't crying. Or maybe it was because they expected her to break at any given moment.
"Where are my children?" she questioned to no one in particular. When no one gave her an answer right away she slammed the door shut and marched down the hall past all the stares, past all the heartache, and certainly past all the pity. "Charlie! Izzie!"
She spun around at the sound of Brooke calling her name. There at the end of the hall, in a small black suit and a small black dress were the only part of her husband that she had left. Catching her breath, she slowly walked towards then, not hesitating to sit on the floor in front of them and pull them into her arms. Both heads landed on either of her shoulders and she whispered into their ears that she loved them as she rubbed soothing circles on their backs. Pulling back, she gave them a forced smile swiping away at her daughter's tears.
"You're crying?" she questioned her young daughter and the girl nodded her head, her raven hair bouncing with her. "Remembered we talked about this? When you were real little?"
"That doesn't make me feel any better Mommy." Izzie replied sadly, her blue eyes watering once more. "Him being gone someday and him being gone today isn't the same thing."
"I know babe." Haley cupped her insightful eight year old's cheek, giving her their secret wink for 'I love you.' Turning her attention to her three year old she took his head in both her hands and pulled him down for a kiss on the forehead. "What about you little man? No tears?"
"I a big boy Mommy!" he proclaimed, looking up at his Aunt Brooke for confirmation. Brooke ruffled his head and smiled down, nodding her head yes. "See!"
"You are?! Wow, I didn't know such big boys could look so handsome." She grinned, straightening up his tie. Unpleasing to her husband, their son looked clearly like his mother; mousy brown hair and already wearing big round glasses for his poor eye sight. "Bud? You know its okay to cry right? I promise you everything will be alright."
"Kids? Why don't you go in the living room with you're Uncle Jake?" Brooke suggested, feeling the tension radiating off of everyone. All eyes were on the young grieving widow and Brooke somehow felt the need to protect Haley from it. The two children looked at their mother for approval and as Haley nodded that scurried off into the living room. Brooke helped Haley get up and turned her around to face the stairs. "Upstairs. Now."
Swinging his bag over his shoulder, he stepped off the bus and looked around. The town hadn't change much in the years he had been gone and he shook his head at the pity of that. It was stuck in a time warp and the only thing that had majorly changed the dynamics of the dusty old town was the addition of a burger joint on the edge of town. It was always too small for him and he hadn't even waiting till graduation to skip down and explore the world. He had never intended on returned, but fate seemed to have other plans for him.
He grimaced as he ran his hand over his five o clock shadow and turned in the direction of the boarding house. This was a temporary thing and there was no need to get settled into anything permanent. He hadn't even informed his parents that he was coming back, instead like the prospect of surprising them much more. Besides that, he felt a twinge of guilt for only coming back, only getting in contact with his parents just because they were about to bury their son; his brother.
It was a complicated story, one that most people had heard time and time again. His mother, a bit promiscuous for her age had gotten married, gotten knocked up, and gotten divorced all before she turned the age of nineteen. His older brother was born two months after his parents had gotten hitched and sixteen months after that, he made his appearance in the world. Growing up, his mother turned a blind eye to the fact that her husband clearly had a favorite of the two boys, his own flesh and blood. He never made it abundantly obvious but it did cause tensions between the two brothers. Once everyone got older, even though the father/son relationship would never be there, a sort of friendship had formed between the two.
Which was why Nathan Scott had a different last name than his brother. Their mother had given Cooper the option of taking the Scott name but had refused. He told them that his father may have been a selfish bastard, but it was still his father's name and he would redeem it. Nathan stayed out of the family war; another reason of the ever growing list of reason to get the hell out of Tree Hill, North Carolina.
She carefully pulled the faded black dress from the back of closet, staring at it as she laid it out on their bed. It was the dress she wore to her father's funeral, some years before and she wasn't even quite sure it fit her anymore. Not that she had changed much; not even two kids and a marriage put that much weight on her. She wasn't stupid; she knew that it was customary to wear black at a funeral. But she had never had to dress fancy to impress Cooper Lee, nor had he wanted her to. Dressing up now, just to bury him forever didn't seem rather fitting of their relationship at all.
Words, just didn't describe their relationship. Their courtship was a whirlwind, starting at the ripe age of sixteen and they had been married the day she turned eighteen. There had been good time, and bad, and downright horrible but through it all, they had surprised everyone, including themselves and remained totally and completely in love. Where she was quiet and reserved he was loud and boisterous. Adventures bonded the two; rather it be their love for racing or camping or hiking.
They just kinda meshed.
Unzipping the plastic covering, she gently lifted the dress from the back, blowing the dust off. Taking a defeated seat on the bed she hugged the dress to her body, wanting to cry but refusing to allow them to fall. It wasn't fair, any of it. His damn dream killed him, killing hers along the way. She set the dress off to the side, toeing off her shoes and shimming out of her jeans. Next, her shirt was pulled off her body and tossed to the side as she slid the dress over her head and down her slender frame. Eying herself in the full length mirror, she could almost call herself pretty if it hadn't been for the melancholy of the situation and the sadness clouding her eyes.
Meticulously she pulled her loose hair into a tight bun and placed her grandmother's hoops through her ears. She hesitated to put the necklace that Cooper gave on their first wedding anniversary but knew that he would've liked it there. It wasn't much of anything; a simple silver chain with her birthstone dangling in the center but it had meant the world to him to get it for her and it had meant the world for her to receive it. She opted for her ballet flats instead of the heels Brooke had not so subtly placed in her room knowing that she would remain on her feet for the majority of the day. Looking over at herself in the mirror, she knew she was ready to pretend that she was ready to bury her husband.
"Ready?" Brooke asked, knocking on the door as she opened it. Haley gave her a tight smile and nodded, grabbing her purse. "Everyone's ready to head on over."
"Let's do this."
Clutching her children's hands, she felt like she was marching to her own death as everyone followed her to the chairs surrounding his coffin and surrounding his grave. Her breathe caught in her throat as she noticed the flag covering the dark mahogany casket and the police officers from three counties waiting to do their gun salute. She fingers the fabric of the flag as she walked by, taking a seat in the center and pulling her little boy on her lap. Her daughter took the seat next to her, and Haley put her arm over her shoulders as Izzie settled into the crook of her arm.
Brooke took the other seat beside her, with Jake next. Haley numbly watched everyone else fill in around her. Her in laws, Deb and Mayor Dan Scott both looking their normal stoic selves. Her brother's best friend, and close friend of her husband's, Lucas Roe and his wife Rachel walking up hand and hand. Karen and Keith Roe, his parents, were right behind them. Her cousin Peyton, practically being carried by her husband Chris, as she too was grieving her own loss was the next person she saw. They exchanged knowing glances as they took a seat.
"We are gathered here today…"
The world was quiet once more as she didn't hear anything the minister was saying. Her husband was not someone who really believed in a God and he couldn't not in his job. When you pull infants out of burning buildings and watch people's entire lives go up in smoke, you can't believe in an all loving and all powerful God. She was positive that when he died trying to save the factory that kept the town alive, trying to save the people that worked there, that he didn't believe in him then either. It wasn't just her life that had been affected; it was a little bit of everyone's.
She murmured to herself as the minister finished up his prayer. She winced as the police officers carried out their 21 gun salute. In the distance she saw him and for a moment she would've swore that it was her husband that she was about to place into the ground. He was beside a tree, almost hiding, seemingly from the world. He looked directly at her, putting his hand up in a paralyzed wave, and she acknowledged him with a bob of her head. His brother; the prodigal son had returned.
"What did you say Haley?" Brooke whispered into her ear after the officers were done. "I couldn't hear you over the guns."
She gulped as the chief of the fire station handed over the now folding flag. "The things we lost in the fire."