Behind the Scenes
Chapter 22: Epilogue
I'd like to say thank you to all who have read this story and have supported me in this and all my other stories. I've noticed a drop of readership with this story and although that kinda sucks, I am still thankful for all of you who stuck around. Your words of encouragement and praise are the best things you can give an author and helped me stay motivated. With this story, I look back at how it began and how far it's gone since then but writing the last chapter for this story, there was only one way I could think of to end it, hehe, as you will see below.
On some other news, I think I am going to take a break from writing any more stories. I will still continue to update "The Mourning After." With this story over, I feel like I should be able to wrap up that story sooner rather than later. It's been going on for over two years now. I might write the occasional one shot as I've been doing but I think I'm going to hold off on writing a new story. I have been thinking heavily about "Keep Bleeding" which is the sequel to Thicker than Blood and I'm going to try and do something different, which is writing a couple of chapters ahead before actually posting it, which is another reason why I've decided to take a break. I hate having long pauses between chapter updates and at least this way, I could keep updating on a fairly consistent basis. With that said, I think I'm going to need help and so if you are a fan of that story and would like to help beta for me, I would greatly appreciate it. Please PM if you are interested and we can work something out.
So enjoy this last chapter, I had a blast writing it. Once again, you're reviews mean the world.
. . . . .
"What time does this thing start?" Haley said as she lazily lied on Lucas' bed, flipping through a magazine.
"Actually, now but we could leave in 30." Lucas said as he was flipping through clothes in his closet. He looked over at Haley, who was giving him a knowing look.
"What, I don't want to be too early… it's not like anyone goes there on time."
"This is a Nathan Scott party, people like line up for these things." Haley rolled her eyes and continued to flip through the magazine. Lucas just chuckled and continued flipping through his clothes.
"But do we do we have to go?" Haley whined. "I mean we can go watch a movie or something.. we've just had a ton of graduation parties… isn't that enough partying?"
"See.. and that's why Miss Valedictorian, people call you tutorgirl… come on Hales.. live a little."
"I do." She said with confidence. "It's just, that I don't want to go to this party?" Haley continued to whine.
Lucas suddenly paused, a sense of déjà vu coming him. This all seemed so clearly familiar. He shook his head and turned back to Haley.
"Last time I checked, Nathan Scott was your boyfriend and he's throwing this party for you."
"Uhh.. don't remind me." Haley rolled her eyes and sat up. "It's bad enough he practically threatened to break up with me if I didn't go but I don't need a goobye party on top of it."
Lucas just chuckled. He knew deep down that Haley wanted to go, she was always modest like that. He still couldn't believe his best friend, his Haley was going off to Europe to tour.
"Well, I thought you'd be happy to finally give him your graduation present."
Haley sighed. "I am, I can't wait but I just don't like goodbye parties, it's like so sad. I mean we already graduated, it seems like everything is changing so fast."
"I hate to break it to you Hales, but things have already changed."
Haley sighed, she certainly agreed there.
"And you're wrong."
"What?" Haley asked.
"It's not a goodbye party, it's a farewell party. Good bye makes it seem like you're never coming but you are coming back."
"But still, it's not the same. I'm just going to miss everyone that's all. I mean, I've barely been out of Tree Hill.. this state, let alone cris-crossing through Europe. This all seems so surreal."
"Tell me about it. I still can't believe you and my brother are dating and in love. Oh God, pretty soon you're going to be like my sister-in-law."
"Whoa… a little head of yourself."
Lucas chuckled. "Believe me when I say, though painful as it is to admit, that I think Nathan only has eyes for you." And Lucas has a knowing feeling that Haley felt the same way.
Haley blushed. "Well.. umm.." Haley turned redder and her heart fluttered just thinking about Nathan. Suddenly, she couldn't wait to leave so she could see him.
"Get your ass in gear, Scott. Let's go then." Haley stood up.
. . . . .
Nathan walked around with a plastic red cup in his hand. He passed by a couple of people and like a good host, he was doing his rounds and saying hi to some of his friends that were currently partying at his beach house. He walked into the kitchen where he saw non other than Brooke Davis and Peyton Sawyer walk in.
"Ladies.." Nathan smirked as he put his drink down and took two fresh cups, handing it over to his new guests.
"Why thank you Nathan." Brooke eagerly took her cup.
"Good party." Peyton commented as she took her own. The three of them stood there and Nathan paused before taking another sip. The strangest feeling of dejavu coming over him. He shook it off and chatted with the girls for a little bit before a distinct voice could be heard in the background.
"Oh great, my prom date is here?" Brooke clapped her hands. Peyton laughed, finding it funny that Brooke had yet acknowledge Lucas as her boyfriend.
"Don't you mean boyfriend." Peyton teased.
Nathan chuckled. "Oh that means, Haley's finally here!" Nathan smiled and raced towards them.
Haley caught site of Nathan and immediately ran into his arms. He hugged her tight and then kissed the top of her forehead.
"A little late for your own party?" Nathan teased.
"Blame the diva over here." Haley threw her head back to Lucas. "I swear he's been hanging out with Brooke too much, it took him forever to get ready."
"HEY!" Lucas pouted.
"Oh Broody, stop pouting." Brooke teased as she tip toed up and kissed Lucas on the lips.
. . . . . .
The party was in full swing and Haley hated to admit it but she was having fun. She spent her time chatting with various friends and classmates that she would be leaving behind. Time seemed to fly and she looked at her watch and wondered where everyone was. Leaving a group of friends she had some classes with, she spotted Nathan.
He instantly came up to her and held her close.
"Save me. Brooke wants to play I Never and she's asking for you."
"Oh God." Haley rolled her eyes.
"Come on, let's go somewhere." Nathan took her hand.
"But the party?"
"What about it? Everyone's having fun, no one's breaking anything. Lucas can hold down the fort, come on." He pulled her along.
A minute later, the cool breeze hit their face and it was nice to just spend some time alone with Nathan. They walked down the pier next to his beach house that led onto the beach.
They kicked off their shoes and walked barefoot on the sand. They sat down on the lonely beach, the lights from the beach house and the noise of the party could faintly be seen and heard from the background, as well as the pier nearby filled with lights, games and rides. Haley settled in between Nathan's legs and leaned back against his chest.
"Is my girl having fun?"
"Yes." She smiled. "Thanks for doing this."
"Anything for you." He kissed the top of her head.
"How about you? Are you okay?" Haley asked concern. Ever since Nathan left the hospital, she'd always ask how he was and wanted to make sure he wasn't over doing it. It could get annoying but he knew it was out of love. The last thing he wanted to do was to make her worried like last time. He apologized profusely for not telling her and although Haley was upset about it, she couldn't blame him for wanting to keep onto something that held so much for him. He put on a good face but inside, she knew he hated the fact that he couldn't play professional basketball anymore. She gave him credit for keeping his cool about it and she did the best thing she could for him, which was simply to be there.
"I'm fine. I promise, I'm with you."
Haley just smiled wider and relaxed in his arms. Pretty soon, she felt him hug her tighter and his lips pressed against her neck, sending jolts of electricity through her body.
"Nathan." She moaned.
"God, I want you." He said breathlessly as his lips captured hers. Haley turned her body to fully face him and her hands wondered through his broad back and down to the hem of his shirt. He immediately took it off and reached for Haley's top and then kissed her again.
"Wait!" Haley pushed him off her before things got more heated. She knew exactly where this would end up. They'd recently started to become intimate again. Haley had been worried about Nathan straining himself but after much convincing and with Nathan keeping up his medication and check ups, she relaxed about it.
"What?" Nathan said breathless.
"We can't do this."
"Why not?" He chuckled.
"What if someone sees us?"
He chuckled and stood up and pulled her up as well.
"Come on baby, we're just having some fun."
"Yeah.. we're here you and I, under this beautiful moon, on this empty beach." Nathan smirked.
"There'll be plenty of that later."
"Now." He kissed her, pouting like a wounded puppy.
Haley chuckled. "You need to cool down there buddy." Haley teased.
Nathan turned his head to the crashing waves and an idea popped into his head.
"Actually, that sounds like a great idea." He smirked wider. He took a step back and reached for his jeans and pulled it down, along with his boxers. Haley's eyes went wide, it was just the reaction Nathan was hoping for.
"Nathan!" She scolded. "What're you doing?"
He stepped out of his jeans and stood there naked before her, the effects of their heavy make out session still clearly visible. Haley's heart raced, God he's gorgeous.
"Cooling down." He walked backwards towards the water.
"You can't be serious!"
"Join me?" He stretched his hand out towards her.
"We can't!" Haley looked around to make sure they were still alone.
"Hales.." Nathan grinned and Haley cursed to herself. How could she say no to him, she could never.
"I'm going to kill you!" She muttered as she looked around some more and then quickly, she dropped her denim skirt and stepped out of them.
"Uh uh." Nathan shook his head.
Haley sighed. "Fine." She muttered, not believing she was doing this but at the same time, she couldn't help but feel excited, free. She was always like this with Nathan, so comfortable and free. She felt like she could do anything with him, like skinny dipping in the ocean for one. She stepped out of her panties and tossed her bra aside and ran passed Nathan into the water.
"Ahh, it's cold!!" She yelled. Nathan laughed as he came up behind her and grabbed onto her and dunked them both in the cool ocean water.
They came up for air a second later, the water not feeling as cold as it was. But then again, Nathan had his whole body pressed up against her for warmth. She held onto him and smiled. She kissed his bare chest and her hand found itself tracing the outline of Nathan's scar. It was the incision made over his heart when they took him into surgery after his heart attack. It would forever be a reminder of the night she almost lost him.
"Does it ever hurt?" She asked softly. He placed his hand over hers and looked down on her, her big brown eyes staring back at his cobalt blues.
"Scar stopped hurting when my heart stopped hurting. Right around the time you told me you love me and only me."
Haley smiled as her eyes watered and raised herself up and kissed him, again and again.
"I do love you."
. . . . . .
"I can't believe we did that." Haley said, not quite believing the just went skinny dipping.
"We did." Nathan laughed. "My girl is such a bad influence."
Haley gasped. "I am not."
Nathan continued to laugh as they made their way up the pier, back towards Nathan's beach house. They were still wet from their swim and they hoped no one noticed that they were gone for that long.
They stopped dead in their tracks when a lone figure came out of the shadows. Nathan moved in front of Haley, as if protecting her. In a way, he was.
"What're you doing here?" Nathan asked, his voice cold and no emotion.
"I know I shouldn't be here." Rachel said nervously.
"You got that right. Just go, no one wants you here, especially me."
"Yes, you're. You're right. It's just, I'm leaving tomorrow to join my parents in LA and I wanted to say, I'm, I'm sorry to both of you." Rachel let out with a shaky breath. Things had been different since prom. She nearly killed a man and nearly died herself. Rachel, Daunte and Dan were all fine. Daunte decided to let it go and not press any charges on Dan, likewise so did Rachel, she knew she didn't have any ground to stand on anyways. Daunte liked Nathan and was glad he was okay and he didn't want to put him or his family through anymore drama. The police also ruled it an accident and Dan was the one who was the most injured.
Nathan and Haley stood there for a moment staring at Rachel. Nathan gripped Haley's hand tighter and started to lead her back into the house. "Can you ever forgive me?" Rachel called out to them.
They both stopped and Nathan turned around. Haley gave him a reassuring smile and squeezed his hand in support.
"When I dig deep enough, I think I do forgive you." He turned back to Haley and then back to Rachel. "We both do."
Rachel gave a small smile and nodded.
"We just can't forget."
She ran her fingers through her red hair. "I, I understand."
"Take it from me, life is too short to be bitter and deceitful. Move on, Rachel. We already did." And with that they left, never to see Rachel Gatina again. But Nathan's parting words, would always be with her.
. . . . .
"Hey you okay?" Nathan stopped and turned to Haley.
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"Look, Rachel is out of our lives.."
Haley shook her head. "No, it's.. it's not about her. Like you said, I've moved on. It's just."
Haley looked through the doors and saw everyone inside still having fun. She glanced at her watch and saw it was still early. She took a step back and grabbed a hold of Nathan's hand.
Nathan chuckled. "Where we going?"
Twenty minutes later, they arrived at the pier and Haley was relieved they made it before the place closed. Most of the people were already starting to leave.
"Why are we here?" Nathan questioned since all their friends was back at his beach house down the road at a party for her.
"I wanted to give you, my graduation gift." She led them to the Ferris wheel.
He smiled, remembering when he first took her there. Back then, they had to keep their relationship a secret. Ever since he left the hospital, it was great not hiding and he took pride in being her boyfriend.
Haley went to the operator and whispered into his ear and then she came back to Nathan. They got inside one of the cars and slowly made their way up.
"Still afraid of heights?" Haley teased.
"I was never afraid. It was an act."
"Could've fooled me." Haley smirked.
"Come here!" He laughed as he held her closer to him. Just then the wheel stopped and Nathan noticed that they were at the highest point.
"I wonder why we stopped." He looked down at Haley knowingly.
She kissed his chest and then sat up. "I have a graduation gift." She stated and reached into her pocket. She handed him a folded piece of paper.
"I already know your schedule. I have it in my e-mail." Nathan stated once he unfolded the paper.
"I know, your parents also have a copy."
"Huh? Why would they have it?" Nathan questioned but then his eyes lighted up. "Don't tell me, my parents are taking me to see one of your shows?"
Haley chuckled. "Not exactly."
Nathan scrunched his eyebrow, begging her to just tell him already.
"You're parents need to know where you're going to be this summer." Haley stated nonchalantly.
"Huh?" Nathan was confused and then it dawned on him. "Wait, what!?"
"You're going on tour with me!" Haley squealed.
"WHAT?! Wait, how.. wha.." Nathan was speechless.
"I went to see your parents with every intention of asking them if you could come see one of my shows while I was abroad, maybe even stay with me for a little bit. But they took it to the next step and said that they would love for you to join me this summer. I couldn't exactly tell them no, plus I wanted you there, granted you take your meds and take it easy."
"Yeah, of course. I can't believe it. And my Dad's okay with this?"
"It was his idea." Haley smiled. Dan and Lucas' relationship was still strained but he was making a better effort with Nathan. This wouldn't erase all the bad stuff over the years but it was definitely a start to something better, Nathan hoped.
"I don't know what to say." He said softly.
"Say you'll go." Haley said a little nervously.
"Of course I'll go!" He exclaimed. "It's just I'm supposed to help Whitey at Gilmore for pre-season."
"Don't worry about Whitey, he already knows." As expected, Duke rescinded their offer for Nathan to play on the basketball team but because of his condition, Duke allowed him to keep his enrollment sans basketball scholarship of course. Nathan refused though and everyone understood why. It would always be a reminder to him that he couldn't be a Blue Devil, not really. So instead, he accepted Whitey's proposal to help him out in Gilmore College. They had a division II basketball program and Whitey took a job to coach there and offered Nathan an assistant coaching position as well as acceptance to the school. He would go there for a year or two and get his grades up and transfer to UNC to join Haley and Lucas. UNC was ten miles north of Gilmore so either way he could stay close to them. The only reason Haley wanted to go to Duke was for Nathan but she couldn't go there either. The easiest choice was to join Lucas at UNC, she was tutorgirl after all and received a full scholarship there s well.
"I.. umm.. wow." Nathan was having trouble forming words as he took everything in and took a deep breath.
"Lost your breath, huh?" Haley smiled.
Nathan regained his composure and flashed his trademark smirk. "You always leave me breathless." He grinned as he landed his lips on hers.
. . . . .
"There you are!!" Brooke dragged Nathan and Haley into the living room as soon as they entered the beach house.
"What took you guys so long?" Lucas asked.
"I told Nathan about the summer." Haley beamed.
Lucas laughed. "That's great." Lucas hugged Haley and Nathan.
"Yeah, I can't believe it. I have to get packing." Nathan stated.
"He'll probably bring more clothes than me." Haley teased.
"Hey!" Nathan retorted though she was probably right and Lucas just laughed.
"I wouldn't laugh if I were you, he takes just as long to get ready as you. You two really are brothers." Haley playfully teased Lucas, leaving both brothers pouting at her.
"Good job tutorgirl." Brooke gave Haley a high five.
"There you guys are!" Peyton approached them. "You're missing out on all the fun."
"Yeah, what's going on?" Nathan looked around and noticed everyone by the television. He looked at Haley and they both started to panic.
"I thought you got rid of the tape!" Haley's eyes went wide.
"That's at my house, maybe they found another one."
Haley gasped, mad at Nathan for not destroying the tape that was played at his last party or mad at herself for agreeing to do another one.
"There's another tape?!" Lucas could feel his dinner coming up from his stomach.
"Not that you freaks!" Peyton laughed and held the remote in her hands. "Remember the time capsule videos we did but Turner scrubbed it because everyone just kept mooning at the camera, well we still have some of the footage courtesy of Mouth." Peyton pressed play. "It's simply hilarious." Peyton grinned.
"Hi, my name is Brooke Davis but you probably already know that seeing as in fifty years from now, my clothing label has taken off and you girls are wearing my clothes. Take it from me ladies of the future; there is nothing better than a hot but reasonably priced top and matching cute boy accessory to get you through high school. But careful ladies, the cute ones are usually the dogs too so try to find a sweet one. My friend Lucas is one of those, tall blond, and so cute.. wait.. can we edit that out!"
"Wait hold on Brooke." Mouth's voice can be heard in the background. Just then Brooke's phone vibrated and she saw a text message from Haley.
Brooke started to laugh. "I just got a text message from Haley, her and Nathan are fighting again, I swear those to just need to do it already. This whole fighting sexual tension thing is getting old."
Mouth just laughed. "Alright, let's take two.."
. . . .
"Fifty years from now, I hope the Literature Department is making you read my books." Lucas laughed nervously into the camera. Umm.. my name is Lucas, Lucas Scott and I play varsity basketball but I really like to write and if this basketball thing doesn't work out I'd like to be an author. I know it doesn't sound that glamorous but I like to tell stories, like me for instance and growing up with me, my mom and my Uncle Keith, or that story about the girl next door.. or more like the girl across town in that big house with the red door." Lucas paused and shook his head. " Or about my half-brother, Nathan. We just got back from basketball camp and we hated each other's guts but now we're cool. I hope fifty years from now we'll still be in each other's lives and maybe by then he'll get along with my best friend Haley. We just came from the River Court and they were fighting again. They're always at each other's throats, I swear I need to find a way to make those two behave and get along but I don't think that'll ever happen. They just hate each other."
. . . .
"…" Haley stared blankly into the camera.
"You okay Hales, the camera is rolling." Mouth said in the background. Haley sat up.
"Oh yeah, I'm sorry. I'm distracted."
"Brooke mentioned something about a fight."
"Am I fat?" Haley asked out of nowhere.
"My 18th birthday is in a few weeks and my birthday wish is for him to go away."
"Nathan Scott!" Haley huffed. "Just what the hell does 'serious ass' mean. I tell you who's an ass, Nathan is. I mean the nerve of him, just leering at me and expecting me to fall at his feet. He said something about my but being 'serious' and I'm pretty sure he called me fat. So, I'm not a size zero, who is!? Last time I checked, zero is not a size. We can't all be fit like him. I mean not all of us play basketball 24/7. Some of us actually have things to do and okay yeah so I watch Lucas' basketball games, so what, I've always done that. And I don't check Nathan out. I mean when he's standing in front of me, all sweaty and bulging at all the right places, I have to look right. I mean yeah so what he is easy on the eyes, jerks can be cute and hot too. Wait, I didn't say that.. Mouth, can we start over?"
. . . . .
"So you want me to tell you about myself? Well I'm Nathan Scott and I own this place. ?And I'm not being cocky, I'm just confident and there's a difference. What's wrong with being confident and being sure of yourself? I tell you who has a problem with that, Haley Saint James. I can't wait for this school year to end and be rid of her and spend the rest of my summer.. my life free of her. If anyone is cocky, it's her, trying to act like she's better than me. Yeah sure, I was an ass to Lucas but we're cool now, I don't know what's her problem, it must be that time of the month… like all the time, seriously the girl needs to shut up. And I hope in fifty years, girls can learn to take a compliment. So when I say, you have a serious ass Haley James, that's meant as a good thing." Nathan smirked for the camera. "And I saw her at gym class, she has a decent rack too, I can totally see her doing that whole Baywatch running on the sand, bouncing thing.. running on the sand, skinny dipping." Nathan smirked some more and nodded. "Yeah.. totally could picture it… but don't tell her that.. crap.. Mouth, can we do this over?"
. . . .
Everyone at the party was balling over in laughter. Both Haley and Nathan were a little embarrassed but after seeing Nathan's portion, Haley turned to him with an angry face.
Everyone silenced as they saw a fight coming between the two of them.
"Is that why you took me skinny dipping tonight!?!" Haley glared at him. A gasp can be heard through the room and Lucas nearly threw up in the cup he was holding. Once she realized what she said and how loud she said it and how everyone heard it and were now looking at her, she was suddenly feeling very red.
Nathan glanced around at all the eyes on them, some in shock, some in amusement, or in Lucas' case, wanting to break every bone in his body. He turned to Haley and could only smirk at her. There were already a lot of secrets between them and it was clear from the tapes how strong their passion to each other has always been. There was no point in lying and keeping things behind the scenes, not any more.
"Definitely." Nathan answered as he gave Haley a wink.
The End :(