Chapter 1: Chasing The Night

These are the days we will always remember

Chasing the night to make our days better

The sun sets and we're setting sail to another town

Got all the windows down and the radio on

Let's do it again, keep in rhythm with our hearts

This is why we wake up, what it's all about

~ Every Avenue ~

"Nathan, Nathan! Hello, Earth to Nathan!" The voice reverberated in the cavernous gym, and everyone turned to stare at the girl yelling her boyfriend's name. Nathan lifted his eyes, rubbing them tiredly, and looked at the girl before him.

"Yeah what, babe?"

"The game's starting in a half hour. I just wanted to wish you good luck," the girl said walking seductively over to him.

Nathan smiled and grabbed her slim waist in his hands. "Thanks," he said huskily capturing her lips with his. He could feel her mouth spreading, and their tongues mingling. It felt good, but as always there was that one little thing missing. He pulled away and smiled softly at her. "I should go get ready," he said before giving her another quick peck and running off to the locker room.

The girl stepped back in formation with the rest of the stretching cheerleaders, tossing her hair behind her as she got closer to her friend, and the captain of the squad. "He seems off, doesn't he?" she asked her.

Brooke Davis shrugged. "He's just being Nathan, Rach." She turned around and shot a look to her long-time best friend Peyton Sawyer. Peyton smiled and gave a small laugh in return. Brooke genuinely liked Rachel. They were friends, but she was still relatively new to Tree Hill, and didn't really understand her boyfriend's past and mood swings like his old friends did.

Rachel turned to Peyton, not satisfied with Brooke's answer. "Doesn't he seem off to you, Peyt?" she asked pressing the issue.

Peyton rolled her eyes. She had dated Nathan the previous year, and even though she was completely over him, she still didn't really like Rachel. She tolerated her as part of their crowd, but she didn't really consider them as anything more than acquaintances. "I'm sure he'll be fine after he wins the game, gets drunk, and has sex with you," she replied a bit sarcastically.

Rachel sighed and tossed her hair again. She went over to talk with another cheerleader friend, Bevin, clearly exasperated with both Brooke and Peyton. Brooke shook her head with a smile on her face, when she caught her boyfriend's face looking at her. She winked at him and shouted, "Go Broody." Lucas Scott's face turned a shade of red but he smiled at her in his adorable awkward manner still.

"Geez Brooke," Peyton said coming to stand next to her, "The game hasn't even started yet."

"It's never too early to support your man, P. Sawyer," she said while shooting Lucas another wink. Peyton rolled her eyes but smiled, as Lucas winked back at Brooke before heading himself into the locker room. He walked to his locker and turned the lock. He turned to look at his brother, whose head seemed to be in the clouds.

"You okay, little brother?" he asked teasingly knowing Nathan hated when he called him that.

Nathan shot him a look, and replied, "Of course," with a self-assured smirk, as he bent down to tie his sneakers.

"Okay good," Lucas replied nodding before starting to get ready himself. Nathan sat down on the bench silently, his face set in stone. Even though he and Nathan hadn't gotten close until about a year ago, he could tell he was in one of his moods. Although he was focused and determined to win, his mind was thinking, brooding over something else. Lucas shook his head, hoping that whatever this was would pass. Once he finished, he turned to look at Nathan. "You coming?" he called.

"Yeah," Nathan replied getting up and starting to walk out with him. It was game time. Everything else could wait.

Two hours passed, and there was 30 seconds left on the clock in the last quarter. Nathan dribbled furiously to their side of the court. They were down by two, but he wasn't losing this game. His dribbling slowed as he looked for someone to pass the ball too. He looked over at the cheerleaders for a moment. Brooke was screaming excitedly, while Peyton looked on impassively. Nathan chuckled before catching Rachel's eye. He passed the ball to Lucas, who almost immediately passed it back to him. Rachel winked sexily at him and he smirked. With the ball in his hands, he was golden, he was confident. And then he saw her. Her long wavy hair was pulled back in a messy bun, and she was wearing jeans and a simple t-shirt. He stared at the sliver of her stomach showing, unable to look away. He heard people yelling at him to take a shot, pass, do something, but he was immobile. Without thinking, he pushed the ball in Jake Jagielski's direction. Jake looked at him quizzically but quickly passed to Lucas, with five seconds left on the clock. Lucas positioned himself at the three point line, before jumping to take the shot. It went through with a swish and the room erupted in cheers. Brooke ran from her spot with the cheerleaders into his arms, peppering his face with kisses. Even Peyton was smiling. But there was one person who wasn't cheering. The girl's warm brown eyes met Nathan's, and she stared at him worriedly. He glanced at her, but then looked away to go find Rachel. He hated himself for having lost it at just a mere glimpse of her.

Rachel met him on the outskirts of all the celebrating players and cheerleaders. "What was that?" she asked, slightly annoyed that her boyfriend wasn't the one getting all the attention.

"Nothing," Nathan said attempting a smirk, "Just thought I'd share the wealth with the rest of the team."

"Whatever," Rachel said, shooting him a look, "We still going to Tim's party?"

"Yeah okay," Nathan said his head elsewhere.

Rachel humphed and walked over to Bevin. Nathan sighed and ran a hand through his short raven black hair. At that moment Lucas walked over to him, Brooke at his heals smiling wildly. "Thanks man," he smiled, bumping fists with Nathan, "Good game."

"You were great, Nate," Brooke agreed, "But not as good as my Broody." She kissed his nose tenderly before moving her lips to meet his in a very wet kiss. They seemed lost in their own world as Lucas moved his hands to her lower back, dipping dangerously close to her butt.

Nathan rolled his eyes. "Do you guys ever stop?" he complained.

"They don't," Peyton said approaching with Jake in tow, "Trust me I've tried. Even mentioning the apocalypse doesn't work."

Nathan laughed and bumped fists with Jake. "Good game, man."

"Yeah you too," Jake smiled, but he was still eyeing Nathan a bit curiously.

Brooke finally broke away from Lucas, but not without giving him a sexy private smile. Everyone in the circle groaned, but she ignored them. "So who's ready to party?"

"I am," Nathan replied thinking he could really use a beer right now. His eyes scanned the gym for the girl, but it was pretty empty by now. He shook his head free of the thoughts and looked back at his friends.

"Okay I have to change first," Brooke said, "Peyton, come help me."

"Why can't Lucas help you," she whined, "After all he's the only one who wants to see you shirtless." Lucas blushed while everyone else laughed.

"That is so not true," Brooke exclaimed as she grabbed Peyton's arm and began to drag her away. "I'll have you know that I was voted Most Beautiful….." Peyton looked back with a 'help' look and all the boys started laughing.

"There she goes on another of her rants," Jake said affectionately.

"Seriously man, how do you stand her?" Nathan asked kiddingly. Honestly he loved Brooke, everyone did. In fact she was probably one of his oldest friends.

"I love her," Lucas said with a smile.

"Oh no," Nathan groaned, "Here comes the sappy stuff."

"You're so whipped," Jake said with a laugh.

The boys laughed until Rachel reemerged with Bevin in tow. "Where are the girls?" she asked sidling up to Nathan.

"They went to go change," he replied resting his arm around her waist.

Rachel rolled her eyes. "Didn't anyone ever tell them that a cheerleading outfit is sexy and turns boys on? Why do they have to change? We're gonna be late," she complained.

"Well we know Lucas would take Brooke out of anything," Nathan joked before promptly receiving a punch in the arm.

"Oww that hurt man," he grimaced.

"Well if you're talking trash about my sexy boyfriend you deserve it," Brooke said reappearing; now wearing tight jeans and skimpy red halter top. Peyton seemed eclipsed in her short jean skirt and a wicked tight band tee.

"You look beautiful, babe," Lucas said nuzzling Broke nose and kissing her forehead.

"Oh here we go," Peyton sighed before grabbing Jake's hand and walking out towards the parking lot. The rest of the group soon followed. They each went to their respective cars and drove the 10 minutes it took to get to Tim's house. Once they arrived, cars were already spilling out of the driveway. The house was lit brightly, and loud music emanated from the large structure.

Nathan smiled and grabbed Rachel's hand, pulling her into the house. Immediately he grabbed them two drinks. She downed one before smirking seductively at him, and jumping atop Tim's dining room table, as she slowly grinded into the air. People stopped what they were doing and glanced in awe. A few guys shot Nathan looks, basically telling him how he lucky he was. But he already knew. He was rich, had great friends, was an amazing athlete, and was dating one of the hottest and sexiest girls in school. On paper it all sounded good, but in reality… Well he couldn't explain it, but there had to be a reason why he kept coming back to…. No, he said shaking the thoughts free from his head. He turned his eyes back to Rachel's sexy body moving suggestively atop a table. He felt himself get more and more turned on before finally grabbing her and kissing her possessively. She squealed uncharacteristically as he dragged her to the nearest empty room, while everyone laughed, pleased for the king of their school.

Lucas watched the spectacle from the dance floor, as he held Brooke close to him. Her taut body grinded slowly into his and he kissed her languidly before pulling back and looking into her eyes. "You're worried about him," Brooke said matter-of-factly.

Lucas nodded and gently pulled her with him to sit on the sofa with him. "He seems so, I don't know, unhappy." Lucas shook his head.

"I know what you mean," Brooke said sadly.

"I think he's fine," Peyton said stubbornly, interrupting, as she and Jake sat down next to Brooke and Lucas. "We all just need to stop worrying about him. He's fine. Well except for the fact that he's probably contracting some venereal disease," she said cocking her head to the room Nathan and Rachel had disappeared into.

Brooke snorted. "Come on Rachel's not that bad," Jake said trying hard not to laugh.

"I know," Peyton said, "But well you know." They all nodded. They did know. In their hearts they knew that Rachel was not what Nathan needed. But they also didn't know who or what was. But there was no point in wasting a party thinking about it. Tonight was time to have fun, and that is certainly what they would do.

After about an hour, Nathan re-entered the party with Rachel behind him. Cheers erupted as people saw them and Nathan smirked cockily. He turned to kiss Rachel in front of all of them, but she was already off with Bevin dancing and socializing. Nathan sighed and turned to look for the rest of his friends. Tim was going from girl to girl, hitting on all of them, and having zero success, despite the fact that they were all at his house. Brooke and Lucas were, of course, making out on the dance floor, while Peyton and Jake were sitting on the couch, laughing and talking. Nathan smiled. It was only a matter of time before they got together. His and Peyton's relationship had been crap, and he was glad she was moving on, especially to someone as nice as Jake. He turned his eyes back to Rachel but she was now dancing with a bunch of girls. Her moves were just as provocative as before, but they no longer seemed enticing. They just looked slutty. Nathan sighed and held his head in his hands. How many drinks had he had? Only one, he was pretty sure. That was okay to drive. He needed to get out of here, he couldn't breathe here.

He turned and walked from the party, not bothering to tell anyone where he was going. They could assume whatever that wanted. He got into his car and drove, just drove. Although he didn't want to, he arrived in front of her house. He could see the light in the rear left corner was still on. She was up. He smiled for real the first time that night and started walking towards the backyard to climb up the tree that led directly to the window to her room. He climbed up quickly and peeked inside. She was perched at the edge of her bed, guitar in hand. Her reddish blonde hair was cascading down her shoulders, just as he liked it. It shook against her plain white tank top. The window was slightly ajar so he heard her sweet voice singing.

So there's an angel at your shoulder,
and she is watching over you
She is fragile and small,
and she is rarely in the new
it's such a perfect view
she sees everything you do
So it's no surprise
she knows when I am in the room

Nathan pushed the window open fully and swung his long legs through. In less than a second he was standing in the corner of her room. Her soft voice stopped suddenly and she looked up at him. A smile spread over her pretty face. She didn't say anything. She just waited for him to begin and come closer.

"Hi," he said awkwardly alternating loving and hating how she was the only one who could make him feel heroic and fallible at the same time.

"Hey," she smiled again, as she put the guitar back in its case and sliding it under her bed.

"So what are you up to?" he asked for lack of anything better to say.

She laughed. "Singing."

He looked at her and laughed too. "Can I…." He began but couldn't finish the sentence.

She nodded and swung her head to the drawer where he kept stuff, for when he slept here. Nathan crept over and took a pair of shorts out to sleep in. He removed his shirt, and her breathing hitched, as it did every time she saw his chiseled torso. He smirked as he continued to change into the shorts before approaching the bed and finally taking a good look at her. Her white tank top clung to her upper body, and the little plaid shorts she wore, gave him full view of her petite legs. This, just seeing her like this, without make-up, just wearing pajamas and with her hair pouring down in waves, reminded him why he couldn't stay away. She was just too beautiful.

"Nathan?" she asked tentatively as he stared at her, wondering why he wasn't getting into the bed. He smiled at her before joining her on the bed. They lay back together and stared at the ceiling.

Nathan trailed his fingers up her arm. "You're so beautiful, you know," he said. She shuddered and rolled over to look at him.

"How is possible for something to feel so right and yet so wrong?" she asked gazing into his deep blue eyes.

Nathan sighed, wishing he had the answer. But he didn't. Instead he had the same question; he asked it at least 5 times a day. He had a girlfriend. He was with Rachel. She was beautiful and sexy. Why did he keep coming back here? To her. To Haley. Haley, his lips caressed the word, and he was filled with uncontrollable desire. Without bothering to answer her he lifted her neck and brought his lips to hers. She reciprocated eagerly, and let his tongue enter her mouth. His lips tingled from the taste of her strawberry chap stick, which he craved. He practically devoured her face, wanting more, needing more. Haley's body responded urgently as she moved on top of him. Nathan growled into her mouth, before pulling away and flipping them over. He moved his lips to attack her neck. He kissed and sucked, growing even more aroused by the moans that came from her mouth. He loved that he made her feel like this. His hands moved slowly down until they rested on her waist. She shivered under him but lifted her head to meet his in another passionate kiss. His hands tickled her stomach as they lifted up inch by inch, until her tank top was completely off and disregarded on the floor. His hands immediately continued their path up as he felt the hardened skin of her chest beneath him. He rubbed his thumbs over her gently, greedily listening to her moans.

"Nathan," she said, her stomach a pile of butterflies, "It feels so, so good." He moved his mouth to where his hands had previously been, letting his hand tangle in her honey locks. He kissed the valley between her breasts before licking his way up to capture her lips again. Haley boldly darted her tongue into his mouth before breaking away. Using whatever strength she had left, she pushed Nathan over as she straddled his waist. She began at the basin of his stomach and kissed each one of the muscles of his abdomen. Nathan shuddered, groaning at the sensations running through him. She kept kissing up and up, stopping for a moment at his neck, which she kissed tenderly, before kissing his lips once more. It was hot and passionate, but it gradually grew slower and slower. And Nathan knew they were stopping. Haley wrapped her arms around his neck holding him close, her bare chest against his tempting him, but he held back. He knew she wasn't ready yet. It scared him in fact that he wasn't even sleeping with Haley, yet he was still coming to make out with her, even when he had a girlfriend who had no qualms giving it up before their first date had even finished. It scared him a hell of a lot.

Haley yawned, and Nathan smiled. She was so adorable; he stroked her hair softly. "You were so good tonight, Nathan."

"You mean just now," he teased with a smirk.

Haley blushed, which caused Nathan to smile even more. He loved how innocent she was, but yet how he was able to bring out the more assertive side of her. "No at the game. You played well."

"I always do," he said confidently.

Haley smiled but bit her lip. She was proud of him, that was a given, but at the same time she couldn't help but feel sadness and annoyance that she couldn't ever show this publicly. That she couldn't truly ever express how much she cared about him.

"What's wrong?" Nathan asked immediately sensing something was off by her twisted facial expression.

"I just I feel," Haley looked at him but seeing his pained expression, she finished lamely with, "Nothing." She knew he didn't want to talk about it. He never wanted to talk about it.

Nathan wanted to say something, to reassure her, but he knew he couldn't. He didn't even understand it himself. He wished sometimes that he could just break up with Rachel and be done with everything; basketball, obligations, social status, but he knew that would never happen. He liked Haley, he really did. And she was so good, so unlike him. He knew how much it had to hurt her to be going against her morals. But he didn't know what to do. He couldn't give her up, but he somehow couldn't end it with Rachel. Instead all he said was, "I'm tired."

Haley nodded, and rolled away from his grasp, leaving him somewhat cold and empty.

"Hey, don't be like that," he tried to reassure her with a smile, and pull her back to him.

Haley looked at him and didn't say anything for a few minutes. Her face was a mix of care, disappointment, and sadness. "Let's just go to sleep," she said and turned away from him.

Nathan looked at her hair spread out over the sheet covering her half-naked body, and felt like a complete moron. He didn't know what to do, so he did the only thing he could think of in that situation. He did what she said and drifted off to sleep.