Chapter 12: Lie In The Sound

I love you more than I should

So much more than is good for me

More than is good

Oh the timing is cruel

Oh I need and don't want to need

More than I should

I am falling, say my name

And I'll lie in the sound

What is love, but whatever

My heart needs around

And it needs you too much now

~ Trespassers William ~

Leaving Peyton's that day, Nathan still felt torn. He had finally admitted to himself that he truly loved Haley, and on the one hand he wanted to run to her house to run and scream it to her, until she would finally hear him. But another part of him wanted her to be happy. Much happier than he knew he could ever make her. Her words from the night before sunk into him. "And he'll never hurt me like you do." He shuddered just thinking about them. Peyton had said to him that Haley had hurt him to, but if he thought about it he knew that could only be attributed to the fact that he had just been a royal jackass to her for the past 3 months. She was right. He had strung her along, because he couldn't make up his mind about a damn thing.

He sighed as he continued his walk home. Here, alone walking the streets, it was so much easier to be the guy that he wanted to be, the guy he knew that Haley knew he could be. But then there was real life and he knew that it wasn't possible for him to be that good guy that she wanted. That she deserved. There was the anger at his father that he took out on everyone else, there was the pressure and expectations that he hated but thrived on, and most of all there would always be Rachel. Even if they broke up, which as the days passed, he wanted more and more, any future he had with Haley would always be tainted by that. He kicked a clump of dirt in the street. Not, that Chris Keller was any better. The guy seemed like a total punk. But, on the other hand, what had he ever done to prove he was even remotely better in general and for her than that guy. Nothing, he realized. He had never done a damn thing. And now, he seemed just as paralyzed. The only solution he had was to leave things as they were. There seemed no point in fighting for her anymore, no matter how much he wanted her.

The next two weeks passed slowly. Despite, Haley and Lucas's friendship seeming to be back on track, she never really joined their table at lunch, preferring instead to sit with her old friends. Nathan had heard through Brooke, though, and her incessant need to talk about everyone, that Haley seemed to be really happy with the Chris guy. One night, they had even doubled with Lucas and Brooke. Peyton would give him curious looks at the fact that he gave no reaction, but Nathan couldn't help but keeping himself trained and focused on coming across as the cool and collected king of the school that he had fought so hard to be for everyone's sake.

As the days passed, Nathan also got back on track with his friends. He had apologized for his behavior at Tric, and they seemed to accept it. He was back to being the old Nathan Scott. But everything felt hollow. Practice came easy, as it gave him a chance to let his aggression out and to focus on anything else, and Whitey praised him for his performance every day. But after it ended, when he'd be alone in the locker room, he couldn't help just sitting there staring into space, avoiding seeing his friends and avoiding going home. It was like none of it seemed to matter anymore.

It was Friday night, and they had one of their biggest games coming up in just one hour. Nathan walked into the gym, a few minutes before he had to go and get changed. He was about to enter the locker room, when Rachel disentangled herself from the cheerleaders warming up and walked over to him. She gave him a searching look, as he stared virtually blankly back at her.

"Nathan," she said, grabbing his hand, "I need to talk to you."

The last thing he wanted to do was hear another of her now commonplace complaints about nothing in particular, but the way she was looking at him, and the way the rest of the cheerleaders seemed to be glaring at him made him nod, and he walked them over to the bleachers, pulling her down to sit with him.

"What's going on?" he asked, trying to keep his voice nonchalant.

"What's wrong, Nathan?" she asked looking into his eyes, "I know something is. You've just been weird for, well, it seems like months now.

"Nothing's wrong, Rachel."

Rachel sighed and bored her eyes into him. 'Don't tell me that, Nathan. I know it's not true. Something is wrong, and I just," her voice paused, and lowered a little, "I just don't understand why you won't talk to me about it. Did I do something?"

Nathan looked back at her. It was so unusual to see her actually being vulnerable and opening up to someone else about how they were making her feel. Deep down, he felt like a jackass, but he was outwardly too numb to care. "You didn't to do anything. Everything's fine. And even if it weren't, you don't have to worry about it, okay?" He said it without edge, but even as the words came out, he knew it wasn't the right thing to say.

Rachel stared at him, her eyes twitching into a look of disbelief. "In case, you didn't realize, Nathan, I'm your girlfriend. You're supposed to depend on me. I'm supposed to worry about you. That's how this whole relationship thing works." Getting worked up, she added, "God, I'm your girlfriend, Nathan! I'm not just some girl you're fucking! But maybe that's the problem. Maybe that's all you want me to be." She stood up angrily, and he could see the tears forming in her eyes, before she looked away from him.

He sighed, but got up, finally realizing how much he was hurting someone who cared about him. Someone he also truly cared about. He wrapped his arms around her, in a tight hug. It was a certain kind of touch he didn't think they had ever shared before. "I'm sorry," he murmured, stroking her red hair, "I'm so sorry, Rachel. I, uh, I promise it'll be different. I promise." As he said those words, he knew they would be true, only not in the way Rachel probably wanted.

She cried harder into his shoulder before looking up at him, her face seeming real to him for the first time. "I love you, Nathan," she said while biting her lip. He looked back at her, almost shocked. In that split second, he realized that no matter how much he cared about her, and no matter how hard it would be for her to lose him, he didn't love her like that. All he could picture was Haley saying those words to him, and him saying them back with everything he had. But even that seemed an impossibility, and worse than that, he didn't know if he could accept it now after everything that had happened. And as for now, he couldn't tell Rachel how he was really feeling, so he kissed the top of her head, and held her tighter, praying that she would be okay, when he eventually had the guts to end it. Praying, that he too, would be okay.

Haley smiled at Chris as he stroked her wrist with his right hand and dug into the food on the table with his left. They were eating at one of Haley's favorite restaurants down by the dock, since while there were people around, it was secluded enough to feel private.

"It's been so great getting to know you, Haley," he said smiling, after taking a break from his food, "You're a really great girl."

Haley smiled. "Thanks."

So far dating Chris had been easy. They got along well, his arrogance complementing her shyness, and they both had similar interests and tastes in music. And yet she couldn't help being unable to shake the words Nathan had said to her the last time they had spoken. "He'll never make you feel the way I do." It was true. He didn't make her hot and cold all at the same time, or make shivers run up her spine even when he just looked at her. But it didn't matter, Haley resolved, pushing those thoughts away. He was nice and cute and he genuinely seemed interested in her and her music. And yet, she hated knowing that tonight had been game night, and that she had missed watching Nathan play and he wouldn't be coming over in the middle of the night, like he had been doing for so long. But, she tried again to push those thoughts away and focus on Chris.

"I booked us studio time for Sunday, by the way," Chris began, "I figured we could start work on some of your songs. Now that the duet is over." He winked at her and Haley gave him back a bashful smile. They had recorded a cover of Ryan Adam's "When The Stars Go Blue" together, and it had turned out much better than Haley had ever expected.

"Well speaking of that, I was kind hoping," she began in a quiet shy voice, "If you could take a look at some of the songs I've written recently. I know they're nowhere near good, but if you're serious about helping me record and…" her voice trailed off as Chris began to laugh.

"Of course, I'll look at them, babe." She blushed at what he called her and he smirked. "Trust me, there's nothing hotter than reading lyrics to songs a girl probably wrote about you," he added shooting her another cocky grin to which she just blushed further.

She laughed. "Well, I have some in my notebook here."

Chris shrugged his shoulders broadly as if to say take it out. She got it out of her bag and placed the notebook on the table. Chris began to leaf through the pages, nodding, and pointing out particular lyrics he liked, and asking Haley to hum along to some of the melodies he was curious about. It felt really intimate and nice, and for a moment Haley felt warm as if this was where she truly belonged. That was until she came across the lyrics for a song she had written back in October, when things with Nathan were just beginning. She scanned the lyrics, trying to keep herself from breaking out in tears.

I, I wanna be Somebody
Who can face the things that I've been runnin' from

Let me feel
I don't care if I break down
Let me fall
Even if I hit the ground
And if I
Cry a little
Die a little
At least I know I lived...

Just a little

Reading those words, Haley realized that she was running from Nathan, running from the person she loved. And that despite all the heartache it wasn't worth being without him. She gulped and looked down at the page again, hoping to will the feeling away. But it was still there. That emptiness of having let Nathan out of her life. Without even having time to think about it, she could feel her mind travelling to his house, and she couldn't help but feel her feet begin to move too.

"Chris, I'm really sorry, but I have to go," she said, hurriedly grabbing her coat from behind the chair and her purse from under the table, and already walking off.

"Okay," he called after her looking slightly bewildered, but without really asking questions "I'll see you on Sunday though, right? Don't forget about studio time."

She looked back at him momentarily as if in a trance but just nodded lazily, and then ran off into the night, leaving only a mystified Chris and a half-eaten desert.

She stood in the entrance of his doorway, not sure exactly why she was there. Not even sure if he would be there. It was over and had been for the last two weeks. She was with Chris and she was happy. So why had she run away when she had come across those lyrics she had written? Because, despite how much better she felt being in a clean state away from her misdeeds, she knew she was miserable. It wasn't because she could sense Nathan was unhappy, although she could. He seemed so blank to her, whenever she caught herself looking at him in the quad or walking down the halls. She also was genuinely miserable at not being close to him. He had hurt her so much. She knew she had hurt him. And yet all that unhappiness and pain didn't compare to the lost jagged feeling of not being in his life, of not being able to talk to him about her life, of not being able to comfort him about his. None of that pain compared to how alive she felt when she was with him, even in those brief stolen moments they had shared.

She pushed open the door silently, and saw him lying on his bed, his eyes closed, but she could tell he wasn't asleep. She just knew.

"Hi Nathan," she said, her voice quiet, "I didn't even know if you'd be here," she added as an afterthought.

He opened his eyes and looked at her. As always her beauty blew him away: her hair falling down and around her shoulders, her brown eyes so wide and expressive. But it still didn't change anything between them. He couldn't pretend everything was ok after these past few weeks of complete separation, even though she was standing now here in his room. Even coming to the realization tonight that he was truly in love with her and not Rachel, couldn't prevent him from thinking that they were better off apart where they couldn't harm each other more. "Why are you here?" he asked, unable to keep even a little of the annoyance out of his voice.

"I…" her voice broke, "I don't know," she finally came out with.

"Are you alright?" he asked sitting up, worried that maybe something big was actually wrong, and that maybe she really needed him right now.

"Yeah I'm fine, I don't know, I'm sorry for bothering you," she muttered out quickly. She gave him such a sad look that his heart broke even more if that were possible. She turned away, as if about to go, and then looked back into his eyes for a moment. "I guess I just wanted to see you," she revealed, before breaking eye contact.

He sighed. "You can't just see me whenever you want, Hales." He didn't say it with a mean tone, just with the somberness of truth.

"I know I can't," she replied, her voice once again breaking, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have come here. It was a mistake. Forget it." She quickly turned around and walked toward the door, but before she could get out, she felt a hand close the door from behind her. She turned to stare at Nathan, who had taken a step back and was now several inches away from her.

Something inside him had snapped, and he realized this was it. Right here and right now, was one of those defining moments. He couldn't just let her walk out the door without knowing. He couldn't just let her walk out, since he knew it would mean she would probably never come back.

"Wait," he said, simply.

"Why?" she questioned earnestly.

"Because Haley," he asked with dead seriousness, "Are you in love with me?"

She looked down and seemed lost in thought and silence. "Haley," he repeated, taking her hand and intertwining their fingers together, "Are you in love with me?"

She sighed and finally looked up at him. With his blue eyes pounding into her, she couldn't help feeling powerless to lie. "Nathan, I have loved you from the first moment you smiled at me, and didn't laugh or think I was weird because I tutored. That day you just liked me for me. We were just Nathan and Haley. And I guess all these months, I've wanted so much to just be that again."

"Haley," Nathan murmured, the fear apparent in his voice.

"Hmm," she said not looking at him, expecting him to tell her that he was sorry, that he cared about her, but that he didn't love her. That he couldn't.

"I do like you for you. Everything about you. I love you."

She almost broke down upon hearing those words, and wrenched her hand from his. "Nathan, please don't say that. Don't joke with me. I don't think I can handle much more. Not after everything we've been through. Why can't we just end it now, please? I'm so sick of being hurt, and hurting you, and I just I need it to end. That's why I came here," she said, trying to add resoluteness to her voice, "So we could just end it civilly."

"Haley, it's never going to end," he said as he walked even closer to her as she shivered, "Because I love you," he repeated this time with more assurance. "I love you, not Rachel, you, and I… I want to love you."

She stared up at him, thinking of so many reasons to run away, to forget he had ever happened, but for that pesky one reason to stay. She loved him back. He was smiling at her now, gently, he was seeing her, urging her to join him. And with that she threw herself into his arms. He caught her effortlessly, and soon his lips were on hers, kissing away all the pain, all the fears, leaving only pure unadulterated love.

She pulled away for a second to breathe. He wrapped his arms around her tighter, almost suffocating her. She lifted her face up to look at him, and he brought his fingers, to pull away the strand of hair from her eyes. "I want to love you, too," she whispered, and Nathan smiled widely, once again kissing her with every emotion coursing through him.

Within seconds, their kiss intensified, and Nathan pulled her across the room and down onto the bed. Almost instinctively, Haley's small hands snaked their way under Nathan's shirt to his muscular abdomen, pulling his button down and gray t-shirt up out of his pants. He rose as she sat up and his fingers covered hers as she slowly began to unbutton his shirt. Once it was fully undone, she pulled it off his arms, and grabbed the hem of his t-shirt, pulling it up as he she directed Nathan's lips and body back to on top of hers. He shrugged the unnecessary piece of fabric off and began tracing small circles on Haley's stomach. She whimpered beneath him; her breathing turning ragged. She pulled back from him, looking him straight in the eye as she lifted the white and yellow tank top from her body. As soon as it was off, she pressed her upper body against Nathan's and he immediately unhooked her bra. His hands roamed her back, before pulling the straps off her shoulder, and caressing the skin of her chest.

Haley kissed him harder, tracing her tongue against his lips, before he opened his mouth and circled his with hers. Without thinking, her hands went to the button of her jeans, as she undid it and the zipper. Nathan intuitively placed his hands on her thighs, pulling the heavy fabric down until it slid off her feet onto the ground. He gyrated his hips against hers faster and faster, before he could no longer take it and he undid his own pants, pulling them off. They were both only in their underwear now, bare legs and chests entangled.

"You're beautiful, Haley James," Nathan whispered, and Haley guided his hands to her hips as they led her remaining garment down her legs. Nathan stroked the skin of her legs all the way back up, until he reached his own waistband, staring at her brown eyes as his hands pulled the boxers down. Once they were off, he kissed her, his hands encircling her waist, as she clung to the back of his neck.

There was no moment of reassurance, no moment of checking to see if it was alright. From the instant they had kissed, they already knew there was no going back. And then, without a second thought, it happened. Haley felt the breath getting sucked out of her, as he entered inside of her for the first time.

"Are you ok?" he whispered, his lips against hers. "I don't want to hurt you. I've done it too much." She took in a large breath of air, wincing as the dull pain shot through her. Sweat glistened on her brow, and she closed her eyes, before opening them and looking up into his blue one's filled with concern and panic, but love. She tried to smile but it wavered, and the tears began to trickle from her velvet brown eyes. "Do you need me to stop," he asked worried.

"No, I'm ok, I just I love you," she said quietly through her small sobs.

"Shh," he said kissing away the tears from her cheek, "I love you too. So much, Haley.

"Too much," she whispered back, and as she said those two words, she could feel the initial pain subsiding. Nathan immediately felt the change.

"Is it ok?" his lips pressed against her shoulder, as he asked, even though he already knew the answer.

Haley nodded, and he delicately began to move inside of her. She jerked a little, feeling this sensation for the first time, and he pressed his hands against her hips gently to steady her body against his. He moved in and out of her slowly, almost like a dance of a waltz leading nowhere. Her small hands clung to his back, and she began to lift her body up to meet his. She had never imagined it being like this. She knew it wasn't fast and aggressive, and that Nathan was purposefully being slow and careful, as to not hurt her, and get adjusted, but she also knew that it was more than skin against skin. Haley could feel their bodies coming together as one, she could feel herself melting into him, her mind and her body, her heart, and her soul, were all fully his now. And there was no going back from that.

She dug her fingers into Nathan's back, arching her own, as his movements got just a heartbeat faster. He smiled at her, a brilliant smile, filled with pure happiness, something she hadn't known from him in months. She smiled back, and lifted her mouth to meet his, reveling in his sweet kiss, and calloused hands that were lazily dancing over her neck and arms. He broke the kiss, and rested his forehead against hers, "I have never wanted to be with anyone more than I want you now. All of you. Every crevice, every part of you, Haley."

"You have all of me, Nathan," she insisted, and as the ecstatic high flooded her body, she called out "Nathan! Oh God, Nathan, I'm yours. I'm only yours." She breathed heavily, her hands clutching the sheet on his bed, ad he covered her lips with his to quiet her down. As her heart rate returned to normal, she murmured, "Every single inch of me is yours now."

He kissed her hotly now, fistfuls of her hair in his hands, bringing her as close to him as possible, before he too fell and relaxed resting inside her. "I love you, Haley James. I love you so much," he repeated knowing that from then on he had to really show her it was true.

"I know," she said, her hand moving to cup his cheekbone and temple, "I love you so much too, Nathan Scott, so much more than I should."

"I know, I know," he whispered, feeling his own tears beginning to rise, and he clutched her tighter in his arms, afraid of letting go, because now he knew that after making love to her, to Haley James, there was nothing else, and no one else he wanted. She was it. She was everything for him. And he couldn't bear the thought of losing her now.