AN – I know, I know, I must be crazy, starting ANOTHER story. But this idea came to me while I was sat at work and I got so excited about it, told a few people what I had planned and then got even more excited with their encouragement as the plot kind of developed in my head, and then I seemed to have no choice but to just write a little bit of it down. And then before I knew it the first chapter kind of decided that it needed to be written in its entirety. I swear I seem to have no control over my fingers and what they type!

So here is the first chapter of this story. It's going to be another long chapter fic. It's AU, Nathan and Haley, but in a way that I haven't written them before, which I think, is why I'm so excited about it.

I'm throwing this out as a warning to you all. This is going to get very smutty. It's rated M for a reason.

A big thank you goes out to Rebecca, who is amazing and read through this for me before posting and also helped me come up with the title. And also Kristen who read through this for me too… thank you so much girlies!

Right, so I guess all that's left for me to do is say that I hope you all enjoy this! And oh my gosh I am so nervous!!! Eeek!

Chapter One

"Shit." Nathan mumbled to himself as he squeezed his way out of the busy elevator as soon as the doors had opened wide enough for him to slip through them. He glanced down at his watch as he ran across the marble floored lobby and visibly winced at the time. He was late and if there was one thing in the world that he hated, it was being late. Lateness implied bad planning; it was rude and unorganised and went against everything that he valued in his life at the moment. Not that he could have helped being late, he had reasons, important reasons for his delay, but nonetheless, he knew that his excuses wouldn't wash with Haley, and especially not with Brooke.

He ran through the revolving door to the office building he worked in, probably hurting whoever was behind him in the process but he didn't really care about that, he didn't even glance behind his shoulder to see if anyone had just walked through the door and consequently had their face smashed by the glass. He only concentrated on getting to the bar as quickly as was possible. He could feel his phone vibrating in the pocket of his suit and he knew that he should answer it, but he didn't, as he already knew that it would be Brooke calling. She had phoned him literally a million times in the last half an hour, leaving countless messages most likely for the sole purpose of berating him for being late to the weekly tradition that had been set up by his close group of friends ever since they had all reunited in New York since leaving college. It was, by now, something that they all considered to be an age-old tradition even though it had only been a couple of years since they had left their college days behind them. And God forbid if you turned up to this event late, that was seen as a crime punishable in the cruellest of ways, it meant your credit card ending up paying for the whole of the nights festivities.

He ran across the road and thanked God that his office was situated only a couple of blocks away from the bar they had chosen to hold this weekly event in all those years ago. He very nearly got himself knocked over by two cars in the process of running across the busy road, to which the cars beeped furiously at him and he held up his hands in an apology, however he still didn't relent in the pace that his legs were currently carrying him. He rounded the corner and burst through the door to the bar, instantly spotting his friends who were sitting at the usual table in the right hand corner, just like every Friday night. He was huffing and puffing as he made his way over and could see Brooke looking at him with an accusatory raised eyebrow, her arms folded across her chest. To say she was the ringleader would be an understatement of epic proportions; she was the Master when it came to this weekly event. "I know, I know, I'm late." Nathan admitted as he leaned his arms on his legs, trying to catch his breath as he sucked the air into his mouth deeply, trying to get the oxygen flowing into his lungs again. God he really did need to get down to the gym a little more, either that or use that ridiculous moonwalker thing that Haley had insisted they place bang smack in the middle of their apartment. He was still bitter about that damn thing, if he'd have been listening to her instead of being engrossed in a game of Gran Turismo, he might have had the sense to say no, but she'd been blocking his view of the TV screen and there was no way he was going to lose to Jake of all people, so he had shouted at her to move out of the way, agreeing to whatever the hell she was harping on about in the process. The next day he had walked into the apartment and found this monstrosity of a machine taking up half of the lounge area, bang smack in front of his dart board. He'd only seen her use the fucking thing once.

"So what caused you to be late this time?" Brooke asked him. "Did somebody's stapler run out of staples? Did someone have a major freak out because they couldn't find a clean pad of paper?" She continued in a sarcastic voice.

Nathan looked up from where he had buried his head between his arms and rolled his eyes at Brooke. "Very funny Davis. Aren't you ever going to let that go? I had to run to the stationery store to get the damn staples once, and that bitch Rachel that had the freak out, left the company within my first week of working there, three years ago! I haven't had to go on a stapler run in a very long time thank you very much." He returned to her. "And for your information, I had to stay late because I had a meeting with my manager, who had some good news to tell me."

"What, that the delivery of paperclips had finally arrived?" Peyton clipped in as the whole table dissolved into laughter.

"Or did you run out of sugar by the coffee machine?" Lucas added as he continued to chuckle along with his friends.

Obviously the fact that he had some good news to tell them didn't matter in the slightest. Nathan breathed in deeply, having heard all of their jovial banter at his expense many times before, and he was sure that this wasn't going to be the last time he heard their sarcasm either, before he glared over at Peyton and Lucas while he geared himself up to start the well rehearsed speech. "Come on guys! Just because none of you fools work in a corporate environment, don't take the fact that I have one of the highest paying jobs out of all of you…"

Everyone seated at the table faked a yawn and then pretended to fall asleep, even throwing in a few snores here and there. They had heard this sermon from Nathan a thousand times before and then didn't plan on ever hearing it again if it could be helped.

Nathan chuckled at their reaction, pleased that his words had ceased their teasing, for now at least. "Who wants a drink?" He asked and laughed when everyone perked up at the mention of more alcohol, which never failed as way to move the topic of conversation off the choice of his career and onto other mundane but entertaining banter.

"Well given that you are late, I believe that it's your credit card being placed on the tab behind the bar tonight, so I think I'll push the boat out and take a bottle of their finest champagne, you know, given that you have one of the highest paying jobs out of all of us and all." Lucas replied, before chuckling as he threw his earlier words back in Nathan's face.

Nathan raised his eyebrow at his brother and then rolled his eyes when the rest of the table sniggered at his suggestion. "Fine; champagne it is, with five glasses I take it?" He asked as he moved his eyes around the table. He'd noticed that she wasn't here when he had first walked in, but thought that maybe she had gone to the restrooms or something, but he realised that too much time had passed for that to be the case. "By the way, where's Hales? She didn't tell me that she wouldn't be here tonight?"

Brooke smiled brightly over at Nathan, too excited to contain herself. "Haley is currently being picked up by this great guy that I worked with last week." She responded as she looked down at her watch, taking note of the time. "Oh no, by now they should just about be walking into the restaurant." She corrected herself as she jumped up and down in her seat and let out a little squeal of delight.

Nathan couldn't help but roll his eyes at her enthusiasm and hated being the one to dampen it. Hell, who was he kidding, he fucking loved it. "Brooke, are you sure that this time the guy really is a 'great guy'? Every single man you have tried to set Haley up with since the whole Chase debacle has ended in absolute disaster! Remind me, how many of your dates has she actually seen through to the end?"

Brooke furrowed her brow at him and crossed her arms over her chest protectively against his attack of her matchmaking abilities. "Well at least I'm trying to get her back out there Nathan; no one else is helping her!" She defended herself as she looked accusingly around the table, only to be met with downcast eyes from everyone except Nathan, who was staring right at her self-righteously. "And for your information, she has completed at least three of the dates that I've set up for her…"

"Yeah three out of like five hundred!" Nathan interrupted with a scoff. "Hardly a good track record is it? Why you don't just leave her alone I'll never know. She'll meet someone when she's ready to..."

"Which is three more than you can bring to the table. In fact it's three more than any of you can bring to the table!" Brooke continued, shouting above Nathan's voice as she looked around at everyone that was currently sat at their table, pointing at them all with her finger, but they were seemingly choosing to ignore the discussion that was being held at the head of the table, and they were probably right not to get involved. It wouldn't end well. The topic of Haley's love life never ended well and they weren't going to allow themselves to be sucked into the conversation. "She needs to find someone; she's been single for too long now."

"Hey! I've been single for longer than Haley has." Nathan threw back at her, feeling the need to defend his single status. "Not everyone is looking for someone you know Brooke. Some people have responsibilities, careers to concentrate on..."

"Yeah but you're an ass!" Brooke clipped back. "You are single because you're an ass. Haley doesn't need to be single. She's ready to move on; she has been for a long time now, and trust me, once she gets back to the apartment, hopefully tomorrow morning," she said as she winked at Nathan before continuing, "she won't be able to shut up about this guy. He is great!"

Nathan shut his mouth, shook his head at her and then turned around to walk up to the bar, ordering the champagne once he had received the barman's attention and handing over his credit card as he set up a tab. He then carried the champagne and the five glasses back to the table as an idea formed in his head. No one knew Haley better than he did and he already knew exactly how her evening would end without knowing a thing about the guy she had gone out with, there was no need for a crystal ball or any of that shit. "I bet you one hundred dollars that she texts one of us within the next fifteen minutes." He said as he slammed the bottle down on the table and smiled over at Brooke, who grabbed the bottle of champagne and poured it into the glasses, seemingly ignoring Nathan, who knew exactly what she was up to. "What's the matter Brooke? I thought this guy was 'great'?"

Brooke placed the bottle inside the cooler and glared up at Nathan. "He is a great guy." She said as she smiled back at him. "I just don't want to bet on Haley's love life, that's all." She responded as she flicked her hair over her shoulder and turned towards Lucas, hoping that Nathan would take the hint and drop it; only she knew he wouldn't, Nathan never took hints, and he was far too stubborn to drop a bet.

"Bullshit. You know as well as I do that she won't see this date through to the end. But if you're so confident, why not put your money where your mouth is?" Nathan goaded her, already feeling the fattening of his wallet in his back pocket, five crisp twenty dollar notes would do him very nicely, and they would feel even better than they normally did, given that they would have come right out of Brooke's bank account.

Brooke sighed before turning back around to face Nathan. "Fine." She said as she reached out her hand and shook his, wanting to end his rant, and she knew that the only way to get him to shut up would be to accept this stupid bet of his. And she really should win. The guy was great. Tall, dark and handsome; every woman's dream. Haley would be a fool if she didn't see this one through to the end. "One hundred dollars that she doesn't text one of us in the next fifteen minutes."

"Done." Nathan returned as he shook her hand and then grinned like a Cheshire cat when he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. He laughed and shook his head, knowing immediately that he was now a hundred dollars richer, or at least balanced out, the money would pay for the champagne he'd just bought. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone, raising his eyebrows over at Brooke, silently telling her to hand over the money right now as he saw that he had just received a text from Haley. He opened the message and read it out loud. "Call in two minutes and tell Brooke I am going to kill her. H"

"Damn it!" Brooke muttered as the whole table now laughed at her. She looked down at her watch and noticed the time, groaning in frustration. "She can't have even opened her stupid menu yet! What is her problem?"

"Maybe it's not her, Brooke; maybe it's this 'great guy' that you set her up with." Nathan returned as he downed his champagne in triumph.

"Damien is a great guy though!" Brooke whined as she reached into her purse and took out a hundred dollars and placed it in Nathan's waiting hand reluctantly. She'd been saving up for the damn handbag and hated seeing a good chunk of her hard work being shoved into his ridiculously expensive suit pocket.

"Haley obviously didn't think so." Jake chipped in before quickly hiding behind Peyton, unsure of why he had felt the need to say that to Brooke when she was already annoyed, he hadn't meant to throw any more fuel on her already raging fire.

"And who asked your opinion Jageilski?" Brooke snapped as she turned her head in his direction.

"Come on baby; don't get pissed just because you lost a bet." Lucas said as he wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her towards him, placing a kiss on the top of her head once it was leaning on his shoulder, hoping that his display of affection would calm her down somewhat. He knew how much the handbag meant to her.

Nathan placed his now empty champagne glass down on the table and picked up his phone, pressing down the number 2 button which was his speed dial coded to Haley's mobile. She picked up after the very first ring. "Hey Hales!" Nathan said in an amused tone as he winked over at Brooke, who was listening intently to his conversation with Haley, just to wind her up that little bit more.

"Hi Nathan, what's wrong? I told you not to call unless it was an emergency." Haley said as she sat across from what had to be the creepiest and slimiest guy she had ever had the displeasure of laying her eyes on. He kept looking at her like she was a piece of meat or something, he had that arrogant glint in his eyes like he knew that he was going to get some later which infuriated Haley immensely as there was no way that she was going to give him anything, other than roughly three more minutes of her company while she waited for a cab which quite frankly, he should be grateful for. They had only been seated at the table for about five minutes but if he tried to rub his leg against hers one more time she was going to kick him where it hurt.

"I take it the date isn't going well then?" Nathan asked as he bit back the laughter. He'd done this for Haley so many times over the past year; he could tell when things were going bad, really bad or disastrously bad, he'd created his own little scale of ranking the 'disturb the date' phone calls.

"Oh my gosh! She's in the hospital? How the hell did she manage to do that?" Haley gasped as she looked apologetically over at Damian and mouthed a 'sorry' towards him. "Is she okay?" She asked in a shocked tone. She had this routine down to perfection, and so she should, the number of times she'd had to use the excuses over the past year was astronomical.

Nathan chuckled; she was using the hospital emergency excuse, which meant things were going disastrously bad. "That bad huh? Well we're in the bar, as usual, jump in a cab and get your ass down here." He laughed. "I can't wait to hear what was wrong with this one."

"Okay, well tell her I'll be right there and make sure she's okay in the meantime. Bye." Haley said as she hung up her phone.

Nathan hung up his phone and placed it back in his pocket. He then reached over the table and grabbed the bottle of champagne, poured himself another glass and then took a sip of it, smirking quietly to himself as four sets of eyes watched him in anticipation, waiting for him to speak. He placed the glass back down on the table and then sat back in his chair, folding his arms across his chest.

"Well?" Peyton finally asked, unable to wait any longer.

Nathan turned around to address the whole table, not taking his eyes off Brooke; he knew that she was going to be pissed off immensely about this. "The hospital excuse." Nathan returned before collapsing in a fit of giggles as Brooke scowled at him.

"What?" Brooke whined. "That girl has a serious problem. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Damien."

"Haley obviously seems to think there is." Jake threw back at her.

Brooke turned around in her seat and glared at him. "Once again, who the fuck asked for your opinion, Jageliski?" She snapped at him. "And I can't believe I've just had to give a hundred dollars to your corporate ass." She huffed at Nathan.

"You didn't give the money to me Brooke, you lost it to me." Nathan smirked at her before getting up from the table and ordering another bottle of champagne from the bar, grabbing a glass for Haley as he did so, figuring that she'd probably need it once she finally got here.

~*~

"Are you sure you have to go?" Damien asked as he slipped his arm around Haley's waist while they waited by the curb outside of the restaurant.

"My friend is in hospital Damien, so yes, I need to go, I'm sorry for ruining our evening." Haley responded distractedly as she flung her arm out into the road, trying to hail a cab. Why was it that when you needed a cab there didn't seem to be one anywhere, yet when you didn't need one, five thousand seemed to whiz by you? She groaned to herself in frustration as she tried to worm her way out of Damien's grasp, who was trying to pull her into him as she prayed for a cab to round the corner. She'd read somewhere that there were over 13,000 yellow cabs in this fucking city, and not one of them had passed her in the last five minutes.

"Well why don't we walk to my place and I can take you to the hospital myself, I live like four blocks from here." Damien offered. She seemed really distressed about the situation, and as much as he had been hoping for some ass tonight, he realised that it probably wasn't going to happen, but maybe if he played the concerned friend, he might get lucky next time, or later, if her friend wasn't too badly hurt and she wasn't too emotional about it all. "What happened to your friend anyway?"

His hand was wondering dangerously low over her back and she knew exactly where it was headed. Don't do it, don't do it. She repeated to herself as she closed her eyes for a brief second, just waiting for it to happen. Because of course it was going to happen. Men like Damien were all the same. Her friend could be in a coma or something for all he knew and all he was thinking about was sex. It really was disgusting. And there it was; the hand was now on her ass. She grimaced and then rejoiced internally as she saw a yellow bonnet round the corner and she waved her hand frantically, jumping away from him in the process, never more grateful that she was in that moment as she saw the yellow light of the indicator blink at her as the driver pulled the car over, stopping beside her. She turned around to face Damien who was looking expectantly at her.

"So shall I call you to rearrange?" Damien asked hopefully as he pulled out his phone and looked at his calendar on it. "I'm free on Tuesday if you are? Or I can do Thursday, Friday or Sunday?"

Haley couldn't believe the audacity on this man. Did he really think that this had gone well? Did he honestly think that she wanted to spend another second in his chauvinistic, presumptuous company? "Can I see your phone a minute?" She asked sweetly as she smiled up at him with what she hoped was a sexy look. Hell, she didn't really know what the fuck she was doing but it seemed to work as he handed the phone over to her and bounced on his feet like a puppy being offered a treat. She took the phone from him and scrolled down to her number, pressing the delete button when she found her name, and handed the phone back to him. "Damien, I'm not free to see you on Tuesday, or Thursday, or even Friday and Sunday for that matter. I don't want to rearrange this craptastic date; in fact, I don't ever want to see you again. So I've deleted my number from your phone and I suggest you turn around, walk back into that restaurant and try your luck with the waitress you were leering at earlier, because you sure as hell won't ever be getting lucky with me. Goodnight." She finished as she turned on her heel and marched her way to the cab, slamming the door shut behind her, leaving Damien standing on the sidewalk in complete shock at her words. She visibly shuddered and took a calming breath, glad to be free from his revolting company as she looked pensively out of the window. Brooke Davis was a dead woman as far as she was concerned.

~*~

Nathan was sitting with his back to the door, quietly tapping his foot to the music that was playing through the speakers as he sipped on his champagne. He was deep in thought, eyes closed, thinking about the kind of designs he wanted to use for his latest project. He was so proud of himself for being given this huge opportunity, he knew how rare it was for someone that had only been involved with the company for so few years to land such a huge account and he was nothing but grateful to his bosses for it. Sure, it would mean a lot of hard work, but he was anything but shy about that. Ever since he had left college he had thrown himself into his work wholeheartedly and it seemed that now, it was starting to pay dividends. He relished in the opportunity to completely revamp his client's brand, he'd been itching to get his hands on something like this for a while now. They needed a whole new colour scheme, blues might work well…

"Brooke Davis I swear to God I am going to kill you."

Nathan was immediately jolted out of his work induced haze, hearing Haley's voice screech over the noise of the bar and he swivelled around in his seat just in time to see her finish off her march across the bar. He looked down quickly at what she was wearing, and frowned as he couldn't place her clothes, was that dress new? She was pointing furiously at Brooke and he almost felt sorry for her, knowing instantly that Haley was pissed beyond reason. He'd had to bear her fury more times that he would like to admit to, and it was not a pretty sight. Usually she was irritated after these dates, especially after the ones that ended so early, but this was something different in its entirety. It seemed she had reached the end of her tether, and was ready to snap at any given second.

Haley was almost shaking with how angry she was. She had finally reached the table and was vaguely aware that she was causing a scene, but she didn't really care, all she cared about was getting her point across to Brooke. "A 'great' guy. You said he was a great fucking guy Brooke." She shouted at her as she stood by the edge of the table, towering over her so-called friend. She wasn't sure what Brooke was to her at the moment, a glorious pain in the ass wouldn't be too far from the truth. "Are you out of your fucking mind?" She screeched.

Brooke sunk in her chair and gulped as she looked away from Haley, scared to meet her eyes. "But Damien is a great guy." She muttered quietly, unsure of whether she was speaking to herself or trying to defend him to Haley.

"Do you call someone who gropes your ass while winking and drooling over the waitress a great guy Brooke, huh? In my book that makes him nothing more than a fucking asshole." Haley yelled as she ran a hand through her hair in frustration at the crap situation she had once again found herself in, all due to her being forced into it by Brooke. She was getting sick and tired of it all.

"Haley I'm sure that he wasn't drooling over the waitress." Brooke returned as she sat up straight and perked up at what she had heard Haley say. "He was touching your ass though? That's a good sign, Haley, and rightly so, I knew the dress would look hot on you."

"You are completely unbelievable." Haley returned, completely exasperated with all this shit. "I do not want to be manhandled by someone I have barely been in the company of for five minutes; it's rude and completely disgusting!"

"For God's sake Haley, will you stop being such a prude?" Brooke said as she rolled her eyes at her friend. "You're twenty five years old, not twelve, so he touched your ass, big fucking deal!"

"It is a big fucking deal Brooke. I want to be treated with some respect, not like I'm some new toy that's being paraded around and on show for everyone to stare at." Haley retorted, her jaw clenched tightly as she breathed in and out deeply, trying to keep a hold on her emotions. "He was an absolute dick!"

"And you got all that in what, the five minutes that you allowed him to bask in your self-righteous company? Did you even manage to order your food?" Brooke asked sarcastically, glaring at Haley. She was only trying to help her, how could she not see that?

"No actually, I hadn't even opened the menu when I sent the text." Haley returned with a raised eyebrow, knowing that Brooke wouldn't like that little revelation but she really couldn't give a shit at the moment. Didn't she deserve someone better, someone who wasn't a creep and actually had some manners and decency about them?

"For crying out loud Haley!" Brooke cried out. "How can you be so judgemental, you didn't even give him a chance?"

"I gave him plenty of time to make a good impression Brooke, believe me." Haley returned before sighing deeply, trying to control the rapid beating of her heart, she really was furious with Brooke.

"Well how did you leave things? Maybe you can give it another go and see what you think about him the second time around." Brooke questioned. She really was sure that Damien was a good idea for Haley, even if it wasn't anything serious, at least she could have some fun with him. She needed it that was for sure.

"I don't think so. I deleted my number from his phone, told him that I never wanted to see him again and suggested that he went back inside and tried to chat up the waitress he'd been drooling over." Haley returned smugly.

Nathan had to laugh at that one. That was pure Haley, right there. And it seemed that the rest of the table knew it too, as everyone had dissolved into a fit of giggles, everyone except Brooke, that is.

"You did what?" Brooke shouted incredulously. "Jesus Christ Haley!"

"What?" Haley shrugged indifferently. She hadn't liked the dude, period. She knew in the little time that she had spent in his putrid company that she would never want to even lay eyes on him ever again, so what the hell was the problem? "You were the one told me to be more 'out there' with my feelings, to let people know what was running through my mind. I was just making sure that he heard me, loud and clear."

"I didn't mean it like that Haley!" Brooke cried out in frustration. "I mean, seriously Haley, when was the last time you even had sex?"

Nathan immediately shifted his gaze to Haley upon hearing Brooke's words, and he saw the flash of emotion that clouded over her eyes, even though it only showed for the briefest of seconds. For all the bravado and front she displayed, he knew that deep down she was as insecure as the next girl, in fact probably more so. He saw deeper inside of her, he saw past it all and he knew that Brooke's words had caused those doubts to resurface again. He could see her trying to push them back down, she was trying desperately to tuck them away into the far corners of her mind, and he absolutely hated the flash of pain that had just marred her features. He moved his gaze back to Brooke, who was waiting expectantly for an answer from her and he jumped in before Haley even had a chance to formulate a response. "Brooke." He reprimanded her sternly.

Haley could feel that tightening feeling in her chest. It was twisting and starting to constrict, making it harder for her to breathe. She knew exactly what Brooke was doing, but no matter how many times she heard it, it still stung. She lowered her gaze to the floor, not wanting Nathan to see how affected she was by her question, but it seemed that he had already noticed, as she heard him caution Brooke, letting her know not to push this any further. She supposed that she should be grateful to him for intervening. But she felt nothing more than pathetic.

Brooke heard Nathan but she didn't relent in her rant. She wanted to pick Haley up and shake her around, knock some sense into her; she wanted to see her live a little. It had been a whole year, and she was so desperate to see her friend happy again. She had been trying for what seemed like an eternity to get her back in the circuit, setting her up on dates, telling her about all the cute guys she worked with but nothing had prevailed into anything. She always managed to come up with a bunch of excuses, none of which made any sense to Brooke at all, and Haley always ended up pushing everyone she threw at her away with not so much as a second thought. How could she expect to move on, if she wouldn't allow anyone in? She continued to stare at her friend, knowing what she needed to say. It was the giant elephant in the room; it had been the giant elephant for a whole freaking year now. She took a deep breath before speaking. "Haley, you need to stop closing yourself off from everyone and open up to somebody, you need to let somebody in. Not everyone is going to be like Chase."

Haley stiffened at the mention of his name. That myriad of emotions started to whirl deep inside her stomach, she should be stronger than this, it shouldn't still affect her in this way but as she felt the tears begin to form in her eyes, she knew that she was absolutely helpless to stop any of it. Brooke had hit the nail on the head. And she still didn't want to hear any of it. She looked up from her position on the floor and quickly turned around and walked up to the bar, needing to get herself away from it all. She sat down on one of the barstools and ordered herself a straight vodka, she needed something to take the pain away.

"For fucks sake Brooke, why can't you keep your fucking mouth shut?" Nathan hissed at her across the table as he watched Haley walk up to the bar. He closed his eyes briefly and took a deep breath, needing to stop himself from lunging across the table at her.

Brooke sat back in her seat, feeling a little bit shit at hurting Haley with her words, but she was too proud to let Nathan see that. She folded her arms protectively around herself. "Nathan I didn't say anything that wasn't true." She replied defiantly.

Nathan sighed. "Brooke, I know that, you know that, everyone sat at this damn table knows that. But for crying out loud. Have a bit of fucking tact about it. Haley will move on when she's ready. Maybe if you stopped throwing men down her throat she'd be able to sort her internal conflict out on her own, and in her own time instead of feeling pressured by you to do it in the next five seconds." He spat at her before standing up from his seat, picking up his champagne glass and walking towards Haley who was now seated at the bar.

"Internal… what the hell are you going on about Nathan?" Brooke called out to him, but it seemed that all his focus was now on Haley as he didn't bother to turn around and explain it to her.

The barman placed the vodka down on the bar, jolting Haley out of her thoughts. She didn't even acknowledge him as she pointed over to the table and mumbled something incoherent, which he seemed to understand as 'I'm with them and a tab should be set up'. She stared down into the clear liquid, wishing that her brain were as translucent, everything seemed to be a jumbled mess to her. She reached up and wiped at her eyes, catching the tears before they fell down her face.

Nathan sat down in the bar stool next to her, placed his drink down on the bar and let out a long breath before nudging her with his shoulder affectionately. "You okay gorgeous?" He asked, knowing that she wasn't, but also knowing that she'd nod her head anyway.

Haley breathed in deeply before nodding her head and smiling sadly over at Nathan. She felt him wrap his arm around her shoulder and he pulled her into his chest, placing a kiss on the top of her head. She instantly felt better than she had; he always seemed to have this calming effect on her, everything seemed clearer, better when he was around. She didn't know what she would do if he weren't in her life. Probably fall apart or something. She heard him ask the barman for a coke before his attention was placed back on her again.

Nathan held her close to him as he rested his head on top of hers. He closed his eyes for a brief second and then pulled her away from him and looked into her brown eyes which were glistening with her tears. "Just ignore Brooke Hales, she doesn't know what she's talking about." He said softly.

Haley bit down on her bottom lip and looked away from him, blinking away her tears. "I think she does." She said quietly, remorsefully even. She hated being this way. And she really was trying; she honestly did feel ready to move on from Chase. It just didn't seem that she was trying hard enough though; either that or she was looking for something, someone who didn't exist. And that whole letting someone in thing was something that she desperately needed to work on too. She knew exactly what she was looking for, she had the perfect man fully dreamed up in her head, she just didn't know where the hell to find him.

"Haley, you shouldn't feel pressured into doing anything, you know that right. You can just say no to Brooke." Nathan returned, knowing that as much as this was Brooke's fault, that Haley also needed to learn to stand up for herself.

Haley furrowed her brow thoughtfully. "I know that Nathan, I just, I don't know, I feel like I should be going out on dates, you know, it's been a year now. I shouldn't still be moping around and stuff and I shouldn't let him get to me still. She's only trying to help me, in her own Brooke-like way, I know that. It's just that her taste in men is obviously atrocious." Haley responded and then rolled her eyes playfully, trying to lighten the mood, trying to push those dark thoughts out of her mind completely.

Nathan chuckled with her, knowing exactly what she was up to, knowing that she was burying her feelings, and he decided to play along with her instead of labour the point. He released his grip on her and took a couple of large gulps of the coke that had been placed down in front of him. "Well she is going out with my brother, so I kind of have to agree with you on that one Hales, her taste in men really is atrocious." He threw back at her.

Haley shook her head at him as she giggled softly, grateful that he wasn't sticking to the previous subject. She watched as Nathan took the vodka that was sitting on the bar in front of her and began to pour it into the glass of coke that he had just taken a sip out of. She lowered her eyes to his clothes and smiled when she saw that he had chosen to wear the stripy tie she had chosen this morning instead of the plain one he had wanted to wear. "How did your meeting go?" She asked.

Nathan placed the still half full glass of vodka and the glass of coke back down on the bar and turned to face Haley. "It went really well, I got the account." He answered and smiled at Haley.

"Nathan that's amazing!" Haley said as she flung her arms around his neck and pulled him in close to her, smiling at him as she pulled away, picking up his tie with her hands and running her fingers along the soft silk, before looking up at Nathan. "I think it was the tie that did it." She teased.

"Hey, just so you know I was going to pick this tie out anyway so you had absolutely nothing to do with me landing the account Hales." Nathan returned with wide eyes.

"Oh really?" Haley replied, still teasing him. "I thought you were going to wear the plain navy tie instead?"

"No I wasn't." Nathan said as he removed the tie that he had chosen without any help from Haley from her hands and smoothed it back down.

"You liar!" Haley returned and then shook her head at him. "I'm really pleased for you though Nathan, you really deserve it."

Nathan smiled over at Haley and then picked up both the vodka and the coke glasses off the bar and continued to pour her straight vodka into his glass of coke. "Why don't I see if I can get us tickets to Phantom of the Opera tomorrow night, you know, to celebrate?" He asked as he concentrated on making sure that the drink didn't overflow.

"You don't have to do that Nathan." Haley returned as she stared at her vodka which was now being mixed in with the coke, knowing that he was only offering the tickets as a way of cheering her up, which of course, she was thoroughly grateful for.

"I know, but I want to." Nathan said as he passed Haley's drink back to her.

Haley raised her eyebrow at him and watched as he shrugged his shoulders at her innocently before she took her vodka, now drowned in coke, from his hands.

"I don't want to have to carry your drunken ass all the way home." Nathan said cheekily as he watched Haley take a sip of the vodka and coke before she placed it back down on the bar in front of her. He watched her for a few moments as her fingers ran up and down the glass, mopping up the condensation that had gathered on the glass. "Hales." He said softly and waited for her to turn around to look at him before he continued. "Don't ever settle for anything less than what you think you deserve, okay? Don't ever lower your standards, for anyone."

Haley looked into his blue eyes and nodded her head at him, smiling slightly at him as she did so, seeing him smile back at her in return knowingly. She had no idea how he always managed to know what she was thinking about but somehow, he did and of course, he always knew the right things to say to her too.

"Haley, can I talk to you for a second?" Brooke interrupted as she shuffled from one foot to the other.

Nathan glanced quickly at Haley, making sure that she was okay with him leaving her alone with Brooke, and he saw no trepidation coming from her so he picked up his champagne glass. "I'll give you two a minute." He said as he stood up and then walked back over to the table that Lucas, Peyton and Jake were seated at, leaving the girls alone to sort out their earlier disagreement.

Haley bit down on her lip as she took another sip of her vodka and coke, before placing the glass back down on the bar. She continued to play with the glass, running her finger around the rim repeatedly, as she heard Brooke sit down in the seat that Nathan had just vacated.

"Haley I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have said those things to you, it was inconsiderate and thoughtless of me to do so." Brooke said quietly.

"Its fine, Brooke." Haley returned as she continued to play with her glass, moving her fingers down as she got a grip on it and took another sip.

"No Haley, it's not fine." Brooke sighed. "I know I can be a little bit pushy sometimes but it's only because I want to see you happy."

Haley placed her glass back down on the bar and turned in her seat to face Brooke. "I know that. It's just; I think it's fair to say that we most certainly do not share the same taste in men."

Brooke looked up at Haley and grinned sheepishly at her. "I honestly really thought you'd like Damien."

Haley giggled. "Brooke, if I'm being totally honest with you, I don't think you have a clue about what I do and don't like in a man. In case you hadn't you noticed, nothing has ever progressed to anything more than a first date with anyone that you've ever set me up with!" She said light heartedly.

"They only get to the end of the date with you if they're lucky!" Brooke threw back as she erupted in a fit of giggles and slapped Haley on the arm playfully with her hand. "Did you really delete your number from Damien's phone?"

"Uh huh." Haley nodded her head in confirmation and laughed right along with Brooke. "You should have seen his face, it really was quite funny."

"God I can just imagine!" Brooke chuckled along with Haley, picturing it in her head.

"But can we please agree on this Brooke, for the sake of our friendship, and your life, no more blind dates." Haley pleaded with Brooke.

Brooke rolled her eyes at Haley. "Fine, no more blind dates." She returned before growing serious again. "I did mean what I said though Haley, you need to let someone in sometime."

"I know I do Brooke. I wish it were that easy." Haley returned with a small smile. She honestly didn't know if she even knew how to let anybody in, the walls she had built around her heart seemed to be cemented together so tightly, she wasn't sure if she would be able to lower them for anybody any time soon.

"Well maybe if you had a bit of fun first, it might make it a bit easier." Brooke said, offering Haley one of her suggestions before remembering something and gasping. "Do you still have that list I made you write at the beginning of last year?" She asked, her eyes shining with excitement.

Haley groaned as her head fell in her hands, knowing exactly which list Brooke was referring too. She still couldn't believe that she had written that damn thing. "God, I haven't looked at that thing since you forced me to write it!" She said as she shook her head at the memory, wishing that she could just erase it from her mind completely.

"Why not?" Brooke gasped before rolling her eyes at Haley. "There's nothing wrong with having a few fantasies Haley, a wish list of sorts. Have you managed to tick anything off it since you wrote it?" She asked excitedly.

Haley rolled her eyes and then settled her gaze on Brooke. "No Brooke, I haven't. I can't even remember what I wrote on the damn thing."

"So how do you know if you've managed to tick anything off it or not if you don't even remember what you wrote down?" Brooke asked, the confusion written across her face.

Haley shook her head at Brooke before gulping down the rest of her vodka and coke. "Because I do." She said as she slammed the glass back down on the bar.

"Oh!" Brooke returned, understanding what Haley had meant now. "Well why don't you try and tick some of it off now then?"

"Because I don't want to Brooke." Haley returned as she stood up from the bar, needing to end this conversation before Brooke got any more bright ideas; she'd had more than enough of them to last a lifetime. "Come on, we'd better get back to the table."

~*~

Four hours later, Haley found herself and Nathan meandering down the street heading towards their apartment. She could barely walk straight, and as much as she knew that it was from the alcohol she had consumed that evening, she also knew that her shoes weren't helping the situation either. "Nathan…" She whined as she stopped walking, unable to go any further.

Nathan continued walking down the street and then turned around to find Haley standing with her shoulders hunched forward. He shook his head at her and chuckled before continuing to walk down the street. "Come on Hales." He called out to the night sky, not bothering to turn around and look at her again; she'd follow when she was ready.

"Nathan…" Haley whined again as she watched him walk further away from her. God these shoes were fucking killing her feet and they weren't even a quarter of the way home yet. There was no way she was going to make it all the way home without dying, she was sure of it.

Nathan sighed as he stopped in his tracks and turned around again, finding Haley still rooted to exactly the same spot that she had been in thirty seconds ago. "Come on Hales, we're never going to get home if you keep stopping." Nathan called down the street to her.

"I can't." Haley shouted back at him as she lifted herself onto the balls of her feet, trying to ease the aching feeling she could feel burning through her feet.

"Can't what?" Nathan yelled back at her.

"Walk." Haley yelled back in frustration. Couldn't he see how much pain she was in?

Nathan burst out laughing at her. "What do you mean you can't walk? Of course you can walk Hales, but you just need to actually put one foot in front of the other, instead of standing with them super glued together on the ground, and then you might find that you actually get somewhere." He shouted back to her.

"But I can't. The shoes." She cried out as she pointed down at the offending shoes and almost started to cry at how much they were hurting her feet. She knew that she should have worn her flats tonight, though to be fair, she had gone out on the date with the intention of it lasting longer than five minutes, in which case she would have got a cab home instead of having to walk.

Nathan rolled his eyes, knowing that he needed to concede because she really would just stand there all night if he didn't do something, and he wasn't going to risk her getting hurt by some madman that was stalking the streets of the city in the early hours of the morning, so he walked back over to her. He stopped just in front of her and then turned around so his back was facing her and bent his knees, motioning with his hands for her to jump on.

Haley grinned like a child as she jumped on his back, wrapping her arms and legs around his body as she felt him get a grip on her legs. "Thank you Nathan." She said sweetly as she felt him straighten up and begin to walk, her legs dangling to the side of his body.

"When we get home, you're throwing the damn shoes away Haley." He huffed at her as he turned the corner and continued the walk towards their apartment. "I have no idea why you wear them when you know that you can't walk in them, it's stupid."

"Shut up Nathan." Haley responded. "You were the one that insisted we walk instead of take and cab. I am not throwing them away and the reason why I wear them is because they look good." She continued as she pointed one of her heel clad feet in front of both her and Nathan so that they could admire them together. "See. And besides, they cost far too much money for me to not wear them."

"How much did they cost?" Nathan asked as he felt Haley grip onto his head and force it downwards so that he could look at her shoes. They were black and high. She had a thousand pairs that all looked exactly the same.

"Just over five hundred dollars." Haley replied in a soft, dreamy voice as she twisted her foot so that she could admire the shoes from a slightly different angle.

Nathan stopped walking completely, finding that he was in shock. "You what?" He bellowed, wondering if he had heard her right.

"What?" Haley asked, his abrupt halting had caused her to snap out of her shoe daydream and she wondered why they had stopped moving.

"You spent five hundred dollars on a pair of shoes?" Nathan asked incredulously, sure that he couldn't have heard her right, as that was an insane amount of money for Haley to spend, hell, it was an insane amount of money for him to spend on shoes. He knew that she had a shoe fetish but still, five hundred dollars?

"Uh huh. And they were worth every single cent. So pretty." Haley said wistfully as she pointed both of her feet in front of her and smiled down at her shoes.

Nathan shook his head at her, trying to wrap his head around this crazy revelation. "Wait a second. You wasted five hundred of your dollars on shoes that you cannot even walk in?"

"I didn't waste any dollars on anything, but technically, you did." Haley responded and smiled as she knew that this would really wind him up.

"What do you mean I did? There's no way I would ever spend five hundred dollars on shoes for you Haley, not when you have at least four pairs that look exactly the same and probably cost less together than that pair you have on right now." Nathan responded, wondering where the hell she was going with this. Had she stolen money from him? Had she paid for the shoes on the emergency credit card he had given her and had he just paid it off without even realising it? Her card was on a direct debit to clear each month anyway so that was a high possibility, not that she had ever told him that she had used it, in fact, she had flat out refused to carry it around with her until he had persuaded her that it really was a good idea and that it would put his mind at ease, so that if she ever got stranded in Chicago, or wherever, again, she'd have a way of actually getting home herself instead of having to borrow someone's phone to call him to ask him to pay for a ticket. To which she mumbled something he didn't catch and then she placed it in her purse, and he had smiled smugly at her and then returned to his Playstation 3.

"I exchanged the food mixer you brought me for my birthday and got these instead." Haley said and then bit down on her lip, unable to hold back the giggle that escaped from her mouth.

"You exchanged my gift?" Nathan said as he tried to wrap his head around this new development.

"Nathan, why would you even buy me a food mixer in the first place?" Haley asked incredulously.

"You always wanted one." Nathan returned defensively. He'd thought it had been a really nice gift; she was forever banging on about wanting to make cakes and shit with it every single time they walked past one when she had dragged him out shopping with her.

"Yeah, I did but not as a birthday present. No one wants a food mixer for their twenty fifth birthday present Nathan." Haley replied.

Nathan shook his head disbelievingly. "You are unbelievable Haley James." He said, rather hurt that she had exchanged his present without telling him.

"Well wouldn't you rather me have a present that I can enjoy?" Haley returned.

"Of course Haley, but…" Nathan started to talk but was interrupted by Haley.

"Well then what's the problem?" Haley asked as she pushed her feet into his legs in an effort to get him walking again, only she then felt him loosen his grip on her legs and she slid off him slowly. She unwrapped her hands from around his neck, and her feet hit the floor and she winced in pain. She then looked up and saw that Nathan had started walking again, without her. "Nathan?" She called out to him. "What are you doing?"

"Letting you enjoy the present I so kindly gave to you." Nathan shouted out as he continued walking down the street.

"But Nathan, they hurt!" Haley cried back at him.

"But I thought you enjoyed them?" Nathan said as he turned around to face her and shrugged his shoulders at her.

"I do but… please don't make me walk home Nathan." Haley sighed in defeat.

"Why didn't you tell me that you exchanged the food mixer?" Nathan asked as he stood further down the street from where he had dropped her.

"Because I knew you'd never let me get the shoes." Haley returned.

"Damn right I wouldn't Haley. Five hundred dollars is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on shoes." Nathan said, still rather miffed that she hadn't told him about the whole gift exchange.

"Nathan, come on, I really, really like them, and I like them that little bit more knowing that you kind of, sort of, got them for me." Haley returned sweetly, hoping that her smile would somehow encourage Nathan to come back over to her and continue giving her a piggyback ride home.

"But Hales, we're not supposed to have any secrets from each other. If you didn't want the food mixer then you should have told me and we could have exchanged it together." Nathan returned. He knew he was labouring the point but still, he'd put a lot of thought into that present.

"But then I wouldn't have been able to get the pretty shoes, would I? And I promise, that's the only thing I've ever kept from you." Haley returned, hoping that now he thought that she had bared her soul to him that he would give up on his mild tantrum. "Please Nathan can you come back over her so I don't have to walk. I can already feel the blisters forming on my feet and I will fall to a heap on the floor if I have to move them another centimetre." She whined and stuck out her bottom lip.

Nathan took a deep breath and sighed in both defeat and at her dramatics. He walked back over to her, unable to resist her whiny voice and plus he really didn't want her feet to be covered in blisters. He turned around and she hopped on his back and he continued to walk them both home. They were silent for a couple of blocks, the mild night breeze blowing up the empty streets they were walking down. "You're throwing them away when we get home Hales." He said.

"Am not." Haley replied.

"You are." Nathan responded with a hint of a smile on his face.

"I'm not." Haley sing songed childishly and they both erupted in a fit of giggles at each other's stubbornness.

They continued to walk in silence along the street, Nathan hoisting her up higher on his back when he felt her slipping and increasing his grip on her legs to make sure that he didn't drop her. She was swinging her legs in front of him alternately, and he was sure it was a way of her not so subtly rubbing her shoes in his nose and he sighed softly at her behaviour. "So Brooke apologised then?" He asked. He hadn't had a chance to talk to her since she and Brooke returned to the table as they had been whispering away in the corner about God knows what the whole evening.

"Yeah." Haley replied as she continued to swing her legs to the same rhythm that Nathan was walking them both in.

"What were you two whispering about when you came back to the table then?" Nathan asked, curiosity getting the better of him.

"Oh, nothing in particular." Haley responded casually.

They descended into more comfortable silence as they walked along the sidewalk nearing their home. Nathan looked down at the pavement as he rounded the corner onto the street which housed their apartment building and felt Haley lean her head on his shoulder, her arms hooking underneath his and resting on the top of his arms.

Haley frowned as she thought some more about what Brooke and her had been talking about that evening. "Nathan, you know how I need to move on?" She asked as her chin bobbed up and down on his shoulder.

"Mmmm?" Nathan asked as he walked alongside their apartment building, and halted when he got to the front door.

Haley felt him stop and let go off her legs in an invitation for her to lower herself back to the ground, but she hugged onto his body tightly. "I think you need to do the same." She whispered before letting go of him and walking inside their building, calling the elevator to the ground floor and slipping off her shoes, cradling them like she would a newborn.

~*~

As soon as Haley walked into the apartment, she wandered straight to her room, knowing that her words would have caused Nathan to stop and think. She knew that he needed his space; as much as she wanted to talk to him about it all she knew that he wouldn't want to and so she was going to give him the space he desired as she desperately wanted him to sort through the troubles that had been plaguing him for years now. She closed the door to her bedroom and flipped the light on, and in her drunken stupor, an idea came to her. She was going to find that damn list that Brooke had made her write. With a determined glint in her eye, she walked over to her wardrobe and placed her shoes carefully on the top shelf and then she sat down beside her bookshelf, beginning to turn her room upside down. She couldn't for the life of her remember where she had put that notebook, it literally could be anywhere, in fact it was probably hidden away incredibly well somewhere so that Nathan could never possibly find it.

Nathan watched as Haley walked into her bedroom and he was grateful for the space that she was providing him with. He had been hiding the guilt for years, and Haley hadn't mentioned it to him for a good nine months now, and he had thought he had got away with it, only he should have known better. He'd been putting on this front for so long now that it was almost second nature to him, and he had even started to believe that he was okay, even though deep down he knew that he was just kidding himself, and it seemed that he wasn't fooling Haley in the slightest. With a heavy sigh he wandered into the bathroom, flicked on the light and then switched the shower on. He placed all his clothes in the hamper and stepped under the warm spray, rubbed the shower gel into himself and then watched as the soap suds dripped away from his body, wishing that his pain could be so easily wiped from inside of him. He knew he needed to deal with it but he couldn't bring himself to. Not yet.

He stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his waist. He then wandered over to the sink and cleared the condensation from the mirror, staring at himself. He looked away and sighed at his reflection as he turned around and grabbed the hamper of dirty clothes given that it was nearly full and as he turned he caught sight of the tattoo on his shoulder and stopped to stare at it for a while, allowing himself to remember.

He didn't know how much time he spent standing in the bathroom but he eventually snapped back to reality. He placed the hamper by the utility room as a reminder that either he or Haley needed to put a wash on tomorrow and then walked along the corridor to his bedroom, pausing at Haley's door as he heard her rustling and throwing things around her room. He frowned, thinking about going in and seeing if she was okay but then he heard her shout out 'ah ha' and then there was nothing but silence coming from her room. She was a strange being, that Haley James. He shook his head and continued down the corridor to his room, before flopping into bed, grateful that he had drunk so much tonight so that he wouldn't have to dwell on his thoughts too much before falling asleep.

~*~

Nathan sat on the sofa in the living room with his phone held to his ear, calling Haley's mobile as he looked down at his watch but she wasn't picking up. It rang through to her voicemail, some cheesy message that she'd had on it since being at college and he heard the beep indicating that he could start talking. "Haley it's me, I don't know how many times I've told you this, but you really need to change that message of yours because it sounds so silly. Anyway, where the hell are you, we're supposed to be leaving for the theatre right now and you're still not here." He said and then looked down at his phone when it beeped in his ear and he saw that she was calling him. "Never mind, you're calling me now." He said and then disconnected the call he was making to her phone and picked up the incoming one. "Hey gorgeous! Where the hell are you?"

"I know, I'm so sorry I'm late Nathan, I'm just coming round the corner now. Can you go into my room and grab my nice handbag and then I'll just chuck all my stuff in it from this one and then I'll be good to go?" Haley asked pleadingly as she opened the door to the apartment building. She was more than a little flustered in her haste to get home. She loved Phantom of the Opera, it was her favourite musical of all time and she would be more than a little pissed off with herself if they missed the beginning of the show, it didn't matter that she had seen it a hundred times before.

"Sure, I'll see you in a sec okay?" Nathan said as he got up from the sofa and hung up his phone. He walked along the corridor and opened Haley's bedroom door, seeing all of her worldly possessions sprayed randomly on the floor. It literally looked like a bomb had gone off in her room. He shook his head, wondering what in the world had possessed her to do this and stepped carefully over the mess to the wardrobe. He pulled out the ridiculously expensive bag he had bought for her at Christmas from the top shelf, which was the only thing left in there, well the handbag and the pair of five hundred dollar shoes that he had apparently brought for her too. He sighed as he turned around and began to walk through her bedroom again, when he noticed a pad of paper on her bed and the word 'sex' was written in her handwriting, underlined about five times at the top of the page. He squinted at the pad of paper, wondering if he had read it right, before realising that there was no mistaking what was written on the notepad. He tried to look away from the pad of paper, he really shouldn't be that nosy, it was none of his business really, was it, but he couldn't help the fact that his eyes were drawn to it. What the hell was Haley writing the word sex down on a pad of paper for?

He placed her bag on the bed and picked up the pad of paper, his eyes nearly bulging out of their sockets when he read the top of the page. 'Haley's Sex List'. He should have put it back down, right in the exact position where he had found it, he shouldn't still be holding it, and his eyes certainly shouldn't be reading it, but that's exactly what they were doing. He grinned wildly as he started to read this list of hers, frowning at some of the stuff that was written there also, but his brain was too shocked to register his true emotions at reading her list. He raised his eyebrow as he read another line, she was a kinky little thing, he'd give her that. He couldn't believe that she had written a fantasy list, or was it a 'to do' list? He didn't have a fucking clue, and he didn't really care what the fuck it was either. This shit was gold as far as he was concerned.

Haley burst through the door and called out Nathan's name. She heard him reply and it sounded like he was in the kitchen, so she ran inside the room, her eyes darting around as she tried to find her bag, but it was nowhere to be seen. "Nathan, come on, where's my bag, we're going to be late if we don't leave now." She rushed out as she started to turn around, presuming that he hadn't even gone into her room to get the bag out of her wardrobe in the first place.

"Oh no Hales, don't you even think about walking out of this room." Nathan returned in a husky voice as he lifted himself up off the chair and rested his hands on the table in front of him.

Haley froze at the tone of his voice, wondering why he was using it with her and then turned around to look at him and saw that he was smirking at her. She grew incredibly confused as she wondered what the hell he was looking so smug about. Her eyes started to roam the room, trying to find a clue, and quickly at that because they really were going to miss the start of the show now and she was quickly getting more and more irritated with the fact that they were still in the apartment and not halfway out of the building by now, and then she saw it. The damn notepad. Her brain was suddenly flooded with questions, the most important one being how the fuck had he managed to find it? She could feel herself turning the deepest shade of red possible and wanted nothing more than the ground to open up and swallow her whole.

"Care to explain?" Nathan asked with a raised eyebrow.

AN – Okay, so there you have the first chapter and once again, as with all my stories, I am quite nervous about posting this fic… but also very excited about what I have planned for these two.

I'd love to hear what you thought of the first chapter, so please leave me a review and let me know your thoughts.

As with my other stories, I will be offering you all a preview of the next chapter if you want it, so just let me know in a review if you do want it and I shall get it out to you as soon as it is written. Thanks!

Oh and I will probably be posting some pics that accompany this story on my blog (www (dot) ilovenaley (dot) blogspot (dot) com) so go and check it out!