Hey guys, so this is the last chapter. I want to thank everyone who's supported this story and taken the time to review. I truly appreciate your feedback. I'll also be updating "Mine Again" today for those of you reading that story. Thanks again and let me know what you think!


Chapter 39

Haley couldn't stop smiling. It was physically impossible. She was having the time of her life. After everything that had occurred over the past school year, she would've never guessed that she and Nathan would've been able to go to prom together. But here they were with all of their friends, making the most of it.

She leaned her head back against Nathan's chest. His hands on her hips automatically tightened.

"What are you so happy about?" he whispered into her ear.

"I'm just surprised that we're actually dancing. I thought that with your lack of rhythm we'd automatically be stuck at the table all night," she teased.

Nathan spun her around in his arms so that she was facing him. "Is that so?"

She nodded, holding back a giggle.

"I'll give you a lack of rhythm."

Before Haley could even protest, Nathan had taken hold of her once more and dipped her. Haley let out a squeal that was easily drowned out by the loud music.

"Nathan!" she bellowed, laughing, when he pulled her back up.

"How'd you like that?"

"That was actually pretty good."

"See. I'm not a total lost cause. Besides," he added, "it's also the perfect excuse for me to touch you the whole night."

"Since when does Nathan Scott need an excuse?"

"Since I saw how hot you look in this dress."

Haley glanced away as her face flushed. Nathan had barely taken his eyes, or hands, off of her the entire night. And despite the fact that they were surrounded by tons of people, which would normally embarrass her, neither could she. Nathan looked so handsome in his tux. She just couldn't resist running her hands up his biceps or down his broad chest. She could feel his muscles flexing through the fabric, and it was slowly driving her crazy.

Haley shivered when she felt Nathan's hand stroke the exposed skin of her back, once again, while the other massaged the curve of her waist. Every once in a while his hand would dip lower and come into contact with her bare thigh.

Nathan noticed Haley bite her lip when he started caressing her. It was like his hands had taken on a mind of their own. He couldn't stop touching her, and he didn't want to. After months of hiding their relationship, Nathan refused to rein in his desire for his girlfriend. People would watch no matter what they did. There were a number of reasons why they'd been getting an excessive amount of attention lately.

The first was that people were genuinely in shock that the school's head jock and tutor had truly gotten back together—or rather, revealed that they were always together and had just started showing it now. Then there was the issue of Nathan's father being arrested. Like predicted, it had been a huge story that the local media refused to let go of. What floored people even more was the fact that Nathan and his mom had been the ones to get him in trouble in the first place.

And last but certainly not least, there was the incident between Shelley and Haley a couple of weeks ago. Their peers were still recounting the tale in which Haley had shown up the arrogant Clean Teen and managed to flash most of the school in the process. Nathan still wasn't happy about that one, but what could he do?

"Kiss me," Haley ordered, interrupting his thoughts.

Nathan gladly obliged and captured her mouth in his. The kiss was fiery and intense. Haley mewled softly as their tongues battled and explored. Nathan could hardly suppress a groan of his own as Haley's fingertips scratched the nape of his neck. They broke apart moments later, breathless.

Haley noticed a bead of sweat roll down the side of Nathan's face and wiped it away. He looked just as hot as she felt. "Did you want to sit down for a while?" she suggested.

"Yeah." The dance floor was packed and there was hardly any air. Not to mention that he and Haley were generating quite a bit of heat on their own.

Haley took Nathan's hand and led the way to their table. Their friends were already sitting down, looking tired and overheated themselves.

"It's about time you guys came up for air," Peyton stated with an impish grin.

"Why?" Nathan asked as they took a seat. He pulled Haley's feet onto his lap and took off her heels for her. He knew they'd been bothering her all evening from dancing so much.

"Don't act all coy," Kat said, sharing amused glances with the others.

Haley eyed their friends. "What are you talking about?"

"Oh come on," Tim chuckled. "You two seriously looked like you were seconds away from getting your freak on on the dance floor."

"We did not," Haley automatically denied.

Brooke guffawed. "Yes, you did. I need a cold shower just from watching the both of you."

Haley's mouth dropped open, stunned, as Nathan just rolled his eyes.

"I think I've officially gone blind," Lucas declared humorously.

Jake snickered. "Hey, I even overheard Principal Turner talking to Whitey. He was going to have Coach go over and break the two of you up if you didn't tone it down."

"He did not," Nathan challenged.

"I'm serious, man."

"It's not funny," Haley admonished when everyone, including Nathan, busted out laughing.

"Well, Haley James, times sure have changed," Brooke taunted. "You've gone from shy tutor to superstar's girlfriend to Clean Teen to resident bad girl. I'm impressed."

"I am not the resident bad girl," she denied. "We were just making out. We weren't as bad as them." She nodded back to the dance floor. Ted and Nicki were grinding against each other while placing sloppy kisses all over each other's faces. It didn't take long for Principal Turner to zero in on them and break them up.

"Close enough," Kat joked.

"Hey, after the crap we've gone through, I think Haley and I deserve a pass on the PDA," Nathan declared.

"Keep it clean, kids. Just keep it clean," Jake replied in a mockingly stern voice.

"Don't look at us. We weren't the ones who disappeared for awhile," Haley said while eying Brooke and Lucas.

"We left something in the limo," Brooke excused.

"Or maybe you just went for a quickie," Peyton argued.

When Haley saw Lucas' face flush and look away, she knew it was true. "Oh my God, you so did!"

"No way," Kat laughed.

"I'm not admitting to anything."

"I know you, B. Davis. You so did it."

A disgusted expression formed on Jake's face. "In our limo?"

"That's just wrong, bro," Nathan commented.

"I hope the seats were scotch guarded," Tim snorted.

"Wherever you did it, that's where you're sitting," Kat proclaimed. "That's nasty."

"I told you it was a bad idea," Lucas mumbled to Brooke.

"That's not what you were saying when we were fu—"

"Okay, we get the point," Haley quickly interrupted. The thought of her friends doing it, let alone in their limo, was enough to make her lose her dinner.

"Can we please talk about something else?" Lucas pleaded.

"Fine by me. I've been meaning to ask Haley something anyway," Peyton spoke up. "What's this I hear about you being our valedictorian?"

Brooke sat up in her seat excitedly. "Oh my God, are you?"

"Yes, I am."

"That's awesome, Haley," Jake complimented. "When did you find out?"

"A couple of days ago."

"Why didn't you tell us sooner?" Brooke demanded.

"I was going to, but I've been having some trouble writing my speech. I didn't want everyone to make a big deal of it just yet." Graduation was next Monday—meaning she only had about three days left to finish her speech. It didn't help that she had a major case of nerves and writer's block.

Peyton nudged her. "Of course it's a big deal."

"Did you know?" Lucas asked Nathan.

"Yeah, I knew."

Lucas pouted. "Damn, Haley, how could you tell him and not me? I thought the best friend was privy to that kind of information."

"Boyfriend trumps best friend," Nathan proclaimed, smirking.

"He caught me writing it," she clarified.

"Is it finished now?" Jake inquired.

"Almost."

"I'm sure you knew all along that you were going to be valedictorian. I'm surprised you didn't write the speech ages ago," Brooke stated.

"I didn't know for sure. And it's not an easy thing to write. I mean, this is graduation we're talking about. It's the end of one chapter and the beginning of another," Haley explained. "I can't just put anything down. It has to mean something special."

"God, it's scary," Peyton said after a moment of silence.

"It's a big, bad world out there. And it's going to just chew us up and spit us out if we don't watch it."

Nathan rolled his eyes. "Way to be optimistic, Tim."

"Okay, I can see what you're all thinking, and we are not going to go there. Not tonight. This is no time for sulking or worrying about the future. This is senior prom, and we are going to be happy and live it up, damn it!" Brooke proclaimed. "Now everybody get up off your butts so we can dance."

"But—" the others started to protest.

"Now!"


"Mmm…I love this song," Haley muttered. Her head was laying on Nathan's chest as they swayed to the music.

"I would if I knew what it was."

Haley lifted her head and rolled her eyes. "We need to broaden your horizons musically."

"Hey, my horizons are just fine." He gave her a cheeky grin.

"I'm not even going to go there now," Haley muttered, laughing, and rested her head back down. She smiled when she saw their friends dancing with their own significant others next to them. Everyone looked so happy and content.

Once the song was over, Principal Turner walked onstage. "Excuse me," he said into the microphone. "If you'd all quiet down, it's time to crown the prom king and queen."

"Finally," Brooke squealed while readjusting her dress and hair.

"How do you know you're going to win?" Peyton teased.

"Come on, P. Sawyer, it's me."

Haley leaned up to whisper in Nathan's ear, "I think I know who's going to be king."

"Shut up," Nathan playfully chided.

"It could always be me." Lucas puffed up his chest dramatically.

Jake mirrored his actions. "Or me."

"The Tim could beat you all." Tim flexed his muscles.

Everyone rolled their eyes at that one as Principal Turner opened the first envelope.

"Tree Hill High's prom king is…Nathan Scott!"

"Aw, man," Tim sighed.

"It was rigged," Lucas joked.

"It was not," Haley retorted and gave Nathan a small push towards the stage. They all clapped along with the rest of the crowd.

Jake sniggered as they placed the crown on Nathan's head and handed him a scepter. "He can have it."

Peyton smacked him in the gut. "Hey, be nice. It's pretty cool to be the king of the school."

"Since I'm his best friend, does that mean that I'm second in line if he's assassinated?" Tim questioned.

"No, Tim," they all answered.

"Who cares about the king," Brooke said. "The queen is the important one."

"Take it easy, Tigger. I'm sure you'll get your crown. Don't worry." Brooke was the most popular girl in school. There was no way that she wouldn't be crowned queen.

"And Tree Hill High's prom queen is…" Principal Turner trailed off for a dramatic affect.

A few seconds passed and Brooke looked like she was going to combust. "Come on," Brooke urged impatiently.

"Haley James!" he finally announced.

"What?" her friends questioned and looked to her.

Haley stood rooted in her spot, stunned. She had to be hallucinating or dreaming. There was no way that this could be happening right now. There was no way she could actually be prom queen. This just didn't happen to tutors and former Clean Teens.

People were watching her while clapping and whistling. Could it be true?

"Miss James," Principal Turner said when she didn't come up right away.

"You better get up there." Lucas pushed her toward the stage like she'd done to Nathan. Thinking of her boyfriend, Haley's eyes went to him. There was a huge and satisfied smile on his face.

Haley tried not to look so shell-shocked while she was onstage. The crown was placed on her head, and she was congratulated by Principal Turner and a couple of other members of the faculty.

"Now, if you'll all clear the way please, it's time for the customary king and queen dance."

Nathan took the lead and Haley's hand before guiding her to the wide open dance floor. She was trying to appear normal, but he knew she was still in a state of shock.

"Are you okay?" he questioned softly when they started dancing.

"Did you know about this?"

He shrugged. "Maybe."

"What?"

"I'd heard that some people would be voting for you, but I didn't know how serious it was."

"I can't believe this."

"I can."

"Well, you're bias."

"But I'm still right," Nathan declared. He brought her tighter against him. "Don't worry about the how or why. Just enjoy the moment."

Haley gave him a small smile. "I guess it is kind of cool, huh?"

"Yeah, it is." He brought his hand to her face. "But you deserve it. You've been through so much."

"You've been through so much," she argued. "I really am so proud of you, Nathan. You were dealt a hard situation, but overcame it."

"I had some help," he stated while eying her pointedly. "I've never gotten the chance to formally thank you."

"You don't have to—"

"But I do. You stood by me through everything, Hales. You don't know how much that meant to me. How much it saved me." Nathan caressed her cheek. "I love you so much."

Haley felt her eyes start to water and tried to rein in her emotions. She didn't want to cry in front of their peers again. "I love you, too." She met Nathan's gaze and felt her breath catch in her throat. Every now and then those cerulean eyes of his could just see right down into her soul.

"God, the way you look at me sometimes—" She didn't even get a chance to finish before Nathan's lips claimed hers. The kiss was slow, gentle, and full of meaning.

"I don't know what I'd ever do without you," he whispered once they pulled apart. He rested his forehead against hers.

"What?" Haley questioned when she noticed that he was thinking about something.

"I have something to tell you. A surprise."

She watched him curiously. "What is it?"

"You've done so much for me and for us. It's time I did something in return."

"What do you mean?"

"I've decided to go to Stanford."

"What?" She stared at him in disbelief.

"It's your dream school, Hales. You should go. And seeing as neither one of us wants to be separated, I'm going to go with you."

"But what about Duke?" Haley questioned.

"It doesn't matter. I can do well at Stanford, too," Nathan explained. "I just want us to be together. That's the important thing."

Haley was silent for a moment, mulling his words over.

"What's the matter?" he asked when she didn't speak up right away. "Aren't you happy?"

She quickly plastered a smile on her face. "Yes. Of course I am," Haley replied. "That's great, Nathan. Really great."

Nathan kissed her lips and embraced her. He knew that he was doing the right thing. But what he didn't see was the slight frown on his girlfriend's face as she bit her lip and held him tighter.


Haley wrung her hands as she paced back and forth. There was so much on her mind at the moment. She was so nervous. So many things had been churning over and over in her mind for the last three days. Every time she got close to some kind of clarity, she'd second guess herself and lose it all over again.

But Haley couldn't do that today. She couldn't second guess herself anymore. She had to make a decision, and she did. The only problem would be carrying out that decision. Haley didn't know what it was but, for some reason, there was this awful feeling of foreboding in the pit of her stomach.

God, help me, she prayed.

"Hales."

Haley turned to face her boyfriend. "Hey." She gave him what she hoped looked like a genuine smile.

"I've been looking for you. What are you doing in here?"

Haley glanced around at the empty Tutoring Center. "I, uh, thought I'd practice once more. You can never be too prepared," she laughed timidly.

Nathan rubbed his hands up and down her arms in comfort. "You still nervous about your valedictorian speech?"

"Yeah," she answered hesitantly. Although she was nervous—her speech had taken forever to write before it was the way she liked it—it wasn't exactly for the reason he thought. But that wasn't something Haley could tell him at the moment.

"Hales, everyone gets nervous when they have to make a speech," he soothed. "That's normal."

She nodded. "I know."

"You're going to do great." Nathan placed a loving kiss on her lips. "Besides, you're too much of a perfectionist to fail," he teased.

Haley rolled her eyes playfully before melting into his embrace. "Do me a favor and just hold me."

Nathan did as she asked and wrapped his arms around her. One hand stroked her back as the other caressed her hair. He suppressed a sigh as he held her. Nathan couldn't put his finger on it, but something seemed to be different about Haley these last couple of days. She was much more quiet and subdued than usual. Nathan knew that she was under a lot of pressure, what with graduation and her speech and all. But he couldn't shake the feeling that there might be something else, too. Something simmering just underneath the surface.

"What's going on in that head of yours?" he mumbled into her hair.

"Nothing." She pulled back and glanced at the clock on the wall. "We better get going. The ceremony starts in twenty minutes."

"Yeah. Everyone was already in the gym taking their seats when I left."

Haley reluctantly broke away from him. She walked over to a nearby table where her blue robe was laying along with her valedictorian sash. Nathan was already dressed and ready to go, aside from his cap.

"How do I look?" Haley asked once she was dressed. For now she was going to put all of her worries on the backburner. This was her high school graduation. She'd worked her butt off for four years to get to this moment.

Nathan smirked and moved a lock of hair away from her face. "You're the sexiest valedictorian I've ever seen."

She grinned and kissed him affectionately. "Good answer."


"I can't believe you kids just graduated. I feel so old," Karen joked wistfully.

"Me, too," Lydia agreed.

After the graduation ceremony, the group and their parents had gone to Karen's Café for dinner together to celebrate.

"It felt like it was just yesterday that I was teaching Nathan to walk and go potty."

"Mom," Nathan groaned.

Everyone laughed. It was very rare for Nathan to look embarrassed.

"How cute," Haley cooed and pinched his cheek.

"Please don't encourage her."

"Hey, I still remember Haley Bop's exhibitionist phase," Jimmy joined in. "She used to run around the house naked without a care in the world when she was little."

Haley's felt the heat rise up in her face. "Dad!"

"How cute," Nathan mimicked to her.

"So what if she did it when she was little? I still do it now," Brooke mumbled so only her friends could hear. They all snickered.

"I used to be obsessed with Star Wars," Jake announced. "I'd make these battle cruisers out of empty cardboard boxes."

Peyton grinned at her admission. "I finger painted on the walls."

"Now that was a pain to clean up," her father inserted with a shake of his head.

"Lucas would run around the house in a diaper and cowboy hat," Karen revealed. "I have pictures."

Lucas winced. "Mom, please."

"Okay, I have got to see those," Brooke proclaimed.

"I used to pee on the carpet in my house," Tim added. "My mom said I was worse than our dog."

"Ew," the girls mumbled. The guys and adults just laughed.

"That's great, Tim," Brooke deadpanned.

"Maybe we should stop with the gross baby stories," Peyton suggested.

"But they're so fun," Larry kidded, nudging her.

Everyone was talking, laughing, and reminiscing. The gang also looked through their yearbooks at various photos and signatures. Haley smiled while staring at the section that featured people's baby pictures. Brooke definitely had the cutest one. She was dressed in a pink tutu and sitting on a pink toy car with an umbrella drink in her hand.

"Damn, you were a diva early on," Peyton teased her.

"What? I was playing dress up," she defended.

They joked and chortled at more of their pictures. Afterward, they recounted various stories of their high school experience. No one could get over the fact that Nathan and Tim had stolen a school bus sophomore year. Deb hadn't even known about it. She stared at Nathan in shock before chiding him.

Haley stood up from the table several minutes later to refill her drink. She went behind the counter and got herself another soda. Her gaze wandered to the tables occupied by her family and friends. Everyone looked so happy. It may be the end of high school, but it was also a beginning. In just a few short months they'd all be attending their respective colleges and building their own futures.

At the thought of college, Haley felt a wave of emotions hit her. She was reminded of the turmoil and inner conflict she'd been battling the last few days. All of a sudden, the urge to be alone and get some air was strong.

Haley managed to stealthily slip past the counter to the stairs leading up to the roof. She shut the door behind her and took a deep breath as a warm breeze blew past her. Haley felt her anxiety from a moment ago start to dissipate. She needed to get a grip or she'd never be able to do what she had to.

Haley heard a door open behind her. The anxiety resurfaced when she saw that it was Nathan.

"What is it with you and sneaking off today?" he joked. "Are we boring you?"

She gave him a small smile. "No."

"Then what is it? I mean, you did great with your speech. Everyone loved it." Nathan had been so proud of Haley. She might've had trouble at first writing it, but the end result had been perfect. The words and quotes she used had been very moving. And although she fidgeted slightly onstage—only something people who knew her best would notice—she'd appeared so calm and collected.

"No, it's not the speech," Haley said, shaking her head.

"Then what's been bothering you? I've noticed that you've been a little distant these last few days."

"I know. I'm sorry," she muttered, biting her lip. "I, um, I don't quite know how to explain it."

"Explain what?" he gently coaxed.

Haley gazed into his piercing blues, now filled with evident concern. She took a step closer to him and placed her hands on his shoulders. Haley then stood on her tiptoes to kiss him.

The kiss began slow but soon gained momentum. The sudden urgency startled Nathan, but he didn't break contact. He just pulled her closer and kissed her back with the same level of intensity.

The pair broke apart a couple of minutes later when air became an issue. "Wow," Nathan muttered. "That was…"

She blushed. "Yeah."

"What was that for?"

"I have something important to talk to you about," Haley announced. She averted her eyes for a moment before meeting his gaze, once again. "And I'm afraid you're not going to be too happy with me afterward."

"Why?" The confusion and apprehension were written all over his face.

"I'm just going to say it." She inhaled a deep breath. It was now or never. "I don't want you to go to Stanford with me."

His eyebrows shot up in surprise. "What?"

"You can't go to Stanford."

Nathan took a step back from her to judge her expression more intently. "Haley…"

"I know what you said at prom last Friday. And while I appreciate the gesture, I can't let you do it."

"I don't understand." When he initially told Haley about his decision to go to Stanford, he thought that she'd been thrilled by the news. He was so taken aback and confused by this sudden development.

"I think you should go to Duke, instead."

"Okay, hold on a minute," Nathan requested, trying to process everything. "Where is this coming from?"

"Nathan, Duke is your dream school. It's such a great opportunity for you. I don't want you to pass something like that up. You can't."

"Hales, I told you before, I want to do something for you. You've already done so much for me. I won't let you give up Stanford for me, too."

Haley fidgeted with her hands. "I wouldn't be giving up Stanford," she said in a soft voice.

"What?"

"You'd be going to Duke alone."

"Now I'm really lost. Hales, what are you talking about? I thought we decided that we wanted to go to the same school. That we didn't want to be separated."

"I know, but things have changed, Nathan."

"Since when?"

"Since I know how badly you want to go to Duke. They've got a better basketball program and have offered you a better scholarship. It's what's best for you."

Nathan looked her in the eye. "You're what's best for me."

"Nathan—"

"No, I'm not letting you do this, Haley. You don't just get to change all of our plans."

"It wasn't necessarily 'our' plans. You're the one who decided to go to Stanford. It's not like we actually discussed it and made the decision together," she pointed out in a calm voice. She could tell that Nathan was getting upset.

"We have talked about me going to Stanford before," Nathan reminded her.

"But nothing was ever final."

"Haley, it's where I want to go. I want to be with you."

"I know you want to be with me, but Stanford isn't your first choice. Duke is."

"I think I know what I want," he retorted angrily.

Haley ran a hand through her hair. Her patience was starting to wear thin. "Nathan, please listen to me. You told me that you've wanted to go to Duke since you were five years old. It's all you ever wanted," she explained. "Now you finally have a chance to go, and you're just going to throw it away?"

"I'm not throwing anything away," he retorted. "Besides, it was Dan who put the idea of Duke in my head in the first place."

"That doesn't matter. You can still want to go despite what your father said or did."

"Haley, I'm doing what's best for us."

Haley sighed, frustrated. "Nathan, I am not going to let you jeopardize your future for me."

He stared at her incredulously. "Is that what this is about? Haley, there is nothing wrong with me going to Stanford. It's a good school."

"Not for basketball. You deserve to be a big fish in a big pond," she disputed, using their words from a conversation months prior. "I refuse to let you settle for anything less."

"Well, it's not your decision, is it?"

"It affects me just as much as it affects you."

"Oh, so it's okay for you to decide my future, but not me. That makes a lot of sense," Nathan scoffed.

"Nathan, I love you. I just want what's best for you. If you don't go to Duke, I know that someday you're going to regret it."

"You know, I'm really sick of people telling me what's best for me. It's bad enough my father did that. I don't need it from you, too," he replied, his voice rising.

"Don't you dare even compare me to Dan!" Haley snapped. "He cared only about himself. I care about you. And if you can't see that going to Stanford is a mistake, then I'm going to show you."

"I can't even believe I'm hearing this right now. Who are you, and what have you done with my real girlfriend?" He felt like he was in the middle of some kind of nightmare. One minute things had been perfect and the next everything was falling apart.

"Don't be a smart ass. I just want you to listen to me. Really listen to me and think about this," Haley pleaded. She had to make him see how much of an impact this decision could have on him.

"You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd almost think that you're saying you don't want to be with me."

"You know that's not it," she objected.

Nathan snorted. "Yeah, well it sure sounds like it."

"God, why do you have to be so stubborn?"

"I'm stubborn? Maybe you should take a good look in the mirror."

"Nathan, I'm trying to help you."

"Yeah, well, I don't need your help! I'm a big boy. I can make my own decisions. I'm going to Stanford."

"Nathan—"

"I'm going to Stanford," he declared in a firm voice. "And that's the end of it."

Haley stared at him in both disbelief and consternation. She knew that this conversation wasn't going to be easy. She'd expected Nathan to be a little difficult. But to see him this obstinate and forceful completely caught her off guard. He wasn't listening to what she was saying and he sure as hell wasn't contemplating it.

Haley felt her stomach churn as an unsettling thought popped into her head. It was extreme, but it was the only card she had left to play. She just couldn't let him do this. Nathan may not see it now, but Haley knew him. If he gave up Duke to go to Stanford and passed up one of the best opportunities of his life, someday down the line he was going to regret it. Maybe not right away but someday.

And even if it broke her heart, Haley couldn't let that happen.

"I think we should break up." The words popped out of her mouth without a second thought.

Nathan stood, frozen. "What?"

"I can't be with you if you're going to do this. I won't support this. I'm going to Stanford in the fall, Nathan. And if you go, then ultimately that is your choice. But I won't be with you when you get there." She inhaled a shaky, yet resolute breath and met his gaze straight on. "You'll be on your own."

Haley watched him carefully as a variety of emotions crossed his face. There was shock and sadness at first. A moment later, though, those looks disappeared completely. Nathan's face suddenly became stoic. But the fire burning in his eyes could not be missed.

"So that's how it's going to be?" Nathan muttered.

"I'm sorry," Haley whispered, fighting back tears.

"No, you're not," he replied with an emptiness in his voice. "But if that's they way you want it, then fine."

"Nathan—"

"Just save it, Haley," he bit out, the anger now surfacing. "Don't even bother. It's over."

Before she could say anything else, Nathan made his way to the door. It opened just as he reached for the handle.

"Here you guys are," Brooke declared. "We were wondering what happened to you."

"Who wants to play some miniature golf?" Lucas proposed.

Nathan didn't say anything. He just shook his head and walked past his friends out the door.

"What's the matter with him?" Peyton questioned.

"Haley?"

Haley didn't turn to Lucas or the others. Her eyes were completely transfixed on the door.

"Tutor Girl, are you okay?"

"Hales," Lucas said, concerned. "What's the matter?"

When Haley finally faced them, it was then that the first of her tears started to fall. "Nathan and I just broke up."

To be continued in the sequel..."Leave the Pieces"