Title: Little Wonders
Author: Kristen (KLafferty6)
Summary: Haley James finds herself pregnant and unwed about the same time Nathan Scott shows up on her doorstep. When he proposes a marriage of convenience, can she go along with the elusive loner's plan without getting her heart involved? Can he? NH.
Rating: M (in later chapters)
A/N: This story is inspired by a book called Heard it Through the Grapevine which I absolutely love and read on a far too frequent basis, so if the plot seems familiar to anyone at all, it has been based off of this magnificent book. It was just too wonderful not to use for Naley. This is the first multi-chapter fic I've started in who knows how long, so bear with me. I'm hoping to update once a week, if not twice a week. Thanks to my sister for the title suggestion and overall encouragement and support, you're a rockstar Moll.
Also, I'm terribly sorry this update took so long. I make no excuses except that life simply gets in the way. I promise, with Christmas break around the corner, I will try my hardest to get updates out at a much faster rate. Hopefully there are still a few of you out there reading this. This chapter is short, but it's where it needed to end so that it picks up in the right place for the next chapter, we're just getting the ball rolling here, there's a lot of story left.
They hadn't spoken in what seemed like hours, though she knew it couldn't have been more than twenty minutes. In that time they'd moved from the kitchen table to the couch, his arm wrapped tightly around her trembling shoulders as she leaned lightly against him, attempting to soak up the strength and confidence that seemed to be ebbing off of him. Her mind ran a million miles an hour; thoughts, fears and doubts tumbling over themselves so fast she was hard pressed to make sense of anything she was thinking. She'd opened her mouth half a dozen times to tell him she'd changed her mind, list out all the ways his proposal of marriage was a horrible, terrible idea, but the words wouldn't come out.
He sat there quietly, his hand running lightly up and down her arm as he felt her shake against him. He was surprised they'd sat so quietly for so long, half expecting her to change her mind after two seconds of thinking about it. He knew she was doubting herself, doubting him, the whole idea, but he was completely relaxed, confident that this plan would work. She would be taken care of, the baby would be taken care of and that was really all that mattered to him.
"We need to tell your parents." He said, breaking the silence.
She pulled away from him slightly; panic and uncertainty dancing around in her brown eyes. "Oh. Yeah, I'll do it. Maybe I'll call them tomorrow."
He knew she was stalling, thinking if she waited her thoughts would slow and she'd find a solid reason not to go through with this; he wasn't having it.
"Let's call them now." He suggested, fighting the smile he felt tugging at the corners of his mouth as he watched her big, brown eyes widen even more. He glanced pointedly at her still flat tummy before continuing. "I mean, it's not like we have time to waste, ya know? And besides, Christmas is two weeks away, it's perfect."
"Perfect?" she repeated, her head still spinning with the idea that she was pregnant - pregnant and engaged; engaged to Nathan Scott. Surely she had to be dreaming.
"Well, we can't spend four months planning it, now can we?" he pointed out realistically. "It's the perfect time to get married. All of your brother's will be home and you'd want them all there if this was the real deal, right?"
"Well, yes, but –" she agreed.
"Okay then." He said, ignoring the 'but' she'd tacked on to her previous statement. "We have to make this look real Hales." He watched her hesitantly nod as he reached for her cell phone sitting on the table in front of them. Flipping through the contacts he pressed call when he found the house number, pushing the phone into her open palm.
She stared at the phone, unable to bring it to her ear even as she heard it begin to ring. Her eyes shot back to his, silently pleading for him to do it. He sighed, pulling her tighter to him as he put the phone on speaker, waiting for the other line to pick up.
"Hello daughter of mine." Lydia's voice sang from the other end.
"Hey Lydia, it's –" he started, lacing Haley's fingers through his, squeezing her hand gently in encouragement.
"Nathan Scott. What are you doing with my girl's phone?" she teased lightly.
"Well, I borrowed it to let you and Jimmy know that she's going to be my girl now, I finally convinced her to marry me." He smiled, that wasn't exactly a lie. He looked down at Haley, worried slightly that she'd stopped breathing as she sat there next to him, her tiny hands both clasped tightly around his one.
Lydia laughed, a soft, breathless, confused laugh. "I'm sorry Nathan, I'm apparently losing my hearing in my old age. It sounded like you said you convinced her to marry you."
He laughed lightly as well. "You heard right Lydia, we're engaged. We'd like to get married when we come home for Christmas."
There was a loud peal of a scream, followed by laughing and a lot of yelling as Jimmy joined his wife on the other end of the line. They both congratulated them, telling Nathan it was about time he became an official part of the family, and to his surprise, offered no objections to him marrying their only little girl.
"Nathan, is Haley there? I need to speak with her, especially if we're going to pull this off in two weeks!" Lydia asked, the excitement in her voice obvious.
"Hi Mom." Haley answered, a small smile gracing her face as she listened to her mother ask her questions at a rapid-fire rate. "Yes, Bear can walk me down the aisle since Daddy'll be doing the service…No, no decorations, we'll just use whatever the church has out for Christmas…Your wedding dress would be perfect Mom, thank you…We just want everyone there, something small at the house afterwards is fine."
Nathan watched her with pride, as unsure as she'd been about this before, she was handling it just fine now. There was an ever-growing smile on her pretty face as she answered the never-ending questions Lydia fired off. They'd have to work hard to pull this off in two weeks, but with Lydia's help he had no doubt things would go accordingly.
"Haley-bop, you love him don't you?" Lydia asked innocently, not knowing that one question had the power to ruin this whole plan that he'd worked so hard to convince Haley would work.
Her smile was lost, face crumbled as she looked up at him like he was only thing keeping her from completely losing it. Her hand subconsciously found it's way to her midsection, rubbing soothing circles around the still mercifully flat area. He nodded at her, encouraging her on, hoping she wouldn't forget the promises he made, hoping she wasn't doubting them. She took a deep breath, closing her eyes as she exhaled before answering.
"Yes, Mom. I love him." She whispered.
She watched as he nodded again, smiling this time in relief. Their conversation with Lydia continued for a few more minutes before they hung up.
"You did good, Haley J." he told her, squeezing her hand encouragingly. "You okay?"
She nodded, shaken still from the whirlwind that her life seemed to become overnight.
"Nathan, when I told her I loved you…" she tapered off, not sure what, if anything, she planned on saying after that. She'd meant it, she knew she did, even though she'd go to the grave swearing to him she didn't. She'd loved him since she was just a kid, it certainly wasn't going to go away now that he'd offered her so much.
"I know, Hales. It's okay." He promised. "You did what you had to."
"It's more than that!" She insisted, though immediately regretted it when she saw his face pale. "I know this isn't about love, I know why we're doing this, but…for what you're doing for me, for this baby. I do. I do love you for that Nathan."
He nodded wordlessly, not sure what the proper response was or even if he could voice it if he came up with one. He remembered a night so many years ago when she'd said those same three words to him, words that shook him to the core. He'd thrown them back in her face, making her feel as if they meant, and she meant, nothing.
She loved so easily, everyone and everything that had the privilege to enter her life knew what it was like to be loved and cared for. She loved excessively, never having a shortage of it. When he was younger, and sometimes even now, he thought it made her stupid and careless. Asking to get hurt by giving so much of her heart so easily and without question. After all, he thought furiously, that's how she'd ended up in this situation. She gave that jackass what's-his-name her heart when he obviously didn't deserve the time of day from the get go.
He wanted to say something, anything to make her words less powerful. Wanted to tell her love was an illusion, a trick to make people act stupid and get hurt, but he knew it would prove to no avail. But still, the words twisted inside of him, echoing in his mind, swirling in the pit of his stomach, beating against his chest.
They were just words, letters strung together to make sounds as a form of communication. But they continued to echo and swirl and beat inside of and against him and he once again felt shaken to the core as he had when he first heard those words leave her mouth.
Those same words terrified him as a kid. So, why did they hold so much appeal now?