Title: Something More
Rating: Teen Rated
Disclaimer: I don't own a thing!
Spoilers/Warnings: This takes place in the "Bizarro 'verse" we saw in episode 2.20 'Lifetime Piling Up'.
Summary: "I don't want to be friends anymore," Nathan blurted out, instantly wishing he could take back those words when he saw the look of complete shock etched upon her pretty face.
Author's Notes: This was written for The October Writing Challenge.
A big thank you goes to Rita who suggested I write something for this episode and outlined this particular scenario. I hope you like it!
A special thank you also goes to Jen for being her usual awesome self and helping me out with this. You're a star!
Ever since he had returned from High Flyers three months ago, Haley had noticed a quietness to her best friend and she wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Tonight was no different. In the past, the walk home from wherever they'd been hanging out would be filled with chatter but now it was filled with silence. She wondered whether he could feel the awkward tension that seemed to now exist between them or if it was just her.
He looked over at her. "Yeah?"
"Let's sit for a moment."
Nathan suddenly seemed to realize where they were and he gave a small nod of his head as he took a seat at their bench down by the River Walk.
"Are you okay?" she asked him, resting her cheek in her palm as she sat opposite him, closely watching his face.
"Sure, why wouldn't I be?" he replied.
Haley sighed quietly under her breath. "I don't know. It's just... you know you can tell me anything, right?"
"Yeah, I know."
She didn't fail to notice that his eyes only held hers for a few seconds before he looked away. "Okay then," she mumbled, feeling a pang in her chest at the fact he either didn't want to tell her what was troubling him or just didn't feel able to confide in her. Rising from the bench, she stood there and watched him staring down at the wooden table and when, after a couple of minutes, he still hadn't acknowledged her she started to walk away.
"Haley, wait!" he called after her.
Stopping in her tracks, Haley didn't turn around.
"I'm sorry," he said softly as he approached her.
"I just wish you'd talk to me and tell me what's bothering you." She paused for a moment before quietly adding, "Even if it's me."
"What? Haley... no! How could you think that?"
She nervously toyed with the ring on her pinkie finger. "Because you've been so different lately and... I don't know why. I know you've been avoiding hanging out with me and the times when we have you've been really distant. I'm a big girl, Nathan. If you don't want us to be friends anymore, then—"
"I don't want to be friends anymore," Nathan blurted out, instantly wishing he could take back those words when he saw the look of complete shock etched upon her pretty face. Knowing he needed to work fast to make her understand what he had actually meant to say, he cupped her face between his palms and urgently pressed his lips against hers; holding them there for long moments before drawing back. "I-I want us to be more than friends."
Haley's lips were tingling from the after effects of his unexpected kiss. She stood frozen to the spot, her cheeks burning beneath Nathan's touch. "I... I don't understand.," she said, her words sounding lame even to her own ears.
"I want us to be more than just friends," he repeated. Dropping his hands from her face, he ran them through his hair. "Remember the night I won the game against Lucas?"
She nodded. "Of course I do."
"I wanted to kiss you so badly after you hugged me," he confessed. The memory of her throwing her arms around his neck and pressing herself flush against him as she congratulated him on his win was something he didn't think he would ever forget. He remembered thinking just how perfectly they fit together. "And then, when we were cleaning up in the bar after everyone had left... the urge got even stronger."
Haley bit her lip as she listened to everything he was telling her. "W-why didn't you do it?"
Nathan shrugged. "I guess I didn't know how you'd react. Don't forget, I've seen your mean right-hook," he teased, trying to lighten the mood a little.
Her lips quirked upwards into a smile before she sobered again. "Maybe it was just the heightened emotion of that night... you know, beating Lucas and winning your place at High Flyers."
"Yeah, maybe. But if that was the reason why haven't these feelings gone away? Why was it when I was at High Flyers you were all I could think about? That instead of going out to parties I was happier staying in my dorm room IM'ing with you or writing you letters. That now I'm back home you're still all I can think about."
"I-I don't know what to say," she finally said, her heart racing wildly in her chest. Never in a million years did she ever think he would be saying all of this to her... things she thought she was only ever likely to hear from him in her dreams.
Ducking his head, Nathan shoved his hands into his pockets. "Just say you don't hate me."
"Hate you? I couldn't hate you if I tried," Haley told him. Closing the short distance between them, she sucked in her breath as she slipped her hand into his and laced their fingers together; giving his a gentle squeeze. "Is this why you've been avoiding me since you got back from camp?"
He nodded his head. "Yeah. The last thing I ever want to do is wreck our friendship and I stupidly thought that putting some distance between us would... I don't know, somehow make these feelings for you go away so that's what I did. I hate that I made you think I was staying away because I didn't want us to be friends anymore. I'm so sorry for that, Hales."
She smiled softly at him. "It's okay. I'm just glad I know the real reason behind it." Hesitating for a brief moment, she then said, "Maybe you can make it up to me."
"Sure," he was quick to reply. "What do you have in mind?"
Haley felt her cheeks heat up again but she forced herself to say the words which were on the tip of her tongue. "Kiss me again."
His eyes widened at hearing those three words but he was soon smiling. Tucking an errant lock of blonde hair behind her ear, Nathan lowered his head and softly brushed his lips over hers once... twice... before he deepened the kiss. He moaned into her mouth when he felt her arms slide up his chest to twine around his neck and he wasted no time in wrapping his own arms around her waist, pulling her into him.
"Wow," she whispered several minutes later when they had finally drawn back from one another.
"Yeah," he replied, equally breathless. "So, uh... does this mean you want us to be more than friends, too?"
Haley nodded, smiling shyly at him. "Yeah but—"
"Does there have to be a but?"
She swatted him playfully on his shoulder. "But," she repeated, "I don't want this to wreck our friendship. We've known each other practically our entire lives and the thought of us not being close... it scares me, Nathan."
"It scares me as well," he admitted, "but the thought of us not giving this a chance scares me even more."
Haley understood what he meant and she gave a small head nod in agreement. "So I guess we're doing this, then?"
"I guess so," he said, grinning like the cat who'd got the cream.
Her own smile illuminated her entire face. "You do realize that when my parents find out about us my dad's not going to be letting you sneak into my bedroom anymore. In fact, you'll probably find he'll have bolted the windows shut."
Nathan frowned. "Maybe we should keep this a secret for a bit... you know, just while we're getting used to it."
"Uh huh," Haley said knowingly.
As they began the walk to her house hand-in-hand, she felt as light as air; the earlier weight she'd felt pressing down onto her shoulders having completely lifted.