Chapter One: One Way Ticket
I hauled the last bit of luggage up the stairs and to my new home. I entered the room; it was painted a calming beige color with black accents of my new bedroom furniture. I had nine suitcases that lay in front of me, I hated unpacking more than I hated packing. I wanted to stuff it all in a trash bag but Brooke told me not to, so I didn't. I could be a pushover sometimes.
It was late June in Tree Hill, I had to get used to wearing shorts now in the summer. I was from Boston; the summers were hot, but not ever scorching to where shorts were a necessary item of clothing to wear. North Carolina was different. The weather was nicer, the people seemed friendlier and the drama seemed to be kept to a minimum.
"What the hell Nathan!" maybe I spoke too soon. I looked behind me and saw a blonde girl chasing a brunette, very cute, boy down the hallway. I laughed at the banter and stepped into the hallway, watching the two people run down the stairs and out of view.
"Hales?" I hear behind me. I spin around to find my favorite cousin standing there with his backpack and workout clothes on.
"Lucas!" I smile and run into his arms, searching for a hug. It's nice to see a familiar face in a foreign place. He scoops me up in a hug and lifts me off the ground. I smile as he places me back down and we separate a bit.
"How was the drive?" He asks me. "I see you found your room okay."
"I did. The drive wasn't too bad. I took I-95 all the way down and it only took me about fifteen hours. I stopped in Philly overnight to stay with Aunt Rhonda. She says hi." We walked into my bedroom, where the nine suitcases lay on the ground, still untouched.
"Did you pack enough?" Lucas laughed at the multitude of luggage. I blushed and shrugged.
"A girl can never be too prepared." Lucas wished me good luck and left me to unpack. He said there was food in the fridge that was all up for grabs and that his other roommate should be around somewhere. I started unpacking little by little until I was down to three suitcases and a closet full of clothes.
I laid back on my freshly made bed and picked up my cell phone. I held down the speed-dial #2 and my phone quickly connected. After the third ring there was an answer on the other line.
"Hi mom!" I smiled as I heard her voice.
"Hi honey. How was the drive?"
"It was fine, not too much traffic and I even managed to avoid getting lost!" I laughed. My mom and I made small talk about school preparations, how I liked my room and how my sisters were doing. I decided to end the conversation as I began getting tired from the drive and unpacking. We hung up after our "I love you's" and said goodnight.
My next phone call was to my best friend from back home, Brooke. Brooke and I met in third grade, I was getting picked on by Kristen Jennings and Brooke came and stood up for me. In high school, I tutored Brooke in every subject imaginable and we were the two best friends that anyone could have. My phone dialed her number, but after few rings there was no answer. She was probably out with Jack, her boyfriend.
"Hey Brookie B, I was just calling to say that I am alive and in North Carolina. It's weird not being in the city, but nice to have a change of scenery. I miss you terribly and it's weird not having you across the hall. I love you; call me if you get a chance later." I sighed as I hung up.
I missed my best friend, we grew up together. In sixth grade, Brooke's parents bought an apartment across the hall from my apartment, so we saw each other every day. We shared clothes and secrets, we walked to school together, had every class together and we didn't do anything alone. We were always right by each other's sides.
I am one of six kids. Both my parents are professors at different universities in Boston; my dad teaches at MIT and my mom is a music professor at Berklee. My oldest brother, Trevor, is married and lives in Connecticut with his two kids. Vivian is a fashion coordinator in New York City. Jonathon is an Army Lieutenant stationed in Fort Hood with his wife and daughter. Quinn is a photographer; I think she's in Burma right now. Then there's Taylor, who knows what the hell she's doing; she's the black sheep of the family.
My senior year by parents divorced, I was the youngest of my siblings and was the only one still living at home. I pretty much lived with Brooke for that year, and then I decided I needed to get out of Boston, away from everything I knew and loved. I needed to discover something new and create a story for myself. I could get into any school I wanted to with my grades, so I chose University of North Carolina at Wilmington. I wanted to be a Tar Heel.
My cousin, Lucas, was already a junior and he offered me a room in his house that he shared with his best friend and I took it. I packed up my stuff, said goodbye to my mom, Dad, and Brooke and left. I'm an incoming freshman; although I am a sophomore with my completed AP credits from high school. I'm majoring in education with a focus in English and I want to teach tenth grade.
I am an extremely driven and focused girl. I've been told I was born in the wrong century and that I have a good head on my shoulders. I've never been in a serious relationship, unless you call the unrealistic wedding to Andrew Chambers in the first grade serious.
I laid back on the pillows and shut my eyes, trying to convince myself to unpack the last of the suitcases. I heard the voices from earlier again; the ones belonging to the blonde and the attractive brunette boy. I got up and walked downstairs towards them. I peaked my head around the corner into the kitchen and smiled.
"Hello." I smiled, coming around from the corner. I waved a friendly wave at the two who were sitting at the kitchen counter, eating spaghetti.
"Are you Haley?" The boy asked. I nodded and stuck out my hand.
"Haley James, Luke's cousin." The boy returned the hand shake and smiled back.
"Nathan Scott, Luke's roommate." He motioned at the girl. "this is my girlfriend, Peyton Sawyer."
Shot to the heart, he would have a girlfriend; all the cute ones do. It's the creepy nerds and stoners that are single, their not my type.
I smiled and nodded at the blonde, Peyton, "nice to meet you." I greeted.
"There's some spaghetti on the stove if you want some. Luke should be back from practice soon." Nathan offered. I grinned at the gesture and grabbed a plate, helping myself to the pasta.
"Thanks." I stood on the opposite side of the counter, so as to face the two new strangers.
"So I know Luke's on the basketball team, and he mentioned his roommate was too. So why aren't you at practice?" I asked inquisitively, twisting the noodles onto my fork.
"I play mainly offense, Luke plays mainly defense. Once a week we have separate practices to focus on the tactics of the game more." Nathan explained as I ate.
"Gotcha." I nodded in understanding. "So do you both go to UNC?"
"I do, obviously. I'm the power forward and have been for the past three seasons." I smiled but noticed that Nathan seemed really boastful about his position on the team. It irked me in an awkward way. "I'm majoring in Sport's Medicine, so when I can't play anymore I can still be involved in the sport." That comment seemed more heartfelt and meaningful.
I looked over at Peyton, waiting for her response.
"I'm a sophomore. I'm majoring in Art Studies."
"Do you cheerlead or anything?" I asked. It seemed like an appropriate question, cheerleader dating the star basketball player.
"Hell no. I did in high school but it was only because my mom was a cheerleader. I don't have time for that in college. I do volunteer at the Wilmington Children's Center. I help out in their art department sometimes."
"That sounds really cool. I did something like that back home. I helped out with tutoring kids after school."
"What do you want to do? Like what are you studying?" Nathan asked, attempting to get back into the conversation.
"I want to teach high school English. I love reading and writing and I want to pass the passion on." I smiled, dipping a piece of bread into the marinara sauce and taking a bite.
"That's cool; I would not have the patience to teach." Peyton smiled as she finished up her spaghetti. "Where are you from? I hear an accent."
"Boston." I laughed. I guess I wasn't used to that question because most people I know back home have the same accent and I don't realize it. "Both my parents live there, but my siblings are all spread out." I commented; I was beginning to like this girl, Peyton. She seemed super chill and laid back but still focused. Nathan was definitely a looker, but was a lot more scatterbrained and a tad arrogant.
"How many siblings do you have?" Nathan asked me.
"Five, they are all older. There's ones in Connecticut, Texas, and New York City. My sister Quinn is traveling to Burma and then I don't really know where Taylor is… she's a wanderer."
"Wow." Peyton simply stated. "I'm an only child."
I couldn't imagine what that must be like; I loved my siblings, especially growing up. There was always someone in the house to spend time with or to annoy. I'm the youngest, isn't it my job to annoy my older siblings?
"What about you Nathan?" I asked, referring to his number of siblings.
"I have a younger sister, Chloe, she's about to start at UNC soon too." I nodded at the information.
"Cool." I finished up my spaghetti and thanked them for dinner; I told them I would see them later. I was almost to the stairs when the front door opened. It was Lucas; he looked super tired and sweaty from practice.
"You smell, dude." I laughed. He teased me by pretending he was about to hug me, but I dashed upstairs before he could. I smiled as he passed by my room on the way to his own room.
His parents, my Aunt Karen and Uncle Keith, owned the house and let him stay there, rent free, while he was in school as long as he kept his grades up. Therefore, Lucas got the master suite to live in. His dad and my mom are brother and sister.
My room was a good size with a huge closet, perfect for my wardrobe. I usually wasn't the queen of fashion, but because Vivian was a fashion consultant and Brooke was Queen Bee in high school my wardrobe definitely benefited from those connections. I closed the door and undressed, figuring I should shower because the next morning was my day to explore and get acquainted with Tree Hill and Wilmington. The two towns were only twenty minutes away from each other and the campus was only fifteen, so the commute wasn't horrible.
I walked into the bathroom, which I figured was my own and turned on the shower. I shampooed, shaved and conditioned before getting out. I grabbed a towel from the rack and dried off and changed into pj's. There was another door in the bathroom, which I figured was just another linen closet, so I didn't bother with it. I hung my towel up, brush my hair and teeth and climbed into bed. I glanced at my phone for a missed call from Brooke.
No missed calls. However, I did have a new text message. I opened it and read it.
Out with Jack :\ Glad you got there okay, miss you tons and I will call you tomorrow. G'night ttrgrl. (: xxBB
I laughed at the text, 'ttrgrl' was Brooke's way of texting Tutor Girl, which was my nickname from her in high school. 'BB' stood from Brookie B, my nickname for her. I plugged my phone in and smiled at the memories that I left and the memories that were awaiting for me in Tree Hill.