Well, here it is...the last chapter. I hope that this rounds everything out for you...This is personally my favorite chapter I have ever written for any story. So, I have high expectations for what you guys think. I really hope that you feel it ends the story well in a way that shows they still have some where to go but not that I am cheating you guys out of some awesome scenes. I really enjoyed writing this story and getting great reviews and reactions out of all of you.

Thank you to all the amazing readers who stuck with this story through my long hiatus and continued to love it as much as I did. I really appreciate you guys! Please let me know what you think of this chapter.

As always, and for the last time with this story...Enjoy :)

The dictionary defines the word couple as "two items of the same kind; pair."See, my view differs from that a little. There are so many ways to describe "couple" but hardly ever would I say that the two things need to be the same.

When I hear the word couple, I think of two people braving the world together, side by side, regardless of their similarities and/or differences. I see two people who love each other with their whole hearts and give their souls to each other unconditionally…people who will fight to be together and keep each other safe…

As Haley lay there, still, hooked up to machines, Nathan couldn't help the anxious feelings pulsing through him. He was always credited as being the tough one, the guy who didn't show weakness or emotion but was strong through any situation. This was part of the reason he became a cop, he knew he could protect others because he was strong being the key word here.

Right after Haley went over to get checked out by the paramedics they told her that she would need to go to the hospital for further testing. Nathan couldn't hear all that they were saying, but he saw them put Haley in the ambulance and her smile as she tried to reassure him that she was ok. He got to the hospital as soon as he could and now, here he was waiting for news from someone, anyone.

"Would you stop thinking so loud? You are keeping me from my beauty sleep and after everything that happened I need it." Haley said without opening her eyes.

Nathan immediately reacted with a smile so big it took over his whole face. "I won't argue with that." He laughed.

"What? That was not supposed to be your response. You were supposed to say 'No, you look just as beautiful as ever. Maybe even more so'."

"First of all, when have I ever talked like that? Second, I don't want to lie to you." He said and took in her shocked face before moving even closer to her and pulling a chair up right next to her bed. "And, third, you do look beautiful…..you always do."

"Smooth recovery, boss."

"Well, you know I'm charming."

"Oh, is that what they call it?"

"Yep, now how long until we can get these wires off of you and I can take you home?"

"Now actually." Haley's doctor said as he walked into the room. "Haley, you suffered quite a bit over the last few hours. Luckily, there isn't much lasting damage. Although those burns on your neck are pretty serious and will need to be monitored, I don't see any reason you can't take care of that at home. Would you like me to show Nathan how to do that?"

"You two know each other?" Haley asked.

"You could say that." Nathan responded.

"Let's just say that Mr. Scott here isn't always careful in the field and I have had to put a few casts on, stitch up a few 'flesh wounds', and patch up some bullet wounds. Besides, if he hadn't been a patient in the past I would have met him as he frantically paced the hospital looking for news on you." Nathan looked down, avoiding eye contact with Haley, but still smirking.

As Dr. Newman showed Nathan how to treat Haley's neck, she couldn't help but to feel a sense of relief that Nathan was by her side. She could feel in this moment that what they had would be forever and he would always be there to protect her. She couldn't ask for anything more either.

"Well, you are all set Miss James. As much as I enjoy your company I hope that I don't have to see either of you for a while. Be safe out there." Dr. Newman said and shook each of their hands before walking out of the room.

"You ready to go?" Nathan asked and handed her a fresh pair of clothes that Brooke and Peyton had dropped off. They were currently back at Haley's apartment decorating for a little celebration.

"Yeah, just give me a minute." Haley said and went into the bathroom to change. When she walked back out, Nathan was sitting in the chair by the bed waiting. "I know that I said it earlier, but thank you. I tried to be tough, and I fought so hard, but deep down I was…..terrified." Haley was now standing right in front of him, her voice barely about a whisper. "I was so scared that you wouldn't figure it out in time, that she would kill me just like she did those other girls. I was scared that I would never get to have drinks with Jake and Peyton again, or laugh at one of Lucas' lame jokes, or spend time with my best friend. I already missed out on enough of my time with Brooke and I don't want to lose the chance to share any more memories with her. But, mostly, I was scared that I wouldn't get to see you again. That I wouldn't get the chance to stand here with you and tell you how I feel. Nathan, I-" And just like that, Nathan had stood up and interrupted her by sealing his lips over hers. This kiss was passionate and emotional and it showed, not told, each other how they felt.

Nathan looked down into her eyes and smiled. "Me too." He said and broke his smile so that he could kiss her again.

.People who are so perfect together that you know they will be together when they are hanging out in a retirement home….

"Peyton?" Jake asked as he walked into Haley's apartment with what seemed like a whole Chinese restaurant.

"Yeah baby?" She asked, not moving as she hung up a brightly colored banner.

"Where do you want me to put the food?"

"Usually the kitchen is a good idea." She joked as she finished hanging and stood back to enjoy her handy work. 'Congratulations!' was written across the banner and she laughed a little bit at it.

"What's so funny?" Jake asked as he wrapped his arms around her waist and stood behind her.

"Nothing, I was just thinking that it's a shame that there weren't any banners that said 'Relax, the psycho is dead!' So I had to go with 'Congratulations!'"

"Huh, that is a shame. At least they had 'Congratulations!' and you weren't stuck with something like 'It's a boy!'" He laughed.

"Very true. Hey, be sure to point that out to everyone later." She smiled and turned around in his arms.

"Oh, you know I will." He smiled back and leaned down to capture her lips with his. She smiled into the kiss and was about to go back in for more when the door opened.

"C'mon guys, we are supposed to be setting up for the party, not christening her apartment." Brooke said as she walked past them. Lucas just laughed and shut the door behind him.

As Peyton went to help Brooke out with the food, Luke walked over and gave Jake a fist bump.

"Hey, ten bucks says Nathan told Haley how he felt and they are a couple now." Jake said.

"Make it twenty." Luke agreed. "He doesn't have the balls."

"Yeah, ok let's have him hear you say that."

"I'm in." Brooke yelled from the kitchen. "But, I say that Haley told him first. She tends to be pretty honest after traumatic events."

"You guys, c'mon, just let them be." Peyton said.

"So you're not in on this babe?" Jake asked.

"Oh no, I'm in. But if they ask, that is what I said. I'm with you though baby, I saw how he was acting while trying to find her. No way he wasn't going to tell her the first chance he got." Peyton replied.

"Alright, now that we have that out of the way would you two get your lazy asses off the sofa and do something. We need decorations and drinks and food. Oh and music. So do something." Brooke ordered.

"Relax pretty girl, Haley and Nate will just be happy to be home and done with this case that they wouldn't care if the room was pitch black." Luke said.

"Luke, I love you, but this is more to keep me busy ok. My best friend was almost killed today and I need to do something so that I am not waiting outside for her to get home." Brooke explained, hugging herself to him.

"I understand, and guess what? I love you too, and I love that you are trying to make this perfect for everyone, but I want to make sure that you are ok. I mean this is a part of Haley's job and mine too. I just need to make sure that you will be able to handle stuff like this in the future if you need too." He said and looked down at her. Before he had a chance to say anything else, she had basically jumped up and kissed him. She broke away and nodded before leaning her head on his chest as he wrapped his arms around her.

"That was really sweet." Peyton whispered to Jake as they stood trying to pick out the perfect CD to listen to.

"Yeah, they remind me of us. Except that we are much more awesome."

"Oh, really? And how do you figure that?"

"Well, you are my best friend. There is no one that I would rather spend time with. You know exactly what to say and when to say it. I know that I could hold you in my arms forever and it still wouldn't be long enough. Not to mention the way you kiss. I mean my god, babe, you drive me crazy." He laughed and bumped her hips lightly with his.

She turned and looked at him, smiling and seeing him smile his breath-taking smile right back at her. "Let's get married." She said.


"Let's get married." She said again. "I mean it. Everything you just said, I feel that too. I love you and I always will. Not in an 'Oh I love this cookie' sort of way, but in a head over heels, first time you hear an amazing, life-changing song way. You are it for me." She smiled.

"You're serious?" He asked hopefully.


"Awesome. Yes! Let's do it! Let's get married." He said and picked her up off the ground in a bone-crushing hug and spun around. When he set her back down, his lips were on hers immediately. She smiled into the kiss and bit his lower lip as he pulled away. He rested his forehead against hers and they stared into each other's eyes until Luke threw a pillow at them and reminded them to get to work.

A couple implies love, friendship, and not only a past but a future as well. Now, I wouldn't exactly call my best friend and me a couple, but we have a past, we have a future, we are amazing friends, and we love each other. This adds yet another definition to the pile…..friendship…..

"They're here!" Brooke yelled as she sat at the window, watching as Nathan's car pulled up to the building. She was basically jumping up and down. Nathan had texted them about 10 minutes ago telling them that she was ok and they were on their way back. Ever since then, Brooke has been waiting by the window.

Now, she stood up and walked over to the door of the apartment, opened it, and walked out into the hall. She waited patiently for the elevator to open and as soon as they stepped out, Brooke was running straight at them. When she reached Haley, she all but tackled her as she squeezed her tightly.

"I was so worried about you buddy. How are you feeling?" Brooke asked and looked up as Nathan nodded to Haley and let her know that was going into the apartment, she smiled back.

"I'm ok now Tigger. I missed you though. I was so scared that I wouldn't get to see you again. By the way we need to have like a girls' weekend. We have already missed enough of each other's lives and I don't want to miss anything else. We need new memories to go along with our old ones." Haley said.

Brooke nodded. They were still holding onto each other. "Oh, and if you even think about being the hero again, I will come and kill you myself. Don't do that to me. I have no idea where I would be without my best friend. I need you here so I can tell you things that I can't tell anyone else."

"Oh, c'mon you have Luke and Peyton. If you really needed to talk to someone and I wasn't around you could always talk to them."

"Yeah, but you're tutor girl. No one even compares."

"Well, that's true." Haley said and brushed her hair back. "I am awesome." She laughed.

"Oh, by the way, I love Lucas."

"I know that, but does he?"

"Yeah, he does. He loves me too!" She said, doing a little happy dance.

"That's great! I told Nathan how I feel! Well, kind of, I started to but then he interrupted and instead of telling each other how we felt it was more like we showed each other."

"Haley! That's awesome! I guess we should go inside, huh?" Brooke asked and started to lead her in. When they got inside they gave each other one more quick hug before Haley went to go stand with Nathan and Brooke went to sit on Luke's lap. When Nathan wrapped his arm around Haley everyone's faces got excited but Brooke quickly put them out of their misery.

"Sorry guys, pay up. She told him first." She said and everyone groaned pulling out their money to give her.

"Ah, I love you guys." Haley sighed as she relaxed into Nathan's side.

"So, um, Peyton and I have some big news." Jake said and smiled as he looked down at Peyton. "We're going to get married." He said and both of their smiles grew even more.

"What? Guys, that's great!" Nathan said.

"Dibs on best man!" Luke shouted.

"Man, you suck. A best man at least congratulates the couple before calling dibs." Nathan said.

"Whatever. They know that I am happy for them." Luke said.

"Ok boys, chill. I am so happy for you two. Man this day is wrapping up rather nicely isn't it?" Haley said.

"It is, in fact, I have even more good news. Hales, you remember Marvin McFadden from high school? Well, before he joined the local news channel, he wrote sports stories for the Tree Hill Tribune and he put in a good word for me. You guys are now partying with the Tribune's newest columnist. I mean I am starting out small with just a romance piece once a week, as well as advice, but I am so happy. This is exactly what I want to be doing right now and who knows maybe I can help someone." She gushed.

"Wow, this day just keeps getting better and better. That is amazing Brooke. I am so proud of you and happy for you." Haley said and smiled.

"I couldn't have done it without any of you so thanks. You will all be featured heavily in my stories….inspiration." She winked.

I have been around couples my whole life. Some were amazing, defy all odds couples. Some caught fire and sizzled out over time, and some crashed and burned within a week. But I know that when I see certain couples I know that they are going to make it. Whether they are friends or more than that they have this connection, a chemistry, that becomes visible even tangible in a way that even a blind person can see that nothing will tear them apart.

Couples are funny that way. There are some specific things, like they always come in packs of two, they always feature some sort of love, and if they are worth fighting for they will make it. In all my years if I have learned one thing; people that are meant to be together always find their way in the end.

Ok, so incase you didn't realize it, the italics indicated Brooke's first article...all about her amazing friends.

I hope that you liked it...Let me know what your thoughts were!

Jessie :D