Disclaimer: I do not one the characters or the show. They belong to Mark Schwahn and the other people in charge of One Tree Hill.
Notes: New story! It's based on four songs, so those four songs will give you an idea of where we're going with this. The songs are "I Love You, But I Don't Know What to Say" by Ryan Adams, "I Need to Know" by Kris Allen, "Walking After You" by Foo Fighters, and "Our Deal" by Best Coast.
Okay, there's something that I need to explain. I don't have any sort of attachment to North Carolina. It was a great place for them to film the show for so long. The idea for this story came to me after seeing a commercial for a truck with some guy in a plaid shirt and jeans with a mountain capped with snow in the background. So, I thought that James Lafferty would look hot like that. So, I decided that I wanted snow. It doesn't really snow in Tree Hill. Well, it can snow in Tree Hill if I move it to northern Maine. Really, Tree Hill can be in any state, I think, as long as it remains Tree Hill. So, it'll still be Tree Hill, but now it's in Maine. I needed snow because later on there will be a blizzard. I hope you enjoy it!
I don't know if updates will come weekly, but I'll do my best. If they don't just rest assured that I am working and the story won't go unfinished.
"Well, it looks like we may be witnessing the downfall of music superstar Haley James," the bubbly entertainment reporter on the television began.
"Since her meteoric rise to fame while she was still in high school, Haley has been close with fellow musician Chris Keller. Speculation about the two ran rampant when they recorded a cover of Ryan Adams's 'When the Stars Go Blue.' In fact, it was that duet that put Haley James on the map.
"It came as a surprise to no one when, about a year ago, Chris and Haley confirmed that they were in fact an item. It's seemed like sunshine and roses ever since.
"That is until three weeks ago when Chris was caught on camera with actress and aspiring musician Alex Dupre. Dupre has long been a tabloid staple due to her partying ways. With each week's new editions to the tabloids came a new story about Dupre partying and hooking up.
"Dupre got her act together about six months ago with the help of Haley James. Dupre even credits Haley with helping to save her life. Now, a sober Dupre has been working on her first album with Haley James as producer.
"An amateur photographer caught Dupre and Keller together backstage at a concert." A clip on television showed Chris and Alex together in a passionate embrace. Chris had his hands at Alex's sides, trying to bring her top over her head, while Alex's hands were working to get Chris's belt unbuckled.
"Since this video of Chris Keller and Alex Dupre surfaced, Haley James has not been seen or heard from. Rumors have surfaced that Dupre's former bad habits have transferred to her friend. A source says that Haley James has purchased cocaine and heroin.
"Haley James's life has seemed perfect. She was noticed by The Wreckers while she was a junior in high school. She embarked on a nationwide, sold out tour with them, Gavin DeGraw, and Chris Keller. After recording a duet with Keller, she began recording her own album. She managed to record two more albums all while attending Stanford University and graduating at the top of her class last year.
"While Haley's first two albums were met with acclaim and some of the strongest sales for a new album seen in a while, her third album 'All I Have,' was declared a disaster by many music critics. Instead of the finely crafted and well played tracks from her first two discs, her third was filled with up tempo, booming dance tracks. One critic bemoaned the fact that her voice could barely be heard over the drum beats.
"There were rumblings that she would be touring for this album in the near future, but no dates have been announced. Adding the recent scandal involving her love life, we are beginning to wonder and worry about Haley James."
Haley turned the television set off. The reports each day were the same. They were speculating about where she was and what she was up to. She wondered how when her boyfriend and friend betrayed her it was her downfall that the press was sure had happened. She brought the bottle to her lips and took a drink, wiping away the residue of moisture.
How could this have happened? Everything had been perfect. She was at the top of the world. Every dream she'd ever had had come true. She loved music and she took a chance by performing one night. She didn't know that Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp had been in the audience. She didn't know that Chris Keller was going to come into her world and change it completely.
Now, four years later, he changed it again. This time, things were much worse. The press had been hounding her ever since she found out. She found out much the way the rest of the world did. She was reading Yahoo! News one morning and saw a link claiming to be a story about Chris Keller and Alex Dupre's next project together. When she clicked the link, Haley immediately felt sick. Right at the top of the page was a blurry photograph of Alex and Chris making out. They were all over each other.
Some of the comments on the news story speculated that it might not have been Alex and Chris. Haley knew better. She knew the two of them well enough to know. Chris wore two rings on his right hand. One was on his thumb and the other on his middle finger. She had given him the one he wore on his thumb. In the picture, the skin on Alex's midriff could be seen where Chris had lifted her shirt. Haley could see the tattoo on her hip that she had gotten. It was the date that Alex had decided to devote herself to being sober. There was no doubt in Haley's mind that Chris and Alex were together.
When the story broke, both had come to talk to her. They came separately. Chris came first. He explained to her that he felt pressure because his and Haley's relationship was moving so slowly. He felt like she didn't truly want him and so he went to someone who did. That had hurt Haley. When they became friends, Haley had resisted his attempts to flirt. She had seen him flirting with so many girls and she didn't want to be just another notch on his bedpost. She refused to be another conquest.
Instead, they remained friends for nearly years. For years, he was with her through thick and thin, supporting her as her career was on the fast track. It was late one night in the studio after he had helped her work on a new song when he asked her to go on a date with him. She had said yes and the date had gone wonderfully. They didn't need to go through the stage most couples did where they had to get to know each other.
It was on their third date when she sat him down to have a serious discussion with him. She told him that she knew that he was used to getting his way with women and then leaving them before the sun came up. She made it clear that she wouldn't be one of those girls. He already knew how much she valued her virginity. Once or twice, he had teased her about it. She told him that she wouldn't be having sex until she was in love and with the man she intended to marry. There had to be that commitment before she gave herself completely.
Chris had told her that he understood and that he expected that from her. He had known her for many years and had seen her go on dates with several guys. They never lasted long and he had a feeling he knew why. Haley James was gorgeous and sexy and he knew she probably left a lot of guys feeling disappointed. Chris went into that relationship feeling that he wouldn't be disappointed.
He was disappointed. He had hoped that after a while she would give in and she did. They'd been together for almost a year when she finally slept with him. It hadn't happened often and when it did, Chris had to nearly beg for it. It wasn't long after that he began to notice Alex. Alex wanted him. He tried to explain that to Haley. He told her that he had needs and that Alex wanted to make sure those needs were met.
When he was explaining that to Haley, she told him that she understood he was frustrated, but he should have broken up with her instead of cheating on her. Cheating on her with one of her best friends had hurt a lot more than a breakup would have. He apologized as she kicked him out of the house.
When Alex had come by, it had gotten messy. Alex was in tears before Haley even opened the door. Alex was an actress who Haley had met at an industry party. The two had hit it off immediately, but Haley could tell that Alex was troubled. Haley was the one who found Alex after she'd snorted cocaine and slit her wrists. Haley was with Alex in the ambulance, covered in the girl's blood. Haley had sat with her in the hospital until she woke up and she was there with her every day until she was discharged.
As they sat in the hospital, Haley had told Alex that she loved her and didn't want to see her killing herself. She told Alex that if she really wanted to get help and get healthy that she would be with her every step of the way. If Alex needed a place to stay, she would be there. If she needed someone to talk to in the middle of the night, she would be there.
That is exactly what Haley did. She had been Alex's rock during her recovery. Her recovery was still ongoing. Addiction would always be a problem for her. She had told Haley that she had never had a friend who was so concerned about her. Alex told Haley that she credited her friendship for saving her life. Haley saved her life and got her into music. She explained all of this through tears.
Alex also explained that now that she no longer used drugs and alcohol as a crutch, she used guys. Chris was there and after everything she had been through, he was able to do something that Haley would have never been able to do. Alex said that Chris had made her feel desirable. He made her feel sexy.
Alex cried as she told Haley that she never wanted to lose her friendship and that she hoped Haley would forgive her someday. Alex said she had never regretted anything the way she did sleeping with Chris because it meant losing Haley.
Before asking Alex to leave, Haley had told her that she still loved her and cared for her. That was the reason why it hurt so much. She told Alex that she hoped she would stay clean and keep her life on track. She wished her luck with everything. Despite what Alex did, Haley really did worry for her sobriety. She prayed that Alex would stay clean and healthy.
Haley's thoughts were interrupted when she heard her front door open and close. She reluctantly got off of her plush, comfortable sofa and with the bottle in hand, she trudged her way through the house. Her bare feet hit the cool marble floor, not making a sound.
She wasn't surprised to see Miranda Stone standing in the entryway of her house, looking through her mail.
"What do you want?"
"Good morning to you too, Haley," Miranda's melodic yet condescending voice chimed. "Drinking this early? It's barely noon."
"What time is it in London?"
"They're eight hours ahead back home," Miranda replied.
"There you go. Pretend I'm in England."
"Haley, you cannot keep doing this. You're going to have to get yourself cleaned up and leave this house. You need to at least put on a brave face." She looked at Haley and sighed. Haley James was normally so put together. Now, her honey blonde hair was a tangled mess and there were bags under her eyes. Miranda eyed the bottle in Haley's hand and reached for it, examining the label. "Vodka, really? Well, judging from how full it is, you've only just opened it. That's good."
"I'm not much of a drinker."
"Well, I wouldn't start now. What I would do is get in the shower. We're going to lunch."
"Miranda, I don't feel like going to lunch."
"Of course you do. At least, that's what the paparazzi are going to think when we show up at the Ivy. Now, go, shower and make yourself presentable."
"What did I ever do to deserve you in my life?" Haley mumbled as she walked upstairs to the master bedroom. When her first album had sold so well and her first solo tour had sold out, her record company insisted that she buy a big new house to show off just how successful she was. Haley didn't want a big house. She just wanted somewhere that she could call home. She didn't have that in this house. It was big and it was immaculately designed, but it wasn't home.
Miranda Stone was Haley's manager as well as her publicist. It was her job to make sure that Haley had the right recording contract and that she didn't fall victim to any bad press. The second part was easy until now. Haley James was the most straight edged client that Miranda had ever had. She would never tell Haley, but the girl was actually Miranda's favorite client for that very reason. Haley never got in trouble and trouble never found her. Until now.
This was a mess and Miranda wanted to throttle each and every member of the press. She knew as well as anyone that when someone was successful, the press only wanted to see them fail. Now that things were going poorly for Haley, the press jumped on the chance to predict her downfall.
It had started with the third album. Miranda had negotiated a great contract for Haley, but something happened in the recording process of the third album. Haley was having trouble writing, so the record company brought in some help for her. Haley was reluctant to accept help, but to keep with the terms of her contract, she had to. The terms of her contract also stated that if she wasn't writing, then they would assume further control of the album. They had released an album that Haley had hated. The songs weren't her. They were sexed-up, bass thumping dance tracks. Haley knew that people enjoyed that music and she was fine with that. From time to time, she enjoyed dancing and going out herself. That just wasn't her music. Her music was so personal and that album wasn't personal at all. It was the record company through and through. It was radio friendly and it was forgettable. It was everything that Haley never wanted to be.
The record company wanted her to tour. They wanted her to take dance lessons, hire backup dancers, and sing with a headset microphone and perform against the backdrop of extravagant set pieces. Miranda had managed to get her out of that one. The way that Miranda got her out of it, though, also got her out of her contract completely. When it happened, Haley felt a little overwhelmed, but also a little excited. Miranda was now working on finding her a smaller label that would allow her ownership of her own songs and her own choice of producer for the album. Choosing her own producer would be the best way for her to protect her music.
They were having trouble finding a new record company, though. Haley's last album wasn't a vote of confidence in her abilities as a musician. She and Miranda were contemplating recording an EP and releasing it independently to get some interest. It would be like a reward to loyal fans and it would also show those in the business that Haley was still Haley.
Disaster struck when Chris Keller and Alex Dupre were caught with their pants down. Now, Miranda was spending most of her days assuring the press that Haley James was fine, she wasn't on a path of self-destruction, and that she would be back and better than ever in no time. Now Miranda just needed to convince Haley of that.
Haley eventually came back downstairs in a pair of denim shorts and a tank top. Her hair was down in waves and the only makeup she wore was a bit of mascara and some lip gloss. Miranda guessed that it was enough. Haley looked presentable and she actually looked a lot like the Haley she had first met when the girl was just sixteen years-old and about to finish high school.
They arrived at The Ivy and hadn't even needed a reservation. When the staff saw who was there, they immediately led them to a table. As soon as they sat down, the flashes from the cameras went off. Haley left her sunglasses on throughout the entire meal, which she barely ate.
Instead, she moved the food around her plate with her fork, taking a few scattered bites. She felt exposed and even though she was surrounded by people, she felt so alone. She had been thinking about it a lot ever since the story about Chris and Alex broke. The two of them , along with Miranda, had been her only visitors. None of the people she had called friends had come by. Every one of her siblings and her parents called to check on her. Her brothers and sisters all offered to come out there and beat up Chris. But no friends.
Haley had been a loner in high school. She had been known simply as the youngest of the many James children. She was smart. She was so smart that she worked hard and finished high school during her junior year and was able to head off to Stanford a year early. It was during her final year of high school that she took a chance and performed at an open mic night. After that performance, she was no longer known as the youngest James. People knew who Haley James was. They had known ever since.
After that, she really didn't have a chance to make friends. The record company wasn't happy about her insistence on going to college. Instead of living in the dorms, they insisted on her living in an apartment off campus. She was so busy with school and recording that even though she met nice people, she didn't form any lasting friendships. Now, she was living in Los Angeles full time and Miranda was constantly telling her that people couldn't be trusted. Alex Dupre had been her first true friend since she began this crazy ride.
Now, she sat across from Miranda and realized that she had never felt more alone in her life. "Miranda, can I ask you a question?"
Miranda was scrolling through her Blackberry, furiously typing text messages. "You look gorgeous and your next album will be a huge hit."
"No, I'm serious, Miranda." Haley set her fork down and pushed her plate away.
"Haley, I know we always tell you singers to stay skinny, but you do actually need to eat."
"I'll eat later. I don't like the food here," Haley admitted. "It costs way too much and you get way too little."
Miranda glared at her.
"Miranda, are we friends?"
"What do you mean?"
"Miranda, throughout all of this, the only person who isn't related to me by blood who has shown any interest in how I'm doing is you. Are we friends?"
"I work for you, Haley. That may not be want you want to hear, but that's the truth of it. I care and I want to see you do well. It's my job."
"That's what I thought," Haley sighed, defeated.
The rest of lunch went by quietly with neither of them saying much. Miranda got what she wanted and Haley had been blinded by camera flashes. The press had new pictures of Haley to illustrate their stories of her downfall and Haley hoped that now Miranda would leave her alone for a while.
Miranda came in the house briefly when she brought Haley home. Miranda immediately began sorting some of Haley's mail and left for the study without saying anything to Haley.
Haley stared around her large, empty house. She picked up the bottle of vodka that had been left on the counter when Miranda forced her into going to lunch. Taking a large gulp of the heavy liquid, she opened the sliding glass door that led to her backyard. She slipped off the shoes she had on, leaving them by the door. Her feet could feel the warmth of the ground beneath them and she stood with her toes at the edge of her swimming pool. She never used the pool. She took in the sight of the high concrete walls intended to keep prying eyes from catching a glimpse of her. Instead, they made her feel even more isolated. She closed her eyes, trying to block out everything around her. She didn't want to see it. She didn't want to feel this alone and empty. With her eyes closed, she could feel tears fall down her cheeks.
This wasn't her and it wasn't who she wanted to be. She had been such a happy person in high school and in college. She loved learning and feeling like she was doing something. She missed that. Things were simpler then. She found herself missing elementary school and middle school. During those years, her best friend had been Jake Jagielski. The two had been inseparable until he moved to Missouri before high school started. She had friends in high school, but no one who she could call and pour her heart out to now. She didn't even know where Glenda and Shelly, her two closest friends in high school, were. They had all lost contact. Haley hadn't been good at keeping in contact with people once she was out on the road.
She was alone and there was no one around her. Miranda was inside, but Haley was alone. She realized that she didn't know who she was anymore. She wanted that. She wanted to be Haley James again and not Haley James the celebrity. She wanted to be Haley James, the girl who had friends and loved music. That wasn't going to happen here. Here she was stuck in her house like a prisoner because every time she went out, she was bombarded. She couldn't find herself if she was always in the spotlight.
Without a second thought, Haley jumped into the pool. The sound of silence was muffled as the chlorinated water surrounded her, enveloped her. She opened her eyes and could no longer feel the tears. She held her breath for as long as she could. All she could see was the blurred outline of the tiled pool wall. She became aware of a muffled voice. Miranda was calling her name. Miranda was now at the edge of the pool.
Haley broke the surface of the water, spitting some of it out of her mouth, just in time to see Miranda removing her Jimmy Choo's and about to step into the pool. When she saw her client surface, she instead reached out her hand, trying to help Haley out. As Haley sat on the edge of the pool, her legs dangling in the water, she felt tears falling again. She could feel the sobbing in her chest more than she could feel the towel that Miranda was putting around her shoulders.
"Haley, what the hell was that? I'm really starting to worry about you now. Do I need to get you help?"
"No. No, you don't need to do that Miranda. I just… I wanted to feel. I wanted to feel something other than… this."
"Other than what?"
"Nothing," she said honestly, but also not wanting Miranda to know what she was thinking. "Thank you for lunch, Miranda. I'll see you tomorrow." Without a second glance, Haley walked back into the house, her wet feet leaving a trail on the tile floor. Miranda just watched, her mouth agape. She really was worried now. Haley had never done anything like that before. She looked down at the edge of the pool and saw the bottle of vodka where Haley had left it. She picked it up after slipping her shoes back on and took it with her as she left. She would definitely be back tomorrow.
Haley ambled up the stairs of her room and, after drying off, changed into a pair of sleep shorts and a tank top. She closed her blinds, shutting out all of the light, climbed under her covers and began to sob again. She hated the gaping emptiness that she felt. She wrapped herself in her bedding, hoping to feel secure. It wasn't working. She knew it wouldn't work while she was in that house.
She wiped her tears away and remembered the last conversation she'd had with her mother. Lydia James always seemed to know what Haley needed, even before Haley knew it herself. Haley reached over and grabbed her iPhone from the nightstand and dialed the number that her mother had given her. It rang a few times before someone answered.
"Hi, this is Haley. Haley James. I'm… I'm… I don't know, honestly. I know it's been a while, but my mom said that you offered. Yeah. I would love that. I was thinking of flying out tomorrow. Thank you so much," Haley said, relief coming to her. More tears came with the relief. "Thank you so much."
Hanging up the phone and needing to do something, Haley went to get her suitcase from the hall closet. She set it on her bed, leaving it open and empty. Putting her hands on her hips, she bit down on her lip, unsure of where to begin. If she was going somewhere, she was going to need a way to get there. Giving one last glance at the suitcase, she went into another room down the hall.
The room was sparsely furnished. All that was in it was a small loveseat and a small desk with a laptop on top. Haley hadn't touched the computer in days. A computer could hold a lot of things that Haley didn't want to be around. Using a computer was the way she found out about Chris and Alex. She wasn't so self-involved that she thought that all of the news on the internet would be about her. By now, it would only be the gossip sites that cared. They would probably already have pictures of her at lunch with Miranda. She had never been one to use the computer much anyway, outside of school.
It wasn't long before she arranged her flight. She would be leaving before dawn, but she thought it would be better that way. She wanted as few people to find her as possible. She didn't want to be found at all. She needed space and time to clear her head. She couldn't do that with the world breathing down her neck. That's what it had felt like throughout this ordeal. She felt like she couldn't make a move without someone coming after her and wondering what was going on.
That was the reason why she stayed in her house. She stayed in her house because they couldn't get to her there. Occasionally, she would step out to get her mail, but then she would notice a photographer hovering and she would make a hasty retreat.
She wasn't much of a drinker. She didn't drink much at all because she didn't like it. The taste of liquor going down her throat made her shudder. She didn't like not having her full mental capacity. She always wanted to be alert and aware of everything around her.
This was an exception. If she was drinking, she could at least make the intrusions of her life less sharp. She could dull what she was going through. Even drinking, there was a voice in the back of her mind telling her that the dullness she had brought on was temporary. One of the last things she wanted was to be another starlet with a drinking problem. She didn't want a drinking problem at all and she didn't even really want to be a starlet.
She wished she could go back. She wanted to go back to when things were simpler. As much as she loved her music, she didn't love this spotlight that came with it. Night after night she was on stage. Night after night, she put on a show. She sang her songs at every show and she loved that. But, her on stage banter with the audience was the same. Every night and every audience. It wasn't her. It was all mechanical and she didn't mean it. She was following a script and playing a part. She didn't want to play that part anymore.
With one small suitcase, Haley exited the taxi that she had called to her home at four o'clock that morning. After booking her flight and packing, she had gone straight to bed. The way she had been feeling, falling asleep wasn't a problem. She slept until her alarm blared, waking her up. After this, she didn't plan on setting an alarm for a very long time.
Haley hoped that the driver didn't know who she was and that if he did, he would keep his mouth shut about dropping her off at the airport. Even if he did, he wouldn't be able to tell where she was going. She knew she was being paranoid, but she couldn't help it. She didn't want the press knowing where she was. It was just that simple.
A few curious looks from various airport employees met Haley as she went through the motions. She took the chance to relax once she was on the plane. She took the offered pillow and blanket and tried to get some sleep. She had a long flight ahead of her and once she landed, she would have a long drive before she reached her destination.
She couldn't sleep. She had never been great about sleeping on planes and her mind was racing. This was a big step for her. There was no indecision. She was stepping away from what she knew, but she knew that it was the right thing.
Haley shifted uncomfortably in the cramped seat when the flight attendant did a double take upon seeing her. She hated that she now assumed that everyone knew who she was. She was brought up to be humble. In high school, before her open mic night debut, she had gone largely unnoticed. She didn't try to call attention to herself, yet she chose a career that did just that. Her parents had raised her to know that everyone had value and no one was better than anyone else. So, why should she assume that everyone knew who she was? What made her think that she was that important? Why would she think that a cab driver and a flight attendant were giving her special attention?
She picked up the paperback that she picked up at the airport newsstand. She picked it up simply because it was listed as the number one book on the New York Times's bestseller list, as the display for it proudly proclaimed. She wasn't sure what it was about. The cover with the purple-blue sky at dusk and the silhouette of a large oak tree told her nothing about the story. Nor did the title, The Frame. She opened the book to the first page. She was careful with the binding, not wanting to bend it. She had always been that way about her books. She loved a well read book. She loved old books. Yet, she had trouble allowing her own books to look worn and read.
Somewhere over New Mexico, she realized that she was still on the first chapter and that she had read and re-read several paragraphs several times. At this rate, she was going to go crazy before she even got to her destination.
She knew what would put her to sleep, but she didn't want to go there. She had already been drinking more than she did usually. She refused to go down that road. If she stayed awake for her entire flight, then so be it.
He squinted as he walked into his brother's house, the old wooden floors creaking beneath his heavy footsteps. The house was completely silent and he easily figured out that his brother wasn't home. Typical. Rolling his eyes, Lucas set the plate of cookies on Nathan's kitchen counter, the ceramic piece clattering throughout the room. Idly, Lucas thought that he would have to make sure to come and retrieve the plate himself. Peyton would have his head if he left it there for Nathan to break or lose or throw out.
He was turning on his heel to leave when he heard Nathan's truck roll up. Leaning against the kitchen counter, he crossed his arms, and tried to make his expression stern. Knowing his brother's habits, he was going to have a little fun.
Nathan's shoulders slouched when he saw his brother's car in front of his house. He had a late night and he wasn't in the mood for Lucas's sometimes sanctimonious attitude. He cocked his head to one side, cracking his neck, then to the other side, getting the same result. Toeing off his shoes, he left them in the entryway of his house.
He wondered why Lucas hadn't said anything. Surely he'd heard Nathan pull up. Not caring to think about it anymore, Nathan headed for the kitchen. He needed water after his previous night. He needed water and a lot of it. He brought his hand to his head, running his fingers through his hair as he opened his refrigerator and grasped a plastic bottle of water.
"You know, Brooke is really on this whole water bottle kick. She sees you using those bottles, she's gonna install a water filter herself, and get you one of those bobble things."
Nathan nearly jumped hearing his brother's voice. Looking up over the door of the fridge, he took in his brother's smug appearance.
"Walk of shame?"
"I'm not feelin' any shame," Nathan smirked.
"What was her name?"
Nathan shrugged. "Doesn't matter."
"One day, it will," Lucas smiled.
"Someday, if it ever matters, I'll wash your car once a month for a year."
"Oh, I'm gonna remember that, little brother."
Nathan took a drink of his water and momentarily thought of Brooke's wrath. She'd really jumped onto the environmental bandwagon, going so far as converting her company to being completely eco-friendly. "What are you doing here, Luke?"
"What, I can't just stop by to see my brother?"
Nathan gave him a pointed look.
Lucas chuckled and indicated to the plate he'd set on the counter. "Peyton baked."
Nathan tried to mask his expression, having experienced Peyton's baking skills firsthand. He knew why Lucas brought the results of her baking over. If Nathan had them, Lucas didn't have to eat them. Lucas Scott wasn't playing fair.
Before Nathan could think of a retort, Lucas sprung from his spot against the counter and began to walk out of the house. "I've got to get going. Need to go to the airport." Nathan couldn't even ask about that before Lucas was out the door and in his car.
Note: I hope that you enjoyed that. I'll try to get another chapter up soon. Thank you for reading!