Hiding My Heart

Title: Hiding My Heart
Author: Diane
Pairing: Nathan/Haley
Category: AU
Prompt: Trust
Rating: Teen Rated
Disclaimer: I don't own a thing!
Spoilers/Warnings: None as it's AU. Story contains a little cussing.
Summary: Jabbing her finger into his chest, she said, "Do you really think that just because we were no longer together that I wouldn't be completely and utterly devastated if anything ever happened to you? Huh?"
Author's Notes: This has been written for Porn Battle XII (The Dirty Dozen). A big thank you goes to Lisa for her reassurances and hand-holding. You're a star!





"I was hoping I'd see you here."

The familiar voice whispering into her ear made Haley James shiver. She knew he would be in attendance at the wedding - he was the best man, after all - but she'd hoped to have been able to avoid him. Unfortunately, luck had never been on her side. Her eyes involuntarily fluttered closed when she felt his arm snake around her waist, the flat of his hand coming to rest on her stomach.

"Nathan... don't." Her voice sounded weak to her own ears. She'd rehearsed in her head what she would say to him if he happened to come up to her but this certainly wasn't it. The thought of him touching her... of her letting him touch her hadn't even been a consideration. How could she still let him affect her this way?

"Don't what?"

His hot breath puffing against the shell of her ear was making her weak in the knees. "You know what."

"You look amazing," he told her, nuzzling his lips against her cheek.

Haley couldn't speak. Her traitorous body leaned back into him as the feel and scent of him enveloped her. She knew she should be concerned about people watching them but right then and there, in that very moment, she couldn't seem to care. It had been so long since she'd last felt his touch and she couldn't help but revel in it even though she knew she shouldn't.

"I've missed you so much," he murmured huskily.

The sting of tears prickled behind her eyelids and a lump formed in her throat. "Really?" She wanted to turn around and look into those beautiful blue eyes of his but she forced herself not to; scared she wouldn't see the truth of his statement reflected in them.

"Yes. Have you missed me?"

Every single day, she wanted to tell him but didn't. Instead, she remained silent.

"Haley..."

"Don't you have best man duties to attend to?" she asked.

"You're more important," he said.

She laughed wryly. "I wouldn't let your brother hear you say that."

Nathan chuckled along with her. "I'm pretty sure I'm off duty now that all the speeches are over."

Haley still hadn't turned to face him. Her gaze wandered all around the room, taking in the sight of the wedding guests enjoying themselves. She smiled when her eyes settled on her best friend and his bride. They looked so happy together... so in love. They were in the middle of the dance floor, their arms around each other as they gently swayed to the song that was currently playing. It didn't seem to matter to either of them that it was an uptempo track and that everyone else around them were dancing energetically.

"Do you, uh, want to dance?" Nathan asked when he noticed her watching the dance floor.

She shook her head. "No... but thanks for the offer." When he began trailing his fingertips down her bare arm, she trembled. "You need to stop that."

"I want you," he stated. "I always have."

"Is that so 'cause you've got a funny way of showing it," she said, remembering what he'd said to her the last time they'd seen each other almost a year ago.

Placing his hands on her bare shoulders, Nathan turned her around to face him, his eyes boring into hers. "I didn't mean what I said."

"How convenient. You know what I think?" Before he had a chance to respond, she continued. "I think you're at your brother's wedding and you've probably been drinking and now you're feeling melancholy thinking about the past. You saw me standing here and figured you could just turn on the charm and I'd fall back into your arms. Well, I'm sorry to burst your bubble but there's no way that's happening."

"Haley, I—"

"Hey, mind if I cut in?"

Nathan glared at his brother. "Actually, Luke—"

"I don't mind at all," Haley replied, smiling at the tall blonde and then fixing her ex-boyfriend with a pointed glare.

Leading her out onto the dance floor, Lucas took her hand in his and then wrapped his other arm around her waist, drawing her in towards him. "You looked like you needed rescuing," he told her, his eyes twinkling with amusement.

She gave him a watery smile as her vision become blurry with unshed tears. "I've missed him so much," she confessed. "I knew I'd see him here and I tried to tell myself that I'm over him and that it didn't matter. That I wouldn't let him affect me but..."

"He misses you, too," Lucas told her when she didn't continue. "He's been miserable without you. This past week leading up to the wedding he's been a nervous wreck wondering what would happen when he saw you again."

"Why should I care?" As they turned, she caught Nathan's eye as he stared at them and she quickly looked away, her cheeks flushing to a shade which almost matched her dusky rose dress.

"Because you still love him... and he still loves you."

Haley didn't bother disputing what her best friend had said. "He broke up with me, not the other way around."

"And do you want to know why?" Lucas asked her.

"I already know why."

"No, you don't. You only know what he told you which wasn't the real reason."

"Luke—"

"He's going to kill me for telling you but I don't care. You deserve to be happy... you both do but it doesn’t take a mind-reader to know neither of you are."

The curiosity was killing her but, at the same time, fear swirled in the pit of her stomach at what she was about to hear.

"A few weeks before the break-up, your mom paid Nate a visit. I don't know everything she said to him... he won't tell me but, from what I can gather, the gist of it was she felt you deserved more than being married to a cop."

Haley's eyes widened and her mouth dropped open in shock. "No, she... she wouldn't do that."

"I'm sorry, Hales, but she did. Lydia didn't want you constantly having to worry about something happening to him which I can understand. He'd just passed the detectives exam and gotten that promotion and I guess it made your mom panic or something. I think she knew it was only a matter of time before he proposed to you so I guess that gave her the push she needed.”

"Why didn't he tell me?" she whispered.

"He loves you," he stated simply, "and he didn't want to cause any friction between you and Lydia."

"So he just... broke up with me?"

"There was no 'just' about it." Lucas remembered how much his younger brother had wrestled with the situation and he knew the sudden death of a popular young officer in a shoot-out had impacted greatly on his decision. The thought of Haley losing him in a similar way had made Nathan's mind up for him and he did as Lydia had requested.

"Lucas?"

"You remember Chase Adams?"

Haley nodded. She had attended his funeral and her heart had broken for his family, especially his young wife who had been six-months pregnant at the time.

"Nathan didn't want you to suffer through anything like that."

She pulled away from Lucas and stared at him for a moment before she turned on her heels and angrily stormed towards where she had left Nathan. Without saying anything to him, she grabbed his hand and led the way out of the hotel's function room where the wedding reception was being held and headed for the bank of elevators.

"Haley?"

She stayed silent until they were inside one of the metal cars and the doors had slid shut after she had pressed the button for the twelfth floor. Jabbing her finger into his chest, she said, "Do you really think that just because we were no longer together that I wouldn't be completely and utterly devastated if anything ever happened to you? Huh?"

"Fucking Lucas!" Nathan cursed under his breath. "He had no right to tell you."

"He had every right, you jackass. The person who had no right to say anything was my mom. How could she do that? This past year, she's seen how sad I've been... how lost I still am and she's never said a fucking word about her role in it all. Instead, she’s been urging me to move on by setting me up with her friends’ sons.”

Nathan did his best to ignore the flame of possessiveness that suddenly coursed through his veins at that piece of information. Sighing quietly, he ran a hand through his hair. "She lov—"

"Yeah, yeah, she loves me," she interrupted. "All this time I've been blaming myself... wondering what I did wrong and it was down to her."

He shook his head. "No, it wasn't down to her. It was me."

"Okay, tell me something. If she hadn't said anything to you, would you have broken up with me?"

He stayed silent for long moments, his gaze focused on the ground.

"Nathan?"

"No," he finally replied. It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her that he'd actually been working up the nerve to propose to her but he decided against it. It would only make matters worse.

Before she could say anything else, the doors slid open and she stepped out onto the floor, pulling him behind her. Walking the short distance down the hall to where her room was located, she reached into her purse for the key card and slid it into the lock. As soon as she heard the click and the green light appeared, she pressed down on the handle and pushed open the door.

Nathan hesitated for a split second before he crossed the threshold and followed her into the room. His eyes immediately landed on the large bed that seemed to dominate the room and he swallowed thickly, looking away from it. He watched as she slipped the "Do not disturb" sign onto the outside of the door and then closed it, flipping the lock.

"So, do you always do what my mom tells you?"

"Haley..."

"I loved you so much, Nathan... and y-you gave up on me... on us just like that. We'd been together for five years... five fucking years and you ended it just like that 'cause my mom told you to."

His heart ached as he listened to her... as he saw the tears streaming down her beautiful face, and all he wanted was to wrap her in his arms and hold her tightly. She had every right to be hurt and angry... he deserved everything she was throwing at him and then some. "I'm so sorry," he whispered sadly.

"Why did you come up to me tonight? Why did you have to do that? You should've stayed away."

"I-I know. I just... I had to be near you. I'm a selfish bastard; I always have been." Especially when it comes to you, he added silently.

"Yeah, you are."

Nathan's fingers burned with the need to touch her and he shoved his hands into the pockets of his pants in an attempt to stop himself from doing anything stupid. "I'm sorry," he said again before turning towards the door.

"Do you still love me?"

Her question stopped him in his tracks. His head fell forward and his eyes fell shut. He wished he could lie to her but he couldn't... not again. "Yes," he answered, his tone quiet but firm. The subsequent silence was deafening and he wondered whether she'd heard him. Several minutes passed before he felt her hand on his arm, pulling him around to face her. He wasn't surprised when he felt the sharp sting of her palm connecting with his cheek. Her fists started hitting his chest and he stood there and took it... this was the least he deserved.

"Why did you do it?" she shouted as she continued to pummel him. "Why, Nathan?"

He had no answer for her other than that her mother's words had played on his own insecurities which had surfaced tenfold after Chase's death. It was only natural that Lydia James would want her daughter and future grandchildren to have a more stable and secure life.

Nathan was brought out of his reverie by Haley's arms suddenly wrapping around his waist and her head resting against his chest. He knew what he wanted to do but he was scared to hold her... scared that he would break the spell and she'd end up pushing him away.

"Hold me," she pleaded when he still hadn't embraced her and when he finally did as she asked, he felt her petite body sink into his own and he bit his lip to keep from moaning aloud.

Burying his face in the crook of her shoulder, he breathed in her familiar, unique scent. Turning his head, he couldn't resist brushing his lips against the delicate column of her neck and, not for the first time that evening, he felt her shiver.

"Do... do you hate me?" he asked.

"For a while I really thought I did… You don’t know how much I wanted to hate you, Nathan, but I just… I couldn’t seem to make myself feel that way.” She paused briefly before adding, “I hate what you did but I-I don't hate you." Drawing back from him, Haley cupped his face and ran her thumb back and forth along his cheekbone; her gaze locking with his. Her eyes drank him in, memorizing every little detail. Hands down, Nathan Scott was still the most handsome man she had ever met and she doubted that would ever change. She couldn’t help admiring how he looked in his black tuxedo. Now that the official wedding stuff was over with and the reception was in full swing, he had removed his tie and unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt, giving her a small glimpse of his lightly tanned skin. Licking her lips, she pushed herself up onto her toes and pressed a soft kiss against the hollow of his throat.

“Haley… I—”

“Y-you don’t want me?” she mumbled sadly, taking a step backwards. Before she could get further than that, his hold on her tightened and he pulled her flush against him.

“I’ve never stopped wanting you and that’s never going to change,” he stated vehemently.

A strangled moan escaped Haley’s throat when he fused his mouth to hers and kissed her hard. Feeling his tongue teasing the seam of her lips, she immediately parted them and granted him access. His slightly calloused palms roaming all over her bare back and shoulders felt so good… so familiar. She’d missed this so much over the past year they had been apart and with the urgency with which he was touching and caressing her, she knew he had too.

When she began unbuttoning his shirt, Nathan stilled her hands. “Are you sure?”

“Yes… so sure. I want this… I want you.”

Resting his forehead against hers, Nathan raised one hand and grazed his fingertips along her cheek. “For how long though?”

Instead of answering his question, she asked him for the second time that night, “Do you still love me?” Even though he'd already told her he did, she again held her breath while she waited for his answer.

“Yes.” He wanted to ask the same question of her but he didn’t. He hoped that she did but after what he’d done… he didn’t deserve for her to feel the same way about him as she once did.

“Have you, uh… been with anyone else?” As with her previous question, she didn’t exhale until after he’d answered her.

“No.” Considering his reputation before they had gotten together which she was well aware of, he didn’t expect her to believe him. She surprised him, however, when she cupped the back of his head and kissed him hungrily. He felt her pushing his jacket off of his shoulders and he helped her in removing it completely; the garment falling to the floor. Her fingers returned to the buttons on his shirt and, within moments, she had stripped it from him and was then pushing up the white T-shirt he was wearing beneath it.

“Slow down,” he whispered.

Haley shook her head. “No! I want you… I don’t want to wake up and find this is another dream.”

“Shh, baby,” he said softly, finally managing to still her hands which he noticed were shaking slightly. “It’s not a dream. I’m right here.”

“For how long?” she asked, repeating his earlier question. When she looked up at him, he saw her rich chocolate brown eyes were filled with tears.

“For as long as you want me,” Nathan replied, using the pad of his thumb to brush away the lone tear that leaked from the corner of one eye before dropping butterfly kisses on her forehead, cheeks and then the tip of her nose.

“Forever?”

The hopeful tone in her voice made his heart feel lighter than it had in the past year since he had stupidly let her mother’s words get to him and he’d ended their relationship. God, how could he have been so damn stupid?

“Forever,” he replied, feeling his own eyes well up. Kissing her soft and slow for what felt like an hour but, in reality, was just a few minutes, he drew back and again rested his forehead against hers. “I promise, I’ll do whatever it takes to make it up to you. I don’t deserve a second chance.”

“Everyone deserves a second chance, Nathan, but I swear… if you ever do anything like that again… you’ll never see me again. Any decisions about our future we make together. Understood?”

“Understood,” he said, his tone just as serious as hers. He didn’t want to ruin the moment but he couldn’t help the next question that came out of his mouth. “Uh… what about your mom?”

“Right now, I don’t want to think about her. I’m just so… angry that she did this to me… to us! I’m twenty-seven-years-old for God’s sake, not seventeen.”

Wanting to calm her down, Nathan ducked his head and seized her lips and, within seconds, he felt her slowly begin to relax before she started to kiss him back. “Better?” he asked when they eventually pulled back from each other to breathe in much needed air.

“Yeah, thanks,” she whispered shyly, blushing.

Smiling down at her, he twirled an errant blonde curl around his finger, tucking it behind her ear. “You’re welcome.”

Slipping her hand into Nathan’s much larger one, Haley led him over to the bed and gently pushed him down so he was sitting on the corner of it and she then took a seat on his lap; her fingers lightly combing through his hair as he rested his head against her chest. “If Lucas hadn’t told me the truth…” she trailed off.

“I was going to tell you tonight,” he told her. “You don’t have to believe me but it’s the truth. Not being with you… it’s been killing me, Hales, and I know that’s all on me… it’s all my fault.” Closing his eyes, he remembered the sensation of his heart breaking as he lied and told her he didn’t want to be with her any more; that he wanted to put all of his energies into advancing his career. The excuse had felt so fucking lame as the words spilled out but he just couldn’t bring himself to use the one Lydia had suggested to him… that he had fallen out of love with Haley. “I’m so sorry I hurt you.”

“I know.” And she did. As she also thought back to that night, she realised she should’ve known something was up. He’d always looked her in the eyes whenever they talked, argued, etc, but when he’d broken up with her, he hadn’t done that. His gaze, she recalled, was focused to the side of her or on the wall behind her… never on her. She figured she’d been so shocked and upset at what he was saying that she had somehow missed the obvious clue.

Leaning further into her, his fingers idly playing with the hem of her dress which had risen up slightly when she’d sat down, he whispered, “I’m so tired, Hales.”

Haley hadn’t failed to notice the dark circles beneath his eyes and though his body was still muscular and solid, he looked thinner than when she’d last seen him. Lowering her head, she kissed the top of his head; the familiar scent of his shampoo tickling her senses. “I know, baby… I’m tired, too.” Sliding off his lap, she gently pulled him up and began undressing him. “Let’s get some rest, okay.”

“You don’t want to, uh…”

Blushing, she nodded. “I do… You don’t know how much I want to, but I think right now we both need some sleep.”

Ducking his head so his mouth was right by her ear, he said, “I think I have a pretty good idea of how much you want to.”

Haley’s blush intensified and she socked him in the shoulder. When he was naked except for his black boxers, she went over to the bed and pulled the covers back for him. “Get in.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” he quipped as he climbed into the bed. He watched as she picked up his white dress shirt and headed into the adjacent bathroom. Leaning back against the headboard, Nathan forced himself to keep his eyes open. He couldn’t help fearing that if she came out and found him fast asleep that she would maybe change her mind about this... about them and sneak out.

When almost ten minutes had passed and she hadn’t yet come out of the bathroom, he was just about to get up and check on her when the door suddenly opened and she stepped out wearing nothing but his dress shirt. Her blonde hair tumbled around her shoulders in a mass of curls, a stark contrast to the earlier elegant up-do she’d worn, and her face was now clear of any make-up.

If possible, she looked even more beautiful than she had earlier.

Nathan could see she was nervous and his heart ached. Up until last year, she’d never been nervous or anxious around him but thanks to his moronic actions, he’d ruined everything and put this… wall up between them.

“We don’t have to do this,” he told her quietly. “I mean, I could sleep on the floor or… I could get another room.”

“No,” Haley quickly replied. Him leaving was the last thing she wanted. Hitting the light switch, the room was suddenly bathed in darkness which, she found, seemed to help calm her. Pulling back the covers, she got into bed beside him and made herself comfortable. She could feel the tension in his body and in the air and, weirdly, that made her feel better. It was kind of nice to know it wasn't just her feeling that way. Shifting over, she rested her head on his shoulder and slowly began running her toes up and down his calf while her fingertips traced idle patterns over his chest.

For his part, Nathan wrapped his arm around her shoulder and held her securely in place. “I’ve missed this so much,” he stated, his voice breaking the semi-comfortable silence. He still felt tense but it was slowly beginning to seep out of him. Leaning his cheek against the top of her head, he closed his eyes and quietly sighed with relief at having her back in his arms. “I know I've got a lot to make up for, Haley... I broke your trust and it's going to take a lot to get it back but I promise you, I'm going to do everything I can to try.”

She felt too choked to speak. Turning her head slightly, she buried her face against his neck and breathed him in.

Playing with the ends of her hair, Nathan looked up at the ceiling and said a silent prayer to whoever up there was listening. It wasn't going to be easy... it didn't take a genius to know that but, like he'd just told her, he was going to do everything in his power to restore the trust he'd broken.

“Go to sleep,” she softly chided, her fingers lightly grazing his side.

Nathan felt his lips quirk upwards and as they lay there in the quiet still of the night, he hugged her that little bit closer and let the steady beating of her heart lull him to sleep.

Fin



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