Author’s Notes: This story takes place during the episode that aired 2/15/05. Part of this story is straight from the show, and part of it is my version of what was left out.


The Way We Used To Be


When Lucas got up he decided to just leave for school as quick as he could, so he wouldn’t have to have much contact with anyone. He had just moved into Dan and Debbie’s house, and it felt more then strange to be there. As he stepped out of his room he saw Dan who offered him some breakfast. Lucas declined just as Debbie was coming into the house. Debbie said, “Lucas, hi. What are you doing here?”

Lucas hadn’t thought things could get more uncomfortable before, but now realized he was wrong about that. He turned to Dan with disbelief and said, “You didn’t tell her?”

Lucas shook his head and walked out the door trying to get away quickly. He was originally going to head to school, but after his surprise morning, he decided to go see Nathan first. As he was walking he thought, ‘How can that man be my father? He’s so slimy, so underhanded. But at least he didn’t tell mom about my condition, and he’s paying for my medication and doctor visits, so maybe he isn’t all bad. But I wonder if he would be so willing to pay for it if he didn’t have me under his control with this secret.’

Lucas sighed and thought again about telling his mother the truth. But then he shook his head and thought, ‘That would be selfish. You’re protecting her from getting hurt, and she couldn’t afford the medical expenses if I did tell her, and she wouldn’t want Dan to pay.’

Lucas was getting close to Nathan’s apartment and tried to block out his own problems by thinking about Nathan’s. He felt bad for both Nathan and Haley. They were so in love and such a happy couple just a week ago, but now she was gone. He believed she would be coming home when she was done with her musical tour, but he didn’t know if his half brother believed it. Lucas got to the apartment door and knocked. A disheveled looking Nathan answered the door. Lucas gave a slight smile and said, “You look like ass.”

Nathan chuckled unconvincingly and said, “You should smell me.”

Lucas was still amazed sometimes at how their relationship had changed over the past year. When Lucas had first joined the basketball team, Nathan had hated him, and let everyone know it. He had made life miserable for Lucas, but then he fell in love with Haley and everything changed. Lucas said, “Can I came in?”

Nathan looked uncomfortable and said, “Now’s really not a good time.”

Lucas was disappointed that Nathan was obviously hurting, but not talking to anyone about it. He decided to try and make it easier for Nathan. He said, “I’m really missing Haley. She hasn’t bothered to call me, but it must be harder for you.”

Nathan didn’t want to talk to anyone about it. He wanted to forget about it, because if he started talking about it he knew he would cry. He said a little defensively, “It’s only twelve weeks. We’ll be fine. We’ll work it out when she gets back.”

Lucas heard the tone and said, “I’m just concerned.”

Nathan didn’t want sympathy. “Don’t be.”

Before Lucas could say anything Nathan shut the door in his face. Lucas stood there for a minute before turning to walk to school. He shook his head thinking that Nathan hadn’t really been to school much this past week. He tried to think of some other way to help his brother, but nothing came to him.


Nathan stood there looking at the closed door for a minute. He knew Lucas wanted to help, but it was all just too much for him. The whole fight with Haley kept playing in his mind again and again. He had told her that if she left to pursue her singing career, that they were finished. He had mostly said that because he didn’t want her to leave, and because Chris was on the tour too. His mind kept throwing him images of Haley and Chris kissing at the most inconvenient times. He knew Haley had told him the tour had nothing to do with her liking Chris, because she loved Nathan, and he even believed her, but he still didn’t trust Chris. After they had fought, Nathan had stormed out of the house. But once he had calmed down, he knew he had been wrong, and went back to tell her that if it was what she really wanted that he would be okay with it. He had even thought about trying to convince her to let him go with them. But when he had gotten home she was gone.

When Lucas had come to the door, Nathan had been playing his PlayStation. He looked over to where it was sitting on the coffee table, and without thinking much about it picked it up and tossed it against the wall. It kind of felt good to see it smash, until he realized he had just wrecked the best way to get his mind off his problems. He shook his head at himself and said to the empty apartment, “Shit.”

He looked down at himself and realized he hadn’t taken a shower for a couple of days. He slowly walked into the bedroom. He hadn’t been able to sleep there since Haley left. He’d been crashing on the couch. He got himself some clean clothes and took a shower. While he was in the shower he kept thinking of Haley in the shower with him and almost broke down crying. He finished up as quick as he could and got dressed. He decided he was much too sober, and got himself a beer. He downed one pretty quick, and looked over at his TV and broken PlayStation. He wasn’t sure what to do with his day now. He got a second beer and sat in front of the TV to flip channels. Two hours later, Nathan had eaten some leftover pizza from the night before and had another beer. He couldn’t stand daytime TV. He thought to himself, “Who can watch this crap? This worse then….school.”

Nathan smiled and said, “Yeah, school.”

He picked himself up from the couch and thought, ‘Since my PlayStation is broken, I should go to school. I’m sure I can piss someone off enough to make my day better.’

He gathered up his backpack, but instead of putting books in it, he put in four more beers. He pulled it over his shoulder and walked out the door. It was a nice sunny day out, and the walk to school actually made him feel slightly better. He had missed the first two classes, and the third was in progress when he finally got to school. He walked into Biology and thought it was kind of ironic that it was one of the two classes he had with Lucas. He took the desk in front of Lucas as the teacher said, “Mr. Scott. How nice of you to join us.”

He sat and didn’t respond as she kept going with her lecture. Lucas, happy to see Nathan had shown up, leaned forward and whispered, “It’s about time you pulled yourself together.”

Nathan didn’t look back and didn’t whisper as he said, “Whatever. I’m only here because the PlayStation broke.”

As Nathan was talking he got a beer out of his backpack and opened it. He took a sip and sat it on his desk. Lucas just couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He whispered fiercely, “Are you insane? What the hell are you doing?”

Nathan ignored him, but the teacher didn’t. She said, “Please tell me that is not beer.”

Nathan gave her a charming smile and got another beer out of his pack as he said, “Don’t worry. I brought enough for everyone.”

The teacher was obviously angry and picked up the two beers as she said, “Come with me please.”

Nathan smirked and said, “Nice skirt Ms. Hand. You know, if more teachers dressed like sluts, attendance in this place would skyrocket.”

Ms. Hand didn’t let it phase her. She had heard stories about Nathan from other teachers, and knew that he wasn’t singling her out for his bad behavior. She gave him a smirk of her own as she said, “Funny. Let’s see if the principal thinks so too.”

Nathan shrugged and picked up his pack to follow her. Lucas just covered his face with his hand, being both embarrassed for Nathan because he was being such an ass, and for himself because he was related.


After school Lucas didn’t really want to go ‘home’. He didn’t want to have to talk to Dan or Debbie and play nice. He wanted to go home to his mom, but he couldn’t. He wandered around for a little while, and eventually decided to go see Nathan. He still had hopes that he could help Nathan see that things would be okay, and that he should keep his life together for when Haley did come home. He got to the apartment door, and as he was about to knock, Dan and Debbie arrived too. Dan said, “Lucas?”

Lucas said, “I was just going to check on him, but since you guys are here, I’ll go.”

Dan said, “No, stay. You’re his brother, you should be here.”

Lucas looked uncomfortable, and so did Debbie, but Dan ignored them and knocked on the door. Nathan answered. He gave them all a fake smile and said, “Well, it’s the Scott family.”

Dan went in and said, “I thought my son lived here. Kind of looks like you except less pathetic.”

Debbie trying to stop the argument before it got started stepped in and said, “The school called. We heard what happened honey. How are you?”

“Like you care?” Nathan said with disbelief.

“Of course we care. All of us.”

“Yeah right Mom, because you just welcomed Haley into the family with open arms. Well sorry to disappoint you guys, but she’ll be back in a few weeks.”

Lucas wanting to help took a few steps to Nathan and said in a placating voice, “Look Nate….”

Nathan couldn’t believe Lucas was here with his parents in the first place, but to have him try and butt into the conversation was unacceptable. He liked Lucas now, and even was starting to feel close to him, but that was because of Haley, and not because they shared the same father. In fact Nathan didn’t want Lucas anywhere near his Mom and Dad, although he wasn’t sure why. He interrupted Lucas and said bluntly, “You can shut up by the way.”

Lucas looked surprised, but did shut up. Debbie had been looking around and said, “How can you live like this? The place is a pigsty. You’re skipping school and drinking in class…..”

When Dan heard Debbie had trailed off he said, “It’s not worth it son. Pissing your life away for some girl.”

Nathan couldn’t believe it. He yelled, “She’s not some girl Dad, she’s my Wife!”

“Yeah, well someone should tell her that.”

Nathan blew a fuse, and before he knew it, he had punched his father right on the jaw. Everyone was silent for a second. Then Dan, holding his jaw, and feeling the trickle of blood that was there said, “Nice punch son. It’s good to see there’s still a man in there somewhere.”

Nathan couldn’t believe he had just hit his father, but he also couldn’t believe that his father was still insulting him in his own house. He knew he had to get away before he did something worse. He shook his head and walked into the bedroom. He slammed the door and locked it behind him waiting for them to leave. He looked over at the bed, and decided to sit on the floor.

In the other room Dan and Debbie looked at each other not quite sure what to do. Lucas said, “I guess I’m gonna go home.”

Dan said, “You want a ride?”

Lucas thought about it, and eventually said, “Okay.”

Debbie looked around and said, “I think I’m gonna stay and clean this place up a little.”

Dan rolled his eyes, but said, “Okay, I guess Lucas and I will walk, and I’ll leave the car for you.”

“Thanks.”

Lucas and Dan left, and Debbie sighed as she looked for the garbage bags. She picked up the place, and ended up with three trash bags full of garbage which included the broken PlayStation, and a moldy half a pizza she had found under the couch. Once she was done cleaning up she knocked on the bedroom door and said, “Nathan honey?”

She didn’t get an answer, so she said, “I’m going home now. I hope you’ll come see us soon.”

She took the garbage, and turned the lock on the doorknob on her way out.

Dan and Lucas walked home together mostly in silence until Lucas got up the courage to say, “He wouldn’t be this bad off if you would stop making snide comments about Haley.”


Dan raised his eyebrows at Lucas. The things that Lucas said often surprised him, because he was just getting to know him. He said, “I’m sure Haley is a good person, but she isn’t right for Nathan. The quicker he can cut her loose, the better off he’ll be.”

Lucas shook his head and said, “You know what, I’ll walk home another way.”

Lucas turned down another street and kept going as he heard Dan calling to him, “You know I’m right son, even if you don’t want to believe it.”

Lucas felt his skin crawl every time Dan called him son, and this was no exception. He thought about Nathan and Haley the rest of the way home, and went directly to his room so he wouldn’t have to see or talk to Dan again that night.


Nathan sat there on the bedroom floor until his butt had fallen asleep, and gone numb. He had been waiting out his mother for what seemed like hours. Finally he heard her say she was leaving. He got up and shook out his legs. His butt and upper left leg tingled as the skin woke back up. The whole time his mother had been cleaning he had been thinking about the short conversation between Lucas and Dan. He thought it sounded very odd. Why would Lucas accept a ride from Dan, and why the hell would they walk together anywhere. It had been bad enough that Lucas had witnessed the humiliating talk he had with his parents, but now Lucas and Dan seemed to be on friendly terms, and that didn’t set will with Nathan.

He peeked out of his door to make sure the apartment really was empty. He couldn’t believe how clean the place was. He felt slightly guilty that his mom had cleaned up the place. It made him feel about ten. He sighed and decided to go see Payton and pump her for information about Lucas and Dan.

He drove to Payton’s house, and just let himself in as usual. He called out, “Payton?”

She yelled from her room, “In here.”

Nathan went in and could see she was surprised to see him. He said, “Hey.”

“Hi.”

“How are you?”

“I’m good. I think the better question is how are you?”

He shrugged and looked away. His eyes fell on a man’s shirt that was on her bed. He remembered that in school he had seen her talking to Jake. He hadn’t dated Payton for a long time, but he still felt friendly towards her, and wanted her to be happy. He picked up the shirt and said, “So what’s the deal with you and Jake?”

Payton herself shrugged and looked away and said, “I’m not sure yet.”

“He’s staying with you. Sounds serious.”

“I’m not sure I’m ready for a serious relationship.”

Nathan put the shirt down and nodded. He said, “Good idea. They don’t seem to work out.”

Payton wanting to comfort Nathan said, “I’m sure she’ll be back.”

Nathan shook his head and said, “You know I would think you’d be less optimistic with our track record. Me and you, you and Lucas, Lucas and Brook, Me and Haley.”

Nathan looked at Payton’s door, which had one of her drawings on it. It showed a red stoplight and said, “People always leave.”

Nathan knew it was referring to Payton’s mom, and he said, “You got it right Payton, people always leave.”

Payton didn’t know what to say. Nathan said, “Speaking of Lucas, what’s up with him anyway? Did something happen between him and Dan?”

Payton looked shocked and said; “Didn’t you hear?”

“Hear what?”

Payton didn’t know if she should say it or not, but she knew Nathan would find out eventually, so it might as well be from a friend. She said, “Lucas moved in with your folks yesterday.”

“WHAT?!!”

Payton got up and put her hand on Nathan’s arm trying to comfort him and said, “No one knows why, and his mom is pretty upset about it.”

Nathan shook his head with disbelief. He said, “I’ve got to go.”

He walked away, and didn’t turn back around when Payton called to him.

Nathan was furious. He didn’t even know exactly why, but he knew he was, and it was all directed at his brother. He got in his car and slammed the door. He revved the engine, and peeled off. He drove recklessly to his parent’s house, and was lucky no cops were around. He screeched to a halt in the driveway. He got out of the car and slammed the door. He had made so much noise that Lucas, who’s bedroom was right at the front of the house, had heard him. Lucas went out to see what was going on in time to see Nathan slamming his door, and leaning on his car. Lucas gave him a tentative smile and tried to sound friendly as he said, “What are you doing here man?”

Nathan shook his head and was obviously pissed when he said, “I had to see it for myself.”

“See what?”

“This! You, here.”

Lucas tried to calm him down by saying, “Look Nate, it’s complicated….”

“You’re a fraud Lucas. There’s nothing complicated about that.”

“Why don’t you just come inside, and we can talk?”

“Oh, so you’re inviting me into my own house now?!”

“It’s not like that….” Lucas said still trying to stay calm and keep Nathan calm too.

Nathan stopped leaning on his car and raised his voice even more to say, “Yeah, it’s exactly like that! Do you realize that I wouldn’t be in this situation at all if it weren’t for you? If you had stayed in your place at river court, I never would have met Haley. You ruined my life.”

Lucas couldn’t believe Nathan had said that. He said with hurt, “Nathan….”

Nathan jabbed a finger in his direction and said, “You better watch your back.”

Nathan got into his car and sped away before Lucas could say anything else. As Lucas stood there thinking about it, and realized that Nathan was really directing his pain and anger at him, because Nathan didn’t want to direct it towards the person he really upset about.

Debbie had been going through the house making sure the doors were locked before she got ready for bed, when she heard Nathan’s voice outside the front door. She opened it to see his car driving away and Lucas standing there. She said, “What did he want?”

Lucas turned around and said, “Haley.”

After a few seconds of silence Debbie said, “I wish I knew what I could do to help.”

Lucas sighed and said, “I’m gonna go talk to him. I’ll be back late.”

Debbie not being all that comfortable with Lucas yet said, “Um….are you sure that’s a good idea? He sounded angry, and he already hit Dan. And well….you two do have a history of…..”

Lucas smiled and said, “It’s okay Deb. You don’t have to sugar coat things for me. You’re worried we’ll end up throwing punches.”

Debbie smiled back and said, “Yes.”

“I won’t punch him, even if he punches me. Okay?”

Debbie looked worried and said, “Well…..I don’t want to see him hurt you either, but….if you think you can help him……then I guess you should go see him.”

Lucas nodded and went to get his shoes and keys. As he was going back out Debbie said, “You call me if he hurts you and you need a ride home.”

“Thanks, I will.” Lucas said sincerely.


Lucas walked to Nathan’s apartment for the third time that day. He looked at his watch and realized that in an hour it would be tomorrow. As he was walking he thought, ‘How can I convince Nathan that Haley will be back? How can I get him to confide in me that he’s feeling hurt and abandoned by her? He’s so lost without her. And I’m sure it doesn’t help that she’s not calling.’

Lucas thought about the fact that he had left her a bunch of messages that she hadn’t returned until today. And then when she did call back, she had only said a few words to him before she hung up. He was a little disappointed in her, but knew she was hurting too. He thought, ‘But I still don’t know what to do about Nathan.’

He wasn’t sure why it popped into his head, but he suddenly heard his Uncle Keith’s voice saying ‘Someone should beat some sense into that kid.’

Lucas laughed out loud, because Keith had said that many times about Nathan a year ago when Nathan was really running wild. Lucas not being serious said to himself, “Well it would probably keep him from bringing beer to school at least.”

He shook his head and thought, ‘I’m just gonna have to start out talking about Haley, and try to get him to open up. At least get him to call her and leave her a message.’

He got to Nathan’s apartment door, and was about to knock when he noticed the door was ajar. He pushed it open and said, “Nathan?”

He didn’t get an answer and went in. It was shocking how different the apartment looked since Debbie had cleaned it. He looked around but didn’t see Nathan. He wandered into the bedroom, and saw Nathan sitting against the wall on the floor. There were two empty beers beside him and another in his hand. Lucas noticed that the bed was made, and still had one of Haley’s nighties on the pillow. He was thinking that was odd when Nathan looked up and said with anger, “What the fuck are you doing here Luke?”

Lucas sighed and said, “I came to talk some sense into your thick head.”

Nathan barley resisted the urge to get up and hit him. He said, “Get out.”

“No.”

Nathan set the beer down and stood up. “I’ll enjoy beating you up if you don’t.”

Lucas glared at Nathan and said, “Do you really think this is what Haley wants you to be doing? Do you really think this is what she wants to come home to?”

Nathan yelled and took the few steps to Lucas and punched him in the face. Lucas fell back and landed on the floor. Lucas shook his head and held his eye saying, “Shit that hurt.”

Nathan kind of felt bad now, but said, “Good, now get out.”

Lucas stayed where he was on the floor and said, “Haley would be so disappointed in you Nathan.”

Nathan immediately felt like crying and had to cover it up with more anger. He yelled, “It doesn’t matter what she thinks, because she’s gone!”

“She’s coming back!”

“No she’s not!” As the last word came out, Nathan’s voice cracked, and he couldn’t stop the tears. He walked away and went into the bathroom shutting the door behind him.

Lucas stood and looked at his face in the mirror that was in Haley’s vanity. He could tell it was going to bruise. He noticed all of Haley’s makeup, perfume, and jewelry were still out on the vanity, like they had just been used. He could hear Nathan in the bathroom trying to keep his crying quiet. Lucas went to the door and said, “Nathan.”

He got no response and said, “Why do you think she’s not coming back?”

After a few seconds Nathan said, “Because she left the bracelet.”

Lucas knew he was talking about the first gift Nathan had given her, and even if it was a cheep Cracker Jack toy gift, it had sentimental value. “Why?” Lucas said more to himself than to Nathan.

Nathan still trying not to cry got out, “Because I told her if she went…..we were through.”

“Oh Nathan.” Lucas said sounding disappointed.

“I didn’t mean it.”

“I’m sure you didn’t. Have you called her and told her you’re sorry, and you want her to come home when she’s done?”

Nathan was quiet. Lucas said, “Nathan? Did you call her?”

Lucas could barely hear the “No.” from the other side of the door.

Lucas said, “Then get your ass out here and call her! She’s hurting as much as you right now, and probably feeling guilty that she left, and thinking that you hate her now.”

Nathan shook his head and said, “She’s having the time of her life, having her dreams come true and I’m not going to get in the way.”

Lucas tried the door and found it wasn’t locked. He looked at Nathan sitting on the edge of the tub. Lucas said, “I should kick your ass for that, but I promised Deb I wouldn’t.”

Nathan felt his anger rise again and stood to say, “So what, is she your mom now too? She needs someone to look after since I’m gone? Get the fuck out of my house, and go home to your new parents.”

Lucas knew at that point that they would never be able to get to the real issue of Haley until he confessed the real reason he was staying with Dan. Lucas turned away and said, “I have it.”

Nathan was confused and said, “What?”

“I’m staying with Dan, because he promised not to tell my mom, and because he’s paying for the doctor’s visits and the medications.”

Nathan realized Lucas was talking about the heart condition that had recently given Dan a mild heart attack. Nathan didn’t know what to say. And as the silence lingered all Nathan could feel was guilt. Guilt that he had hit Lucas. Guilt that he had driven Haley away. And he even felt guilt because he knew he didn’t have the condition, and he was glad he didn’t. After a few minutes Lucas said with deadly calm, “If you tell my mother, I’ll find a way to make you suffer.”

Nathan looked surprised and before thinking much about it he said, “I promise I won’t.”

They stood there for a few more seconds and Nathan thought to himself that he had made a bad decision. He realized that if he really wanted to help Lucas, he should tell Karen, but he would stick to his promise now that he had made it. He looked at his brother and sighed as he said, “Let’s get you some ice for your eye.”

Lucas shrugged and said, “It’s fine.”

Nathan smiled and said, “It’s gonna swell shut dude.”

Lucas glared and said, “Nice to know you have your sense of humor back. Now can we be serious about Haley?”

Nathan sat back down and said, “What else is there to say. I fucked up the relationship. I’m sorry I was mad at you. Jeez, I even blamed it on you didn’t I?”

“Nathan….”

Nathan interrupted and said, “No wait, I need to say this, because I’m not going to mess up our relationship too. I was an ass back at my parent’s house. I told you this whole thing was your fault, but in reality, the time I had with Haley was the happiest I have ever been in my life. I owe you a debt of gratitude for brining us together, because no matter what else happens in my life, I’ll always know Haley was the best thing that ever happened to me. So thank you for that, and if you want to punch me back, I’ll let you.”

“Oh, believe me little brother, I do want to punch you back, but mostly because you keep talking about Haley like she’s in your past.”

Nathan looked sad and said, “She is.”

Lucas got his cell phone out of his pocket and dialed Haley’s number. Nathan said, “What are you doing?”

Lucas ignored him, and as soon as he heard the beep to leave a message he said, “Hi Hales, Nathan has something to say…”

He handed the phone to Nathan who glared at him. He took the phone and said, “I…..I hope you have a good life.”

He hung up, and Lucas just shook his head. Nathan held the phone up to Lucas and Lucas took it. He pocketed the phone and said, “You are unbelievable Nathan. I don’t want to punch you, but I sure as hell want to beat some sense into you.”

Nathan got a little red knowing that Lucas got that phrase from their Uncle Keith, because Lucas had told him about it once when they were talking about the hit and run incident well after the fact. Lucas continued, “You’re skipping school, which knowing your grades, you can’t afford to do. You know how important school is to Haley, and you know for sure that she’s going to just be pissed about that. You just got suspended for a week. You were mean to Ms. Hand, who’s a pretty good teacher. You’re letting yourself go to hell with all the alcohol, and sitting on the couch. When was the last time you played ball? And to top things off you’re hurting Haley even more, because you’re too stubborn to just call her and apologize!”

Nathan broke down into tears again. Lucas just stood there for a second thinking about things. He knew Nathan needed someone to help him get back on track, and he felt like he owed it to Haley, and to Nathan to try and help. He was thinking about Keith, and how many times Keith had suggested that Nathan needed someone to spank him. Lucas had been spanked a few times when he was quite a bit younger, both by his mom, and by his uncle. He knew it would break down Nathan’s defenses, and that if nothing else, it would let Nathan know that Lucas was seriously unhappy with his recent choices. He looked around and saw that Haley had left a flat wooden hairbrush on her vanity. He picked it up, and walked to Nathan. Nathan had his head in his hands, and wasn’t paying attention. Lucas pulled on Nathan’s upper arm and said, “Come on.”

Nathan wasn’t sure where they were going, but he didn’t really care. He got up and let Lucas lead him to the bed. Then as they got to the edge of the bed, Lucas let go of Nathan’s upper arm, and grabbed his wrist. He quickly pulled Nathan’s arm behind his back, and pushed him face down onto the bed. Nathan wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but as he tried to stand up, he found that Lucas was holding him tightly in place.

Nathan and Lucas were fairly evenly matched for height, weight, and strength, with Nathan being just slightly taller, but with Lucas gripping his arm behind his back, and his upper half on the bed, Nathan found he was stuck. Nathan yelled, “What the fuck Lucas?”

Lucas brought the brush down twice with loud smacks that seemed to echo off the wall. Nathan yelled, “Ow! That fucking hurt!”

Lucas said, “Nathan, you’re my brother, and the more I get to know you, the more I like you. You’ve been really messing up this past week, and this is how I’m going to let you know that I think it’s unacceptable.”

“What?!….Ow!”

Lucas started spanking in earnest alternating sides, and making sure every inch of the butt in front of him was covered with swats. In between yelps of pain, Nathan yelled, “Lucas! Stop it! You can’t do this!”


Lucas did stop after a while and waited a couple of seconds to let Nathan catch his breath. Then he said, “Nathan, think about the things you’ve done this past week. Think about what Haley would say to you about it.”

Nathan shook his head and said, “I don’t want to.”

Lucas gave him another two swats and said, “I’m sure you don’t want to, but you need to. Tell me what you think she would say about you skipping class.”

“It doesn’t matter! Let me go!”

Lucas swatted him two more times, and Nathan yelped. Lucas said, “We can be here all night, try again.”

Nathan gave one serious attempt to get up, and then lay still. He said, “She wouldn’t care, because she doesn’t love me now.”

Lucas shook his head and gave Nathan six hard swats on his upper thighs. Nathan yelled loudly. Then Lucas said, “Care to try again?”

Nathan was close to tears, and decided he needed to say whatever Lucas wanted to hear to be able to get up. But Lucas knew Haley, and he knew what Haley would really say, so Nathan was stuck with telling the truth. He said, “She….she would be…..unhappy…..angry with me…..she would…..tell me to get my ass to school…….she would probably start tutoring me again until I caught up.”

“That’s right, she would. Now, what would she say about the beer, pizza, and PlayStation?”

Nathan groaned and said, “I get it Luke, just let me up.”

Lucas gave him four swats and said, “Wrong answer.”

Nathan yelled, “You know what she would say, so why do I have to tell you!”

Lucas gave Nathan six more swats and said, “Because I want us both to be clear on this before I let you up.”

Nathan took a deep breath and said in a quiet watery voice, “She would make me a healthy dinner, toss out the beer, or give it to someone else, and make you come over here to play ball with me.”

“Right again. Now, when I let you up, you are going to call Haley, and tell her how you really feel. She deserves to know that you miss her, and that you want her to come home, and that you didn’t mean what you said before she left.”

Lucas didn’t give Nathan time to respond, but started spanking him again. Nathan had the chance to yell, “Stop! Damn it, Stooooop!” before he broke down crying.

Lucas kept spanking for a few more seconds, to make sure Nathan wasn’t going to be able to just pull himself together right after it was done. Once it was done, Lucas let go of Nathan’s wrist, and went to put the hairbrush back where he had found it. He turned back around, and found that instead of standing up, Nathan had gotten up on the bed, and was laying on his side holding Haley’s nightie. Lucas felt a rush of emotions for both his brother and for Haley who had been his sister way before she was his sister in law. He went over and sat on the edge of the bed. He patted Nathan’s shoulder and said, “Nathan….Nate, it’s going to be okay. Haley will come home, and I truly believe you two will work things out. She loves you.”

Nathan was still crying and Lucas said, “I’m going to go make you something healthy to eat. When you’re ready, you come out and eat it, and then you will call Haley and at least leave her an honest message.”

Lucas got up and walked into the kitchen. He was surprised to see the refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards were all full of food. He made some soup and a sandwich because it was quick and easy. When he was done he went back in to see if Nathan was doing all right. He said, “The food’s ready Nate.”

Nathan wiped at his face and got up. He kept his head down as he went into the kitchen. Nathan stood at the counter and put bites in his mouth without thinking much about it. His mind kept racing between what Lucas had done, and how Haley would feel about everything that had been going on.

Lucas got some ice in a towel and held it to his eye, which was starting to hurt more. He sat on one of the counter stools, which was across from where Nathan was standing. Lucas said gently, “Nate…..you know that I love Haley. She’s been my friend and a sister to me since we were little. And you and I…..well, we’re just starting a new relationship, trying to be brothers even though our Dad’s….well, Dan. I just want to let you know that if you were anyone else, I would have just walked away.”

Nathan thought about it for a minute and then said with a touch of humor, “And this is supposed to make me feel better?”

Lucas was relieved that Nathan wasn’t still yelling at him to get out, or trying to throw more punches. Lucas gave a half smile and said, “Emotionally? Yes. Physically? Probably not.”

Nathan asked, “Are you….gonna tell Haley?”

“About spanking you?”

Nathan’s head shot up and he said, “No way! You better not tell her about that! I meant….”

Nathan’s head went back down and he continued, “….about school and…..stuff.”

Lucas thought about it and said, “I won’t tell her if it stops. Starting tomorrow you go to see Coach Whitey and see if he can get your suspension lifted. And if that doesn’t work, and you need me to, I can help you catch up on what you missed. You also better stop drinking, and start eating something besides pizza. You have all kinds of food in the house that’s going to go bad if you don’t use it.”

Nathan sighed and nodded. He said, “Okay.”

Lucas noticed Nathan wasn’t eating anymore, and he got out his cell phone. He dialed Haley’s number. He said, “Hi Haley, it’s Lucas. Nathan and I had a talk. He’s been really hurting since you’ve been gone, and he was trying to hide it on that last message. Here he is again to tell you the truth.”

He handed the phone to Nathan. Nathan said, “Haley….I….I love you, and I want you to come home. I didn’t mean what I said. Honest. I just….kept picturing you with Chris, and…..and I was jealous. Stupid, I know. I’m so sorry. I hope the tour is….going well, and I can’t wait to see you when it’s done. I miss you….so much……”

Nathan started to cry again and handed the phone back to Lucas. Lucas said, “Haley James, you give Nathan a call soon, or so help me I’ll come find you and make you.”

Lucas hung up, and Nathan shocked out of his tears, looked at Lucas with some suspicion and a lot of anger as he said, “You better not hit Haley…..ever.”

Lucas couldn’t help but laugh. He laughed long and hard at the thought. Nathan looked confused. Lucas caught his breath and finally got out, “Sorry man, that’s just the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long time. Trust me, that thought, never crossed my mind. Haley and I find guilt to be an effective motivator. She would feel so bad that I had taken up all that time and energy to find her, that she would have to call you just to feel better about it.”

Nathan searched Lucas’ face for any signs of a lie, but found none. He nodded in understanding. They were silent for a few minutes and then Lucas said, “I better get home.”

Nathan said, “Speaking of guilt. You know you have to tell your mom about it.”

“No. I don’t, and I won’t. And you promised you wouldn’t.”

Nathan shrugged and said, “I won’t, but I’m gonna work on a way to make you tell her, because you know it’s the right thing to do, and Dan isn’t good for anyone.”

Lucas glared at Nathan and said, “You go ahead and try little brother, but it’s not going to work.”

Nathan glared back and said, “Well see.”

Lucas walked out, and closed the door behind him. Nathan cleaned up the dishes and decided to sleep in the bed.


The next morning Nathan’s alarm went off early. He got up and got ready for school just in case Coach Whitey was able to get him back in. He took his basketball, and as he was about to leave, he saw an envelope that had been slipped under his door. He opened it and saw one of Payton’s drawings. It was of two hands with wedding rings, and the caption said, “Sometimes they come back.”

Nathan looked at it for a minute wanting to believe it, and then left the apartment. He went to the river court to practice for half an hour before school started. While he was there Karen showed up. He didn’t see her at first and she called out, “Nathan?”

Nathan turned and saw her. They had never had much contact other then hearing about each other through Dan, Debbie, Lucas, and Haley. Nathan said, “Ms. Roe. What are you doing here?”

“Looking for Lucas.”

Nathan tried not to sound too harsh when he said, “Why would he be here? He has his own court in Dan Scott’s driveway.”

Karen looked lost and hurt as she sat down on the bleachers. Nathan felt bad and went to sit beside her. It hurt to sit, and he thought it would be better if he didn’t get to go to school today. But he thought Karen could use some comfort, so he stayed sitting. They sat in silence for a while and then he said, “I’m sorry my dad was such a Dick to you. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. It must have really hurt.”

Karen looked off into the distance thinking about the past. She said honestly, “I got over it.”

Nathan couldn’t help himself. It seemed like since Lucas opened the gates, his emotions just kept getting the better of him. He found himself confessing to Karen. He said, “When Haley told me about the tour….I got mad at her. I told her that if she left with Chris, that it was over…..I didn’t really mean it….but she left anyway.”

Nathan found he was close to tears again. Karen put her arm around his shoulders and said sympathetically, “Oh, Nathan.”

Nathan was worried, because Haley still hadn’t called, and he said, “She’s not coming back. What am I gonna do?”

Karen felt for him and said, “Nathan…..I know what it’s like to have someone you love walk away. But I know Haley. She’s a good person. I know she’ll do the right thing. You just have to have a little faith.”

Nathan was so relieved to hear that Karen thought Haley would be back too, that he started to cry. Karen pulled him into a hug and waited him out. Nathan pulled himself together as quick as he could and then wiped at his face. Karen let him go and Nathan said, “Sorry.”

“Don’t be. You can talk to me any time.”

“Thanks.”

Karen looked at her watch and said, “Don’t you have to get to school?”

Nathan nodded and said, “Yeah. I’ll see you later.”

Nathan got up and packed up his stuff. Karen said, “Have a good day in school.”

Nathan smiled to her and as he walked away he muttered to himself, “I doubt it, if I get to go that is.”