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The Heart Brings You Back
“Nathan, name three things about Haley that you love.”
“Well, I love that she is willing to protect our son from everything he doesn’t need to see. She always tries to help people. Especially her students in her class that bug her like crazy. And then I also love the way she used to look at me. I could tell in her eyes that she really loved me. I just don’t see that anymore,” said Nate.
“Well maybe if you weren’t all over Carrie, we wouldn’t be in this situation,” Haley snapped.
“Haley, she came on to me. I should have told you about the flirting. And the way she told Jamie that she was like his mother. She’s a horrible nanny, I know. I guess I didn’t stop her because I wished that was you that was flirting with me, or you that was skinny dipping on purpose in front of me. I miss the way you look at me Haley. God, I love you so much. I wish you would just spend more time with me,” explained Nathan.
“Nathan, I love you and so does Jamie. But how can I ever trust you again?”
“Haley, what do you want me to say? All I want is for you to look at me like you did before. Like you did that one weekend when I asked you to marry me. I meant what I said that day.”
Haley sat there, her eyes tearing up and her arms crossed. She started slouching into the couch. She didn’t know whether to respond or just walk right out of the room.
“Haley, how about you now. What are three things you love most about Nathan?”
“Well, back when we were seniors in high school, Nathan and I went on a trip to our friend Rachel’s cottage. Nathan wrote me this note and left it on the bed for me to read.
“What did the note say?”
“It said, ‘You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. Meet me at the big oak tree through the trail in the woods at 4 o’clock.’ Well, I met him there and he found this little white boat by the shore of the lake and we went on it for two hours and just sailed in the water. We snuggled and kissed and just talked. It was so romantic. But, things change. I mean, you hire a nanny for your five year old son and she ends up hitting on your husband.”
“Haley, you know me. I would never do anything to hurt you. I never cheated on you. She came onto me, but I didn’t respond. I love you, Hales. ”
“Yes, Nathan, but you did hurt me. Why didn’t you tell me about this earlier?”
“I didn’t want you to get mad and assume things. Haley, I cannot describe to you how much you mean to me. Remember senior year? We were head over heels in love. I’m still that guy, Haley.”
“Nate, are you sure you want to do this? I mean, I know you love Haley, but you guys are eighteen,” said Lucas as he walked to the car on a bright, sunny day in Honeyville.
“I’m ready, Luke. This is it. You are going to be my best man. After all, a brother is a best man,” said Nathan as he started up the car.
“Well then, let’s go get this ring.”
Nathan used to be the bad boy of Honeyville. He dated all the cheerleaders and hosted all the big parties. He was, and still is, the captain of the varsity basketball team, wealthy, had an alcoholic mother, and a half brother that he hated. His father, Dan Scott, was the richest man in Honeyville. Dan isn’t exactly “Father of the Year” to Nathan. He pushed Nathan too hard in basketball and drove Nathan to take performance enhancement drugs that led him in to the hospital. Nathan’s life was miserable a year ago, but then Haley changed everything. Thanks to Haley, his girlfriend, Nathan has learned to appreciate what he really has.
Nathan appreciated everything Haley does for him, especially staying with him every day at the hospital. Nathan wanted to start a new life with Haley and stay far away from his old life and habits. He planned on proposing this weekend.
This weekend, he was going up to Rachel’s cottage on the lake along with their group of friends for a nice weekend together. He thought that would be the perfect time. Nathan was ready to put the past behind him. Right as Nathan and Lucas parked the car and got out, Brooke walked up.
“You boys planning anything for tonight?” as Brooke walked out of the store carrying three shopping bags.
“No, but we actually Brooke, you need to help us,” suggested Nate.
“Okay. What are we doing? Let me guess, you’re going to buy a new dress for prom?” said Brooke with a high pitched-tone, flipping her hair as she battered her eyes.
“Uh no. You’re actually going to help me pick out a ring for Haley.”
“What? Don’t tell me you’re…”
“Yeah. So keep it a secret.”
Brooke was the popular cheerleader in school. She had all the new designer clothes and shoes, she was student body president, and she dated Lucas last year. Despite Lucas being her ex boyfriend, Brooke and he stayed friends. Brooke was more surprised than Lucas to hear about the proposal.
Nathan never thought he would be picking out wedding rings while he was still in high school, but he knew Haley was the one the moment he met her. Haley is a well-grounded girl, has a 4.0, tutors other students, and has a job at Karen’s Café, the town’s coffee shop. Haley always made the right choices in life and dating Nathan was a surprise to everyone. They couldn’t be more different from one another.
The two met in an unusual way. Last year, Nathan hated his brother. To make Lucas mad, Nathan had Haley tutor him. Nathan knew Haley was Luke’s best friend. He thought by getting Haley to like him, he would make Luke jealous. As Nathan and Haley “secretly” met, Nathan started falling for her. She didn’t like Nate very much but she kept doing her job and helping him. As Haley spent more time with Nathan, she starting seeing things in a new light. Colors were brighter, food tasted better, and even the blue birds she noticed every morning were chirping louder. Her world went from clouds of grey to blue skies and sunshine. Nathan’s life also changed like the leaves on a tree. He went from being the biggest jerk and player to being a well-rounded guy, just by spending time with Haley. He started taking his time in the morning to get ready, shaved every little piece of facial hair, and gelled his hair every morning, just for her. One year from that moment, Nathan will have planned the most romantic setting to propose to Haley.
“Brooke, do you know any romantic settings around this cottage?” Nathan pulled Brooke aside from the group in the family room of Rachel’s cottage.
“Yeah. Tomorrow after we get done with breakfast, take Haley out to the dock by the water and just stand over there. You will be under the tree and the sun will be reflected on the water. It’s the perfect spot.”
“Brooke, that’s a great idea. Thanks,” said Nathan as they walked back over to the family room.
The next morning Nathan was as nervous as ever. He ate his breakfast as if it looked like a mud pie. He just sat there at the table like a bump on a log
“Honey, are you okay? You haven’t even touched your eggs,” said Haley taking a sip of her coffee.
“Yeah,” he said under his breath, “Hales, let’s go outside.”
The others just looked at the two of them, as if they were arguing about something and were going outside to talk about it. Secretly though, Brooke knew what was going on. She tried so hard to hold it in. She was best friends with Haley and these last couple days have been hard for not tell her best friend. Brooke was going to be the maid of honor at eighteen years old.
As Nathan took Haley’s hand and they walked toward the dock. He took his other hand and put it in his coat pocket to check the box. They got closer and closer to the dock and Nathan’s heart kept beating faster and faster. The only time he was this nervous was at the state championship for basketball. The dock seemed like it was a mile away. Each step he took inched him closer and closer. All he could think about was the distance between him and that dock that was keeping him from proposing. “This is it,” he thought. His body was trembling as he kept walking. He couldn’t focus his eyes on the path in front of him. The dock was so far away. He kept sweating and shaking, getting closer and closer to that dock and putting one knee on the ground. Was he making the right decision? Is 18 years old too young to be engaged. I mean, after all, they are still in high school. Would they wait until college to get married or do it in the summer?
He looked at Haley as they reached the beginning of the dock. “She is so beautiful” thought Nathan. Her light brown hair was blowing in the light wind, full of body and shine. Her green sweater wrapped around her petite waist, and her jeans were of the lightest shade of blue. She was free of make-up and jewelry and still looked stunning. They finally reached the end of the dock and stopped and stared into the water, watching it ripple.
“It’s nice out here. I’m glad we have some alone time for a little bit,” said Haley to Nathan, whose heart was racing like a horse.
“Yeah, it’s great,” he stuttered.
“Haley, you know that we haven’t even been dating for two years, but I love you so much.”
“I love you too, Nathan.”
“You showed me that you really cared about me when you came to visit me in the hospital every day. I know I wasn’t exactly nice to Lucas when we got into high school, but you changed me and have made me in to a better person. You’re the best thing that has happened to me, Hales.”
“Nathan, you’re going to make me cry.”
“I know we are only seniors in high school, but I know you are the girl I want to spend the rest of my life with,” said Nathan as he starting getting down on one knee and pulling out the box from his coat pocket,” Haley, will you be my wife?”
“Oh my God, Nathan.” Haley put her hand over her mouth and looked him in the eye. “I would marry you today this minute.”
Nathan sighed of relief and stood back up, kissed Haley and wrapped his arms around her. Their friends came running out from the house as if they were watching the whole time. Brooke ran over to Haley and turned her head straight down to look at the ring.
“Dang, Nathan knows his diamonds,” she said curving her pink lip glossed lips and showing off her pearly, straight teeth, “I am so happy for you guys.”
“Nathan, you’re the man,” said Lucas, giving Nathan a brother-hug. He turned over to Haley, “Well, Hales, it looks like you’re my sister-in-law now.”
“I guess so!” Haley laughed.
“Haley, we can be those two people again. You need to trust me. I didn’t do anything with Carrie. I have been married to you for six years and I couldn’t be happier. I love you and that last year of high school was the best year of my life. Please give me a chance to prove to you that I am faithful to you and that you are everything to me, both you and Jamie.”
“It’s going to take more than a second chance, Nathan. I will slowly regain your trust, but it will take some time. You have no idea what was going through my mind these last months. I don’t feel like the same person anymore.”
She was starting to cry, but continued. “I miss having my husband. I miss what we were like in high school.”
Nathan leaned over to put his arms around her. His eyes were closed as he wrapped his big, toned muscles around her small frame. She cupped her small, pale hands in her face. You could see the tears slowly streak down her pink cheeks.
“Haley, let’s go home and just down and talk. We don’t need to be here to talk. We will get through this. I just want you to know that I love you and I didn’t mean for you to think that Carrie and I did anything. You are my wife, Hales. I gave you that ring and I meant what I said when I put it on your finger,” explained Nathan.
“Really?” she said lifting her head up as Nathan pull her long hair out of her face.
“I made you a promise. I love you, Hales.”
“I love you too , Nathan.”