DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Ryan Murphy and the WB. No infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: A giant thank you to Carpesomediem for some much needed beta'ing when I hit a fork in the road.
CONTINUITY: This is in my Bram!verse and is next in line after 'Ringing in the New Year' and 'Telling Harrison'.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Leave it to Glass to assign a paper the first week back from Christmas break. And not just a paper: the assignment included an oral presentation to be delivered in front of the class.
Brooke also realized that Glass was a big, fat hypocrite. As much as she warned about the dangers of STDs or the perils of teen pregnancy, she was constantly bombarding them with projects-usually assigned in pairs-to research subjects like libido, hormones, puberty, and the like.
Her and Sam's topic was 'attraction'. If talking about that wasn't enough to incite romance among hormonal teenagers, what was? Of course, Glass had probably assigned that topic to the two of them never imagining that it could possibly be relevant. Wouldn't she be in for a shock?
Doing their first school project together as a couple had been fun-although a six page double-spaced research paper that Brooke could have knocked out in a few hours took them--
Well, they had to practice delivering their 'oral presentations' to each other, didn't they? Brooke grinned. That was the one subject where Sammy got straight A's...
Mary Cherry stood at the front of the class, informing them about pheromones. Sort of. Between the 'language barrier'-her pronounced southern drawl-and the fact that she'd deviated quite a bit from the assignment, Brooke wasn't sure if Mary Cherry had ever actually explained what pheromones were.
"And so," she said, gesturing to her bar graph where several small red bars were dwarfed by one giant blue one featuring a cut-out of Harrison's face, "through mah exhausting research of performin' random mandatory blood tests of the student population, y'all can clearly see that mah lab partner Joe--"
She winked at Harrison, sitting behind them. "...exudes 86 percent more 'pheromonosity' than the ahverage teenage male."
Harrison groaned aloud, and his head flopped to the table. It was all Brooke could do not to lose it. The rest of the class had no compunctions about expressing their amusement, but with her and Sam trying to get on good terms with Harrison again she thought she should probably show restraint.
"Miss Cherry," Glass questioned. "Am I to understand that you forced students to submit to having their blood taken and tested without their consent?"
Mary Cherry's face screwed up in concentration. She seemed to pick-up on the underlying tone in Glass' cross-examination: the sarcasm that should have warned her of impending danger.
"Yes, ma'am," she admitted anyway.
"Impressive," Glass nodded approvingly. "All right, take your seat."
Brooke began doodling. She drew an eye, a heart, and the letter 'U' vertically on a piece of paper, and slid it over to Sam's side of the desk.
The brunette derived 'I love you' from her pictograph instantly. She smiled warmly at her, and winked.
Brooke waggled her eyebrows and withdrew the paper. She added to the gallery, drawing the numeral '2' to the right of the heart and a decent, if simplistic rendition of a camel before the letter 'U'. She finished by drawing an arrow pointing at the top of the camel's back.
Sam stared at the picture quizzically, her brow wrinkled in confusion. "I love to..." she annunciated quietly.
Brooke knew the moment she deciphered the riddle: 'I love to hump you.'
A snort erupted from the brunette and she coughed in fits to mask her laughter. Brooke, quite pleased with the response, calmly slid the paper back into her notebook.
Sam became flustered so easily...
"McSisters," Glass admonished, "is there something you'd like to share with the class."
"God, no," Sam rasped, her throat raw.
"No, Ms. Glass," Brooke replied, trying to reign in the smile she felt pulling at the corner of her lips. "We're just going over some last minute details for our report."
"Well since you have our attention, McSisters, you're next."
"I really wish she wouldn't call us that," Brooke whispered.
"Tell me about it," Sam concurred.
Brooke smiled and gathered her notes for the oral report. They had decided that she be the 'on camera' personality for this one.
"Good morning, class," she began. Sam's smile warmed her heart like the sun, and she gave her a ghost of a wink. "That topic that Samm--"
Whoops. She'd almost just called her 'Sammy' in front of the entire class. "That my lab partner and I were assigned is 'attraction'.
"What defines 'attraction'?" she asked. Her gaze traveled along the class, making brief eye contact with everyone. "Attraction-or more accurately 'interpersonal attraction'-is a major area of study in social psychology. Interpersonal attraction is the force between people that leads to friendships and romantic relationships." Her eyes met Sam's, and she felt the grin tugging at the corner of her mouth again.
"Attraction can be viewed as a force acting between two people that tends to draw them together and resist their separation."
The smile worked its way to the surface. That was the quote that brought their research to a stop that first night. Sam had thrown down her notebook and announced with a lecherous grin that she could no longer resist the force drawing them together. She had done it for far too long. Who was Brooke to argue?
The only drawback to what was a wonderful evening was when they had to separate and sleep in their own beds. That sucked completely. She'd gotten used to their sleeping arrangements over the break and loved waking up with the brunette wrapped around her.
Maybe they could set the alarm for five in the morning or something? Then they could sleep together but be in their own beds when Jane came to check on them.
Well, maybe five-thirty...?
"Uh, where was I?" Brooke cleared her throat, and studied her notes. She heard a few chuckles from the class at the expense of her derailed train of thought. "A recent study by Buss & Barnes suggested that people prefer their romantic partners to be similar in demographic characteristics such as religious background, political orientation and socio-economic status.
"Whereas a study by Nowicki and Manheim, six years later, refuted that claim. Their findings seemed to indicate that complementary interaction between two partners increases their attractiveness to each other.
"This is what's commonly known as the theory that 'opposites attract'," she informed them.
Don't look at Sam. Don't look at Sam. Don't look at--
Damn. She couldn't help it this time. Her cheeks felt warm and she looked down at her notes again to cover her blushing.
Of course, as Sam had pointed out the other night: they weren't really opposites. In fact, they were more alike than they were different, and it was probably their similarities that caused the friction in the beginning. That and the incredible unresolved sexual tension.
"Attraction," Brooke continued, "is the force that ultimately leads to intimacy, romantic relationships, and even love. Robert Sternberg attempted to quantify love with his 'Triangular Theory of Love'. Different stages and types of love can be explained as different combinations of three elements, and the 'amount' of love one experiences depends on the absolute strength of these components.
"The components that form the basis of Sternberg's model are intimacy, passion, and commitment..."
She didn't have to look the brunette's way to know that Sam was thinking about the same thing that she was. New Year's Eve had put to rest any doubts about their relationship and what it meant to the two of them.
Forever, they had promised to each other. And she intended to hold up her end of the bargain.
"Thank you," Brooke concluded. There was light applause, interrupted by the bell signaling the end of class. A shuffling of books and chairs erupted, and Brooke made her way back to her seat. Sam was waiting for her, still smiling.
"McSiblings," Glass called out. "Can I see you both for a minute?"
She and Sam exchanged curious glances. Had Glass already torn apart their paper? That seemed unlikely. She wouldn't have had time, and besides: the paper was thorough, with solid research and lots of documentation. Was Glass questioning her oral presentation skills?
Because she could produce affidavits...
Glass waited until the rest of the class had vacated before addressing them. "Well," she began, "I see that the two of you finally figured it out, but if you have any hope of keeping a secret you might want to cut back on the coy winks and the wanton gazes." She mimicked Brooke's barely-there wink effectively.
Sam recovered quicker than she did. "Ms. Glass," the brunette objected in a decent facsimile of indignation. "I don't know what you're--"
But Glass was having none of that. "Spare me, Miss McPherson."
"Brooke and I--"
"Sam," Brooke said simply, halting the brunette's impending filibuster. Glass wasn't bluffing. "How did you know?"
"I teach biology and chemistry, Miss McQueen." She had emphasized the latter as if it explained everything. "You two have been a ticking time bomb since your freshmen year. I just didn't know if you would ever see it.
"Your personal life is your own business, Miss McPherson," Glass assured her. "I was just letting you know that the two of you are about as subtle as a Pride Rally."
"Oh," Sam blushed. "Thanks."
"And I want it to stay out of my classroom," she added.
"Yes, Ms. Glass," Brooke answered.
"I'm glad we got that cleared up," Glass replied. She appraised them for a moment. "You're a good looking couple. Unfortunately your report neglected to mention the Walster and Walster study of 1969 and Murstein's 1972 study that cited similar levels of physical attractiveness as grounds for interpersonal attraction. You two are walking poster children for those theories.
"I'll have to dock you," she informed them.
Brooke was still too much in shock to argue grades at this point.
"Ms. Glass!" Sam called out. "Since you know," she began sheepishly. "Can you stop calling us McSisters?"
"Or McSiblings?" Brooke added.
Glass considered it. "I think that can be arranged," she acquiesced. "Now I have to think of something else to call you. McShaggin? McLovin?" Glass grabbed her bag, and exited the room-amusing herself with new nickname ideas for the two of them.
The door shut behind her, leaving them alone.
"As long as she doesn't go with 'McLesbos'," Brooke commiserated.
"I hear that's the new sandwich at your local Athens' McDonalds'," Sam deadpanned.
Brooke chortled. She grabbed Sam and pulled her closer. "Oo. That's what I want for lunch: a McLesbo with cheese." Brooke grinned and brought their lips together.
"You don't care today, do you?" Sam chuckled. She was referring to a conversation where Brooke confessed that some times she was panic stricken that someone would find out about them, and at other times she wanted nothing more than to walk down the hall hand-in-hand with the brunette for all the world to see.
"Nope," she smiled. "Not a bit." Her expression sobered. "I put you through hell-and myself for that matter-because I was so afraid of what other people would think of me. I think over and over about how close I came to blowing this, Sammy." She ran her thumb over the planes of Sam's face.
"You didn't," Sam chuckled. "Believe me."
"You sounded pretty certain on Christmas," Brooke recalled. "I didn't even know if you would hear me out when I came to see you."
Sam snorted. "Like I could ever resist you. I think my resolve lasted for about twenty minutes before I was fighting to keep myself from sleeping outside your door."
"Really?" Brooke grinned. Sam's admission delighted her. She felt oddly relieved that she hadn't come as close as she feared to losing Sam forever.
"Oh yeah," Sam replied. "I folded like a cheap lawn chair." She grinned wryly. "You're Brooke McQueen," she shrugged-as if that explained everything.
"Who still doesn't know what she's done to deserve Sam McPherson," Brooke replied, shaking her head in wonder. Sam blushed, which Brooke found completely adorable. "C'mon, let's get lunch. I'm starving."
"Me too." On the way to the door Brooke laced their fingers together.
"Brooke," Sam warned.
The blonde just grinned in reply. She hadn't yet told Sam about wanting the brunette to wear her cheerleading jacket to school one day. Soon...
And then her mind supplied her with an image of Sam wearing only her cheerleading jacket.
They exited into the hallway and only then did she loosen her grip on Sam's fingers. Sam turned left toward the cafeteria, but Brooke pulled her in the other direction. "Where are we going?"
"The Novak," Brooke answered. "C'mon."
"I thought you were starving?"
"I am," the blonde waggled her eyebrows. "For a McLesbo with cheese..."
Epilogue: Thirty Minutes Later.
Brooke's stomach growled loud enough for the students in the adjoining seats to hear. She glanced at them apologetically then looked over at the desk next to her. "I'm hungry, Sammy," she whined.
Sam glared at her. "Me too," she growled. Suddenly the brunette's face brightened, and she reached into her backpack-magically producing a banana.
"Where'd you get that?" Brooke gasped, salivating like a Pavlovian dog at a bell chorus recital.
"Mom packed it. I'm sure she packed you one too."
"Oh yeah," Brooke frowned. "She did. I ate mine earlier," she sighed.
Sam peeled the banana hungrily, lust in her eyes.
She used to look at me that way, Brooke lamented. Brooke just watched, her eyes sliding pitifully from the banana to Sam and back again.
The brunette's shoulders slumped in resignation, and her eyes narrowed at the blonde. She broke the banana in half, examined the two pieces, and handed one to Brooke.
Brooke shoved the banana in her mouth and chewed-beaming gratefully at the sullen reporter and feeling very, very loved:
Sammy gave her the big half.
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