DISCLAIMER: Alas, I don't own the characters of Popular. They belong to Ryan Murphy, but hopefully he won't mind if I borrow them for a little while.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: So this may not make much sense at first, in terms of what's going on and why... I promise that it'll make sense by the end, though. Takes place when Brooke and Sam are in college, but are back living at the Palace for the summer.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To mysensitiveside[at]yahoo.com
Brooke shifts back and forth on the balls of her feet, anxiously watching the constant stream of passengers heading towards the baggage claim area. Her eyes scan back and forth through the throng, trying to catch at least a glimpse of everyone. No sign yet of the one person she's looking for, though.
She glances back up at the "Arrivals" monitor. Yep, it still shows that American Airlines Flight 812 has arrived, and that passengers should retrieve their luggage at Baggage Claim C, where Brooke currently waits not-so-patiently.
A brief moment of panic hits Brooke -- maybe she's waiting in the wrong place; maybe no baggage was checked, and so there...
It's then that Brooke first catches sight of Sam.
The brunette looks tired, but simply the fact that she's there is enough to make Brooke's breath hitch.
She feels the brief urge to panic and run.
Instead, she can only stand and stare, waiting for Sam to notice her. It's obvious, the very second when it happens, because Sam stops dead in her tracks, staring wide-eyed at Brooke. She stumbles back into motion, though, as someone else literally crashes into Sam from behind, unprepared for the sudden halt.
Sam's eyes don't move from Brooke's, though the brunette seems to almost be in a daze as her feet propel her towards Brooke.
Brooke chews nervously on her lower lip, unsure what to say, what to do, as Sam arrives before her.
"Hi," the blonde manages softly. "Welcome back."
Sam, still looking completely stunned, barely seems to register the words, and it's another few moments before the reporter finally manages some speech of her own, though a claim of coherence, let alone eloquence, would certainly be over-stating things.
"Brooke. You... I didn't... Did you..."
Brooke can only blink in response, having no idea what Sam might be trying to say and/or ask.
Clearing her throat and taking a deep breath, Sam tries again. "You're here," she remarks, unnecessarily stating the obvious.
Brooke blushes, nodding slightly.
"Did..." Sam continues haltingly. "Did you get my letter?"
Once again, Brooke can only nod in response, her vocal chords tight in either embarrassment, nervousness, or something else entirely; Brooke can't tell for sure.
"You're here," Sam reiterates, when it becomes apparent that Brooke isn't going to say anything else. "And you got my letter. And you're here to pick me up. Not my mom."
Brooke has been staring intently at her shoes, but finally finds the strength to look up and meet Sam's gaze. Yes, she is there, and she wants to be there, and Sam wants her to be there too. There's nothing to be afraid of, she tells herself.
Or at least, Sam had wanted her to be there... With any luck, there haven't been any major changes in that regard, during the month since Brooke has laid eyes on her brunette step-sister.
"I told Jane that she shouldn't bother coming to get you; that I wanted to come instead," Brooke explains, though of all people, Sam really shouldn't require an explanation.
And then, finally, the response Brooke has been hoping for, even without a conscious admission of such -- Sam smiles, that great, warm, happy smile that always turns Brooke's insides to mush.
Brooke can only smile back, helpless against Sam's reaction. Then Brooke's eyes widen, though, and her breath catches in her throat... Because Sam's face is moving closer, and then suddenly Sam is kissing her.
Those warm lips Brooke has spent so much time surreptitiously staring at are now gliding over her own, and a firm hand has settled at the back of Brooke's neck, tangling into her hair. It takes Brooke a moment or two for her brain to finally catch up with everything, but by that point, one arm has already wrapped instinctively around Sam's back, while her other hand reaches out to cup the smooth jaw in front of her, and her own lips move in natural synchrony with Sam's.
Sam pulls back a bit, and Brooke is embarrassed to find that she almost whimpers at the loss of contact. Thankfully, the brunette stays close, dropping short, sweet kisses around Brooke's mouth.
That's when Brooke's mind really catches up with things, because dear God, they're still standing in the middle of LAX, which is only possibly the busiest airport in the history of airports.
She must stiffen somehow, because Sam pulls back further to look at her, those deep brown eyes full of questions and fear and hope.
Screw it, Brooke thinks to herself, before reaching up to the back of Sam's neck and pulling the girl in for another brief, but intense kiss.
The girls lean their foreheads together, with the tips of Sam's fingers still running lazy circles over the skin at the nape of Brooke's neck.
Brooke can't quite believe that this is really happening; she's been waiting for this moment for a month -- no, longer than that, if she's honest -- but it's finally here, and at the thought, Brooke can't stop the wide grin from spreading across her face. She happily pecks Sam on the lips once more, before reaching down to tangle her fingers with Sam's.
"So, want that ride home?" Brooke asks lightly, ignoring the pounding in her chest at the thought of the empty house that awaits them.
Sam still seems to be in somewhat of a daze but she smiles widely and nods. They almost leave without picking up Sam's luggage, but luckily manage to remember it at the last moment.
Brooke is mostly silent during the drive back to the Palace, her mind only halfway paying attention to Sam's obviously nervous chatter. Sam doesn't seem to need much in terms of verbal feedback, anyway.
After pulling into the driveway, Brooke goes to retrieve the smaller of Sam's two bags before noticing that Sam hasn't moved an inch from her position in the passenger seat. She stares straight ahead, and an element of panic becomes visible in her eyes when Brooke makes her way to just outside Sam's window.
Sam's startled out of her thoughts, though, when Brooke opens the passenger door, leaning against it to watch the brunette.
"Everything okay over there?" she asks, the hint of a grin pulling at her lips.
Sam blinks, turning to stare up at the blonde. "Huh? Oh, yeah. It's just..." She pauses. "I'm not dreaming, am I? You really came to pick me up?"
Brooke merely laughs in amusement, surprised at her own lack of nervousness as she reaches into the car and grabs Sam's hand, pulling the reporter to her feet.
"Come on, Sammy," she encourages. Sam's bewilderment is simply adorable, and makes Brooke want to hold on to the girl and never let go. "Let's go inside, yeah?"
It's only when she shuts the front door behind her, her hand still locked onto Sam's, that Brooke's nerves begin to make a reappearance.
"Um, where's everybody else?" Sam asks, swallowing audibly.
"Well, my dad had a business trip this weekend, remember?" Brooke begins, her tone soft. "And since I said I'd pick you up, Jane decided to go with him, and take Mac too. She, um, said to tell you she's sorry she's not here to welcome you back, but that she wants to hear all about your trip later."
Other than a brief noise of comprehension, Brooke's statement is met with silence, and Brooke begins to think that this may have all been too much for them. Instead of allowing the panic to settle in, though, she simply turns her head towards Sam, willing the other girl to meet her gaze.
When Sam continues to simply look straight ahead, Brooke squeezes the hand in hers and urges, "Look at me, Sam. Please?"
Sam's face jerks to the side, finally locking eyes with Brooke.
With a deep breath, Brook continues, "Okay, before this gets too awkward..." She pauses, realizing belatedly that she's not sure how to finish the sentence.
So instead of speaking, she simply closes her eyes and leans forward, seizing Sam's lips in a bruising kiss. It's as if the kiss serves to break Sam out of her stupor, as Sam reacts instantly, stepping into closer contact and wrapping both arms tightly around Brooke's back, until their bodies line up perfectly, smooth contact burning Brooke's skin from head to toe.
Suddenly, any hesitation Brooke felt earlier is gone, and she can't help but moan lightly as Sam maneuvers them until the blonde's back is up against the door, with Sam's body pressing firmly against her. Sam's tongue peeks out to just barely touch Brooke's bottom lip, but she gladly parts her lips in response, allowing entrance.
The kiss is deep, and warm, and good God, why hadn't they ever thought to do this before?
Brooke's not sure how long they stand there, until suddenly Sam's entire body stiffens, and she pulls back minutely. Brooke has no idea what's wrong, but the panic that seizes her is instantaneous. It only takes her a few extra moments, though, to realize that the break in momentum has been caused by Brooke's thoughtlessly wandering hands -- without conscious decision, Brooke's right hand has made its way to Sam's chest, practically groping, she notices with embarrassment, while her left has come to rest at the small of Sam's back, dangerously close to the brunette's ass.
Brooke flushes deeply, quickly dropping her arms to her sides. "Sorry," she whispers, mortified to have let her hormones get away with her, making Sam uncomfortable by deciding to cop a feel, instead of thinking. "I just... I'm really sorry."
Sam's form relaxes noticeably, and she leans in to kiss Brooke again. "Don't be sorry," she responds with a smile. "You just caught me by surprise."
Brooke exhales, relieved that she hasn't done any serious damage to whatever it is that's developing between the two of them.
"But..." Sam continues after a moment, and something in the tone of voice causes Brooke's anxieties to return immediately. "I don't know what this is to you, Brooke, but... I don't do one night stands, you know?"
Sam is clearly blushing now, suddenly appearing to be fascinated with the carpet.
Glad that nothing more serious is bothering the brunette, Brooke reaches out to Sam's chin, urging her gaze upwards. "I don't either, Sam, okay? I really don't want to push this faster than you're ready for. I've been sexually frustrated for the last month, thank you very much, but I want this to be as special for you as it already feels for me."
Brooke barely has time to finish her sentence before Sam surges forward, bringing their lips firmly back together.
"You may be lying," Sam continues between kisses, admitting, "but I guess I'm easy, because that's all I needed to hear."
Brooke grins into the kiss, but decides that no verbal response is necessary. A moan is pulled from her throat, though, as Sam tentatively takes Brooke's right hand and places it back on her left breast, offering tacit permission to continue where she left off.
"Um... upstairs?" is the best Brooke can manage when Sam's warm mouth drifts down to the column of the blonde's neck.
With a grunt of agreement, Sam reaches blindly for one of Brooke's hands, practically dragging the other girl behind her as she quickly makes her way up the stairs, only to stop uncertainly as she reaches the second floor.
"Um, your place or mine?" Sam asks, releasing a nervous giggle.
Brooke isn't sure that she's ever heard Sam giggle before, but the it causes a wide grin to spread across Brooke's face, and she makes a mental note to try to get the light sound out of Sam as much as possible from now on.
Apparently unsatisfied with the length of time it's taking Brooke to reply, Sam simply continues forward into the closest bedroom, which happens to be Brooke's, immediately shutting the door behind them and recreating the positions from earlier, with Brooke back up against the door and happily accepting the brunette's warm body between her arms.
Sam's hands had initially landed on the blonde's waist, but it isn't long before Brooke feels Sam's fingers starting to tease underneath the hem of her shirt, soft fingertips sweeping over the sensitive skin. Brooke's breath catches at the contact, and her instinctual response is to simply reach down to the edge of Sam's own shirt and pull upwards.
Both girls moan simultaneously as the shirt drops to the floor and Brooke's hands come down to wrap around Sam's bare skin. Feeling her knees begin to shake, Brooke begins to walk forward, urging Sam back until they both topple gracelessly onto Brooke's bed, laughing as they go.
Their lips quickly find each other again, though, as they settle into a comfortable position, with Brooke lying astride Sam's body, legs tangled together. She only lifts herself up to give enough room for Sam's questing fingers to undo the buttons of her shirt, pushing it backwards and off of her shoulders.
From then on, Brooke's mind is more of a hazy blur, too full of sensations to leave room for much else.
Sam's arms wrap tightly around her as she leans down, allowing her lips to lead along the edge of Sam's jaw and up to the ridge of Sam's ear, running her tongue lightly across the surface. Brooke grins predatorily at the soft whimper that escapes Sam's throat as her mouth descends to suck at the pulse point just beneath Sam's jaw.
The salty sweet taste of Sam's skin, the ripple of excitement smoldering just below the surface, the throaty but unintelligible sounds coming from Sam's lips, the feel of Sam's touch burning across Brooke's body... It's almost too much, and Brooke feels like she might implode any second now...
Instead, she cautiously nudges her thigh more firmly in between Sam's, pressing upwards against Sam's center.
Sam groans loudly at the increased friction, turning her head to whisper desperately in Brooke's ear.
With something nearing a growl, Brooke obeys, reaching down to undo Sam's jeans, then her own, and two pairs of hands help to quickly get rid of all remaining articles of clothing, before Sam reaches up to cup Brooke's face with both hands, crushing their lips together.
Brooke breaks the kiss, but only in order to inch further down Sam's body, taking several moments, to gaze reverently over the naked body lying on her bed. Sam is so beautiful, and Brooke doesn't know how it could have possibly taken her so long to realize it.
Brooke's never done this before, not with another woman, at least, but it doesn't seem to matter, as she leaves a wet trail of kisses down Sam's body, stopping to lavish attention on Sam's chest, thrilled with the inarticulate sounds her efforts produce.
She doesn't get much further, though, before Sam is urging her back upwards.
"I want..." Sam begins, only to apparently lose her train of thought when Brooke's hands can't stay still, running teasingly up and down Sam's sides.
"What, Sam? What do you want?" Brooke prompts, nipping gently at Sam's full lips.
"I want to see your face," Sam finally manages to finish, explaining why she'd halted Brooke's progress.
"Mmm," Brooke murmurs in agreement.
No more words are spoken as they each use their mouths and touch to worship the other. Brooke moans loudly as Sam's fingers unexpectedly reach between her thighs, tentatively exploring the heat beneath blonde curls. Her own fingers mimic Sam's touch, and it isn't long before they settle into a rhythm together, panting against each other's lips.
Through some unspoken agreement, they each struggle to keep their eyes open, gazes locked on each other until it's impossible not to squeeze their eyes shut as first Sam, and then Brooke immediately after, tumble over the edge, crying out each other's names.
Still breathing heavily, Brooke sinks into Sam's warm embrace, shifting somewhat to the side and nuzzling happily into Sam's neck.
"Welcome home, Sam," she whispers softly, before falling easily into sleep.
It's been six years since Brooke first started dating Sam. Six deliriously happy and sometimes horribly frustrating years.
She hasn't told Sam that she's even kept it, but still, about every few months or so, Brooke never fails to take out The Letter, reading over the words that started everything.
As you've no doubt realized by now, I've decided to leave a day early for the journalism conference (NOT a summer camp, no matter how much you try to make fun of me for it). I was able to switch the day of my flight without much difficulty.
I just... I just can't be around you right now. I'm sorry.
This isn't fair of me, I know, but I can't help it. There's no way that I could say this out loud, but there's also no way for me to hold it inside any longer.
So, I resort to the written word. You know me... the written word = the truth, so here goes everything.
I love you, Brooke. And not just as a friend. I think I'm in love with you, and I just can't bear being around you right now, because it hurts too much.
I don't know when it happened. I don't know how it happened. But I can't take it back, so I'm deciding to play the coward and run away. I'm sorry.
I'll be back in a month; I have a month to get over this. I know that it's unrequited, and I'm okay with that. Or at least, I will be. You mean too much to me as a friend, so I really hope that I haven't completely ruined everything at this point.
But still, I just can't seem to let things go without adding this: Right now, the plan is for Mom to come pick me up at the airport when I get back. I honestly don't expect anything to come of this, but just throwing it out there... On the really itty bitty tiny chance that you might feel the same way, then come pick me up instead. If not, no worries, and I swear to you, that I will never mention any of this ever again.
I'm sorry. About everything.
I'll see you in a month.
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