DISCLAIMER: These characters are not mine, nor is the programme. They belong to the folk who made them. I do not claim them in any shape or form.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is my first fiction, inspired by discovering fiction. It's been a long time since I've seen the show, so can't remember the dates of when it took place. Also, it takes place from after the end of the series. The title sucks, but I couldn't think of another. I would love to know what you all think.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Soricha



"God! Where the hell is the aspirin?" Brooke's voice croaked as she pulled open all the cupboard doors. Once she found what she was looking for, she swallowed two tablets dry. She coughed before grabbing her cup of coffee and returning to the living area. She curled up on the couch and studied the black liquid in her mug. She sighed as she felt her head continue to ache. She knew she shouldn't had drunk as much as she did the previous night, but it was her hen night. Wasn't she supposed to get completely wasted and not care? This morning was punishing her for believing that.

She heard the footsteps and closed her eyes. "Hey, how you feeling?"

"Like there is a stampede of elephants running a marathon inside my head," Brooke smiled weakly at Lily. Lily sat down beside her, and brought her knees to her chest. She nodded in agreement. "I know your pain."

"It was a good night though… well, what I remember of it."

Lily grinned, "Even your strip-tease to 'I Will Survive'"

Brooke's cheeks reddened. "I thought that was a dream… O God! Kill me!"

Lily laughed softly as she watched Brooke bury her face in her hand. "Hey, no one cares… also, you're about to become a married woman… everything changed then."

Brooke looked up, "Does it really change?"

Lily thought for a moment before nodding, "Yeah, it does… before Josh and I got married, we only took care of number one, then suddenly every decision we made, we had to consider the other."

Brooke sighed before looking at her friend, "You're trying to scare me, aren't you?"

Lily laughed. "No Brooke… you'll be happy with Jake… he's fantastic."

Brooke smiled fondly as she thought of her fiance. She had made him wait five years before she finally agreed to set a wedding date, and he never once pushed her.

"Are you okay?"

Brooke looked back at her friend and shook her head, "I don't know… Shit! I just want to know that I am going into this marriage with all my heart, but I can't help thinking something is missing."

"Sam?" Lily asked, knowing that she was on the right path.

Brooke sighed before leaning her head back on the arm of the sofa. "I just wished that I knew where she is… it's been five years. It's as she has fallen of the face of the planet."

"Do you think she'll come back?" Lily asked as she pulled the throw down over herself.

Brooke shook her head.

"Mac, can you please put the tiara down…" Brooke yelled as she took the tiara from the eleven year old's hands. She glanced at the price tag. "Who spends that much money?" She replaced it and pulled back up her skirting to step onto the block. It was her last fitting and she wanted everything to be perfect, yet her little sister was making it near impossible. Mac was obviously not comfortable in her lilac bridesmaid dress.

"Can we go to the movies tonight?" Mac begged as she allowed the dressmaker to finish her dress. Brooke glanced at her sister, and smiled. Mac was twirling her long hair with her finger, and was giving her best puppy dog eyes.

"We can't. There's too much stuff to do… after the wedding."

"Everything is about the stupid wedding," the smaller girl mumbled. She pouted as she was told she could take of her dress. Brooke watched her leave and vowed to speak to her that evening. She knew that the wedding plans were cutting into her quality sister time.

"All done, dear." The fitter said as she stood back to admire her handicraft.

Brooke looked into the mirror and smiled at her reflection. "It's perfect."

"You look beautiful."

Brooke nodded bashfully and made her way to change in the dressing room. As she opened the door, she could hear sobbing.

"Mac, are you okay?" Brooke knocked on the cubicle door.

"Go away!" came the muffled response.

"Open the door, honey." Brooke called as she tried to nudge the door open.

"Leave me alone."

Brooke could tell her sister was getting angrier. She had a temper like Sam's and mixed her very own stubbornness, the child was a nightmare when she was in a bad mood. Brooke slid down the wall, and tapped the door again.

"Please, honey, talk to me."

Mac mumbled through the wooden barrier, and Brooke slid closer.

"What did you say?"

"I said I don't want you to get married." Mac sounded annoyed, and began sobbing again.

Brooke was stunned. She always thought Jake and Mac got on fantastically. "I thought you were happy."

"Everything will change once you're married… you'll have your own kids and you'll forget about me and Daddy."

Brooke gasped. "I won't forget you. Mac, you're one of the most important people in my life, you know that?"

Brooke's heart broke as she heard Mac continue crying behind the closed door. "Please open the door."

After a few minutes the door creaked open and a solemn Mac was sitting on the bench watching Brooke warily. Brooke crawled to her and pulled her into her lap, stroking the dark locks that tumbled into the little girl's face. She rocked her baby sister and whispered into her ear. "I promise nothing will change."

Mac shook her head in Brooke's chest. "You don't know that… and why are you marrying him?"

Brooke leant her head back against the wall before returning her gaze to the eyes watching her carefully. "Because I love him… come on, let's go."

She watched Mac stand up and stood up herself. She stepped into the cubicle to remove her wedding dress and could hear her little sister mumble. "What was that, Mac?"

"You don't love him."

As Brooke and her father cleaned the kitchen after dinner, she kept playing the conversation she had with Mac earlier that day. She put the last plate in the dishwater and turned to her father. She studied him, seeing how he has aged gracefully over the years, and hoped she inherited that gene. Mike glanced at her and smiled. "You okay?"

Brooke nodded before sitting on the stool. Mike sat down opposite her. "No, you're not… what's wrong?"

Brooke folded her arms on the breakfast bar and dropped her head on them. Mike stroked his first-born's hair tenderly, obviously concerned. Brooke didn't speak for a few moments, before looking up. Tears threatened to spill from her hazel eyes as she asked hoarsely, "Do you think I'm doing the right thing… marrying Jake?"

Mike smiled gently, "It doesn't matter what I think… why do you ask?"

"Do you like Jake?"

Mike smiled and nodded, "Yeah, I do." His forehead furrowed as he spoke gently, "It's common for people to get cold feet before they get married. I certainly did before I married your mother."

Brooke nodded, "Yeah, it must be cold feet… it's big, isn't it?"

Mike grinned knowingly, "Yeah, it is."

Brooke climbed of the stool before looking at her father. She hugged him tightly and spoke into his chest. "Mac isn't happy."

Mike nodded, "I know, she's terrified you'll forget about her…"

Brooke stood back, shaking her head, "She's being silly… I couldn't leave her. I'm not like…"

"Sam," Mike finished the sentence. Brooke looked up at her father and felt the tears stream down her cheeks.

"I don't know where she is anymore." Brooke shook her head as if to shake all thoughts of her former step-sister from her mind. She turned to fold the dishcloths. Mike sighed, knowing that Sam was a dangerous subject to bring up around his daughter. He knew there was more to that than Brooke tells him. He knew that she had seem her five years ago, and that Sam left again. He wished that he could see the brunette again. He had missed her more than he thought possible, and he could never understand why she left. He felt as if he was to blame. Maybe if he had been there more for her after Jane died, than she would still be here, helping Brooke plan her wedding, playing with Mac and being part of their family.

He looked up at the clock before heading to the doorway, "Mac! Bedtime!"


Mike turned to see his daughter, now a beautiful, sophisticated and respected woman, staring back at him. "Yes?"

"Did you get cold feet when you married Jane?"

Mike smiled as he thought of his greatest love. He shook his head, "No, I didn't. I knew there was no one I could be in love with more than her."

Brooke watched her father leave. 'I was afraid that was going to be your answer.'

Brooke studied her reflection in the mirror. Her hair was stylishly put up, a few strands dropping down the sides of her temple. Her make up immaculate. Her dress, cream in colour, was held up by two simple straps, her back bare to the world. The skirting flowed as they reached the ground, covering her feet, and leaving a small train behind her.

"You look gorgeous."

Brooke smiled as she glanced at Lily, her maid of honour in the mirror. She turned and saw Mac spinning in circles with Lily's four year old daughter, Jilly.

Brooke was feeling absolutely terrified and Lily must have noticed. The smaller woman took Brooke's hand in her own. "Hey, you'll be fine."

Brooke was terrified to speak as she saw her father step through the door. He was handsomely dressed in his suit, and wore nothing but an expression of pride as he studied his daughter.

"You look truly beautiful."

Brooke smiled, "You don't look so bad yourself." She could hear the emotions in her own voice.

"Are you ready?"

Brooke nodded taking her father's arm.

She could see Jake grinning with love and pride as he watched her walk towards him. Suddenly, nothing felt real anymore. She felt her father's lips on her cheek as he gave her away, and heard the priest begin his opening speech, yet couldn't identify the words. She could only watch Jake who was beaming, almost glowing with sheer happiness.

She could only think of one thing… Sam.


"Give it back!" Brooke challenged the grinning brunette.

Sam laughed as she raced to the other side of the park, clutching the Barbie doll closely to her chest. Brooke felt tears spring to her eyes as she chased the other girl. Sam laughed gleefully and ran as far as her little legs would carry her.


Sam stopped running and watched the man approach her. Her smile disappeared as she pouted. "Yes daddy?"

She watched as Brooke caught up with her and then returned her attention to her father.

"Is that Brooke's doll?"

Sam nodded, watching her shoes.

"Shouldn't you give it back?"

Sam shook her head, and clutched the doll with both her hands. "She never lets me play with it!" She shouted, nodding her head in the blonde's direction.

"I want my doll back!" The little girl cried out.

Sam looked at her with disdain before looking at her father who was gesturing for her to return the doll. Sam stamped her foot on the ground before throwing the doll on to the ground. "I hate you!" She yelled at the other girl before running off.

"Is it because you want to be a cheerleader that you bad-mouth us all the time?" Brooke as she leant against the doorframe of the newspaper office.

Sam laughed bitterly as she swung her chair around. She brushed her hair out of her eyes before staring at the blonde. "Are you kidding me? It pisses me off that you can think that you are better than everyone else." She stood up and walked towards her, her stance angry.

Brooke smiled at Sam. "I don't think I am better than everyone else. I think I am better than you."

"Fuck you!" Sam snarled, before storming past her, pushing against her shoulder.

Brooke grabbed her shoulder and banger her head back against the wall. "Why the hell did I just say that?"

She stepped out watching the brunette's retreating form run down the corridor. She exhaled loudly. She was fed up with the arguing but she could think of no other way to communicate to her new house-mate.

"Sam?" Her voice croaked as she tried to adjust her eyes to the bright overhead lights. She felt numb with pain but knew that the tubes in her body were making her feel better than she could feel. She thanked God for the existence of pain medication.

"Yeah, I'm here."

Brooke smiled weakly as she saw Sam lean forward on the bed taking her hand. She felt soothed by the thumb that was caressing her own hand and relaxed. "I'm glad you're here."

Sam laughed quietly, "And I'm really glad you're here…. Brooke, I thought I nearly lost you."

Brooke could hear the tears in her voice and turned her head to look into the dark eyes. "Hey baby, I'm here."

Sam looked stunned at the affectionate term and Brooke herself was almost regretting using the word.

Sam stood up and started pacing. "Do you want anything? Water? I'll get water."

Before Brooke had the chance to respond, Sam was out the door. She glanced at the full water jug on the stand next to her before turning her head to the window. She was already missing Sam and it scared her.

Brooke could feel her world tumble as she listened to Sam declare her love for her. She watched the brunette study her with passion, devotion and fear. She watched Sam break down in sobs and her heart yearned for her. She sat beside her on the bed and pulled her into a hug. She could hear her thoughts battling inside her head. For years she wondered would she ever hear those words but not once did she think she would. She never knew how she would react. Before she could stop it, she felt lips on her own and she adored the feeling, wanting more. She allowed Sam dip her tongue into her own mouth, relishing the feeling. Yet her brain attacked again. She couldn't do this.

As she walked through the streets, not wanting to return home, she couldn't help but think about the brunette who had tormented her thoughts more than once since they met in kindergarten. She hated her. She hated her for leaving when she needed her the most. She hated her for not being there for Mac. She hated her for making her grow up to quickly. She hated her for telling her now how she feels. She hated her for making her feel something she didn't want. She hated her because now she needed her all over again.

She had stepped in and out of the hotel at least a dozen times before she had the courage to knock on the door. She watched Sam study her curiously, and all thoughts left her mind as she drank in the sight of the stunning brunette that stood before her.

"I'm not gay."

Brooke watched the smaller woman sleep as she crawled gently from underneath her. Sam was more beautiful now than she ever had been. Brooke felt her heart break all over again, but not from love… from hate. She could never trust Sam with her heart.

*End of Flashback*

"I do."

Brooke was startled back into reality as she heard Jake's voice. He had spoken with delight and certainty.

"Do you Brooke take Jake to be your lawful wedded husband, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, until death do you apart?"



She stood there, relishing the cool breeze blowing against her face tossing her long hair carelessly, as she watched the waves hit the sand. She sighed as the sun sent its last streaks of daylight across the sky in brilliant colours of red. It was so peaceful in those few minutes as she stood there, an escape from her life, which seemed to hit pause the moment she left that hotel room seven years previously. So much has happened, a rollercoaster of events and emotions had passed by, yet none of them seemed relevant anymore. Only one thing was relevant and she had no idea where that person was.

She always encouraged others not to have any regrets, yet she always had one… leaving Sam.

She felt tears prick her eyes as she thought of the one woman who she loved but who also tore her up. How could it be possible to love someone if you didn't even know her?


Brooke turned her face to the voice that was calling her and smiled as her baby sister approached her with an air of impatience. Yet, she was no longer a baby. At the age of thirteen, Mac had grown to be a striking teenager, inheriting Brooke's height and smile, and Sam's hair.

Brooke laughed as she felt Mac's arms wrap around her waist, pulling her back to the house they had rented.

"Come on! I'm bored…" Mac whined as she dragged her older sister up the beach. She had stood there watching her older sister and still could not understand what her father meant when he said that Brooke was so different when she was her age. To Mac, Brooke was always serious with a hint of fun. She adored her older sister, yet would love to see her happy.

Brooke let herself be pulled back to the house, welcoming the distraction from her thoughts.

"What do you want to do then?" Brooke asked as she stepped through the door.

"Watch a movie… or talk about boys!" Mac yelped gleefully.

Brooke smiled, "Should I be worried about you getting a reputation with the amount of boys you talk about?"

Mac frowned, "Not for me… for you. It's been ages since you've been on a date… since Jake."

Brooke glanced away as she heard her ex-fiancé's name. She knew she had hurt him when she ran from that church the morning of their wedding. She could never understand people that jilted someone at the altar, yet she did it herself. She knew she had done the right thing as she could never be complete with him… but that never stopped the hurt. She looked back at her sister who was looking at her expectantly. "I'm to busy to go on dates… with work and with you."

Mac laughed, "That's not true… you're almost the big boss woman, and I'm all grown up now."

Brooke raised an eyebrow at that last part of Mac's statement. Mac grinned cheekily, "Well, maybe not all grown-up… but you know what I mean. You've done so much for me, it's time for you to have your own life… and I don't want my sister to be one of those crazy old spinsters with seventy cats."

Brooke laughed, "Not seventy. Forty is my limit."

Mac frowned at Brooke, "I'm serious…. There's got to be someone you like."

Brooke sighed and watched her little sister, knowing she would never admit to the truth. "Well, when we get back to LA, I'll go on a date…"

Mac clapped her hands together, "Yay!"

"Mac, come on… I don't have all day." Brooke called into the dressing room. She couldn't believe her sister's stamina when it came to shopping. It reminded her of when she was that age and a sale was like Christmas. She could here Mac groan through the doors and called again exasperatedly, "Come on, my feet hurt and I want coffee… the shops will still be here afterwards."

"Yeah, but we go home in two days… and we don't have these shops at home."

Brooke looked around and nodded. That was true, the streets of Rome didn't exist in LA.

Brooke wandered through the stores, admiring the clothing yet not in the humour to try any on. She already had bought enough clothes to dress an entire population of a small country, and most of those belonged to Mac. "Finally," she announced as she saw Mac walk out.

After paying for another purchase which was more than likely going to spend more time in a closet than on someone, the two made their way for the nearest coffee shop.

"I don't know why you need so much clothes…" Brooke stated after the waitress left them with their order. She knew she was being hypocritical, and Mac gladly pointed this out to her.

As Mac studied her purchases, Brooke took in the scene around her, enjoying the view provided within the piazza. She could hear Mac telling her about all her purchases and how jealous her friends at home would be.

"Oh God!"

Mac's head lifted up at Brooke's exclamation and she saw that the blonde had paled dramatically. She followed Brooke's eyes to see a dark-haired woman feeding a petite blonde a strawberry across the piazza. "Brooke, are you okay?"

Brooke stood, grabbing the bags surrounding their table and urged Mac to do the same. "Come on… I don't feel well."

Mac began to worry, never seeing her sister like this before, "You're scaring me."

Brooke smiled weakly, trying to reassure Mac, "I think it's too much coffee….and shopping."

Mac could hear the blonde's voice cracking and watched her glance back at the brunette who had since moved in closer to her companion, in a more than friendly way. Mac looked back at Brooke's face, and saw tears threatening to spill. She didn't know who this woman was, but knew that she was important to Brooke, and it angered her.

"Who is she?"

Brooke looked at Mac and her eyes pleaded with her to leave. Yet, she could see determination in Mac's eyes. She sighed, dropping her bags and fell back into her seat. "That's… that's…"

"Spill it…" Mac said as she looked back at the brunette, this time seeing her face. Her mouth dropped open as recognition started sinking in. She had seen photos, she had heard the stories and she had only known one name that could stir any out of the ordinary response from Brooke. "That's Sam, isn't it?"

Brooke's face confirmed the answer for her. Mac was out of her seat and half way across the piazza before Brooke had a chance to notice. "Mac! Wait!"

Sam felt the sting of the slap across her cheek before she saw the owner of the hand that caused it. She held her cheek as she studied the girl before her.

"Che cosa l'inferno? Li conosco?"

The girl just glared at her. Sam stood up, "Who the hell are you?"

"Of course. I mean why the hell would you know who I am? After all I was only this size when you ran off." Mac screamed, gesturing with her hands.

Sam collapsed back down into her chair. "Oh God!" She muttered, and then noticed Brooke running up behind Mac. "Oh God!" She muttered again.

Brooke and Sam studied each other, pain passing between their eyes, before Sam returned her gaze to Mac's angry eyes.

"Mac… let's go." Brooke urged as she pulled gently at her little sister's arms. Her eyes never leaving Sam's.

"Sam, who are these people?" The petite blonde asked.

Sam stunned out of her reverie turned to her partner. "Oh… this is Brooke… and Mac." She gestured to the people standing over them.

"Oh look… she knows my name." Mac declared with disgust.

Sam could see Brooke's obvious discomfort and knew she was the cause of that. She could only see anger and hurt radiating from Mac. She turned to her girlfriend. "Can you leave us for a few moments?"

The woman was obviously not happy at the request but did so anyway. Sam looked back at Brooke and Mac. Brooke was obviously desperately trying to leave but Mac wasn't showing any signs of budging. Sam gestured to the chairs in front of her, wishing they would sit.

Brooke let go of Mac's arm, knowing that when her sister was determined, there was no stopping her. She also knew Mac had a zillion questions to ask.

The silence was deafening. Brooke sighed and sat down. She glanced at Sam who glanced back. They both knew that if anyone was going to speak, it would be Mac. Sam wanted so badly to hug her little sister and say how sorry she was for leaving,, but knew an apology would never be accepted.

Mac watched her two sisters and could finally witness elements of the history the two had. She could now understand the apparently legendary fights the two had, as she could feel the tension. She was always told that the two had got on better after she was born, but maybe that was a lie to make Sam look good. How was she supposed to know?

"I don't even know you." Mac whispered harshly to the brunette before her. Sam didn't know how to respond to that and waited for something else to be said.

Mac felt all her anger subside before looking at Brooke, "I want to go now."

Brooke watched her little sister punch her pillow in frustration, and sat on the bed and pulled her into a hug. "Hey baby girl, it's going to be okay… I know it was a shock, but you'll be okay."

Mac looked at her sister, tears streaming from her eyes, "You don't get it… she didn't even know my name."

Mac's body trembled as sobs swept their way through her body and Brooke felt her heart break. "I know baby, she was in shock… she needed… she hadn't seen you since you were a baby, and you've changed so much."

Mac's expression was that of a "duh" as she tried to calm her breathing. "I guess I thought she'd know who I was… After everything you, and Dad, and Carmen, Lily… after everyone said so much about her… I wanted to meet her… but she didn't know who I was."

Brooke held her sister tightly as she cried again. She felt her own tears trickle down her cheeks. "Sssh, it'll be okay."

"I never want to see her again." Mac declared angrily into Brooke's neck. Her anger and resentment shocked Brooke and Brooke leaned back. "You don't mean that?"

"Yeah I do… she's a bitch!"

Brooke flinched at the words and grabbed Mac's hands. "No she isn't… I mean, yeah, she can be. Sam is one of the most caring, considerate people I know… she fights for the world… she loves you."

"Well, if she loved me why did she leave? Why did she leave and you stayed?"

Brooke could only tear her eyes away from Mac's. She had never seen such confusion and anger in those eyes before. "Because she just lost her mother and didn't know how to cope."

"So did I! And I never got a chance to know her… she could have told me all about Mom, but she didn't!" Mac shouted.

Brooke couldn't help but cry at her sisters' state. "There was no one else to tell me about Mom… I only know about three years of my mother's life… it's not fair! I hate her!"

"Don't hate your mother… it was an accident." Brooke whispered.

"I don't hate Mom. I hate Sam!"

Brooke was shaken by the sheer hatred in Mac's tone. "Don't hate her… please, don't hate her…"

"Why not?" Mac asked in confusion.

"Because, if you hate her… I can't…." Brooke quietened and looked away.

Mac studied her sister and realised something that had been obvious in her thirteen years on the planet. She remembered how Brooke would smile fondly when Sam's name was brought up in conversation, how Brooke's laughter would fill an entire room anytime she was telling a story about the brunette, how Brooke would stare at a photo of her missing sister for a few seconds longer… Brooke behaved the same way about Sam as her father did about her mother.

"Oh God! You love her."

Brooke looked at her in confusion.

Mac shook her head. "I mean you love love her."

Brooke watched her sister and knew that Mac knew her true feelings. She couldn't deny it, she could only turn away from her and weep silently. She felt the comforting arms of her younger sister around her neck.

"Mac… Get up! The taxi will be here in an hour! Get up now!" Brooke called down the hallway as she pulled her luggage up to the door. She could hear Mac groan in complaint, and knew she was only rolling over in her bed, not making any effort to get up.

Brooke grinned and went to the sink and got a glass. "I'm going to throw water over you if you don't get up now!" she called out. She heard a groan in defiance. She turned on the tap. "I'm pouring water into a glass now." She yelled as she watched the water fill the glass. Hearing nothing from the bedroom, she proceeded to walk down the hallway. "I'm coming down the hallway now."

She reached the bedroom door. "I'm at the door now with water in my hand." she announced as she held the glass upwards.

"You wouldn't dare," Mac muffled into the pillow.

Brooke laughed as she approached the bed. "But I would." She declared, tipping the glass to let a single drop fall on the back of Mac's neck.

Brooke giggled as Mac screamed and sat upright. Mac pouted at her, "Fine, I'm up."

Brooke smiled triumphantly as Mac stood up. She was about to speak when there was a knock on the door. She frowned, "That can't be the taxi. It's not due for another couple of hours."

"You said an hour!" Mac yelled as Brooke left to answer it.

"That's because it always takes you an hour to get out of bed, " Brooke called back grinning as she pulled open the front door.

"Sam!" Brooke whispered, stunned as she saw who was on the other side.

Sam waved nervously, "Hi."



"Hi." Brooke repeated.

"Hi… again." Sam answered, with a nervous chuckle.

Brooke shook herself out of her stunned reverie. "I mean, what are you doing here?"

Sam studied the blonde, noticing that she had only become more beautiful if that was at all possible. She sucked in a breath. "I phoned your dad… he told me you were here."

"You phoned Dad?" Brooke asked, curious.

Sam nodded, before turning her sights to see the other McQueen approaching the doorway. She stepped back, slightly worried of her little sister's reaction. Mac studied her.

"He must have been surprised?"

Sam turned back to Brooke who had just spoken and nodded, smiling sheepishly, "Yeah, he was… I wanted to talk to Mac… and to you…"



Mac stepped towards the door and watched Sam and Brooke look at each other. Sam looked at her and seemed awkward. Mac glanced at Brooke who was watching her expectantly. She turned to Sam, "We're going home in a couple of hours."

Sam nodded, and appeared disappointed. Mac noticed this and stepped closer, "Come with us."

Sam and Brooke both looked at her in astonishment. She could only shrugged. "I mean if you want to talk to us… come to LA… unless…"

"No," Sam shook her head, "I'll go."

"You will?" Brooke questioned.

Sam nodded.

Mac shrugged again. "Okay then, I'm going to brush my teeth."

Sam watched her little sister leave and looked back at Brooke who appeared to be close to fainting. "She's tall."

"Mm-hm," Brooke was terrified to actually form words. She had so much she wanted to say and it looked like she was finally getting the chance.

Sam studied Brooke, and could see anguish in those hazel eyes that haunted her dreams for so long now. She turned to leave, "I've got to go back and get some clothes and my passport, and… a flight."

Brooke nodded and watched Sam walk down the couple of steps. She followed Sam to her car.

"Our flight is at 13:45."

Sam nodded, "I'll see you at the airport."

Brooke closed the car door after Sam got in. She bent down to speak to the brunette. "Sam, if you're not there… I will kill you."

Sam shuddered at the harshness of the blonde's whisper and nodded. There was no way she was going to screw this up.

"So where is she then?" Mac asked as she leaned back on the barriers. Brooke stood in the centre of the seats watching the doorways for Sam. She turned to see disappointment and a lack of surprise on Mac's face. "She'll be here."

Mac raised an eyebrow.

"Last call for flight 107 to Los Angeles. Could all passengers please board at Gate 14?"

Mac left go of the barrier and walked over to Brooke. She pulled her arm, "Come on Brooke… she's not coming." Mac's voice was bitter and hurt. Brooke looked at her and nodded. She felt the lump in her throat and fought down the sob. She was not going to weep another tear for Sam. Sam no longer existed as far as she was concerned.

She turned and let Mac hook her hand through her arm. "I just can't believe she didn't come."

Mac nodded, "I know."

Brooke gave one more glance at the doorways willing for Sam to burst through, before stepping through the gate.

Brooke smiled as she watched Mac bound towards the window seat. Her little sister was never to be denied the window seat. Brooke stored their hand luggage in the compartments above, and listened to her sister complain about the in-flight entertainment.

"We saw the same things coming here… is there no originality anymore." Mac exclaimed as she buckled her seatbelt. Brooke sat down beside her and buckled her own seatbelt. Mac pulled out her headphones and hooked them into the provided stereo and Brooke knew not to expect another word from the girl until the food trolley came by. Brooke leaned back in her seat and watched the air stewardess slam the doors down on the container. She closed her eyes and swore to herself to move on from Sam. The moment they landed would become the first day of the rest of her life.

"Sorry, coming through!"

Brooke's eyes shot open at instant recognition as she watched that same person she had just promised herself to not think about collide with the air hostess. She watched Sam smile apologetically as she tried to balance her hand luggage over her head. Sam crept past her and continued walking down the aisle walking straight past Brooke. Sam's face wore a sheer expression of concentration as she aimed to get to her seat in one piece.

Brooke unbuckled her seat and stood up, watching Sam walk further away.

"Ma'am, you need to sit down and fasten your seat-belt." Brooke ignored the air hostess. "Sam!"

Sam spun around, hitting the poor gentleman sitting next to her in the head. "O God, sorry," She apologised before returning her gaze to Brooke. "Sorry, traffic was a nightmare… and security even worse."

Brooke nodded, smiling with relief.

"Ma'am please could you sit down." Brooke remained oblivious to the hostess, not wanting to leave Sam disappear from her view in case she wasn't really there.

Sam smiled sheepishly at Brooke, as she too was being encouraged to sit down.

Mac turned around in her seat as she noticed Brooke standing. She watched Sam standing like a grinning idiot in the centre of the aisle, and Brooke's face mirrored the same grin. Mac pulled at Brooke's arm, and Brooke snapped out of her daze and glanced down at her sister who was gesturing to the frustrated hostess standing next to them. Brooke looked at the hostess and smiled sheepishly before looking back at Sam who was apologising to her hostess. The two nodded at each other before taking their seats. It would be thirteen hours before they would have the chance to speak, which gave them both thirteen hours to think of something to say.

.Brooke buckled her seat belt again and looked over at Mac who was shaking her head at her. "What?"

Mac shrugged, "You've got it bad… and so does she."

Brooke watched Mac turn away from her and look out the window. Brooke sighed before pulling the headphones of Mac's head.

"Hey!" Mac cried in annoyance.

"Mac, talk to me."

Mac just looked at the blonde and tried to grab her headphones back. Brooke refused to leave go. "Mac, please… tell me what you're thinking?"

Mac sighed, "I'm thinking you've already forgiven her."

Brooke studied her sister's face and could see that Mac was confused and upset. She shook her head, "There is so much more than you know… and I don't think I'll ever forgive her for leaving."

"What don't I know?"

Brooke leaned her head back, turning it slightly to meet Mac's gaze. She knew Mac was going to hate her for this, "One day when you're older, you'll understand."

Mac laughed, "You didn't just say that to me, did you?"

Brooke smiled, "Please Mac… give her a chance."

"I already am… I asked her to come, didn't I?" Mac protested.

Brooke smiled and reached out her hand to stroke the fallen locks of hair back behind Mac's ear. "Yeah, you did… but you thought she wouldn't come."

Mac moved out of Brooke's reach which was near to impossible in the confined space they were in. She knew Brooke was right. She wanted to hate Sam, but to her Brooke meant the world. She grabbed her headphones and placed them back over her ears. "Fine," she mumbled.

Brooke smiled, knowing that the hardest part was yet to come. Sam appeared to have a girlfriend. Mac may never actually forgive her. Brooke didn't want to be in a position to choose. Sam may not love her anymore. Sam may hate her for leaving that hotel room. Mac may not want them to be a couple. "Oh God" Brooke exhaled. This was going to be a long thirteen hours.

Sam hated the aisle seat. It was the seat where the trolley hits your elbow, where the guy in the middle seat hits your other elbow, where your only view was of the actual aisle, and the blue carpet became boring very quickly. Sam knew she couldn't concentrate on her book, nor could she concentrate on any of the movies. She felt terrified. She was going back to everything that she left for the first time in thirteen years, that stay in the hotel being the exception. She wanted to go. She needed to go to try and create some form of reconciliation with Mac. The moment that Mac's hand hit her across the cheek woke her up from her waking coma of the last thirteen years.


"I want to go now"

Sam watched Brooke guide Mac out of the piazza before noticing that the rest of the patrons had being watching her. She stared at them menacingly and was grateful to see that they slowly returned to their meals.

"Who were they?" Sam looked up at Tella and saw how angry her girlfriend was.

"My sisters," Sam mumbled.

Tella raised her eyes in doubt and sat down, "Your sisters?"

Sam nodded, "Yeah, I hadn't seen them in a long time…" Sam looked at the petite blonde before her and saw that she was not being believed. "I left when Mac was a baby."

Tella leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms, "The dark one might be your sister, but the blonde is not!"

Sam recognised the part of Tella she hated, jealousy. She leaned forward, placing her elbows, and leaning her chin on her hands. She barely spoke above a whisper. "Brooke is my step-sister… and Mac is my half-sister. My mother died when I was seventeen and I was too fucked up to cope so I left."

Sam gasped as this was the first time she ever told anyone that her mother had died other than Brooke.

Tella's eyes were still suspicious, "You do not look at her like she is family."

Sam didn't speak as she leaned back in her chair. Tella watched Sam's expression carefully. In the two years they had been dating, she had never seen Sam look like this. She wished that she had though. "You look at her like she is your lover."

Sam didn't even want to deny it and so never tried. She watched Tella stand up. "I won't be at the hotel for three hours. Please get your bags and go. Goodbye."

Sam watched another person walk away from her. Another person whose heart she had broken. She asked the waiter to bring her another bottle of wine.

Sam needed to think.

As she dialled the numbers her fingers trembled. She had reached the conclusion in the early hours. That wasn't true, she had reached the conclusion when she watched Mac and Brooke walk away, that she wasn't going to walk away anymore. She was going to walk back in. She knew it wasn't going to be easy, but she didn't want to die with that being the last image of her sister and of her… well, her everything.

"Mike McQueen."

The voice startled Sam, that she couldn't speak.

"Hello… is there anyone there? I have no time for jokes… is there anyone there… I'm going to hang up now."

"No Mike… don't!"

Sam didn't know whether Mike was still there as she couldn't hear anything. "Mike, are you there?"

"… Sam?"

Sam could hear Mike's voice crack at the question and she nodded with tears streaming down her face, "Yeah, it's me."

"Oh thank God!"

Sam laughed nervously into the phone, "I'm so sorry, Mike."

"I'm so glad to hear your voice, Sam"

Sam cried at the lack of anger and resentment she heard in Mike's voice. She once again witnessed the man that her mother fell in love with again, and for a few seconds she never felt any safer.

"Where are you?"

"I'm in Italy…"

"Oh Brooke and Mac are there…"

"I know Mike, that's why I'm phoning. I need a favour…"

*End of Flashback"

Mac sat on the luggage trolley, wheeling herself backwards and forwards waiting for the luggage to come. Brooke and Sam were standing at a distance. Sam had no luggage, as she was late for the flight, she had to put hers on the next flight.

Brooke glanced at Sam, "I'm so glad you came."

Sam nodded.

"There they are," Mac yelled, effectively ending the awkward silence between the two older women.

Mac raced through the arrivals gate letting Brooke push the trolley. Sam walked behind Brooke, not quite sure where to place herself.

"Daddy!" Mac yelled as she ran into her father's arm. Mike's grin was of absolute joy as he embraced his youngest daughter. He looked up and saw Brooke smiling at him and pulled her into their embrace. "God, I've missed you girls."

"We missed you too, Daddy," Mac declared as her father let her go.

Mike stood up straight, not too sure whether to believe what he was seeing. Brooke stepped out of the way and held Mac back. Mike stepped forward and Sam stopped walking. The two stood and stared at each other for what seemed the longest minute.

Sam tried to speak, "I'm so…" But was stopped by the sheer force of the hug she was pulled into. She felt Mike's chin on her head as he murmured to her. "I'm so glad you're here."

Sam stood in the middle of what was her bedroom in the Palace, and smiled. Not one thing had changed about her bedroom, it was exactly how she had left it.

"Dad didn't want to touch anything in case you came back."

Sam turned and saw Brooke standing in the doorway of their shared bathroom. Sam nodded, "I see that." She pulled open the door of her closet and saw that most of her teenage attire was still there. She pulled out some of the articles and pulled a face. Brooke smiled, "I know what you mean… as Mac would say, that's so 90s"

Sam smiled. She went to her CD collection and saw more than one of her Cds were missing, and turned to Brooke who smiled again, "But apparently you had better taste in 90s music then me."

Sam laughed slightly, "Well, at least she inherited the better music taste."

"Oy!" Brooke exclaimed as she threw a cushion at the brunette. Sam laughed out loud and threw it back.

Sam sat on the bed and picked up the frame on the bedside cabinet. It was a photo she had never seen before but she remembered it been taken as Brooke had forced her to give a stupid smile. It was the last photo taken of her and her mother. She looked at Brooke who shrugged. "I didn't know where were you were, so I couldn't send it on… and anytime I did, you were gone."

Sam nodded in understanding. She ran her thumbs over her mother's smiling face before returning the frame. She looked at Brooke who stepped further into the bedroom.

"You didn't get married?" Sam asked gesturing to the empty ring finger. Brooke looked at her plain finger and shook her head, "No, I didn't."

Sam felt her heart beat an extra beat in hope at that piece of news. "Brooke, there's so much I need to say to you…"

Brooke held up her hand to stop Sam from continuing. "No, Sam… there's so much you need to say to a lot of people, some more than others, and there's so much we need to say to you… but the first person you need to say anything to is Mac."

Sam was busying herself raking the leaves out of the pool when she saw Mac appearing home from school. She had been back for almost two weeks and her younger sister had barely spoken to her. Every time Sam tried to talk to her, Mac would leave. She could see that Mac was upset as she raced through the garden and into the house. Sam dropped the rake in concern and followed her into the house. Sam knocked on Mac's bedroom door softly, hearing her sister's sobs through the door. "Mac? Are you okay?"

"Go away!" came the muffled reply.

"Okay, that was a dumb question. Obviously you're not okay." Sam leaned her head against the door, suddenly wishing Brooke was here, but Brooke was at her own apartment. Sam took a deep breath and opened the door. She saw Mac crying into her pillow and she stepped into the room, creeping over to the bed.

"Mac, what's wrong?" Sam asked as she sat on the bed wanting to comfort the young girl but terrified of being rejected.

"Go away! You'll laugh."

Sam was stunned by this, "Why would I laugh?"

Mac rolled over, her teary eyes meeting Sam's concerned ones, "Because you hate cheerleaders."

"I don't hate cheerleaders." Sam protested.

"That's not what I heard," Mac said. "I heard that you used to find any excuse to ruin them."

"I like Brooke and she was one, so how could I hate them all… Why? What did they do to you?" Sam immediately asked, her juvenile hatred of the cheerleading squads returning.

Mac sat up and looked at Sam as she considered whether she should tell her. She pulled herself back against the headboard and grabbed her teddy bear, holding it close to her chest. Sam smiled at the bear, reaching out to touch it, before taking her hand back.

"You gave it to me?"

Sam nodded. "It was the only thing that would make you stop crying."

Mac smiled, "Yeah Brooke told me…"

"And look, you stopped crying again… that bear has a lot of magic." Sam stated proudly.

Mac grinned, "Yeah…" The two became quiet again. "They won't let me join the squad."

"What?" Sam almost shouted out. "They know that you're a McQueen, right?"

Mac nodded, not quite following Sam.

Sam stood up, "How could they not want you?" Sam paced the room.

"They said that I can't cheer."

Sam turned back around to face Mac. "You can cheer, can't you?"

Mac nodded.

"Show me… I want to know what these crazy bitches are talking about"

Mac just stared at Sam, thinking she had become temporarily insane. "You don't know anything about cheering."

Sam stopped in her pacing and just stared at Mac. "In order for any journalist to backstab someone, they must know what they are talking about. I needed to research to bitch about Nicole and MC and…"

"Brooke?" Mac finished.

Sam nodded sheepishly, "Yeah, and Brooke… but my point is I know cheering so show me cheering."

Mac laughed and stood up. She threw herself into a routine, to which Sam applauded.

"Those girls have no idea what they're talking about."

"One of them is a boy," Mac interrupted.

Sam looked at her, "Really? Wow, things have changed since my time."

Mac nodded and sat back on the bed. Sam sat next to her. "So what are they like? The cheerleaders?"

"Complete bitches… act like they own the place, like they're better than everyone else."

Sam nodded, "Sounds like Satan reincarnated to me."

"Who?" Mac asked.

"Oh Nicole…"

"Oh… Brooke never talks about her, only Mary Cherry who sounds slightly insane."

"Slightly, no Mary Cherry was completely of her rocker… Nicole, was plain old evil."

Mac just looked at Sam hoping she would continue on. She had heard Brooke's friends mention that name on occasion but never would anyone go into details. Sam could see the curiosity on Mac's face and didn't know whether she should continue. She sighed and lay back on the mattress resting her hands on her stomach. "Nicole was like the second commander to Brooke's queen status. Really nasty piece of work. Anyway, she tried to kill Brooke by knocking her down, shortly after you were born in fact… and she died in the accident."

"Good," Mac declared, horror-stricken by this new piece of information she had been provided.

Sam studied her and Mac realised what she had just said. "Sorry…"

Sam hushed her, "No. I thought the same thing… I was never as scared as I was that night, when I thought I had lost Brooke. Even more than I was, when I knew Mom was gone."

Mac lay back too, "What was she like? Mom?"

Sam turned her head, and rolled on her side, holding her head up on her elbow. "She was great… really understanding and supportive… you know that she had a cookie for every occasion. When I fell over, I got chocolate chip cookies, when I got a good grade, I got sugar cookies, when I was given bad news, I got double chocolate chip cookies… obviously chocolate was for everything bad, and sugar was for everything good." Sam smiled at the memory, and Mac smiled with her.

"She always stood up for me, even when I was wrong… she never let me take a battle alone… once, when I was about nine, I was accused of stealing someone's pencils… stupid I know… anyway, I got into loads of trouble in school, because I got into a fight with the girl who accused me. Our clothes got ripped and we were so dirty that the principal called mom in, saying that I had stolen and then I was fighting. Mom asked me had I stolen the pencils, and I said no… and Mom believed me, and so she ripped into the principal, telling her to get her facts straight… I swear that principal treated me like an angel after Mom got through to her."

Mac laughed at that thought. Sam grinned, "You want to know a secret though?"

Mac nodded. Sam grinned even more, "I did steal the pencils."

Mac laughed with glee, "No?"

Sam nodded. Mac rolled over to face Sam, "And Mom never knew?"

Sam shook her head, "Nope."

Mac laughed. "You're bad."

Sam rolled back onto her back and nodded, "Yes I was."

Mac also rolled onto her back and the two lay in a comfortable silence. Mac turned her head to Sam, "Sam?"


"Were they Brooke's pencils?"

Sam turned her head to meet Mac's and nodded in shame. "Yeah, how did you know?"

"Brooke said you always stole her stuff."

Sam smiled before returning her gaze to the ceiling.



"Do you love Brooke?"

Sam turned back to Mac in shock. "Eh… what?"

"I know she loves you and I want to know if you love her back… I think you do."

Sam sat up and watched her sister. "Would it be weird if I did?"

Mac thought about it for a few moments before returning her gaze to Sam's dark eyes. "I don't know… I guess not, because you're not blood. And you're not really my sister."

Sam flinched with hurt at that and Mac noticed. "Well, you weren't around to be my sister, were you?" Without waiting for a response, she continued. "But if you and Brooke did get married, then you would be my sister."

Sam nodded, not sure what to say to who she considered to be the wisest person she had ever met, even if she was only almost fourteen. "Mac… you're all Mom." Sam stated, letting her voice crack with emotion.

"Mac… I'm sorry I left, it was because…"

Mac turned to her, "Sam, you'll never give me the answer I'll want so I think it's best I don't get one… You're here now, and that's enough I guess."

Sam nodded, again amazed by her baby sister. Brooke and Mike did a fantastic job on raising her. Mac smiled, "So you got a plan to get back at those cheerleaders?"

After a month of being back in LA, Sam had settled into a routine. During the day, she worked on her book, her third one, but her first under her true name. When Mac came home from school, the two would spend an hour concocting evil plans to get back at the popular crowd at Mac's school. Brooke would come by on occasions and laugh at their plans. Brooke loved that Mac and Sam were getting on, and that her dad had welcomed Sam back like a long lost daughter, which she guessed, Sam was.

Brooke loved that Sam was still here even more.

One evening, after a late dinner, and after Mike insisted Brooke stay, and after Mac and Mike had gone to bed, Brooke and Sam were alone in the living area. Once they had both realised this, they had both become very uncomfortable.

They stole glances at each other, before Sam exhaled loudly, "Brooke…"


They both laughed nervously as they realised they had both spoken at the same time.

"You first…" Sam gestured to Brooke.

Brooke sighed, "We need to talk."



Neither woman could move let alone speak, as they stared at each other. Sam pulled her knees to her chest as she studied Brooke. They were at the opposite side of the rooms, and yet the distance felt even greater. Brooke struggled to phrase any of her words as she stared into the dark, chocolate eyes.

Sam cleared her throat, and Brooke moved out of her gaze. She whispered, "I've missed you."

Sam nodded but still couldn't formalise any words. She willed Brooke to continue, but Brooke moved away. She watched the blonde pull her feet under her in the armchair, and stare at the empty fireplace. Minutes ticked by before Brooke looked back at Sam. "Aren't you going to say anything?"

Sam's eyes flickered to the door and back at Brooke, "Where do I start?"

Brooke laughed bitterly, "I honestly don't know…. But I don't understand how you can still affect me so much when I don't even know you."

Sam nodded her agreement. Brooke sighed and leaned back in her chair, "Sam, I need to understand my feelings… and I can't."

Sam leaned forward in her chair, "What are your feelings?"

Brooke looked away, "Hate…"

"Oh," Sam sounded so disappointed.

Brooke could see Sam closing up, building back her walls, and swallowed, "But I don't want to hate you, Sam… I really don't."

Sam waited for Brooke to add more and saw Brooke wasn't going to say anything. She smiled weakly, "I really wished I smoked now… I'm so scared when I'm around you…"

Brooke's head turned with surprise, "Scared?"

Sam nodded, "No one makes me feel, like you do… you make me live. Just thinking about you for all these years made me get out of bed… I couldn't bear to think of a world without you."

"Then why the hell did you leave?"

Sam sighed and looked up at the family portrait over the fireplace, a photo which consisted of all five members of the McQueen/McPherson clan. She looked back at Brooke, "When Mom died, all I could think about was you… I couldn't think about Mom, or Mike or Mac… just you. Isn't that bad? I just lost my mother and the only person I could think about was the person who had just become a friend?"

Brooke looked very confused and Sam exhaled. She needed to step up and finally admit the truth. "Brooke… all I could think about was if it was you that died, there is no way I could live… I realised in those moments, that suddenly there was someone so much more important than my mother… and it was you. I hated myself for being like that… for being grateful that I hadn't lost you. I felt that I had made a choice and my mother was the one that died not you…" Sam watched Brooke for a reaction and saw Brooke was trying to understand. "When Nicole knocked you down, I prayed in that waiting room… I begged that God took someone else… not you… anyone, I didn't care… and after Mom died, I felt like that was exactly happened… and I felt evil."

Sam struggled with her tears and Brooke moved to kneel in front of her taking her hands. "Sammy, it wasn't your fault…"

Sam pulled her hands away, "Maybe… but I can't help feeling like it is… and God! Brooke! It hurt so much… the very idea of losing you."

"But you didn't…" Brooke said earnestly.

"What hurt more was the morning after the funeral, when I watched you sleep… you were so peaceful… and so alive," Sam whispered, reaching out to stroke Brooke's cheek with the back of her hand. "And I just thought that I could never have you, not the way I wanted… and I became so mad. I put you before my Mom… and I couldn't even have you…" Sam let out a bitter laughter. "And I began to hate you… God for an entire five minutes, I hated you…" Sam's voice was harsh as she breathed out those words, startling Brooke backwards. Sam let her tears fall, "And I couldn't bear it Brooke… the loss of Mom, and the loss of you… through fuckin' hatred… I had to go… I couldn't live hating you…. I'm so sorry." Sam succumbed to her sobs, hoarse cries wrenching from her throat. Brooke kneeled forward to hug her. She could hear Sam muffling into her chest, trying to fight her hug, "I'm so sorry… so sorry."

Sam cradled her mug of hot chocolate as she watched Brooke start a fire. It wasn't particularly cold, but Brooke needed something to do. They had said nothing since Sam had spoken, and Brooke knew it was her turn to say something. She pulled herself back so she was leaning against the sofa. She watched the flames dance and looked over at Sam, seeing the flickers reflect in her eyes.

Brooke muttered under her breath, and Sam leaned forward. "What?"

Brooke looked over at Sam, "You never gave me a chance though… you never gave us a chance…"

Sam fell back in her chair. "You didn't love me…"

"How do you know that… you never gave me the chance." Brooke answered back, struggling to keep her anger in control.

"Why did you leave the hotel?" Sam asked accusingly.

Brooke saw a hint of anger in Sam's eyes and whispered, "Because I was so angry with you… because I didn't know what the hell was happening… because I was co confused." Brooke stood up and paced away from Sam, before turning around throwing her arms in the air. "Because you always confused me… even when we were kids… Every time you were around, I felt funny… I'd get butterflies, and it was so much easier being angry with you, because I never had to think about the confusion… then, we became friends, and it was so difficult… Sam, I never wanted to be gay… I never wanted to be attracted to women… I never wanted you."

Brooke bowed her head in shame as she saw Sam's eyes flicker with hurt. She studied her feet before looking back at Sam. "But never wasn't happening, and then you left… it made it easier… I could be normal… but God, I never stopped thinking about you. When we met in New York, I wanted so badly to bring you back with me… but you wouldn't have come back, would you?"

Sam shook her head, "No, I wouldn't have… I'm a coward."

Brooke smiled as she collapsed into her armchair, "We both are."

They returned their gaze to the fire watching the logs slowly soak up the flames. The light was soothing against the dimness of the room they were in.

Brooke glanced at Sam, "What about your girlfriend?"

Sam looked puzzled before answering, "Oh… no more. Apparently, dating me is like competing against a ghost."

"Oh," Brooke could think of no other response.

They looked back at the fire. Sam glanced over at Brooke. "Why didn't you get married, if you wanted everything normal?"

Brooke glanced over, letting her hazel eyes lock with the dark chocolate eyes, "Because on my wedding night with such a wonderful man, I would have been thinking about you."

Sam stood up and walked halfway across the room, stepping between the fire and Brooke. She studied the hazel eyes that were following her every movement carefully.

"I don't know what to do anymore Brooke."

Brooke stood up and stepped closer to Sam, "Nor do I… I don't know what I want…"

She leaned into Sam's hand as it cradled her cheek, and closed her eyes. When she opened them, she looked into those deep eyes, and whispered, "Too much has happened."

Sam nodded, "Yeah… it's too late, isn't it?"

The young woman, smiled slightly as she allowed her fingers to trace
the name etched onto the stone, and allowed the name sink into her
mind yet again.

Jane McQueen.

The young woman coughed nervously before allowing herself to speak,

"Hi Mom, it's me… I know it's been a long time, in fact too long, some might say. A lot has happened. Some things were bad, some things good… I feel silly speaking to the air, but… I need you to hear me, or at least think you can hear me… Mom, I'm such an idiot…"

Sam felt her voice crack and blinked away her tears as she looked back over the cemetery again. She could see the sun creeping down behind the distant hills and saw that another day was coming to an end.

She returned her eyes to the gravestone and re-read those words. "Mom, I've screwed up so much, I never mourned you properly… I left Mac… I left Mike and I… Brooke. I'm so sorry… I know that you must have thought, how could I be any daughter of yours, when all I did was disappear… and not come back until a thirteen year old woke me up… she's fifteen now, and she's so wonderful, you know, she's on both the cheerleading squad and the newspaper team… she's like a combination of everything Brooke and I stood up for but she is so much more… you'd be so proud. Mike and Brooke did such a good job… I'm so sorry I wasn't there…. Please, don't hate me."

Sam wiped her tears from her cheeks with the back of her hands, "I've written a book… it's about everything… I don't think I'll publish it, but I wish you could read it… Mom, I'm so sorry, I never came to see you before. I'm so sorry that I never told you I loved enough everyday…and God, I can't stop crying!" She laughed as she used her sleeves to mop up the wetness on her face. "I'm doing okay now… I'm living again, I'm not just moving around aimlessly… I've got purpose again… I'm working in journalism again… I don't want to run anymore. That's good, isn't it?"

Sam looked away from the stone, not knowing what she wanted to say anymore before glancing back at the stone, "I miss you so much…"

She felt steps behind her, and allowed herself be wrapped into the arms that wrapped around her neck. She leaned into the crouched figure behind her and turned her head, meeting hazel eyes. Brooke smiled softly, "Are you ok?"

Sam touched the smiling lips softly with her own, before falling back into those eyes again, "Now I am."

Brooke smiled and leaned in to give Sam another kiss, a kiss to represent everything that was, and everything that is to be.

The End

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