DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Ryan Murphy and the WB. No infringement is intended.
CONTINUITY: This takes place in November of 2001.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

How Lily Found Out, Part II
By Quatorz


Lily caught up with Sam at her locker, the reporter exchanging books for her next class. "Hey, Sam."

"Hey, Lil'," she greeted.

"Hey," Lily began, doing her best to keep a straight face. "I was going to get you that Richard Marx CD for Christmas, but I wanted to make sure you didn't already have it."

Sam just glared at her, and Lily lost it. It had been all she could do to get through the sentence without laughing. Sam wasn't helping though. If she didn't have such great reactions, Lily probably would have dropped it a week ago. But she just got so annoyed. It was priceless.

Sam could just tell Lily who she was in love with, but nooooo. That would be way too easy for Samantha McPherson.

She'd figure it out eventually. A secret that juicy couldn't be hidden forever.

"What's so funny?" a voice interjected. Brooke smiled as she approached, amused by Lily's laughter.

"Nothing," Sam replied, shooting Lily a warning glare. "Lily's just beating a dead horse-that wasn't funny the first time."

"Oh yes it was," Lily argued.

"Hey Sam, how do I look?" Brooke addressed the brunette.

Lily thought she looked fine-beautiful as always. And given that their tastes in fashion ran in very different circles, Lily found it odd that she would ask Sam for advice.

Brooke stood straight up and down awaiting Sam's inspection, and Lily's eyes almost bugged out of her head when Sam faced her and put a hand on each side of Brooke's hips.

Sam stared at Brooke's chest, and then her pelvis.

What the hell's going on here?

"You look straight to me," Sam replied after her appraisal. Her eyes swept back and forth where her hands were placed on Brooke's pelvic bone. "Why? Does your hip hurt?"

"A little," Brooke admitted. "I thought maybe I was favoring it."

Ah, Lily realized. It was something to do with Brooke's physical therapy. It must be a natural reaction of her recovering body that she favored the uninjured side-which probably caused that to weaken because it was taking uneven amounts of stress.

Sam had been a part of Brooke's recovery from the beginning, and participated in the physical therapy sessions with her.

For a minute there...

It was amazing that nearly six months after the accident the poor girl was still dealing with the consequences. Although Lily knew that Sam had been through the ringer that night as well.

Harrison told her that he had never seen Sam fall apart like that. It disturbed him to hear her crying frantically, pleading with Brooke not to die. At one point, Harrison reached out to check for Brooke's pulse, and Sam batted his hand away, shrieking at him not to touch her.

Lily didn't even think Sam remembered much or any of that night, and if she had she never talked about it. She'd been treated for shock when she and Brooke arrived at the hospital, and when Lily and the others arrived from the prom Sam looked like a lost soul. While they sat vigil together, Sam sat away from them-never uttering a word-very much alone while they awaited word of Brooke's fate.

She still didn't like to think of that night. She felt a stab of guilt because, for her, something positive had come out of the accident.

She and Josh had driven home after hearing that Brooke was in stable condition. Josh had been quiet the entire night, and-as much as she berated herself over her selfishness-all of her insecurities about her husband's feelings for Brooke were in full bloom.

She finally got up the courage to ask him if he was okay-probably the first words they'd said to each other in hours.

Josh looked at her for a moment, and to Lily it looked like he was looking at her for the first time. He smiled at her, that charming smile that she fell in love with.

"What happened to Brooke," he just shook his head. "It made me realize..."

Lily's heart sank. Here it comes.

"It made me realize just how quickly any of this can be taken away." He walked over to her. "And that we shouldn't take anything for granted."

He took her chin in his hand, and lifted watering eyes up to meet his. "It also made me take stock in what I had," he said, and Lily understood his meaning, "and I realized how lucky I am."

And then he kissed her.

They lay on the bed that night, laughing and making out like a couple of teenagers-which they were-and Lily knew that he had finally said good-bye to Brooke McQueen...

Sam raised a skeptical eyebrow at Brooke. "If you're admitting it hurts a little that means it's really bothering you," Sam deduced. "Do you want me to get you a chair?"

Brooke's expression made her opinion clear on that matter. Oh, Lily understood. Sam meant a wheelchair.

"I know you hate it," Sam cajoled, "but I'll take you to all of your classes. I don't want you to overdo it."

"I know you don't," Brooke admitted. "And that's sweet. But it really is only bothering me a little. If it gets worse," she bargained, anticipating the coming argument, "I'll go to the nurse's office and lie down. I promise."

"All right," Sam capitulated.

Brooke smiled. "That's my Sammy: always looking out for me."

Sam blushed. Lily had to marvel at the change in their relationship. The last thing Brooke McQueen would have said two years ago was that Sam was always looking out for her.

"Hold still, Sam," Brooke warned. "You've got an eyelash."

Brooke stood on tiptoe and brought her face close to Sam's. Lily watched her friend's eyes flutter closed.

Brooke pursed her lips and blew gently, trying to dislodge the errant lash. Sam's bosom rose slowly as she drew a deep breath. The reporter's tongue snaked out to moistened dry lips, and Lily saw the muscles in her throat work as she swallowed.

Brooke reached out and wiped the lash away from Sam's eye. Lily almost laughed aloud. There was no way the old Sam would have let Brooke's fingernails anywhere near her eyes. She would have clawed them out.

"Got it," Brooke declared triumphantly.

Sam's eyes opened and met Brooke's. "Thanks," she said simply, and they exchanged warm smiles.

Waitaminute, Lily thought to herself. What's going on here...?

"Hey," Brooke addressed Sam. "What do you think about just hanging out tonight and maybe renting a movie or something?"

"I-I'd like that," Sam replied, and she looked up at Brooke with shy, almost tentative eyes.

Holy...! Lily's books fell to the floor because Lily's brain-reeling from her sudden realization-forgot to inform her hands to keep holding them.

Sam and Brooke looked her way. Sam bent to help her pick up her books. "I'm sorry, Lily," Brooke apologized, "I didn't mean to exclude you. You can come too. I just figured you and Josh--"

"No! It's okay. Really. We do. Josh and I have a...a thing."

"Are you okay?" Sam asked suspiciously.

"I'm fine!" Lily protested cheerfully. Manically cheerfully, she guessed, judging by the curious eyebrow she got from Sam.

She had to get away. She made a hasty exit, and walked quickly down the hall.

It's Brooke, her mind kept repeating. Sam's in love with Brooke.

She leaned against a locker and digested this realization. Should she have seen this coming? There'd always been this tension between them. And little by little they'd been getting closer.

Close, yes. Friends, yes. But love...?

A second realization hit Lily that day: a one-sided love was a cruel trick of fate. And of all the girls for Sam to fall for...

Poor Sam, Lily sighed. She's going to get her heart broken.

The End

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