DISCLAIMER: Popular and its characters are the property of Ryan Murphy. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: MAJOR props go to faechick for the awesome beta.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Just a Little Insight
By Misty Flores


Part 7

There were times
When I could have
Murdered her
But you know
I would hate anything
To happen to her
No, I don't want to see her

- Girlfriend in a Coma


The crushing weight on her foot sent a shockwave of pain that distracted her from all else.

Yelping, Brooke flailed, hopping and nearly falling into the open trunk of the minivan.

"Holy …," she hissed, forgetting the water bottles until she realized that they had all sprung free from their box and were making their way merrily down their driveway. "CRAP!"

In a flurry of brunette hair, Sam had dropped her bag and was now attempting to fish up the bottles, ignoring the shuttle driver when he began to back his way out of the driveway. "God-dammit, Brooke-"

It wasn't exactly the most romantic reunion, and in light of their last conversation, Brooke wondered how she could even be disapointed.

"Sam," she said, and when Sam glanced up, brown eyes burning into hers with angry indignation, she found she couldn't think of anything else to say.

Breath rushing out in an angry sniff, Sam straightened, juggling bottles in her arms, curled into her chest. "When the hell did you become clumsy?"

Surprise had rendered her incapable of providing a snarky comeback. "What are you doing here?"

Sam made no effort to hide her irritation. Marching past her, she ignored the question, not even bothering to look at her as she made her way to the house with the bottles. "I'll be back to help you with the rest of it."

Brooke's emotions had hit an emotional wonderwall, as if she had felt so much so fast that at this point, there was no room for anything else. Her eyes followed the other girl up the path, stock stlil as Sam fumbled with her keys and then pushed open the door, disapearing into the kitchen.

"Oh, God," she whispered, a rush of feeling suddenly flooding out, as palms came to her face, and she took the moment to try and compose herself.

Taking a step forward, she winced, and managed a hobble, doing her best to step gingerly on her throbbing foot.

"What are you doing?"

"My foot hurts, what do you think?" she snapped, and it was meaner than she intended. Flushing with her own awkwardness, Brooke turned back, eyes on the rest of the bags of food. She gathered what she could, and as Sam passed her, she stared, a testament to her weakness.

Under her unknowing gaze, Sam was beautiful. In the few days they had been apart, she had gotten a tan, and her skin glowed from beneath the black tank top and tan shorts she was now sporting.

When Sam paused, glancing up suspiciously, Brooke felt a sudden flush of embarrasment, and glanced away.

Startled into an odd pact of peace, Brooke didn't say a word when Sam, struggling with her back, grabbed the rest of the groceries and headed for the door. She left Brooke behind, something she always did, Brooke thought in a bitter moment of self pity.

"God," she whispered, and in a burst of spirit, willed herself to shake it off. Closing the trunk, she reached around and smiled at the baby girl, who was actively twisting in her seat in a futile attempt to escape. "Ohhh, munchie," Brooke murmured, immediately amused, when Mac gave a grunt and outstretched her arms, impatient. "Come on."

"UP!" Mac commanded, and like a dutiful servant, Brooke hoisted the baby in her arms.

For a moment, just a moment, she swayed, awareness of what she was about to face taking over.

With a long breath out, she turned, and shut the door.

"Let's go."

It had been different before.

Brooke had never had a problem matching Sam hit for hit in their verbal smack downs. She never had to worry about being one-upped and when Sam hurt her, she knew how to hurt her right back.

But she had never wanted to hurt Sam, and now that she loved her, hurting Sam was the last thing she ever wanted to even fathom doing.

So why was it so easy?

Sam's expression was tight; her face a mask of quiet anger. She wouldn't look at Brooke, even when Brooke was forced to move past her, depositing Mac into the huge playpen that now permanently sat up in the corner of the kitchen.

Sam's movements were short and jerky, removing the items from the grocery bag and putting them in their proper place.

Rubbing at her foot, Brooke watched her brokenly, unsure what to do to mend the silence. Her heart was on a precipice, and she was terrified, all it would take for Sam was one push to send her over the edge, to some place irreparable.

"I didn't know you were coming."

Sam visibly stiffened, before turning and pushing the can of green beans into the cupboard. She didn't respond.

The silence was maddening, and Brooke sighed, emotion going from tentative guilt to sudden irritation.

"So now you're not talking to me?" Sam kept her face buried in the grocery bag. "I didn't do anything WRONG, Sam!"

"You didn't-" Brown eyes suddenly met hers intensely, large and wide. "You didn't do anything wrong?!"

"NO," she snapped, pushing to her feet. "I didn't do anything wrong."

Sam stared at her, utterly lost. "Oh, God," she said suddenly, turning back to the counter. "You're unbelievable."

"No, Sam, I'm not." Crossing her arms, Brooke felt the flush of angry hot emotion curl over her, and in a way, she welcomed it. Anything was better than the insecurity and hurt that haunted her before. "I'm the one who took a plane home early, sick and miserable because I accidentally pissed you off. I'm the one that gave up my spring break and -"

"And what? Turned it into hell?" Sam's palm slapped on the counter. "I didn't ask you to FUCK Abby, Brooke. I lost my girlfriend because of you!"

"How the hell was THAT my fault, Sam?!" Coming forward, she heard her own voice crack with emotion. "NO," she breathed, when Sam turned away from her yet again. Fingers grabbed hold of Sam's forearm, forcing those deep dark eyes to look into her eyes. "No, you answer me."

Sam's body was now only inches from her own, and Brooke's heart pounded, desperate to hear her, desperate to try and understand why this had to hurt so much.

But Sam only jerked her hand away, stepped away from her as if she had been stung. "What the hell do you want me to say, huh Brooke?"

"I want the truth for ONCE, Sam!" Fingers digging into her bangs, Brooke turned away, overwhelmed. "For once, I want us to stop talking in circles and just get to the truth."

Her foot flared up at her, and she hissed in response, falling back into the dining room chair.

"DAMMIT," she sniffled, usually pathetic, as she once again brought her foot into her lap and began to need it, brushing hot salty tears away in distraction.

So involved in her spiral into self pity, she didn't realize Sam had been watching until her step-sister's hand suddenly landed on her knee. Head jerking up, she met dark brown eyes, staring at her curiously.

"Sam-" A beat too late, she began to speak, but eyes darting away from hers, Sam cut her off.

"Just, stop. Did you break anything?" Strong fingers were now molding over her foot, gently adding pressure.

Brooke couldn't tell. Her foot had gone literally numb with shock, and the rest of her was entirely too wrapped up in the vision of Sam knelt in front of her, bare fingers smoothing along her skin, those big brown eyes looking up at her with a mixture of frustration and aggravated concern.

Suddenly sensitive, Brooke blinked down at the picture of Sam's fingers on her foot, thin digits that massaged gently.


Startled into breathing, Brooke realized she had actually gone light headed. "I'm... I'm okay, it's just... swollen."

Suspicion was clear on Sam's face. "You should put some ice on it," she told her matter of factly, and then rose, turning back toward the kitchen, jerking over the freezer door and pulling out a tray of cubes.

Sam's about face had been sudden, and weak from the emotional roller coaster, Brooke didn't know how to handle it. Her emotions were raw, and her heart was literally throbbing, and it was all coming together in such intense waves that she wasn't sure how much she could handle.

Coming back with a pile icecubes wrapped in a kitchen towel, Sam once again knelt down beside her. "Here," she said, and then stuck the freezing cold block of ice on her bare foot.

"Ow, it's cold!" Brooke snapped, jerking in her seat.

"Well, yeah!" Sam replied, and grabbed hold of her foot, keeping it in place. "It's ice, Brooke."

Brooke kept quiet, squirming uncomfortably as she once again found herself taking in the beautiful features just in front of her. Sam's eyes were on her foot, and still, Brooke's head was swimming with questions.

"Sam?" she began, voice breaking accidentally into a hoarse whisper. Brown eyes looked up, locked with hers. "What are you doing here?"

There was a moment, just a moment, where Brooke realized she had actually began to hope for the impossible. There was so much between them, so much unsaid, and in this moment, Brooke had had enough of the hiding. She wanted to push aside the curtain of hazy intention and misunderstanding and just come clean.

But the fingers slipped from her foot, and Sam's lush lips opened and closed, before her eyes dropped down and she turned away.

Brooke was lost, and she sighed raggedly, when her eyes fell onto their baby sister in the corner. Mac was happily chewing on the plastic cushioned railing of her little prison, eyeing them both.

"Have you heard from Abby?"

Casting Sam a surprised glance, Brooke placed the ice on the table, pushing herself up hesitantly. "No," she began carefully. "Why?"

Sam's mouth pursed, her brow pressed further together in a decided frown. "Forget it."


The door jiggled, forcing both girls to turn to the kitchen entrance, when a distracted Jane entered the room, fumbling with her bag and her keys.

Catching sight of Brooke first, Jane's smile was a big one. "I'm glad I caught you. My appointment cancelled, so you're off the hook." When Brooke offered no expression, Jane blinked. "What is it?"

Glancing at Sam, Brooke offered a tired smile. Obviously distressed, Sam's fingers were in her hair, shifting her balance on both feet before she smiled tightly at her mother.

"Hi," she said, giving a mock wave.

"Sam." The surprise was evident. "What are you doing here?"

Sighing audibly, Sam clearly didn't want to give a reason. "I just decided to come home. That's still okay, right? I'm allowed to visit my family?"

"No, Sam, it's- it's fine, I just... I didn't expect- Oh, forget it-" Coming forward, Jane enveloped her firstborn into a hug, pressing a kiss against her forehead. "Hi."

Brooke suddenly felt as if she were intruding. "You know what? You guys, obviously have a lot to talk about, and I've been wanting to pick up Lil' Bleu for a while, so... why don't you guys catch up and I'll see you tonight sometime."

"No, Brooke!" Swiping the keys off the counter, she stepped into her Keds, wincing a bit at the tight fit. "It's late, and traffic is a nightmare."

"I'll be fine," she said, shrugging on a sweater.

"Well, if you're going to go, then take Sam."

There might as well have been a tire iron slamming into Brooke's chest. A quick glance at Sam told her everything she needed to know about Sam's feelings on the subject.

"Doesn't that defeat the purpose of you two catching up?" she asked breathlessly.

"We can catch up when you get back. The three of us." Jane had that look on her face, the scary 'I'll smile and not mean it so you better do what I say' expression that made wanting to say no that much harder. "Besides, I think the two of you should talk."

"Mom? I don't want to talk," Sam snapped, and the look that Jane gave her was withering.

"I repeat," Jane said, enunciating every word. "The two of you should talk." With a meaningful glance at Brooke, Jane moved over to Mac, and began to give her a complete sentence in gibberish.

Sighing raggedly, Brooke closed her eyes, overwhelmed.

Opening them, she discovered Sam staring at her.

Unsure of everything, she only shook her head tiredly, and headed for the door.

The 405 was never not messy, and Brooke was in no real mood to deal with it.

Both hands on the steering wheel, she kept her eyes on the road, grateful for the ruin of her tiny sports car, weaving as fast as she dared through the traffic.

Beside her, Sam fumbled with the radio controls, making sure to keep the music as loud as possible in order to avoid having an actual conversation.

It was quickly pissing her off.

"Would you pick a station?!" she snapped, when once again, Sam changed the tuner mid-song.

Jerking her finger away from the radio, Sam eyed her angrily. "God, I'm sorry, my Queen," she said, over-exaggerating. "The radio is yours."

A bitter smile floated onto her features. "Good," she said, in no mood to even try to play nice. Reaching forward, she shut it off completely.

Fingers tightening around her steering wheel, she didn't stop to wonder why she was suddenly so annoyed. It was easier to be annoyed, than to drive herself crazy with wondering why the hell Sam came back.

"So, what?" Sam drawled, when the silence stretched for longer than she apparently could keep her issues bottled up. "You're gay now?"

Wincing at the flippancy of the question, Brooke licked her lips and stared straight ahead. "Yes," she answered honestly. "I am."

Peripheral vision saw Sam's reaction, and it was almost worth the sudden influx of emotion at admitting it. Finally.

Breathing in hard, Brooke tried hard to blink the tears away, swallowing down that lump of feeling. Her heart began to pound inside of her, and she forced herself to keep her eyes on the road, anywhere but on Sam.

She was sure that Sam must have been looking at her like a gaping fish, because obviously Sam was expecting any other answer. She heard visible shifting in her seat, and her knuckles grew white under abuse she was giving the poor steering wheel.

"What, was Abby that good?"

The remark brought so much hurt Brooke nearly doubled over. "God, DAMN, Sam," she snapped, and pounded at the steering wheel, wiping at the stinging droplets that now slipped to her cheeks. "Why do you do that?!" Sliding her tear-streaked gaze to Sam, she discovered the other girl staring at her with an almost frightened expression. "God, for ONCE, can you talk to me without hurting me?"

Sam didn't respond, eyes round and wide, staring at her as if she were staring at a stranger.

"Look, Brooke, how do you..." Shifting forward, Sam seemed to be struggling, and Brooke didn't care. "How do you expect me to react? It's not like you ever-"

"Forget it," Brooke sniffled, reaching almost violently for the Kleenex. "I didn't tell you because I was afraid, and God, I just feel so stupid-"

Stabbing at the radio, she turned it up, loud and pounding into the car, filling the place with sound, doing what she could to try to cover up the audible breaking of her heart.

"Brooke, what the fuck?!" she heard, a shout, before Sam nearly broke the radio, index finger jerking at the power button, shutting it off just as quickly. "Look at me."

"I'm driving," Brooke said, eyes straight ahead.

"No, you're ignoring me. I can't believe I fucking flew two thousand miles for this shit."

Brooke shook her head in disbelief. "No one asked you too, Sammy! So why did you?!"

"Damn, Brooke-"

"NO, I want to KNOW!" Brooke breathed, throwing an acidic glance Sam's way, to discover the other girl's hands on her face, clearly frustrated. "I want to know what could have been so important that you could have given up on trying to get back your precious girlfriend-"

"YOU, Brooke! Okay? FUCK." In a burst of violent frustration, Sam suddenly pounded at the dashboard, and immediately hissed, drawing her palm into her lap.

Startled into quiet, Brooke knew she had to keep watching the road, but Sam shifted beside her, and her voice was so clogged with tears, Brooke both wanted and dreaded seeing the expression on Sam's face.

Whimpering, Sam held her fist to her chest, nursing it, and when she finally looked at Brooke, her eyes were luminous pools of emotion.

Licking her lips, Sam collapsed in her seat, head falling back against the seat.

"I HATE that I love you," she heard, weak and devastated, and it broke her.

Brooke didn't respond, she kept her eyes on the road, because for what seemed like the millionth time, she was in an impossible situation and didn't know how to fix it.

So she drove.

The sorority house lay on a quiet street filled with old Victorian homes, snapped up by the university when the affluent crowd that lived in them abandoned them for the safety of suburbia. They were large, nearly mansions, and they lay side by side, emblazoned with the letters of the sororities and fraternities that inhabited them.

Thanks to the Spring Break desertion, she managed to find a parking spot relatively close to hers. Still fragile, she pulled up the brake and turned off the ignition.

Beside her, Sam hadn't moved, arms crossed as she stayed sunken in her chair.

"You don't have to come," Brooke said, the first sentence she had spoken since Sam's outburst.

Head lolling over to look at her, Sam's expressive mouth twitched, before she sighed raggedly and pushed at the door, answering her by getting out of the car.

Pushing the car door closed, Brooke shouldered her purse and stepped into the walk beside Sam, turning into the driveway.

"We won't be here long," she said shortly, fishing for her keys. "I just want to put him in a baggie and then we'll head out."

"Whatever," Sam said, leaning against the wooden frame as Brooke inserted the key into the lock.

"Brookie?" Unable to ignore the pained look on Sam's face, Brooke turned to discover Jenny, a blonde haired junior, coming up the driveway with her bike. "What are you doing here?!"

Swallowing hard, Brooke glanced quickly at Sam, and sighed raggedly. "I'm just here for my fish."

"Oh.... Okay. Good to see you!" Jenny's smile was odd, and Brooke was in no mood to really think about it, as she offered a smile back, not bothering to introduce the extremely anti-social Sam.

"So what does your sorority think about it?" Sam asked, following up the lush carpeted stairs.

Brooke smiled awkwardly. "They don't know yet."

"Right," Sam said, obviously not surprised, and followed her into her room.

There was the fish in the corner, swimming away. "Hi baby!" Brooke said, a gentle voice, and without a second glance, headed for the dresser on the opposite end.

Desperately to get out of there, Brooke jerked open a drawer, reaching for the heavy duty plastic bags she kept for her trips.

"Uhh... Brooke?" Glancing back, Brooke discovered Sam standing in front of the bowl, a strange expression on her face. "That's not Bleu."

"What?" she asked, and Sam shrugged at her, obviously puzzled. Coming forward, she moved beside Sam, and took a closer look at the fish. In the champagne glass, a little blue-green fish stared up at her. "That's not Bleu," she breathed, sharing a suddenly panicked glance with Sam. "Martha!?"

But it was Jenny who stood in the doorway, fingers tangled in front of her nervously. "Oh, shit. You noticed. We were hoping you wouldn't notice."

"Where the hell is her fish?" Sam demanded.

Throat dry, Brooke stared at her, heartbeat fluttering in sudden panic.

Jenny stepped back, obviously a little intimidated by Sam's suddenly protective stand. "Well, okay... BACK UP!" she nearly shrieked, and suddenly there were two other girls in the room, all staring at Brooke with tremendously frightened expressions. "Look, we're really REALLY sorry, Brooke, but... you see... Oh, God, I can't say it..."

Allison, a sophomore with a bushy brown mane, grabbed hold of Jenny's shoulder. "See, the thing is, Brooke? We knew how much you liked that fish, so everyone was SUPER paranoid about not feeding it, and... I guess no one checked with anyone else..."

"What happened," Sam interrupted, voice firm, angry.

"Everyone fed it! Everyone! And no one thought to check with anyone else and... I guess it just..."

"We are SO sorry," Jenny breathed. "Really. I mean, we got you that guy hoping you wouldn't notice..."

"We named him Lil' Bleu Too," Allison offered meekly.

"What the hell is WRONG with you people?!" Sam snapped, but Brooke couldn't hear her.

Turning wild eyes onto the wrong fish, Brooke's hand flew to her chest, overwhelmed.

The fish in the bowl was the WRONG fish, and she tried so hard to process that, and yet somehow, she couldn't.

In her head, she knew it had to be an overreaction, because her devastation was over a FISH, but her chest flared in pain, and she lost herself.

"I just ..."

"Brooke, we're SORRY."

Sam stared at her, and unable to do anything else, Brooke only stared at her beseechingly.

"Just get out!" She heard her say, and she was grateful, as she sunk onto the bed, ears pounding, eyes watering.

"Oh, God," she breathed, and began to tremble, the grief so deep, so hurtful, because the little fish was gone, and it had been her fault.

Her fingers covered her face, and she sucked in a ragged sob.

Weight shifted on the bed, and suddenly a warm palm covered her own, fingers peeling her own from her face. Through a tear-streaked haze, she discovered Sam beside her, staring at her.

Sam didn't say anything, but her thumb grazed Brooke's cheek, wiping at her tears. Brooke's eyes closed at the gesture, and without reservation, she swayed into her beloved's embrace.

Arms wrapped around her, held her tight, and in them, Brooke broke completely.

"Shh," Sam whispered, a soft voice against her ear, and Brooke only sobbed harder, clinging to the other girl with everything she had left.

She wasn't sure how they ended up like they did, curled up in her small bed, Brooke holding onto Sam like she was a life-size life preserver. She wasn't sure if it had been hours or minutes after she had cried for her lost little fish.

All she did know, was that for once, the walls that had been built up between them from a year of misconception and fear laid crumbled.

Every single part of her was touching Sam, from their feet curled together to the hand on Sam's hip. Brooke was sweaty and Sam's collar was completely moist with Brooke's tears.

Brooke kept her eyes shut tight, afraid to let go, and for once, Sam seemed to understand. One slender arm had curled underneath Brooke's neck, keeping her close, the other rubbed gently up and down her forearm, creating soft, reassuring tingles.

Emotionally spent, Brooke's awareness was coming back to her, and she shifted slightly, opening her eyes to discover the beautiful face inches from her own.

"I'm sorry," she whispered hoarsely, suddenly self conscious.

"It's okay," Sam answered back.

"No, I just..." Wiping a stray tear from her face, she tried to push down the painful lump in her throat, head shifting down on the pillow, eyes fluttering as Sam shimmied closer. "I just... I get it. I know I'm over-reacting. I know it's just a fish."

"No one should tell you how to feel, Brooke." Sam's fingers tightened around her shoulder, a comforting squeeze. "I know how much he meant to you."

"No," Brooke breathed, and then stopped, sighed raggedly, and shook her head, trying hard to enunciate her feelings. "I mean, yes, he meant a lot..."


Colored eyes met brown intensely. "You gave him to me."

The words were said clearly, distinctly, and Brooke didn't look away. The emotion between them, charged and intimate, began to shift, and she felt herself flush, staring into the beautiful face as the words began to process, and that lush, expressive mouth opened, closed.

Breathing out raggedly, insanely in love, Brooke couldn't help herself.

Reaching up, she ran fingertips against the outline of that mouth, felt the hot breath of Sam. Enraptured, Brooke smoothed her palm over the cheek, and when Sam's eyes fluttered closed, her heart leaped inside her chest.

Eyes open, Brooke knew she would die if she didn't kiss her.

Leaning forward, a soft mouth pressed against another, ragged breath fluttering against lips, in a tender first kiss.


Part 8. Without Granting Innocence

An unrelenting shock slid fearlessly into Brooke, the moment her lips touched Sam's.

It was unexpected; in the wake of the sorrow that had ecompassed her before, it was almost too much. Two extremes, that made her whimper and still crave, as her eyes drifted closed and she felt the slippery velvet of soft flesh, teasing her mouth.

The kiss was barely a flutter, and still, her heart began to pound, because it was Sam.

She could feel moist breath, could taste a hint of raspberry, remnants of Sam's lipgloss, and when Sam pressed forward, just the tiniest bit, she shuddered, fingers rising of their own accord, to skim along her cheekbone, palm the side of Sam's face.

Tilting her head, she took advantage of the new position, and with a breathless whimper, hesitantly skimmed her tongue along Sam's full lower lip.

Sam's reaction was instantaneous. With an audible gasp, Sam broke the kiss, forcing her eyes open to discover a beautiful, started face, still underneath her touch, lips parted and moist.

If she said anything now, it would be the wrong thing. She knew it. Her and Sam never did know how to speak without arguing, and at this moment, this very second, if she lost what she had been given, she couldn't handle it. She wouldn't handle it.


Without hesitation, she pressed forward, cutting off Sam's breathless statement before it had even really begun. Hips rolling, Brooke curled closer into the other girl's body, until Sam was essentially trapped, mouth moving furiously against her, leg tented over her own.

The groan Brooke heard, swallowed into her mouth, went deep inside of her, and she whimpered in response, fingers threading into Sam's gorgeous brunette hair and forming a tight, desperate fist.

This time, when her tongue slipped into Sam's mouth, it was demanding, relentless, and mated against Sam's feverishly. Hands came up around her, and Brooke shuddered when the she felt palms sliding along her neck, pulling her down, further into the tight body of the woman she loved.

Fumbling, doing what she could to keep her lips on Sam's, she rolled, until hips aligned with hips, breasts with breasts, and Brooke understood the tantalizing appeal of a woman's body.

She didn't remember much about Abby. What she had, were short bursts of furious passion, flashes of heat and anger and drunken determination. There was nothing to savor, and the memory of the night before brought with it the morning after, something Brooke couldn't ever forget.

But this, this was desire, and it created so much heat inside of her, made her desperate and wanton, because when she paused, breaking free for a sucking in of air, it was Sam underneath her, staring up at her with dark, bottomless eyes.

Oh, God.

Sam's palm slid from her nape to her cheek, and when the pad of her thumb brushed alongside her eye, Brooke realized she was crying.

"Brooke," Sam breathed, a sigh of wonder, bewilderment.

With a choked smile, Brooke could only offered a terrified smile. "I love you," she managed, a whispered confession, sincere in the trembling of her voice, in the way her heart pounded.

It was desperate, heartbreaking, and when Sam just stared at her, she didn't care, because finally, she had been laid bare, with nothing left to hide, to the one person who mattered the most.

Sam's hand still lay on her cheek, and she turned, pressing her lips tenderly against the flesh. Sam gasped audibly, and when she looked back, she saw eyes darker than before, a mouth parted. Sam's hand curled around her again, into her nape, and Brooke felt the pressure before Sam's head lifted and she was pulled into a gentle, soft kiss.

Shuddering, Brooke closed her eyes, and when Sam's arms went around her, she fell into her embrace, face burying into the crook of her neck.

Sam held her, and for Brooke, fragile, frightened, lost and found, the world fell away.

A curious buzzing against her hip wasn't what woke her, but rather, Sam shifting against her. Eyes opening blearily, Brooke found herself tangled against her step-sister, arms threaded around her, neck trapping Sam's arm, legs entwined.

Sam looked almost apologetic as she moved, and Brooke, still foggy from sleep, edged over inch by inch, until Sam was able to pull her arm out from under her and dig into her pocket for her phone.

Sweaty from the contact, the loss of it left her feeling curiously cold, as she watched without comment, as Sam stared at the caller ID. After a beat, Sam's mouth pulled into a frown, and she pressed her thumb against the sidekick, silencing the caller.

Elbow pressed into the mattress, Brooke eyed her, determinedly curious as Sam glanced at her and purposely stuffed the phone back into her pocket.

With the silence, came a change. Brooke had never been as naked emotionally as she had been with Sam, and now, in the wake of it, she wasn't sure what to do. Fingers tangled together, and she kept silent, eyes darting over Sam.

She could talk about it, if she wanted to, but Brooke wasn't sure what else she could say. Everything that had happened between them, on this bed, had happened because she had made it happen. Sam had yet to respond verbally to any of it.

"We should go," Sam said suddenly, and looked over her shoulder. Arching her neck, Brooke stared at the alarm clock, discovered it blazing at 10:12PM. "It's getting late."

Sitting next to the clock was the oversized champagne glass that had housed Lil' Bleu. In his place, Lil' Bleu Too flipped his tail lazily.

The sudden hurt was hard on her still raw emotion, and Brooke turned back, eyes closing, as she tried to breathe herself back to control.

A palm against her elbow distracted her, and she glanced up to see Sam's thoughtful gaze.

"Did you want to bring him with you?"

Selfishly, Brooke wanted to say no. There was a part of her that was vindictive and petty, and in that darkness, she wanted to leave the fish to his own devices, or at the hands of her over-eager sorority sisters.

Thankfully, it wasn't all of her, and with a painful smile, she cleared her throat, and blinked away the sudden sting of moisture in her eyes.

"Yeah, I should," she said roughly. "They… um… they didn't mean it."

"Who the hell can't fucking feed a fish?" Sam breathed, irritated expression growing, as she thoughtlessly smoothed her hand up Brooke's arm.

The contact left her breathless, and when she stared at it, until Sam seemed to understand what she was doing, and scooted away, untangling her feet in the process.

For some reason, her private devastation at the act embarrassed her.

Brooke knew it was a lot to ask; to know exactly what Sam's feelings for her were. All she really had were reactions, conjectures from close friends and acquaintances. Sam told her she loved her, but ...

The difference between love and being IN love was significant. Brooke had the experience of understanding that a little too well.

As Sam maneuvered off the bed and went to retrieve her jacket from its place, thoughtlessly tossed on Brooke's, she glanced back at her.

In the small smile Sam flashed, Brooke found both hope and dread.

She and Sam weren't ever good at talking. While she could argue no one knew her better than Sam, she also knew that Sam had seen the ugliest parts of her, that Sam was quick to judge and it had taken her step-sister years to let go of the prejudice that she had been engrained with when it came to Brooke and who she was.

It used to make her so mad, Sam's determination to see her as this shallow, image obsessed villain. She had wanted so badly for Sam, Sam specifically, to see her as a person, and sometimes she had lain in bed and stared up at the ceiling and wondered why on earth she cared so much what Sam thought of her. Sam was judgmental and mean, she had horrible hair, she refused to see beyond her own prejudices and she went through half of their sophomore year parading the 'Brooke is Evil' flag that had ruined Brooke's life on more than one occasion.

What she hated more was the fact that sometimes, she proved Sam right. Sometimes her obsession with what she wanted overrode everything else and people got hurt in the process. Harrison. Carmen. Lily. Josh. Sam. Nicole.

A summer in a coma hadn't changed much, and Brooke knew that there was a part of her that was still that frightened girl trying desperately to be liked, but she also knew that this was different.

Whatever her attraction to Sam was, it was real, and over the years, no matter how much Brooke had tried to change it, morph it, make it something manageable, it had only grown into something more. It was both mature and irrational and miserable and ecstatic and twisted and pure and it made her into a different person than she had ever imagined being.

The 405 freeway was congested, but it wasn't horrible, and Brooke kept her gaze on the road, keenly aware of the presence beside her. Brooke's new fish was in a heavy duty plastic bag, and Sam's digits held it in place in her lap.

Brooke didn't know how to start the conversation she was sure they would have to have, and she kept trying, mouth opening and head turning into Sam's direction, before it clamped shut again and she lost her nerve, and just kept driving.

"That was Rebecca," she heard suddenly, twenty minutes away from their home. Sam looked exhausted, slouched in the seat, and the tone of her voice seemed almost resigned. "Who called me before."

"Oh." Brooke tried so hard to be casual and yet, the word croaked out like it had belonged to a toad.

"She told me before I left that if I came after you she wasn't going to be waiting for me when I got back to school," Sam added, and Brooke's heart flared in both hurt and hope. She swallowed hard, and sucked in her breath, wondering why Sam was telling her this.

"I'm sorry," she managed.

Pursing her lips, Sam frowned, and dark eyes shot a glance at her from across the car. "Are you?"

Breath catching, Brooke kept her eyes on the road. "I'm sorry that your relationship had to end like that," she managed, as honestly as she could. "I'm not sorry it ended."

The statement was followed by a pregnant silence, before she looked at Sam and discovered the other girl's eyes closed, sunken back into the seat.

"She called me," Sam reminded her. "While you were loading the car I checked the voicemail. She wants to talk."

The jealousy inside her was ugly, and Brooke tried not to let it into her voice. Sam was being rational, and Brooke had to ...

God, it would have been so easy to be petty.

"Why are you telling me this, Sam?" she managed thickly.

"I don't know," Sam said, and then laughed, this hurt, hard chuckle. "Because you're my best friend."

"And what do you want me to say?"

"I don't know," Sam answered again. "I'm not sure of anything, right now."

Brooke kept driving. Sam didn't say much after that.

Jane had kept two plates covered in plastic wrap in the microwave, with a note tacked on the door to help themselves. She had baked a frozen lasagna, and had left them healthy portions, complete with a dried piece of garlic bread for them both.

With a baby, their parents had learned to go to bed early, and the entire downstairs was eerily dark, with exception to the light left on in the kitchen.

Brooke stared at the note, and ripped it off the machine, crumbling it into a ball.

She wasn't hungry.

Entering the kitchen, Sam had changed into a pair of slim back sweats, an old cotton jersey, standard bedroom attire, hair pulled back into a ponytail, revealing a flushed, fresh face.

Brooke hated herself for being struck by the simpleness of her beauty.

Glancing away, she spoke into her hands. "There's lasagna if you want some."

"Are you going to eat?"

She shook her head mutely. "Don't really feel like it," she said, and poured herself a glass of water instead, hip resting against the counter as Sam opened the microwave door and extracted her plate.

"Was Abby really your first?"

Blinking in surprise, Brooke glanced up, discovered intense dark eyes staring at her. Her heart tightened into her ribcage, and her mouth twitched.

She nodded mutely.

Sam closed the microwave door, a little too quickly. Her eyes were on the numbers she was pressing on the digital menu, when she began again, "Do you like her?"

Brooke's smile was a tired, morbid one. "You mean, as a person?"

"You know what I mean."

Yes, she did. Brooke gulped some of her water, and poured the rest down the drain. "I think you're making more out of Abby and me than there was, Sam."

"You slept with her, Brooke," Sam reminded her, like Brooke had to be reminded of that fact.

"Yeah, I did," she breathed, and turned, fingers curling around the marble of the kitchen island, staring darkly at Sam. "And you've slept with Rebecca hundreds of times, I'm sure. What is your point?"

The look on Sam's face was probing. She wore that expression that Brooke had seen more than once, when Sam was going in for a story - looking for the why, not the how.

"Is that why you did it?" Sam asked finally. "Because of Rebecca and me?"

"What are you talking about?" she asked, suddenly afraid.

"Were you jealous?" Sam enunciated.

Suddenly feeling trapped, Brooke glanced at the corridor leading to the stairs. Sam was blocking the path. Brooke's bare feet felt cold. Her toe curled on the tile.

"Were you jealous of Abby?"

It was a stand-off, and just like every other stand-off they had, Brooke didn't want to give in. She had given in so many times already, and still, she didn't know, she didn't understand, what Sam's position was on this. It left her naked and vulnerable and after the day she had, she wasn't in the mood.

Ten seconds, twenty, and Sam only kept staring at her, with that same Sammy look, and Brooke's own want became painfully apparent.

Her step-sister, her best friend, was beautiful, inside and out, just as tantalizing as she was frustrating, and for Brooke, wanting her was like breathing.

In the kitchen, the appliances buzzed and hummed, and Brooke felt her blood rushing along her veins, in their rhythm.

"I asked you first," came the choked answer.

The bitter smile was automatic, and Brooke wondered how much more she would have to give.

"Yes," she said finally, too tired to care about the response. "Yes, I was jealous of Rebecca. I hated her from the minute I heard about her. And I hated myself because I was too scared to come to terms with what I was and who I wanted, and I hated you for being everything I wanted and everything I couldn't ever have. I've been in love with you since the moment I saw you, you and your horrible hair." Shoulders rose in a bittersweet shrug. "I wanted to be your first, Sam," she finally finished, her voice an emotional squeak.

Chin coming down, Brooke didn't look at Sam as she brushed past her, determined to ignore her step-sister and go to her room and indulge herself in a heavy round of sobbing.

The hand latching onto her fingers, yanking her back, was unexpected, and before Brooke quite knew what had happened, she was suddenly pressed flush against the shorter girl.

Brooke was breathless, incapacitated, as she felt tight breasts heaving up and down against her, looked into brilliant dark eyes, and discovered a parted, moist mouth, a look of startled amazement, and absolute clarity.

Possessive fingers slid up her body, over her shoulders, and against her nape, and suddenly Brooke was pulled down into a hot, amazing kiss.

A warm mouth, a demanding tongue, and the intoxicating taste of Sam were enough to kick in her instincts, as Brooke let out a soft groan, invaded by the simple pleasure of kissing the woman she loved.

Sam moved against her, pushing closer, and the thrill of the feel of her went straight through her, liquefying her insides, as possessive palms instinctually came around Sam, bringing her as tightly against her as she could.

She stumbled, unsure of what she was doing or where she was going, only aware of the lips moving desperately against hers, as if Sam was trying to swallow her whole.

And she wanted more of it. Breaking free, she sighed raggedly, mouth skimming over lips and against a sensitive jaw, until she found herself breathing against Sam's earlobe. The moan she heard was like a shock to her body, and grabbing a fistful of hair, Brooke lost herself, overtaking the other woman to press her against the counter.

As suddenly as Sam had started it, she ended it, with a push of her palm against Brooke's chest, breaking free.

Eyelids heavy with want, heart racing, Brooke stared at her, wild-eyed, as Sam breathed heavily, chest rising and falling against her own.

"Oh, God," she heard Sam whisper, and then suddenly, her beloved scrambled, pushing at her with both hands until Brooke had no choice but to release her.

It was Sam who ran, away from the kitchen and what she had started, and Brooke, weak-kneed, flustered and turned on beyond belief, didn't have the strength to follow.

"I heard about Lil' Bleu," said the normally chirpy voice, in a grave, sad tone. "I'm really sorry, Brooke."

In a fleece jacket, Brooke huddled on her porch, cell phone pressed against her ear, a tired, bitter smile curled onto her lips.

"It's okay," she said, tightly, flatly. "I... um... I guess I understand."

"Maria called me in a panic," Stephanie continued, voice low on the other end. "I guess one of the girls called her, no one knew what to do. It was my idea to get you another one, but I didn't tell them to try and slip it to you."

She shook her eyes in morbid amusement. "I guess it was just a misunderstanding."

"Well, I'm guessing from the way your step-sister let loose on them and kicked them out of your room, they got the message."

Shivering in the cold, Brooke stared up at the sky. "Actually, that wasn't why I was calling."

"What's up?" Stephanie said. "You're still coming back on Monday, right?"

"Yeah, of course," Brooke said, rearranging herself when her butt got a little too cold. "I just um... I needed your help with something. Or your, advice, or whatever."

"Anytime, Brookie. What's up?"

Brooke closed her eyes, sucking in her breath, and let it out slowly. "I've been struggling with something, and um... it all kinda came to a head this week, and in light of it, I don't want to hide it anymore."

"Oh, God, do you have cancer?"

Her eyes flew open. "What? No!"

"Breast cancer? You do not have breast cancer, do you?"

"No!" Brooke said, and laughed in reaction, unable to do much else. "No breast cancer!"

"Are you pregnant? You're pregnant aren't you?"

"I'm not pregnant either!"

"Are you sure? Did you forget to take your pill? Because I forgot once, and then I had this scare - it was the worst day and a half of my life-"

"Stephanie, I'm gay." Like a switch, the other end of the line went completely silent. "Stephanie?"

There was a squeak, and suddenly, she heard a meek, "What?"

"I'm gay," she said again, and felt her insides quiver, hearing her say it out loud. "And I don't want to hide it anymore. I'm telling my Dad before I go home, and ... I want to tell the sorority too. I just... I need to hear what you think they'll say."

"Wait. Like, gay? Like your sister gay? As in you like girls."

"I like girls," Brooke confirmed gravely.

"So like... you umm... you're sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure," Brooke answered. Stephanie gave a loud, heavy sigh. Brooke's heart gave a painful thump. "That's not going to be okay, is it?"

"What? No, God, Brooke! Of course it is!" Stephanie seemed to finally come to life. "Seriously, it'll be fine. We'll have a meeting and everything!"

"We'll have a meeting?" Brooke repeated.

"So you're gay! Big deal! And you know what? This is good! Because... um... we were looking for a gay girl! For diversity! And now we don't have to! Because we have you! And you're hot and everything!"

Brooke's eyes rolled heavenwards. "That's true," she said solemnly.

"We have the hottest gay girl on campus! That's going to be awesome! Oooh. OOH! And we can have a GLAAD seminar and PFLAAG - and oh, God, Brooke, you being gay is SO much better than everyone thinking you're frigid!"

"They think I'm frigid?!" she squeaked.

"Hazel might have a problem with it," Stephanie mused. "You know her and her old Methodist 'the gays are going to hell' spiel she was touting, but we can deal with her."

Brooke bit her lip, suddenly afraid. "But a lot of them think like that, don't they? What if she gets the parents involved."

"They won't. Look, Brooke, everyone likes you."

"Yeah, but-"

"Brookie, they killed your fish," Stephanie said firmly. "They owe you tolerance, at the very least."

She closed her eyes in a silent wince.

"So wait... was there like... an actual chick that you... in Florida?"

Brooke bit her lip, and glanced back at the house, to the dark window that was Sam's. "Yeah," she answered, her voice low.

"Oh, my GOD!" Stephanie squeaked. "You have to tell me everything. RIGHT NOW."

It was frivolous and stupid and silly, but Brooke realized, she needed it. "It's a long story."

"Oh, like you have anything better to do?"

Resisting the urge to glance again at Sam's window, Brooke bit her lip. "You're right," she answered tightly. "I don't."

It was well past three am when she finally stepped into her bedroom, making her way through it aided only by the bright moonlight that covered the room in streaks and shadows.

Pulling off her shirt, Brooke was exhausted, and she was glad for it, when her eyes went to the bathroom that separated her room from Sam's.

She wanted sleep tonight, an escape from the frustration and the want that came with what had transpired.

Brooke was tired, but she was disciplined, so she went into the bathroom and she washed her face, blearily turning off the bathroom light and stumbling into her bed, burying herself underneath the covers.

It wasn't until she opened her eyes and discovered the figure at the end of the bed that she realized Sam had followed her in.

"Holy FUCK!" she squeaked, scrambling back.

"Sorry!" Sam whispered. "Sorry!"

"What are you doing?!" she breathed, her voice an angry whisper.

It was a valid question, and she wanted the answer, but the problem was, Sam didn't seem to know herself. Confronted, Sam could only stare beseechingly at her, and then her step-sister seemed to make some sort of decision.

Without a word, Sam peeled back her blankets, and crawled underneath Brooke's covers.

Too startled to make much protest, Brooke felt like a fish gasping for water when Sam settled against her, head tucked under her chin, arm spread over her chest, leg curled over her thigh. Suddenly wide awake, Brooke stayed completely still, completely bewildered.

"When you were in the coma," Sam suddenly whispered, into the darkness of the room, "I would visit you, and I would lay with you, like this, and I would pretend that you were just sleeping."

Blinking back sudden tears, Brooke didn't say anything.

"I wanted to be there when you woke up," Sam continued, softly. "I wanted to be the first thing you saw when you opened your eyes."

"Sam," she began thickly.

"I wasn't." The arm slung around her shoulder felt suddenly possessive. "I wanted to be your first, and I wasn't."

Sam's voice was tired and broken, and Brooke didn't know what else to do, what Sam wanted her to do.

Drawing her hands up around her beloved, Brooke held her, as carefully as she could, as Sam shuddered in her arms.


Part 9. Lay Down a List of What Is Wrong

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

- Chasing Cars


Her relationship with Sam had never been physical.

It wasn't even because she and Sam weren't touchy people. Nicole had always been physically affectionate, an arm thrown around her, linking her hand through her elbow as they made their way down the hallways. She had seen Lily and Carmen and once in a blue moon, Harrison, cuddle up to Sam.

It could have been hate or the attraction, or the awkwardness, but even after they became friends, Sam had always kept her literally, arm's length.

She remembered an awkward hug, during that first year, because it was Christmas and Sam had been in a generous mood. Besides a handshake, that first year, the limitation of affection between the two of them had been a brawl that had included the entire cafeteria.

It was funny how, even now, she remembered those moments so clearly: the strength in Sam's handshake when they decided to compromise, the rise and fall of Sam's chest when they hugged tenuously, the smell of the apple blossom scented she had used and the ridiculous berries she had stuck in her hair in a misguided attempt at festivity.

Two years later, Sam had come willingly into her bed, had lain against her in a physical need to be beside her. Brown hair spilled over her outstretched arm and the feel of Sam's cheek rested against it. Across her chest was Sam's slender palm, spread out against the abdomen, fingers reaching just to the point where her shirt rode up and a sliver of belly was revealed. When Sam's fingers moved, she tickled the air, a sensitive shot of feeling that made her catch her breath.

She managed a muted smile, threading fingers through Sam's brunette hair, feeling the silky slide of the strands against her fingers. Maybe this was why they wouldn't touch - it didn't feel like this when Nicole hugged her.

"What's so funny?"

Caught, Brooke let out a sigh, raising her head slightly to glance at the girl in her arms. Head shifting so that her chin now rested on her shoulder, Brooke was treated to a beautiful, if not a little suspicious, smile.

"I was just thinking," Brooke told her, and then because she could, reached over, tracing her fingertip down the line of Sam's face, from her earlobe to her jaw.

They hadn't said much of anything since Sam's confession. There had been an overwhelming desire to keep silent, to simply feel, and Brooke understood the temptation. Too many things went wrong when they talked.

And really, what could they talk about? What else could they say?

Everything, she answered herself. There was the bubble of this night but in the morning, there would be questions, lots of them, and then there would be school, and who was to say that Sam wanted to date her anyway?

"You're thinking again," Sam whispered, and tilted her head into Brooke's palm, savoring the touch. The sight caused a sudden spike of emotion, and she smiled sadly.

"It's kinda hard to shut my brain off," Brooke said softly. "I brood."

Expressive, pouty lips turned upside down, and they were lush and soft. Brooke's palm slid over, until her thumb pressed against the underside of Sam's mouth.

"You know we should talk about stuff..." Brooke managed, when dark eyes turned darker, and the lips underneath her touch grew still.

The fingers on her stomach inched lower, and Brooke gasped lightly, when the digits dug lightly under her shirt, until the flat of Sam's palm was now pressed against Brooke's sensitive skin, smoothing lightly.

Lips caught hold of her thumb, and a rush of arousal jerked down into her groin when she caught sight of Sam taking her finger into her mouth, enclosing her in moist wetness, sucking lightly.

"Oh, God, Sam," she whispered, like she was being tortured.

Dark eyes bored into her, impossibly deep, and whatever comfort had been taken in their embrace now fled in favor of pure lust.

"Sam," she tried, trying hard to hold onto her senses.

But then fingers fisted against her stomach and rose up, taking her shirt with her, until knuckles brushed against the bare breasts, underneath her shirt.

"I wanted to be your first," Sam reminded her, and Brooke opened her eyes, unsure when they had actually shut.

Swallowing hard, Brooke tried to calm her rapidly beating heart, the blood pounding in her ears.

"You are," she whispered, wet thumb leaving a small mark as she cupped Sam's chin. "You're my first love-"

"But not your first," Sam managed, in this dark, bitter tone.

Brooke swallowed, and tried to shake her head.

"It's just so stupid. I didn't even know how much I wanted it until I saw you with her." The tears were back, in Sam's eyes, in her voice.

"Sam," she whispered, and kept her hand against Sam's chin, forcing her to look at her.

Without another word, she raised her head up, meeting Sam's mouth in a hungry kiss. Tongue plunging into her own immediately, Sam whimpered against her, desperately furious, almost frightened.

Fingers lost their seductive technique when they slid upwards without preamble, covering her breast with an almost possessive touch.

Arching upwards, Brooke could only hold on under Sam's assault, as her step-sister, her love, kissed her again and again, tasting her lips like she was starving. Her tongue swiped against her teeth, her tongue, the roof of her mouth, and it was clumsy in its desperation, and it was different, and still, it was Sam, and so it was beautiful.

Her arms flailed, and when their lips broke for air, Brooke moaned, head falling back as Sam's mouth tore from hers to lock to her throat, breathing hard against her throat when the hand that had been tormenting her breast changed direction, sliding down, so fast-

And then Sam was there, slipping into already impossibly wet folds.

She cried out, in shock and in pleasure, and she felt Sam shudder against her, as Brooke's arms went around her, clawing at her back.

"Oh God, Sam."

"Brooke," she heard, a tortured sound, and then she was inside her.

The feeling was impossible to describe, and she needed it desperately. She opened her eyes, saw Sam staring at her, inches away from her.

"Don't stop," she whispered, and then grabbed hold of Sam's head, pulling her down to meet her lips with her own, a wet, hot embrace.

Fingers dug deeper, and she felt the press of her Sam's palm, Sam's body, jerking against her, pushing her into a rhythm. The pressure of Sam's hand slid against her clit, and that, combined with Sam's hand, the knee Sam braced behind it, all went deep inside of her, deeper, further, with each thrust.

A hot mouth latched onto her neck, and the feel of it made her dizzy, flailing in Sam's arms, because it was SAM who was fucking her, and it was... it was...

"Fuck, Sam," she groaned, and Sam only moaned again in response, thrusting harder, faster, and it was exactly what Brooke wanted, what she needed. Shifting, Sam's free hand had clamped underneath her, on her shoulder, and then it came even faster, and the pressure built, when the new position put more weight against her most sensitive spot.

She was sure she was speaking, begging, but she couldn't understand what she was saying, and when Sam suddenly thrust against her so hard and so deep, she was there.

The euphoric feeling overwhelmed her, and she jerked hard, nearly levitating off the bed, and suddenly she had sunk down against it, lost and found, weak and sweaty and still incoherent.

Eyes fluttering, she felt lips against her jaw and shifting blindly, she found them with her mouth, drawing Sam into her for a hungry kiss, as the fingers inside of her still made her shudder, and then tremble when Sam drew them out of her, sliding out of her pajama bottoms, leaving a wet trail against her abdomen.

Collapsing against her, Sam was hot, sweaty, and Brooke's heart raced, grabbing hold of her lover, fingers against her hair.

Sam had been inside of her.

Sam had fucked her.

Sam had touched her and made her come.

Sam was still in her bed, eyes shut, breathing rhythmically, still in her pajamas, sprawled against the other side of the bed, the hand that she had used to completely splinter her laid across her chest, and it smelled of her.

Brooke knew, if she thought about it methodically, that they had gotten ahead of themselves. She knew they should have talked, they should have understood what they were doing. There should have been some sort of conversation or at least an understanding before they lost control.

Sam had been possessive, desperate, controlling. She had taken over Brooke in a way no lover ever had, had seduced her and she hadn't had to take a shred of clothing off to do it.

In less than a week, Brooke had lost her lesbian virginity and then lost it all over again, because this, this she remembered. She would remember everything Sam had made her feel, and even now, her pants were shallow, her chest rose and fall, and she didn't know what to do.

God, she should naver have let herself think.

Sam had curled against her, and when Brooke had tentatively, honestly, broached the idea of reciprocation, Sam had told her that she had gotten what she wanted, and then shut up Brooke with a long, lingering kiss, the fingers that were still painted with Brooke's own wetness pressed against her cheek.

And now, Brooke was wide awake and Sam was asleep, and she was wondering why it had happened, why she had let it happen, because there was so much left to figure out, and God, her dad didn't even know-

"I have to tell him today," she breathed suddenly, staring straight up at the ceiling.

The body against her stirred, and Sam's eyes opened blearily to look at her. "Tell who?"

"My dad," she said, and began to move, rolling out of Sam's embrace to sit up, shifting uncomfortably when she realized how wet she still was.

Sam looked wanton and beautiful, splayed out on her bed, staring up at her, hair mussed and tangled.

"Oh, God," she breathed suddenly, eyes shutting, palm pressing against her face miserably. "This is not a relaxing Spring Break."

"Brooke," Sam said, looking a little more alert. "What are you going to tell your dad?"

"What do you think?" Sam stared at her, eyes a little wide. "That I'm gay."

"Oh." Sam blinked, and seemed to visibly relax, an almost embarrassed expression flashing across her face. "Oh, right."

A measured look was thrown in Sam's direction. "What did you think I was going to tell him?"

Sam shook her head mutely, and then fell back into the bed, staring up at the ceiling. "Nothing."

Brooke's eyes narrowed, and she opened her mouth, sighing raggedly. "Sam... I mean... what we... I don't even know-"

"Brooke, shut up," Sam breathed. "I don't know either," she admitted, when Brooke only stared at her.

In the silence, Brooke didn't know how to even begin the conversation that she knew had to happen.

The hand that had fucked her was now on Sam's stomach, and Brooke found herself fascinated by it. Shifting, she hesitantly reached for it, eyes always on Sam's guarded expression. When Sam didn't move, Brooke swallowed, trying to get moisture back into her dry throat when her fingers closed over Sam's hand.

The sight of it, her hands in Sam's, caused a sudden swell of bittersweet emotion. The tears were embarrassing, and so Brooke blinked them back, as she drew Sam's hand into her lap, and then brought it to her face, curled between her own fingers.

The pungent smell of her sex emanated from it, and Brooke breathed it in.

It had happened. It was real.

Gathering herself, she felt her insides tremble, and with a rush of air blown out, she looked at her lover.

Sam was incredibly still, mouth open, chest rising and falling.

She looked like a sexy goddess, all darkness and curves, and Brooke suddenly felt light headed, understanding finally, what it meant, to want to worship.

Fingers tangling together, Brooke pressed a gentle kiss to each knuckle, and then turned the palm over, to breath into Sam's palm, tongue swiping delicately against the other girl's skin, heard a ragged sigh in response.

Brown eyes were nearly black, and Sam didn't move, watching her like she was some sort of predatory cat, waiting for her moment.

Shuddering, Brooke closed her eyes, and kissed her palm, mouth open, wetly painting the skin with her tongue, journey until she reached the underside of her wrist, at the sensitive pulse.

Sam's skin was salty, she tasted like Brooke, and Brooke felt an incredibly overwhelming thrill at just the idea. She kept going, ignoring Sam's audible moan when she reached the underside of Sam's elbow, laving the skin with her tongue, breathing hot air onto it and then blowing against it.

Letting go to Sam's hand, Brooke crawled forward, over Sam's body, until she had one hand on either side of Sam's head. Without a word, she nudged Sam's knees apart with her thigh, and then settled between them, carefully lowering herself onto her lover.

Staring down at her, Brooke's bright eyes searched carefully, for every imperfection, and then began to press a soft kiss against the freckle she found on her cheek. Hands came up to her waist, and when Brooke skimmed Sam's skin to press a kiss against the other cheek, she heard a gasp and felt a rush of wetness when Sam arched against her.

She trembled, eyes fluttering shut, and she forced them open again, to pull back, and look into dark obsidian eyes.

"I love you," she whispered, because she needed to say it, and then Sam was kissing her, pulling her down to suck on already swollen lips.

It was her fingers pulling at Sam's shirt, she realized, when she felt Sam's torso lift against the bed, and the thin fabric that was Sam's shirt slide briefly between them before her hands fell against naked flesh.

She was naked, when she awoke with Sam plastered against her, to her alarm clock buzzing at 8:00AM in the morning, after she had slept for what she gathered was a total of an hour.

The sound of a baby crying was also prevalent, and Brooke, exhausted and still tingling from the night's activities, shifted on the bare mattress, sheets long since flung to the side.

It left her feeling oddly vulnerable, exposed, as the cover of darkness was replaced with the always dependable sunlight.

Sam, also naked, had buried her face into her neck, and at the noise, only tightened her grip.

"Who the hell sets their alarm clock on Spring Break?" she mumbled, shivering, one hand flailing for Brooke's non-existent blankets.

Disentangling herself, Brooke rubbed at the goose bumps, swinging her legs onto the carpeted floor, and bending for the blankets.

"I need to feed the fish," she explained flatly, and shut the buzzing off with a touch.


Brooke only shook her head, pulling up the comforter and carefully drawing it over Sam.

She couldn't keep herself from looking as she did it, and for some reason, felt awkward about it.

She didn't know why it was weird, after the night they had had. She had explored Sam, every part of her, and even that wasn't enough. Sam was intoxicating, and Brooke was sure there was quite no other feeling than the feel of Sam coming around her, her fingers inside her, her mouth on Sam's sex.

But God... it was so much. And she had no idea if...

Blinking, Brooke let out a ragged sigh and stood, grabbing hold of her pajama bottoms and stepping into them.

"You know, Brooke..." Looking back, Brooke discovered a sexy woman with mussed hair, on her stomach, looking up at her with doe eyes. "The fish can survive a couple hours without food."

God, she was in trouble.

Smiling faintly, Brooke pulled on her shirt, ignoring the slightly disappointed smile on the woman on the bed, grabbing the little bottle of fish flakes. "I'm not taking any chances." Staring at Lil' Bleu Too, Brooke felt her heartbeat quicken, and shut her eyes when hands slid around her waist, and lips fluttered against her ear.

"Sorry," she heard, breathed into her ear, and her shoulders slumped and her head fell back, Sam's cheek sliding against hers. "Seriously, just come back to bed."

"I can't." Her voice was ragged, tired. "Jane's right outside, Sam. She's going to check in on us eventually."

The world had to be let back in, and Brooke hated that she had to be the one to do it.

Stiffening, Sam's mouth skimming against her cheek was merely an afterthought.

"You should get dressed," Brooke finished quietly.

The arms around her dropped, and Brooke licked her lips, a hard knot in her stomach when she looked back to the incredible temptation of Sam with nothing but a blanket covering her curves.

"You really do know how to spoil a mood, Brooke," Sam said dryly, and Brooke's eyes rolled to the ceiling, suddenly irritated.

"Right, and if Jane came in here while we were both naked and reeking of sex, you'd blame me for that," she snapped. "Don't start with me, Sam."

Pushing past her, she went into the bathroom, ignoring the other girl when she followed her in, hopping into her pajama bottoms, nearly tripping as she tried to pull on her shirt at the same time.

"God, you can be such an asshole, Brooke!"

Not wanting to look at herself in the mirror, or at Sam as she went by her to her room, Brooke turned the faucet on, flushing her face with cold water.

So apparently she and Sam were really good at two things: fucking and fighting.

"That's great," she breathed, and then opened her eyes, to look at her dripping expression in the foggy mirror.

What she saw nearly made her choke.

"Oh, God," she breathed, and clamped her hand on her throat. "SAM!"

The glaring purplish bruises marring her creamy white throat were revolting.

"SAM!" she screeched again. "Get your hoover mouth in here!"

"What?!" Sam said, popping up in the doorway. "What's wrong with you?"

Eyes wide, Brooke began to very quickly resort to panic. "THIS?!" she snapped, jabbing at her throat. "THIS is what's WRONG WITH ME, SAM!"

Sam blinked, and then stared, and then her hands went to her mouth. "Oh, holy shit!"

"Yeah!" Brooke said, nearly hyperventilating. "HOLY SHIT."

"Okay, okay," Coming forward, Sam looked terribly apologetic. "It's not that bad!"

"Not that bad?" Brooke breathed, and then whirled to the mirror, staring at the one, two - no three hickeys that glared at her, all visibly painted on her throat. "It looks like I was beaten with a vacuum cleaner!"

"Okay, relax," Sam said, hands on her shoulder. "Everyone's had hickeys before - maybe Mom and Mike won't even notice-"

"Sam!" Brooke wheezed, nearly crashing into the mirror in an attempt to get closer. "I have NEVER ... the last time I came home with a hickey- We're not twelve anymore, Sam!"

"You had hickeys when you were twelve?"


"Fine, fine!" Sam said, hands thrown up in mock surrender. "Okay, listen. We have several options. Er... we can use the spoon, right?"

"Right. I have a fridge and a spoon in my bedroom," Brooke snarled, and then stared again at her self in the mirror.

"-You can wear a turtleneck."

"It's ninety degrees outside."

"What about an eraser-"

"These are golfball size hickeys, Sam!" Brooke shoved her aside and jerked open her drawer. "God, dammit, Sam! If Dad and Jane sees these-"

"So they'll think you hooked up!"

"I did hook up, remember?" Brooke shot her lover a withering stare. "With you. Who I was with. All night."

"They don't know that."

"Holy shit," she breathed, and located the cover up. "Oh, thank God-"

"Okay, give it to me," Sam said, snatching it from her hands. "Shut up," she ordered, when Brooke began to reach for it. "Let me do it-"

"You've done enough, don't you think?"

"God, you're sooo clever," Sam breathed, and grabbed hold of Brooke's chin. "Hold still."

"I could always say I hopped the fence and hooked up with Harrison."

Sam's stare was murderous. "Don't even joke about that."

Grabbing hold of a sponge, Sam began to meticulously spread the make up on Brooke's throat.

"Damn," she breathed, and when Brooke glanced at her, set her straight again with a hand on her chin. "I said not to move."

"What?" Brooke asked, as Sam pushed her knees apart and came between them, an effort to get better access to her neck. Despite the situation, Brooke found herself sighing raggedly.

"I just um... really went to town there," Sam said, clearly embarrassed. "I don't even remember doing that."

"Uhuh," Brooke snorted, determined to hold onto her irritation. "You're apparently a neck girl."

"Then judging by last night, you're definitely a breast girl," Sam snapped back, and Brooke blinked, a flush of heat flushing her face. "Well, that's helps," Sam said, obviously noticing.

Fingers fidgeting, Brooke finally settled for placing them on Sam's waist. "It's not entirely your fault," she admitted, feeling awkward. "I wasn't exactly complaining."

Fingertips faltered, and Sam stepped back, eyes shifting to hers and looking away. "Me neither," Sam muttered, and grabbed another sponge.

The lump in her throat was unbearable, and Brooke suddenly moaned in frustration, and grabbed hold of Sam's wrist, pulling her back to her.

Sam met her halfway, their lips melting together, hungrily searching out each other's tongues to enthusiastically mate again. Sam was shorter than most of Brooke's lovers, and it gave her an interesting sense of dominance, allowing her to tilt Sam's head back, plunder those lush lips with a measure of power and control. That feeling was lost when Sam pushed back, pressing her against the counter and breaking free of their heated embrace to bury her face into her neck.

The reaction caused them both to freeze.

"God-DAMMIT," Sam muttered, and suddenly Brooke began to laugh, arms coming around her lover to squeeze her, because at the moment, there was nothing else she could do. "It's not funny, Brooke!"

That of course, only made Brooke laugh harder, and that itself only made Sam more annoyed.

"I have to reapply all the make up!" Brooke nearly choked. "Dammit, Brooke!"

Brooke shut her up with a kiss, and when she felt the mouth against her own pull into a smile, she broke away, wheezing, shoulders shaking.

"I hate you," Sam muttered, but she was smiling, and for once, it didn't hurt to hear it.

Part 10

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