DISCLAIMER: The characters of Popular are the property of the WB/Touchstone/Ryan Murphy (not really sure who). No copyright infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: So this is my first fic. I was inspired to write something after reading so many beautiful, wonderful stories out there by some very talented writers!
THANK YOU: so much to Teara for the help, encouragement and beta read!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Spring Fall
By serendipityspinoff


Part One

Brooke looked at her email inbox and smiled. Spring break was three days away and she was actually going to do something fun this year. She was taking off for holiest of spring break destinations and couldn't wait. She was almost embarrassed to go because it was too cliché even for a cliché.

However cliché made for cheap airfare. So, Fort Lauderdale was on her itinerary and so was a visit with her step-sister Sam. She brushed one of her loose strands of blonde hair behind her ear and dreamed about lounging in the sun, sleeping in late and not reading anything remotely substantial for four whole days.

She had to admit she was probably most excited about getting to hang out with Sam. Ever since their graduation from Kennedy High, Brooke and Sam had little time to see each other. Brooke stayed near home on the West Coast, but her dark haired step-sister attended a college on the East Coast. Sam decided to double major in journalism and political science and got heavily involved with interning at a major newspaper. It didn't leave her a lot of time to fly between the coasts. Brooke was very happy for her, but she missed seeing her mischievous grin, hearing her lame jokes, her passionate political rants and seeing her often changing hair styles.

Usually, the holidays only consisted, at most, of two days home. That only leaves enough time to say pleasantries and catch up where you are in life. It didn't leave time to delve any deeper, especially with a fireball little sister running around the house. The short holiday visits were frustrating for Brooke over the years; there was never enough time to really hang out with Sam like they did in high school.

Thank goodness for email, instant messaging and cell phones. Technology was on her side with keeping up with her fast paced step-sister and a few other far flung friends. She still couldn't believe Josh and Lily lived in Alaska working to raise political awareness for environment issues. Carmen had stayed close by attending UCLA. Mary Cherry shocked everyone by getting accepted to Oxford, where she had been perfecting her extremely fake English accent.

Brooke didn't think she could ever forgive Nicole for everything she had done over the years but most importantly for hurting Sam. Brooke did hear, however, from a friend of a friend that after Nicole was released from juvenile detention that she was studying to become a social worker at a community college.

The last email she just received was from Sam, confirming that she got her flight booked and would arrive only a few minutes after Brooke. Sam was traveling with one of her friends, Jenna.

Brooke suspected her traveling companion friend and roomie, Lisa, would not be spending a lot time in their room because her boyfriend's family had a beach house in the vicinity, luckily for her. She adored Lisa but really needed some alone time. Having three roommates for almost four years was beginning to wear on her nerves. Although, she knew in a few months she was going to miss all of it, the dirty dishes in the sink, cluttered bathroom and empty fridge. Being a senior had its benefits, but she was also worried and scared about the future.

Suddenly, her laptop beeped. There was a new message from Sam.

"Forgot to say, goodnight Princess. And I still can't believe you're dragging me to the cheesiest spring break places of all time! This better be good! I'll call when I land. Can't wait to see you, S."

Brooke smiled. She couldn't wait either. Four whole days of relaxing, having fun in the sun and hanging out with Sam. What had she been thinking about earlier? Oh, yeah, seniors. It reminded her of her last year at Kennedy.

Junior Year Kennedy High

Brooke would never forget hitting the pavement when pushed out of the way of Nicole's speeding car by Sam. She looked over, frozen when she saw her one-time enemy lying unconscious on the ground, having taken the hit for her. Sam had followed her out of the restaurant after Harrison had chosen her. She'd left the table because, in that split second when Harrison chose her, she realized she didn't want him. Why had she pursued him? Why had she insisted he kiss her in the hallway for everyone to see? Why had she caused all this drama for something she didn't want? She had to get outside and get some fresh air. Sam was right on her heels trying to talk to her. The next thing she knew, there was a blinding light in her face and then the impact of Sam pushing her.

"Sam! Sam!" Brooke screamed; tears sprang to her eyes.

The next thing Brooke knew, she was sitting in a hospital waiting room.

She looked over and watched everyone.

Jane and Mike sat holding holds. Josh, Carmen, Mary Cherry and Sugar Daddy sat, quietly reading magazines or comforting each other. Harrison was busy pacing back and forth, lost in his thoughts. Lily sat in a corner chanting. She said she was chanting to the female goddesses to help Sam through her surgery.

The knot in Brooke's stomach didn't ease up until hours later when Sam came out of surgery and everything appeared to be looking good. Yes, Sam would have to get through some physical therapy due to a broken hip, ribs and an arm, but thankfully, no permanent damage had been done.

The tidal wave of relief that flooded Brooke was so strong she had to sit down. She had never heard such good news.

Brooke was so happy when Sam was finally allowed to come home a week later. She decided in the hospital she was going to do anything to make Sam's recovery easier. Anything she could do for her.

Sam stood in her tiny New York bedroom sifting through clothes, eyeing each garment on its merit of travel. The microscopic apartment she shared with classmate Jenna wasn't that far from the NYU campus. She and Jenna practically had to live on top of each other but that is how most people have to live in the big apple.

"Just dump some stuff in and be done. All you really need is your bikini and ipod, seriously." Jenna swayed in the doorway in between talking to Sam and eating a bowl of noodles.

"I want to be crazy and take say…a few shirts, some shorts and the most bizarre novelty thing of all, underwear." Sam smiled at her roommate.

"You can be so boring sometimes. It's spring break. Spring actually means find a hot, new lover and break is a vacation from your life…so a vacation with a hot, new lover."

"Then your whole life is a spring break." Jenna smiled at Sam.

"True. But the real thing is even better."

"I'll try to get in the spring of things but I'm still taking clean underwear."

Jenna left the doorway and Sam went back to her packing and thoughts. She was excited about hanging out with Brooke; she didn't know why she hadn't thought of a spring break vacation before. This was going to be a great opportunity to really get to know Brooke again without all the hassle of holiday stuff. She felt like she hadn't really gotten to see her blonde step sister since they left for college.

And somewhere in the back of her mind she felt college came right at the perfect time. She didn't really know what she would have done if she would have had to live with Brooke for another year.

Sam thought back to the time when she and Brooke finally started becoming friends and not just frienemies.

Summer Before Senior Year

Sam would never forget the pain in her body after the accident. However, she wouldn't have traded it with anyone, especially Brooke. She was thankful she had been fast enough to push Brooke out of the way of Nicole's car. The stay in the hospital was hard but Brooke made it easier with daily visits and sweet surprises each time.

Sam was relieved to be released to go home and when she was finally settled back in her room; Brooke popped her head in and smiled. Sam looked up from arranging herself on the bed.

"Hey, you know if you need anything at all, I'm at your service."

"You have already told me that like a hundred times, Brooke. I don't need a nursemaid; this accident was not your fault."

"Yes, it was Sam. And it wasn't an accident. So let's not call it that."

"I don't think any amount of errands or favors you do for me is going to ease your conscious. Only you can do that and you have no need to, well from me anyway."

"Since when did you get all Buddha?" Brooke smiled.

"I just don't want you feeling you have to make something up to me."

"Sam, what you did…"

"I did so someone wouldn't get hurt. End of story." Sam smiled. She hoped this would put a halt to Brooke's guilt over the incident, which she could feel filling up the room.

"No, it's not. You got hurt. You could have been killed," Brooke stared at Sam seriously.

"But I wasn't. So, please don't spend all your time worrying or fussing over me. I'm an independent gal you know." Sam smirked at Brooke, desperately trying to lighten the mood.

Sam didn't want Brooke feeling guilty at all. If anyone should feel guilty it was Nicole, not Brooke.

When Brooke actually looked upset at Harrison choosing her and sprung up from her chair, Sam had jumped and went in hot pursuit. She had to talk to her. She had to know why Brooke looked so upset over something she thought would make her very happy. For some reason she felt a wave of relief of hearing Brooke's name and not hers. Although, she had hoped that Harrison would choose neither thus stopping any unnecessary drama or future cat fights. Though, she didn't mind the fights. She secretly liked sparring with Brooke, especially when they were both yelling or slinging food was involved.

"I know you are. I just want you to know that I want to help you, I want to." Sam smiled at Brooke and the smile was returned. "I got something for us. Let me get them." Brooke ducked into her room quickly and came back.

Brooke dashed back into Sam's room while holding onto something hidden behind her back. "Just in case you need something right away here…" Brooke pulled one hand from her back and handed Sam a walkie talkie and held onto a matching one with her other hand. "I'll have one and you'll have one. And they're pink." Brooke had a goofy smile on her face as she looked down at Sam.

"These are soooo dorky…but kind of cute. Thank you." Sam clutched her walkie talkie to her chest and let her own goofy grin spread.

Later, that night Sam was lying in bed. She was watching TV and bored. She couldn't sleep no matter how hard she tried. She sneezed and it caused a huge ripple effect of pain through her body. Without knowing it, she knocked the TV remote control off the back end of the bed and underneath. She knew retrieving it was going to be difficult. She was already in pain and getting up didn't really feel all that appealing. She noticed her pink walkie talkie on the night stand. She grabbed it and smiled.

"Brooke?" she broke off into a whisper, "Brooke, are you asleep?"

"Ten four, good buddy," replied Brooke in the groggiest voice Sam thought she had ever heard the cheerleader speak in.

"Ten four?"

Over the walkie talkie a loud yawn was heard. "Isn't that what they say on these things?"

"You're thinking of a CB radio. Go back to sleep."

"What's up? Need help?"

"No, that's OK."

"Sam, what is it?"

"I sneezed and…"

"Are you OK?' Brooke bolted up in bed and was in Sam's room in a matter of seconds. She came through the door looking worried. Sam felt horrible. She'd totally forgotten the story Carmen had told her about Brooke and her own broken rib. Bad choice of words, McPherson.

"Sorry. I'm fine. I meant to finish that sentence. I sneezed and knocked the remote off the bed." Sam pointed underneath the bed.

"That was some pretty powerful sneeze, huh?" Brooke smirked at Sam.

"Yeah, it was. Pretty painful too. Remind me not to do that again." Sam shifted, slightly in pain.

"Here, let me help you." Brooke leaned over and helped Sam move up on the bed to sit more comfortably.

"The remote is back there." Sam pointed over her head, past the headboard. "I didn't mean to alarm you or anything."

Brooke leaned over Sam, almost pressing her neck into Sam's face, trying to reach for the remote control. Realizing this was not the best way to get back there and that she was about to start squashing Sam, she pulled back. "Sorry, not really awake." Brooke moved over to the other side of the bed and leaned down against the headboard feeling around for the remote control. "Here, you go," Brooke handed the remote to Sam.

"Ah, thank you. I was dying." Sam pointed to the TV where a cooking infomercial was on.

"Can't sleep?"

"Some nights are good, some nights not. Not entirely because of pain or anything…just, I don't know. Sorry, to wake you."

"It's no problem."

"I shouldn't probably know this but Carmen told me a story you told her one time about breaking a rib?"

"Uh, yeah," Brooke shifted uncomfortably.

"I didn't even think of it until that was out of my mouth. I'm sorry."

"It's ok, Sammy." Brooke sat down on the bed next to Sam and leaned up against the headboard. "I have nights when I can't sleep. You know what usually helps me?"

"Counting pom poms?" Sam jokingly pushed her tongue to the side of her mouth.

"No, actually tiaras," Brooke smirked at Sam. "It helps if they have diamonds…diamonds help lure me to sleep."

"Who knew you could be funny in the wee hours of the morning, or at all?"

"Hey! Next, time I'm going to let you suffer through the cooking infomercials. Please, why are we still on this channel?" Brooke grabbed a pillow and got comfortable on Sam's bed.

"I could be learning something here…on I guess knives or a salad shooter; really not quite sure what they are selling here." Sam changed the channel and started surfing through the abysmal late night programming selection. She landed on a rerun of The Valley.

"Oh, I love The Valley," Brooke put her hand over Sam's to stop her from the changing the channel.

"Of course you would." Sam put the remote down in between them. She leaned her head back against the headboard and looked over at Brooke, who was totally engrossed in the program. Then, she closed her eyes, a peaceful smile on her lips.

"You're lucky Sammy, it's a marathon." Sam's smile turned into a sleepy grin when she heard Brooke's voice. She was already drifting slowly off.

After a few minutes, Brooke looked over and Sam had fallen asleep. She smiled. She didn't know if she should stay or go back to her own bed. She decided to stay. There was something very comforting about being near Sam and watching her favorite fictional Orange County teen soap opera.

The next morning, Sam awoke with the now ever-present pain of having to sleep in a very limited position with her arm propped up. However, the pain this morning didn't seem all that bad once she spotted a certain blonde cheerleader sleeping next her. She couldn't help but watch the blonde for a few minutes. She seemed so peaceful. She almost didn't notice that there was a box of cereal in between her and Brooke. There was a post-it on the box that read, 'For the cereal bed muncher.' Sam was surprised that Brooke remembered how much she loved cereal and that she sometimes she kept a box beside her bed. Sam opened the box and started quietly munching away.

Suddenly, Sam felt Brooke stirring. She looked over and the blonde slowly opened one eye.

"Oh, thank god. I was having this dream that a squirrel was eating my alarm clock."

"Nope, just the cereal muncher. Thanks for the cereal."

"Well, you know…I didn't want to get up at the crack of dawn for your habit."

"Again, you don't have to be my personal servant or something."

"I want to. It gives me practice for trying out to be Gwyneth's." Brooke sat up in bed and stretched. "Thanks for letting me crash, you have a comfy bed."

"I thought the allure was the big TV and the marathon?"

"It was and guess what? The marathon is all week long." Brooke teasingly smiled at Sam.

"Great. Just as long as you keep bringing me cereal."


"Yeah. For some reason it was easier to fall asleep knowing there was someone watching out for me."

"Well, you were watching out for me when I needed it."

"Brooke, you better not be getting all…"

"I'm not." Brooke got out of bed and stood up and stretched again. "I have to run some errands before I take you to physical therapy."

"Mom can take me."

"Mom can do what?" Just then Jane walked into Sam's room. "Morning, girls." Jane brought in some medication for Sam to take.

"No, I want to. I thought I could take Sam to physical therapy."

"Brooke, again you don't…" Sam had an almost pleading tone to her voice.

"Sammy, please? I have nothing else planned anyway. It's just going to be a long lazy, boring summer."

Jane jumped at Brooke's offer. "That would be great, Brooke. I have to take Mac to a birthday party. Thanks."

The blonde gave the brunette a gleeful smile and Sam returned it with a defeated pout.

"Mom? Before you leave can you help me change?"

"I can help you." Brooke realized she'd spoken without thinking.

"Oh Brooke, I think Sammy is modest."

Sam blushed a deep red. "Thanks, Mom."

"Sure, thing. Anything to embarrass my daughter." Jane smiled as she walked out of the room. She turned before she was out of earshot. "I'll be back in few minutes to help!"

Over the next few weeks, in between therapy and The Valley marathon, Brooke and Sam spent almost every waking and non-waking moment together. So much so that even Jane began to wonder when the next verbal explosion would happen or perhaps if her daughters had been taken over by pod people. She thought it was great the two were getting along so well. She just feared that when school started, the gulf between them would open up again.

It had occurred to Sam that she had never been as close to anyone as she was getting to Brooke, not even Carmen, Lily or Harrison. She talked for hours on end these days with her step-sister and she counted on her physically too. Jane was busy with caring for Mac. So, she wasn't always immediately available to help Sam, but Brooke was. Sam had to finally let go of her modesty and let Brooke help her in ways that she never dreamed of. If someone had told her when she first met Brooke that one day the blonde cheerleader would be helping her change bras, she would have been mortified. But Brooke had been so warm, tender and comforting, she put Sam at ease. Sam thought this must be what it's like to have a sibling. However, in the back of her mind, Sam could also sense some sort of warning bell going off. She just couldn't figure out what that was. She decided to ignore it for the time being.

After two months of therapy, Sam was practically back to normal. Her first night back without the casts, she felt like a free woman. She sat on her bed scratching her arm, where the cast had been and sighed in content.

"Feel like a new woman?" Brooke asked, peering in from the doorway.

"Yep, it feels great." Sam stretched out on the bed.

"Hey, you wanna go for a swim? Now that you don't have to wear plastic baggies over your cast…not that wasn't a good look for you." Brooke playfully smiled at Sam.

"That sounds like a wonderful idea. I'll meet you down there!" Sam got off the bed and started rummaging for her bathing suit.

Sam sat beside the pool dangling her feet. She stared at her reflection as she pondered what was taking the ex-cheerleader so long. She turned at the sound of the door opening and was momentarily struck by how beautiful her step-sister was in her blue bikini. Frowning in confusion, she wondered where that thought had come from, but shrugged it off. Everyone thought Brooke looked great all the time. It didn't matter what she wore. She ignored the little warning bell that seemed to go off again. "Took you long enough! Did you put on make up to go swimming?"

"Of course, a girl can't go swimming without that new aquatics line from L'Oreal." Brooke slowly dipped her foot in the pool and, without warning, kicked up a splash at Sam.

"Princess, that was cold!" Sam stood up, wiped the water from her face and walked towards Brooke.

"Now, Sammy I just thought you looked hot," Brooke didn't realize that statement could have a double meaning until the last word left her mouth. Deciding to go with it, she smiled. "However, that bathing suit is not helping." Brooke looked up and down over Sam's plaid, one-piece bathing suit. It was too big and it hung off her body.

"I couldn't find mine so I wore my Mom's," Sam tugged on the dowdy garment.

"You could have worn one of my bikinis. That would have been something to see." Brooke wondered where these words were coming from that were popping out her mouth.

"You are not distracting me. I have every intention of throwing you in the pool." Sam continued to get closer to Brooke. Sam couldn't help but acknowledge that maybe her and Brooke were flirting, was that it? Nah. Besides it would have been mild flirting if anything like mirting, maybe? But this was getting weird. Had Brooke just complimented her? No, they were just playing. The warning bell was louder than it ever had been before in her head. Sam just thought that maybe that the blonde played with all her friends this way and hit the mute button on the loud bell.

"That's not much of a plan considering I'm getting in anyway."

Sam stopped in her tracks and realized the flaw in her revenge plan. Just then she spotted the garden hose and had a different thought. "What is Harrison doing here?" Sam made a dramatic turn to the back entrance and Brooke looked that way as well. Sam took this opportunity to grab the hose and spray Brooke with cold water. Then she then jumped into the pool.

"McPherson! You are so dead!" Brooke jumped in the pool and started swimming after Sam. She caught up with her in the shallow end and grabbed her by the waist, pulling their bodies together. Brooke held onto Sam from behind. "Got you!" The momentary closeness shocked both of them. Their bodies pressed together. Their bare legs touching gave each other a jolt they weren't expecting. Sam could feel Brooke's breasts against the exposed skin of her back and felt Brooke's breath on her neck. Sam was confused and wanted out of the close contact.

"Ow, that hurts a little." Sam made a tiny wincing face. Brooke immediately let go of her hold on Sam. Sam then gave Brooke a little evil smile and swam back into the deep end.

"Playing dirty, McPherson! That was so wrong!" Brooke pushed off and swam towards Sam. They circled each other in the deep end for a few minutes, each waiting for one another to make the next move. "I'm surprised that suit hasn't sunk you yet."

"It is weighing me down a bit." Sam was starting to get winded. She hadn't moved around this much in ages due to the casts and physical limitations.

Brooke could tell Sam was getting tired and really didn't want the brunette to overdo it. So, she reached out her hand. "Here truce, I promise. Permission to pull you ashore?"

"Permission granted." Sam took Brooke's hand and could feel Brooke pulling her towards the shallow end. By the time they reached the shallow end, they'd built up a momentum that wasn't easily slowed.

"Sorry, didn't realize you were such a strong swimmer," Brooke put her arms around Sam's waist to help her stand up; she let her hands linger for a second. They both stood there for a moment looking into each other's eyes. Brooke knew she should remove her hands from Sam's waist but something about the way they were standing so close felt so natural. She didn't quite understand it. She thought Sam looked great even in the hideous bathing suit. Where did that come from? Brooke wondered. Neither broke the contact until a voice broke the trance.

"Cast free! Let me see my baby girl cast free!" Jane walked out into the swimming pool area and Brooke and Sam immediately moved away from each other. Jane walked over to where Sam was standing in the shallow end. Sam proceeded to show off her arm to her mother. "That's great honey. I'm so happy. What a great idea to get in the pool."

Brooke couldn't help but smile, she was very happy too that Sam was cast free and was fine physically. She still felt sort of tingly after being so close to Sam. Why was that? She realized it was almost like the feeling she'd gotten when she first started dating Josh. But with Josh that feeling had appeared just once in the beginning and never resurfaced again.


Part Two

The last of summer burned off far too quickly for Sam and Brooke. Even though they no longer had the excuses to spend everyday together they came up with new ones. They both secretly feared what their last year of high school was going to bring.

Then the last year of school started and things went pretty smoothly. Days turned into weeks which lead to months and before both of them knew it they were half way through their senior year. Brooke didn't want to date Harrison after the whole incident. So they all decided to be friends and it worked out, surprisingly. Harrison had taken the news really well. He eventually met a new transfer student from Boston and found the girl of his high school dreams.

Sam and Brooke didn't do much dating throughout the year. With getting her body back into working condition, classes, the newspaper and applying to colleges, little time was left for Sam to pine over having a boyfriend. Besides she continued hanging out with Brooke almost everyday and was having a great time. The blonde had become her best friend and she decided to spend as much time with her as possible since they wouldn't be attending the same college. She realized she loved hanging out with Brooke, even if they were doing lame things like sitting at the mall and coming up with stories about the people they saw walk past them. Once, they'd even imagined a torrid love affair between the security guard and the woman who worked the candle store. She got a buzz being around Brooke. She figured that was normal. After all, they were best friends now. She liked knowing that, at the end of everyday, she could say good night to Brooke. It made for a peaceful night's sleep for some reason.

Wanting to avoid drama, Brooke had decided to give up dating as well. She'd dealt with it for the past two years and that was more than enough. Instead, she focused on getting into a good college, helping take care of Mac and spending time with Sam as she fully recovered. The year was going well and it was due, in large part, to her friendship with Sam. Their new bond showed her what she'd been missing the past few years. She'd never truly had a best friend, only people who wanted to be around her because she was popular. With Sam, it was different. They talked at least once every day and hung out on the weekends. They'd watch bad movies together and pretend they were their own Mystery Science Theater hecklers. They even did their chores together. It was all a welcomed change from the times where they focused all of their energy on hurting one another. She was having the most fun she'd ever had. There was just something about Sam that brought a charge in Brooke. She seemed to get the blonde on every level. She didn't know what she would do when she left for college and wouldn't have Sam there anymore. Who would listen to all the trivial things and make her laugh when she was having a bad day? She tried not to think about it too often. Instead she focused on enjoying the little time they had left before life took them in separate directions.

Finally, those last days of school came. Everyone was starting to get a little sad. Sugar Daddy decided he was going to throw the biggest end of the year bash anyone had seen. He handed out flyers on the last day of school. He passed Sam at her locker.

"Hey, Sam. Congrats on getting into Columbia," said Sugar Daddy as he continued to hand out flyers to people as they passed him in the hallway.

"Thanks, Sugar Daddy. And congrats to you on getting into Florida State," smiled Sam.

"Thanks. Don't forget I'm going to throw an end of the year bash. It wouldn't be the same without you and Brooke." Sam smiled to herself. For the past few months, everyone seemed to clump them together. She guessed it was because wherever one was the other was too, usually. Their friends had watched Brooke help Sam through physical therapy and the bond they'd formed was now very strong. The two leaned on each other now and were pretty much inseparable.

"Wouldn't miss it," said Sam as she smiled at Sugar.

Later that night, Sam and Brooke were on her bed watching the movie, 'Dick'. Sam was sitting up with her back against the headboard. Brooke was lying on her stomach facing the television. They each had a bowl of popcorn.

"And you thought I would like this movie, why?" Sam arched her eyebrow towards Brooke.

"Duh, it's about Watergate," said Brooke as she turned her head and glanced at Sam.

"Oh, right. How could I miss that and the fact it stars someone from a certain cheerleading classic movie, hhmmm?" Brooke threw some popcorn over her shoulder at Sam.

"Oh, no you didn't." The popcorn landed on Sam's chest. Sam threw some popcorn at Brooke that landed on her back.

"Hey! I think we have been banned from enough places for starting food fights."

"You started it." Sam quietly moved on the bed and dumped her entire bowl of popcorn over Brooke's head.

Brooke moved from her position. She now sat in front of Sam and was gathering her bowl and aiming it at Sam. "You are always the one! The cafeteria, the restaurant! What is it about me that you like to see food smeared all over my face?!"

"Food looks good on you." Sam smirked. She started to laugh at the look on Brooke's face.

"That's it!" Brooke hurled her bowl of popcorn at Sam and then lunged for her. Sam laughed as Brooke landed on her and straddled her. She then reached for Sam's beverage on the nightstand, got it and held it over Sam's face.

"Give up McPherson, this soda is full."

"You won't do it. This is your bed remember?"

"Crap, you're right." Sam smirked, knowing she was in the clear. All of sudden, Brooke smiled a devilish grin and poured some soda over Sam's head. Sam yelled and bucked trying to get out from under Brooke. They both continued to wrestle, both fighting for dominance. Sam finally was able to get out from under Brooke with a pinch to the side. "Ouch! Not fair!" Sam flipped them over so she was on top now.

"You just poured soda in my hair. Hello? Not fair has left the building!" Sam had the upper hand now. She straddled Brooke and now reached for anything to torture her with. She noticed a water bottle on the bed.

"Not as effective as say syrup or acid…" Sam positioned the water to drip over Brooke's head. Sam hovered over Brooke making her wait for the outcome. She was secretly enjoying this playful contact and being so physically close to Brooke for some reason. She realized straddling Brooke like this in an almost sexual way was doing weird things to her stomach.

"Planning on water torture are you?" Brooke smiled up at Sam. Brooke couldn't get over that the feel of Sam sitting on her was having an enormous impact on her.

"I hadn't thought of that. Thanks!" Sam smiled down at Brooke. She moved the water bottle over Brooke's head. The journalist started a slow spill over the ex-cheerleader's head and down her body until she poured the entire bottle out over Brooke's chest. "In case you wanted to enter a wet t-shirt contest tonight."

Brooke screamed at the cold contact of the water. "McPherson you are so dead!" Sam jumped off the bed and Brooke and ran towards the hallway. She nearly knocked down her mother, who was holding a laundry basket of clean clothes. Jane noticed Sam's sticky appearance and then Brooke ran into the hallway with a drenched shirt.

"Well, we had a good run. We didn't have a blow out for like what two months? What a record." Jane smirked. The brunette moved around her mother, to hide behind her from blonde.

"Very mature Sammy, hiding behind your mommy. She can't save you."

"I'm not saving anyone tonight but some clean towels." Jane walked out in between the two girls. She left them standing in the hallway, breathing rather heavily and staring at each other intensely.

"You know Brooke, The Valley comes on in five." Brooke was momentarily distracted and Sam ran into the bathroom and locked the door.

"You can't hide, McPherson! I'll be waiting." All Brooke could hear was a muffled 'not with the Valley on' and the shower running.

The next night Brooke and Sam were walking up to Sugar Daddy's house when April Tuna stumbled out and puked on the front lawn right in full view of them.

"She should really pace herself," Sam said while raising her eyebrows at the display. "And I didn't need to see that."

"You're the designated driver, right?" Brooke pointed a finger at Sam.

"Ms. Homecoming McQueen, I had no idea were such a lush."

"I'm not. Just called it first and I don't want to hold your hair when you're puking along with April." Brooke gave a playful shove to Sam with her shoulder.

As the evening progressed and the Kennedy High gang enjoyed spending one of their last nights together, Brooke was getting more and more hammered. Sam noticed that Brooke started stumbling on her way to the bathroom. She walked over to her to give her a hand.

"Ms. Lush, I presume. Remember pacing?"

"Sammy, hi!" Brooke leaned on Sam and entwined their arms.

Sam took Brooke's arm and guided her to the bathroom. She opened the door for her. "Do you need help inside?" Brooke nodded no and closed the door.

Minutes later, Brooke actually emerged from the bathroom looking somewhat refreshed.

"Thank you, Sammy." Brooke stumbled slightly and Sam caught her. Brooke leaned into Sam's neck. She lingered there and smelled her skin.

"You always smell soooo nice." Brooke draped one arm over Sam's shoulder.

"Uh, thanks." Sam felt her pulse quicken with Brooke's close proximity and comment. "I think it's time to get you home."

Getting Brooke in the car and into the Palace without waking Jane and Mike was a major mission impossible for Sam. She finally accomplished the task with no thanks to the inebriated blonde.

Finally, reaching Brooke's room, Sam slowly lowered her down on her bed. Sam took Brooke's shoes and jeans off. She had to admit she was a bit surprised to see Brooke was wearing very skimpy panties, practically a thong. The barely there underwear lead to all kinds of thoughts in Sam's head. Had Brooke been planning to try and hook up with someone? Why do I care what kind of underwear she wears? I don't! She could wear none! But I'm glad she has something on because that would have been weirder for some reason, right? Yes. Surprised by where her thoughts had gone and averting her eyes, she pulled the comforter over the snoozing blonde.

"Goodnight, Princess." Sam turned to leave the room.

"Sam? Stay in here…I feel sick," Brooke mumbled out while she curled into the fetal position. Sam looked down at her with a faint smile on her face.

"You want me to stay in here when the chances are very high you will up chuck on me?"

All Sam could barely hear was a very low response which sounded like an 'uh, huh' smothered in a pillow.

"Ugh…fine…be right back." Sam returned a few minutes in a t-shirt and boxers; she also put a trashcan near the side of the bed. Sam crawled into bed next to Brooke, who was unconscious and laying on her stomach.

Later, in the night dreams became confusing and limbs strayed in all different directions.

Brooke had to admit she couldn't tell anymore if she was dreaming or not. She was pretty she was because she was at a Hollywood party hosted by Gwyneth Paltrow and she was dancing with her favorite Backstreet Boy. She started dancing closer and closer to her Backstreet Boy and then she noticed something odd, he smelled just like a certain brunette journalist. Was it possible they wore the same fragrance?! He twirled her around and before she knew it they were dirty dancing like it was their job in the Catskills. The smell grew stronger and it started to confuse Brooke, she couldn't get her mind off Sam. She ran her hands through her dance partner's hair only to be surprised it was quite long. She looked up into his face only to see those familiar brown eyes, those luscious lips and arching eyebrows of her step sister. This was actually the biggest tip off that it was a dream and not the Backstreet Boy part.

Sam awoke because of a wonderful warmth and pressure on her side and stomach. Sam groggily realized that Brooke was snuggled up against her and was whimpering and moaning slightly. Brooke shifted positions and draped one leg over Sam's midriff and had one of the journalist's legs trapped in between her legs. With this changed in position, Sam was immediately caught off guard and that warning bell went off again in her head, blaring. She felt something on her leg, she wasn't sure but she thought it felt wet. I am crazy? Do I actually feel Brooke's arousal on my leg? And if Brooke was having some sort of wet sex dream, who was she having it about? The whole thing was making Sam very confused, her breathing became a little ragged and she herself was starting to feel something. Am I getting turned on because Brooke is turned on? This can't be happening! She thought to herself. It reminded her when she sat on Josh's lap one time and he got aroused.

Sam tried to shift out of Brooke's grasp, but this only made the blonde hold on tighter and grind a little harder. Sam let out a little moan of her own; she didn't know what to do. Should I wake Brooke up? Should I say something like, "Could you move positions so I don't have to feel that you are turned on right now? Or who is the star of your sex dream tonight? Do I know him?" The warning bell was louder and louder with every breath and every moment that Brooke made. Sam tried to concentrate on something else, chasing after sleep was going to be fruitless. So just listened to that damn bell that used to go off when her blonde step-sister would help her change clothes or help her in and out of the shower. Sam decided to just to stay and suffer and to hit snooze on that warning bell for as long as she could.

The next morning Brooke realized that her head was pounding and she could understand why vampires loathed sunlight when a ray of it hit her in the face.

"Ms. Lush, awakes!" Sam's voice beamed through the room. Brooke pulled a sheet over her head.

"Please, stop shouting," Brooke moaned.

"I wasn't. What did you drink last night? You were so gone." Sam plopped down on the bed a little too roughly and smiled.

"Some concoction Sugar Daddy gave me. Now that I remember I think he said Emory Dick was mixing drinks."

"Ouch, you were pretty far wasted last night." Sam shifted a little on the bed and pulled the sheet down a little to catch a peak at Brooke's face. "Do you remember anything from last night?"

"Oh, god! Did I do something embarrassing at the party? I'll die right now if it had something to do with Emory."

"No, you didn't. I just…thought…I heard you having a sex dream last night…do you remember?"

"Really? I don't remember anything…was that at the party?" Brooke looked at her horrified.

"No, you goof last night in bed." As soon as that was out of Sam's mouth she wondered if it was a mistake. But she realized it was fine. They had spent many nights sleeping together since the incident. For the first few months it was the only way Sam could get a good night's sleep. Sam had actually missed Brooke when they finally started sleeping apart again.

"I don't remember." Brooke had a perplexed look on her face. I vaguely remember a dream but it had a Backstreet Boy in it, right?

"You begged me to sleep in here with you. You said you felt sick, wanted me to say in here with you because you needed an official hair holder in case you puked." Sam smirked at Brooke.

"What…" Brooke was momentarily confused. Oh, my gosh! I did do something embarrassing and she's not telling me! What were those crazy drinks Emory made? What did he call them? Millennium Enterprises? Or something Trek Wars or something? I can't think straight…yeah, straight? What? I can't think clearly, that's the word I'm looking for.

"Oh, thanks."

"Please, I love sleeping with you…" Sam thought, Oh my god! What did I just say?! I meant her bed, right? Cover it up, quick! "…uh, I mean you have the best bed in the house. How did you swing that?" Sam couldn't believe the idiotic words out of her mouth. Why was she acting like a bubbling fool all of sudden? She knew. It was last night. It was feeling Brooke next to her, hearing the blonde aroused had broken some dam inside of her. The walls had been broken down. She realized through the foggy haze of bickering, sniping, figurative hair pulling, vicious diatribes, food fights, Harrison tug of wars that she just might have a crush on the stunning blonde. No, this can't be happening. Let me think longer on this. There must be another logical explanation.

Brooke knew she was hung over, but did Sam just say she loves sleeping with her? No, wait she said something about the bed. I need aspirin ASAP. "Is there any aspirin Sammy?"

"Sure thing, Princess." Sam had anticipated this request and brought some with her into the room. She handed the pills over to Brooke.

"You're not going to tell me if I did something embarrassing last night are you? You are going to let me suffer with my own wild imaginations on what might have happened."

"OK. I can't be that mean to you when you are this hung over. You did nothing to embarrass yourself at the party even though you were drunk out of you mind. It was actually quite impressive."

"That's a relief. Thank you," Brooke sat up a little higher. "Wait. Does that still mean I did something embarrassing at home last night?"

"I'll never tell." Sam walked out of Brooke's room with an evil smile on her face.

Brooke tried to stand to follow her, but the room was spinning uncontrollably. And before she felt the urge to run to the bathroom, she sat back down. Great, she's either bluffing or I did something silly. I'll get her to spill one way or another.

Later on in the day when Brooke could stand without the room spinning, she made her wobbly way into the kitchen. Sam was there feeding Mac in her highchair. Brooke walked over and gave Mac a kiss on top of her cute baby brunette head.

Sam paused in between lifting the spoon to Mac's waiting lips. "Say hi to your lush sister Mac."

"Very funny." Brooke just sneered at Sam. "Stop listening to her lies, Mac. She's a journalist. They are only to be trusted half of the time."

"Hey!" Sam moved her leg out to kick Brooke, but the blonde moved out of the way.

Brooke leaned over Mac and whispered in her ear loud enough for Sam to hear. "It's true Mac. They only give you the big headlines and never give you the whole story if it involves making them looking bad."

"Are you implying that I did something to make you do something embarrassing? I am a journalist with the highest ethical codes for reporting a story…" Sam had the baby spoon in her hand waving it around, with baby food dropping on the floor and on the tray of Mac's highchair.

"Blah, blah, yeah right. Just tell me what embarrassing thing I did last night." Brooke crossed her arms and glared at Sam.

"I lied. There was nothing." Sam resumed feeding Mac, much to the baby's delight.

"Oh, please. You're covering now…here let me help." Brooke took the spoon from Sam and started feeding Mac some of the baby carrot sauce.

"I was just trying to make your hangover worse. I brought you home and you completely passed out. End of story."

Brooke stopped feeding for a moment and gazed into her little sister's eyes mesmerized. "Look at Mac's eyes. They are like hazel with specks of chocolate in them." Sam moved a little closer to Mac and Brooke. "No, come closer." Sam got real close to Mac, peering into her eyes and right next to Brooke. Brooke took a whole spoonful of baby food and smeared it on Sam's face. She started laughing.

Sam jumped back and stared at Brooke. She then grabbed an opened baby food jar on the counter and started inching closer to her would be step-sister. Brooke looked at her in a teasing way. Mac, in her highchair, just looked between her two sisters.

"Here Brookie. Don't you want to try baby pork chops?"

"No, actually I'm vegetarian when it comes to meat in little jars." Brooke continued to back away. The pursuit ended up a circular motion around the kitchen island.

"C'mon, I bet it's delicious."

Mac looked on while her sisters had her food and weren't eating it or feeding it to her.

Finally, the brunette lunged at the blonde and caught her by the waist and managed to smear food onto her face and a little in her hair. Brooke yelped but couldn't stop from laughing. She struggled against Sam but it was no use. The grip on her was strong. Suddenly, they slipped to the floor because of the slippery baby food droppings. Sam landed on top of Brooke. Sam leaned down and licked some baby food off Brooke's face. She did it intuitively without thinking.

"That's good! They should make that for adults."

Brooke was momentarily frozen. Did Sam just lick baby food off my face? She couldn't understand it, but for some insane reason that was incredibly sexy to her. She wanted to lick some baby food off Sam's face. She did? Sam had already moved on and was standing up now.

The blonde and brunette stared at each other intensely with baby food dripping from their faces. It was a standoff. Brooke wanted to get back at Sam but didn't know how to get her. Sam squinted her eyes at Brooke as if to egg her on and Brooke definitely wanted some payback.

The back door opened and Jane and Mike entered carrying some groceries. They both looked at their daughters with baby food on their faces, in their hair and the messy state of the kitchen floor. The parents had a disapproving look on their faces while staring at the two young women.

"Mac, was a wild eater today," Sam said while grabbing a kitchen towel and started wiping up baby food off the counter and floor.

"Uh, huh…" Jane looked over to Mike, who couldn't help let one of the corners of his mouth go into a smile.

"I'm just glad you wasted the baby pork chop food because that stuff is a little gross," Mike said as he put some milk away.

"Mike!" Jane looked at her husband. "Don't encourage them."

"Don't you see, they're getting older; they are going to be gone very soon…I might actually miss these fights. And I don't think dinner should come in a jar."

"Girls, could you promise to come home every once and awhile and behave badly in front of him? Maybe next time you could throw some dishes or break something really expensive so Mr. Sentimental here won't get teary eyed again when you mess up the kitchen." Jane smiled at both Sam and Brooke, who took that as their cue to head for the hills and ran upstairs.

As soon as they hit the upstairs hallway Sam yelled out, "Dibs on the shower!" And continued running into the bathroom with Brooke hot on her heals.

The brunette reached the bathroom, ran in and was about to close the door when the blonde got there put her foot down to block the closure.

"Sam, that's not fair! I have more food in my hair. I should get to go first."

"What? No way, you started it. I get to go first."

"You start every food fight and the one time I do. I have to wait for the shower?!"

"All right, all right." Sam looked around the bathroom for something to use. She opened a drawer and found what she was looking for. "We'll flip a coin for it. OK? Heads or tails?"

The baby food streaked blonde studied her for a moment. "Heads." Sam threw the coin up in the air and caught it, then smacked it down on her other hand.

"Ooooh, tails. Sorry." Sam smirked and started moving towards the shower.

"Wait a second. I want to see the coin." Brooke put her arm out to stop her housemate; she grabbed her hand to forcefully open it.

"You don't trust me?" Sam tried her best to look as innocent as ever. However, innocent wasn't a look that played convincingly on the striking brunette's features. It was best left to the blonde, who had cultivated it to an art form.

"I just want to actually see which side the coin fell on." Brooke continued trying to pry Sam's fingers apart to take a peak at the coin. Sam reached with her other hand to try and push Brooke away or at least tickle her to get an advantage.

"Using all the dirty tricks tonight I can see!" Brooke grinned mischievously as she dodged the hand and leaned into Sam for more leverage on pulling at her hand. This caused the two opposing forces to stand so close together that almost all parts of their bodies were touching. It dawned on Brooke suddenly that over the past months, she and Sam had been playfully fighting more and more. And the fights had gotten more and more physical. Was she to blame or Sam? What was it about Sam that caused her to want to pick a fight in hopes of it turning so ugly that physical playful menacing was involved? She realized that she got a thrill from being close to Sam. Physically close to Sam. She struggled with this thought as she lost her balance and was forced into full blown contact with the brunette.

Sam knew she should take a step back and just let Brooke have the shower, but she didn't want to admit to defeat or let go of being this close to her pseudo step-sister. And, although she was still cursing herself for licking baby food off Brooke's face, she wasn't letting go of her grip on her hand. What the hell am I doing? Now I'm fighting with her again? I should just let her have the shower. Or ask her if she wants to share? Again, where the hell did that come from?! Sam's thoughts were starting to alarm her. So, she opened her hand and revealed the coin.

"I knew it! Sammy, I can't believe you would lie to me." Brooke batted her eyelashes at Sam. "I feel like I should take an inordinately long shower and use up all the hot water."

"And if you do then I will be forced to drastic measures like interrupting said long shower and commandeering." Damnit! Sam thought. There is one thing to have that thought pop into my head but it quite another to let it roll off my tongue. Brooke jerked her head up and looked at Sam.

"Cold showers are good for your pores Sammy." Brooke smirked and gently pushed a dazed Sam out of the bathroom and closed the door. I don't think seeing Sam's pores up close and personal would be a bad thing? That could be a lot of fun, just like the fighting but even more so. What?! I need to stop that line of thinking right now! For all I know I would say something else to start a fight and we would end up sharing a shower! She didn't know why but that possibility was a very intriguing idea indeed.


Part Three

Sam was lying in bed that night going over the day. She didn't like that she couldn't turn her brain off Brooke. No matter how hard she tried, the blonde just kept popping up again and again like a bad spam window. She thought it was probably natural since Brooke had helped her through a very intense period in her life. That's it! It's like a Florence Nightingale thing! Of course! This happens all the time. Well, I think it does. I need to research it. I think it happened in Back to the Future at least. Plus, she realized she would be separated from her best friend in just a few days. These thoughts helped Sam ease into sleep without opening up the Grand Canyon of questions that she wasn't ready to spelunk into.

Brooke stared up at the ceiling trying to clear her mind, most notably of a brunette that kept busting in. I have got to start dating again. I'm just in need of some physical contact. Yep, that's it. I'll get to college and finally there will be eligible men to date. Then I won't be hanging all over my almost step-sister. Plus, I'm sure it's the fact that I'm about to be separated from her. I'm just going to miss my best friend. That's all. These thoughts helped lure Brooke off into slumber without causing her an identity crisis that she wasn't ready for.

The last few days of summer went by so fast; it was as if someone had hit the fast forward button. Before they knew it Sam and Brooke were standing outside the Palace saying good-bye. Jane was holding Mac off to the side waving her arms in a bye-bye wave. Mike was checking the air pressure on both college bound girl's cars.

"I still can't believe you're going some place where it snows." Brooke played with her car keys.

"That's because I look better in scarves than bikinis." Sam said playfully, trying to elevate her sinking stomach. She never dreamed it was going to be this hard to say good-bye to Brooke. The ex-cheerleader had to leave this morning to drive in a completely different direction than the journalist.

"That's not true. You look great in bathing suits, just as long as they're not your mother's." Brooke looked up into Sam's eyes in between playing with her keys.

"Not going to let me live that one down, huh?"

"Nope." Brooke stopped playing with her keys again and looked into Sam's eyes. "Call me when you get there?"

"Only if you do the same and since you will get there first…" Sam tried to smile, but she could feel tears coming on. So, she stepped closer to Brooke and hugged her. "Drive safely." Sam breathed in deeply, trying to capture the scent of her step-sister. She held on tightly. Since the blond was taller, the brunette's head could land nicely on her shoulder. Sam lowered her head and brushed her lips against Brooke's neck without thinking, placed a feather light kiss there.

Brooke hugged Sam tightly, not wanting to let go. Not wanting the new chapter of her life to start but knowing it had to be better because that is what everyone always says about college. There was already a plus, the absence of one mean spirited spiky haired blonde hell bent on destroying her. And of course the extreme minus was the absence of a stunning brunette whom she had shared her life and sink with for the past three years. She felt a shiver go through her body when she felt Sam's lips on her neck, where the faintest of kisses was placed. Sam pulled away and looked down at the ground.

"I'll miss you Princess." Sam couldn't control her tear ducts anymore and her eyes got misty.

"Me too, Sammy."

Spring break – Three Years Later

Brooke and Lisa walked along the crowded Fort Lauderdale airport terminal to pick up their luggage. Lisa was a tall, petite red head that majored in finding the perfect husband and minored in psychology and shoes.

"I can't wait to see Jason! I think he might actually pop the question soon," said Lisa while checking her cell to make sure she didn't have any missed calls.

"Am I going to get a chance to meet the future Mr. Lisa?" questioned Brooke.

"Of course, we all should all have dinner one night. You, me, Jason, and your step-sister. I can't wait to meet the legendary Sam. The stories you tell from high school are priceless."

They found their luggage and headed towards the cab line. Rows and rows of college students filled the airport. There was a buzz in the air, a feeling that a keg party could break out at any moment. Brooke and Lisa watched as four guys stumbled with their luggage and struggled with their impaired skills to fit into a cab.

"Wow, that's a tad early. Why did we pick this spot again?" Brooke asked as she watched the four frat boys.

"Because you need to break that dry dating spell of yours. It's been how many months since you had a date?"

"A date here? That is the biggest joke," under Brooke's breath she whispered to herself that it had been almost a year since her last date. "But really. You have missed your calling as a sales person for getting me to agree to this." Brooke let loose a sweeping gesture with her hand across the spectacle of young people already letting loose. "Because I really don't know why I agreed when I could have gone home and had a pool to myself."

"Well, as I recall you only formally joined on this adventure when your sis did. So I guess she is the one gets the credit. But please for me. Ditch the sis a little and find some Matt Damon guy to wash away your stress for a few hours."

"I'm not a Matt gal, I'm more Ben."

"God, you are still so Gwyneth. You have to learn she's over."

"She's a classic like Chanel."

"I would love to stay and meet your sis, but dying to see Jason! We'll do dinner one night?" Lisa picked up all her luggage.

"Yes, by all means go. Have fun!" Brooke hugged and waved Lisa goodbye. The tall blonde headed back into the baggage claim to wait for Sam.

Sam and Jenna arrived a few minutes later at the airport and headed towards the baggage claim.

"I wonder where Brooke is?" asked Sam rather anxiously.

"I can't wait to see this step-sister of yours after all the hype."

Sam took out her cell and checked for messages while Jenna, a cute, perky, pre-med brunette dug in her bag for her sunglasses. Jenna was intent on getting as much partying into this spring break as humanly possible and meeting lots of new 'friends'. Either sex would do. Jenna admired the human form from every angle; she had tried on several occasions to win over Sam. As much as Sam liked Jenna, she didn't want to ruin their friendship, but she had to admit she loved flirting sometimes with the naughty would be doctor.

Sam scanned the crowd and then her heart jumped a little when she saw the familiar gorgeous blonde her eyes always looked for, sometimes even when she knew that blonde would be thousands of miles away. Sam just starred for a few seconds.

"Hello, earth to McPherson?" Jenna looked in Sam's eye line and saw a beautiful, tall blonde. "Never mind. Stay abroad. Now that is a smoking hot woman. I'm going to introduce myself." Jenna started to gather up her belongings.

"Jenna wait. That's Brooke." Sam turned and looked in the other direction and Jenna raked her eyes over the ex-cheerleader.

"If she were my sister, I might overlook incest," smirked Jenna to Sam.

"Step-sister, we're not related by blood." Sam shifted her bag to her other shoulder and turned her attention back to Brooke, getting in a few last looks before the blonde found them.

"All right, see now we're talking." Jenna licked her lips.

"Stop skeeving on my sis," Sam nudged Jenna with upper body.

"Seriously, Sam, as much as I know you are excited about hanging out with your sis, sorry STEP-sister. Please, for the love of spring break and for your own sanity I would imagine, try and get some action during this vaca."

"Jenna! Please!"

"C'mon. I'm just saying to try and find some nice girl to flirt with, that's all. You are too hot to waste."

"I'm not in a dating mood. I'm in need of relaxation. That's all."

"Sam, you haven't really dated since you came out."

"I'm not ready to jump into anything yet. At least I admitted it though. And please you are totally forgetting my date with…" Sam waved her hand but that didn't help trigger her memory at all.

"You can't even remember her name! That is not a memorable date."

"Give me some time."

"I do give you credit. You came out of the closet, just really, really slowly. It's like watching a super model go down a catwalk in slow-mo. It's like when they do instant replay and pause and pause. Or when something dramatic happens and someone yells 'No' except since it's in slow motion its like 'Noooooooooo'."

"I get the point! I have been busy with my classes and the paper. And I am a double major!"

"I hear you slugger. OK, I'm jumping down off the soap box, have fun." She kissed Sam on the check. "Do something completely naughty at least once a day while you're here. Wait, this is you were talking about…do one naughty thing this week. Hell, do something naughty with that hot step-sister of yours."

"Jenna!" Sam could feel her face burn with a deep blush; she tried to change the subject lightening fast. "I get the feeling I'm not going to be seeing a lot of you, am I?"

During the roommate's exchange Sam had missed Brooke spotting them. Brooke's eyes finally landed on Sam and she couldn't help but let a big, wide smile spread across her face. Sam was unable to stop a goofy smile breaking over her face when they locked eyes. Brooke walked across the crowded area over to where Sam and Jenna were standing.

Before Brooke got to them, Jenna whispered to Sam, "My quota for naughty is higher than yours. Ten a day for a pro like me. I've get to get busy. Wait. Here's my first" Jenna pulled Sam to her and planted a big, overly friendly kiss on her lips. "Have fun!" A cocky smile spread across her lips as she put on her sunglasses.

Jenna walked off with her bags slung over her shoulder right before Brooke reached them. The blonde had a confused expression on her face as she hit her destination as Jenna was leaving. Sam ignored this and pulled her into a bear hug. Without even thinking Brooke dropped her bags like potato sacks and hugged Sam something fierce. Brooke knew she shouldn't but she inhaled deeply having missed the smell of Sam. She was so preoccupied that she didn't notice Sam doing the same thing. They awkwardly broke apart from each other and smiled at each other.

"Was that Jenna? Where did she go? I thought we all could grab some dinner together."

"Sorry, Jenna had to start slutting up spring break immediately. She kept trying to tell me that I needed to do that too."

"Well, Sammy I don't want to hold you back." Brooke said with a smile.

"Please, I don't want to end up with a disease by the end of the week or in Jenna's case by the end of the night. I'll think I'll take it slow. You'll meet her later. Where's Lisa?"

"Sort of the opposite of Jenna, Lisa had to find her boyfriend immediately and start prepping him for marriage."

"So down to two already…well, what sounds good for dinner?"


Part Four

The reunited step-sisters sat eating away on some Mexican food in a very loud and rowdy establishment.

"I didn't think the restaurants would be loud and crazy as well." Brooke looked around and saw four guys wearing traffic cones as hats while sipping away on gallon sized margaritas.

"I think there is a city ordinance that requires at least four rowdy frat boys at every establishment during this time of year." Sam looked around then focused her attention on her blonde dinner companion. "So how are things going at school? Classes? Any hot new boyfriends?"

As much as it pained Sam to hear about Brooke's love life she always asked about it, morbid curiosity had used up all nine lives of her inner proverbial cat. She knew she had Brooke to thank though for figuring out part of her life. The blonde was mostly the reason that Sam came to the long drawn out conclusion that she was gay. Over the course of that summer they spent together the journalist had discovered feelings for her step-sister that she never had for any of her boyfriends. However, she over analyzed that it was just coming to terms with being gay and not necessary being in love with said step-sister. Brooke was just the closest female to her, who happened to be drop dead gorgeous and bring out something passionate in her she didn't even know was there.

"Not so much."

"I've seen the guys that go to your school. Pretty nice selection."

"Well, what about you? Any new studs on the Sammy horizon?"

Jenna was right she hadn't done much dating since coming out. She planned on much more dating in the future with school coming to a close. The brunette didn't want to think that maybe the reason she didn't date was that she was hung up on a certain blonde now sitting across the table from her. No, that is not it! I realized that it wasn't her. She was just a gateway to the gay world, yes. Right.

For some reason Sam didn't want to lead their first dinner with 'Hey, guess what! I'm gay!' She didn't really know if Brooke would break into song like Nicky from Avenue Q 'If you were gay, that'd be ok! I'd shout hooray!' or if she would have a horrible negative Bible thumping reaction. She was hoping to inch that into a conversation maybe later or not at all on this trip. She strongly hoped and sensed that Brooke would be supportive. She just wasn't quite ready to walk that plank, it would change things. It's like a great line from a short story that she read, "It's never the changes we want that change everything." So true, so true.

"Nah. Have you seen the guys that go to my school, to many snotty, rich boys."

"So is that why Jenna is slutting it up here as you say."

"Yes. Plus, I prefer not to meet someone where a wet T-shirt contest might be going on 10 yards away. Call me old fashioned. Besides there is plenty of time to meet someone. I mean today getting married at what 25 is considered young…really too young! 35 is the new 25. A great age for getting married…so I don't need to worry about that until at least 30…you know…" Sam knew she was rambling trying too hard to avoid the topic. But she couldn't help it, she was tired of her friends egging her on to date or needling her because she didn't.

"I couldn't agree more. What is this obsession with being paired off? School is overwhelming and doesn't leave much energy for anything else."


They both eyed each other. Were they lying or just making each other feel better about the sad state of their dating lives.

"Another round of margaritas?" Brooke asked as she eyed their empty glasses and their much too serious conversation.

"Why, yes. Thank you, Ms. Lush." Sam smiled at Brooke who returned it with a sneer.

Suddenly, there was a whoosh of air and a plop in the seat next to Sam in the booth. Jenna's arm snaked around the journalist's shoulder as she smiled seductively at her.

"Sam, you're not drunk enough yet." Brooke looked up startled and Sam just smirked at her roommate.

"Jenna what are you doing here? You know there are no dancing go-go cages here."

"I know and it's sad." Jenna turned to Sam and planted a big kiss on her cheek close to the brunette's mouth which lingered long enough for Brooke to look away. "Actually, time to time I need food to and so did…what's his name…Brad? No, wait..."

"Gerald." The three women looked up and stared at a hunky guy smiling down at them.

"I was going to say that." Jenna smiled brightly up at Gerald while Sam rolled her eyes.

"Excuse me, I'll be right back." Sam shoved Jenna so she could get out of the booth; she gave a quick smile to Brooke and headed towards the bathroom.

"I'm going to get another round of drinks." Gerald walked towards the bar while Jenna watched after him.

"Look at him, he is amazing, fantastic body…he's a great kisser. I don't know what I do if I couldn't kiss anymore, it's just the most sensual thing in the world. It's like air to me."

"Like air?" Brooke didn't quite grasp Jenna's need.

"People don't touch enough anymore. Everyone is afraid to even put a finger on someone. Our society is becoming scarier, grumpier and lonelier in this non-touch age. I say touch, touch a lot and touch in all places." Jenna grabs Sam's drink and finishes it off. "Touching reduces stress and certainly makes life more interesting." Brooke just stared at Jenna not sure where the conversation was headed. She decided to let the slightly inebriated brunette go on in any direction. "Gerald is yummy and I'll meet another one just like him tomorrow…but if only I could find a Sam."

"What?" Brooke almost choked as she was taking a sip of her drink.

"I mean I just wish I could find someone as hot as Sam to have fun with or at least with someone with lips half as good as hers." Brooke was a little taken aback by Jenna's comments not because of the bisexual nature but that it was directed at Sam. "You should convince Sam to let loose this week, she won't listen to me. She needs the touching."

"She needs to loosen up?" Brooke was definitely intrigued by this information.

"Don't we all?" Jenna raised her eyebrows to Brooke.

Another round of margaritas turned into three more and by the time the blonde and brunette exited the Mexican restaurant they were pretty much looking like the rest of the young people in Florida at the moment.

"I can't believe you got me drunk!" Sam tried her hardest not to slur her words.

"It wasn't me. It was your touchy roommate. When did she leave?" Brooke looked very confused like she was working on a difficult math problem.

"I don't know. It's one of those nights when a few hours ago feels like yesterday." Sam tried to control her balance and look as dignified as she could while trying to maintain her equilibrium. "Which way to the hotel?"

Brooke pointed mostly to the sky, Sam shook her head.

"Let's do what I always do back in New York in this situation."

Brooke looked over at Sam with a sleepy drunk smile and arched her eyebrows waiting for the solution.


"Good idea." Brooke pointed her finger at Sam and winked.

The tipsy step siblings made it back to their hotel after a cab driver could finally make out what they were trying to pronounce. They walked the open hallways of the hotel with other college students running around in different states of debauchery. They reached Brooke's room first; she fumbled with her keys until Sam helped. With the door open the blonde wobbled in and threw herself down on a bed. The brunette walked slowly into the room and looked over.

"You going to be OK?" Sam slowly walked over retrieved a trashcan and put it next to the bed. "Just lean over Princess when you feel sick."

"Who said I'm going to be sick. I'll have you know back at school I drank several frat boys under the table…" Brooke was unable to finish her sentence because of her disgruntled stomach. Luckily, she found the trashcan in time. Sam rushed over and held her hair back.

"How short was this table?" Sam went into the bathroom and brought back a wet hand towel.

"Thank you." Brooke wiped her mouth and lay back down in bed with her arm over her eyes.

"Are you going to be all right tonight?"

"No. I think you should stay." Brooke patted the space next to her on the bed not opening her eyes. Sam briefly weighed her options and knew she only wanted to do one thing.

When Brooke awoke the next morning she didn't feel half as bad as she thought she was going to be. Maybe it was because she could feel someone plastered nearly on top of her. The feeling made her stomach float. She could feel light breathing on her neck and inhaled an all too familiar scent of a certain mix of shampoo and perfume. God, how does she always smell so damn good? She looked down at the mess of brunette hair flowing on her shoulder and chest. The blonde couldn't help smile. She didn't quite remember what lead Sam to stay in her room and better yet her bed but she was happy to have the brunette close by. I don't care how she got here and I'd lying to myself if I didn't admit I desperately missed sleeping next to her. So I won't, I guess. She didn't want to think any deeper than that though.

Sam started to stir. She moved her head slightly and became alarmed when she noticed her pillow was moving. Oh gawd! I actually slept like right on top of Brooke! What is wrong with me! The journalist thought. Then even more to her horror she saw she had drooled on Brooke. That's just great McPherson! I guess I don't need a plainer red flag than that. Sam tried as quickly and gracefully as she could to detangle herself from Brooke. Bed sheets conspired against her.

"I have to say it's been awhile since someone…drooled over me." Brooke couldn't help but smile so big she started to laugh while Sam wiped her mouth. Sam managed freedom from the sinister sheets and shot her a dirty look as she stood up in her shirt and underwear. Brooke wasn't quite prepared to see a semi-naked Sam before her, she looked away.

"Laugh it up, McQueen. I'm not embarrassed. That is a normal, night time occurrence. Everybody drools at one point or another." Sam smiled and a small chuckle escaped. "It is a little gross though. Sorry, about that."

"Please, I threw up last night I think. Could we possibly share more?" Sam stared at the messy bed hair of the blonde and thought she couldn't have looked better if a team of stylists were at work. She also heard that familiar warning bell go off again in her head, she hadn't heard in awhile. She was a bit bummed to notice that it hadn't been retired.

"So…breakfast? Beach? Shopping?" The brunette broke her gaze to speak.

"Yes. Yes and hell yes." Brooke beamed at Sam.

Sam and Brooke spent the day exploring Fort Lauderdale. They ended up at the beach at dusk with a margarita in each hand and their feet immersed in the sand.

"I'm not getting as bombed as last night."

"Me neither. I want to be able to remember the trip a little."

"So is Lisa spending the entire time at Jason's?"

"I think that is the plan. Not that I'm complaining, means I get the room to myself. Have you heard from Jenna today?"

"No, just some random texts. She has apparently already made some new friends after Gerald. She was disappointed I hadn't hooked up in the 12 hours I hadn't seen her. Even though I told her that was not the purpose of this vacation."

"Lisa is the same way. Both of our roommates have a one track mind."

"Why can't people just mind their own business? I'm happy being single and free right now."

"Me too."

They both sat in silence, every few seconds rubbing their feet in the sand and watching the sunset.

"Although, there are some things I miss. You know?" Brooke lazily drew circles in the sand with her hand remembering Jenna's conversation.

"Like what?"

"I miss snuggling, canoodling…kissing…you know just being physically close to someone."

"Yeah." Sam had a wistful look on her face as she stared at Brooke.

"Doesn't mean I want a relationship or sex. I just want some physical closeness, does that make sense?"


"Last night was great just to….I mean have someone close by…in the same room…"

"Yeah." Sam withdrew her gaze from Brooke and gazed out at the sea.

"Sam. Are you just going to say 'yeah' to everything I say?"

"Yeah." Sam smirked at Brooke, who then grabbed a handful of sand and flung it towards her brunette step-sister's legs.

"Sadly, this isn't the place just to find some low key physical companionship." Now it was Brooke's turn to gaze out into the sea.

"Well, that depends what your age range is. There are a ton of dudes nearing the triple digits that would be happy to fill that void for you. Since you didn't mention one of the 'ings' that might cause a heart attack."

"Oooh, maybe I could even find a guy that would teach me peanuckle too."

"Absolutely. Why don't we hit one of the hot spots tonight and see if we can find a Mr. Spring Break for you."

"I don't know Sam."

"C'mon. If anything else you can tell your roomie you tried and not have to lie about it."

"True. OK." Brooke gazed at Sam. "And we can try to hook you up as well."

"Let's focus on you tonight. We'll worry about me later."

Sam didn't know why she suggested going out to find someone for Brooke. Maybe it's because she knew deep down that if she had another night like last night she might actually do something foolish. As hard as it might be for her to see Brooke with some random guy, it just might save her from ruining their friendship and making a complete ass out of herself.

They went back to their hotel and separated to their rooms to get ready. Sam of course was done before the former Homecoming queen. She knocked on the door but wasn't ready for the sight of Brooke in a short, skin tight red dress. Sam hoped her mouth was closed because she didn't know how she was going to explain drooling twice in one day over the blonde.

"Sam! I don't think I have seen you look this done up since junior prom." Brooke was pleasantly shocked to see the brunette in a low cut, black top and a skirt so short Ally McBeal would blush. "So you were planning on hooking up over spring break, huh?"

"No. These are Jenna's clothes. I'm going to go change." Before Sam could turn around Brooke grabbed her arm and pulled her into the room.

"No way. You look fantastic."

"You look more than fantastic…" Brooke smiled shyly at Sam while she floundered to find a word. "…you look…OK."

"No. I look fantastic." The blonde walked over to turn off a lamp while she smirked at the brunette. "Glad to hear a capacious college educated vocabulary is at use."

"Show off." Sam sneered as she opened the door for them to leave.

They entered the club where pounding music was blaring from speakers located all along walls and some parts of the ceilings. Strobe lights bounced off every surface. People packed the club, mostly all people of their age, students looking to live up the night and the spring break. Dancing, or some form of drunken mating dancing, was taking up most of the dance floor.

Sam led Brooke over to a side wall and motioned for her to stay there. She walked off to get drinks from the bar. When she returned Brooke was already talking to a tall, sandy blonde athletic type guy. As soon as she got close, Brooke pulled her near and stared in her eyes.

"Ne pas partir encore. M'aider." Brooke looked over to the confused guy and back to Sam. The journalist was at a loss but knew if a fake accent was involved that some sort of distress signal was being put out. She thought of the only thing she bothered to learn in case she ever made it to Paris. "Où le louvre est?"

The athletic guy threw his hands up in the air in defeat and walked away. Sam handed a drink to Brooke who waited until he was out of earshot.

"Where's the Louvre? That's the best you had Sam?" The brunette shrugged her shoulders to the blonde.

"I'm sorry! It was either that or something involving croissants or the Eiffel Tower. And I'm guessing he would have figured those out."

"Probably not that guy."

They both sipped their drinks for a few minutes while surveying the room.

"Slim pickings." Brooke sighed as she leaned against the wall.

"Were you always this picky?" Sam couldn't hold back a small laugh.

"Look who's talking. I don't see you noticing anyone special."

"I notice that guy over there…who just threw up in a baseball hat. That was somewhat impressive." Sam made a grossed out face to Brooke. "Besides we are concentrating on you tonight."

They continued to sip their drinks with no one sparking either one of their interests. After a few minutes Sam handed her drink to Brooke.

"I'm going to dance." Brooke had a confused look on her face.

"You're not leaving me here again." The blonde deposited the drinks on a nearby table and followed Sam out onto the dance floor.

The music was fast paced and the two young women started falling into the beat. Several guys took notice of them and surrounded them. Both of them danced with several different partners, all guys who were dismissed for a variety of reasons; bad breath, hideous hair, ugly shoes, etc.

Suddenly, the music faded into a slower song. Sam was pulled into a dance with an attractive surfer type of guy and Brooke found herself staring up at guy with a shaved head and an alarming stain on his shirt. No matter how hard she tried she could not tear her eyes away from the stain. She lasted about 45 seconds before she released herself and headed towards Sam's direction.

As she approached Sam and her dancing partner she was pulled into an embrace with the both of them by the guy. He smiled down at both of them and nodded his head. He put one arm on each of their shoulders. Sam and Brooke looked at each other and raised their eyebrows at the same time. They each put a hand on his chest and rubbed it gently, his grin got wider by this movement and it disappeared as they both started to push him away.

Sam possessively pulled both her arms around Brooke's waist and moved to the music. The blonde snaked her arms around the brunette's neck. She hoped this put out a clear message to the guy to leave them alone. Brooke put her head on Sam's shoulder and closed her eyes. The guy walked away. They danced and stayed close together for a few minutes. Sam's palms started to sweat, her heart hammered in her chest, she feared it was so loud it sounded like a timpani band pounding away.

Brooke hated to admit but after all the different dance partners, Sam was the best. She was more than content to feel the warmth from Sam and to have her arms around her. She admitted Sam didn't have stiff competition from the guys tonight but then there was always something about the journalist. Brooke reached up and pulled her arms tighter around Sam's neck, bringing their bodies closer together.

"He's gone." Sam whispered in Brooke's ear.

"Are you sure? Maybe we should dance a little while longer." Brooke continued to sway to the music.

"He actually left the club. I guess we sent a pretty clear signal." Sam stared into Brooke's eyes which were solely focused on her.

"I guess so." They kept staring at each other until someone bumped into them and broke the gazefest.

As hard as it was for her, Sam dropped her arms from Brooke's waist. The blond continued to sway and keep her arms around the brunette's neck. Finally, Sam's words registered and she let go somewhat disappointed.

"I think I know a better place to find what you're looking for." Sam smiled, grabbed Brooke's hand and led her out of the club. The blonde had no idea where the brunette was taking her but she was definitely intrigued.

There was no denying where Brooke McQueen was, the cards, the smoke, the rattling of a whirling cage…Sam had brought her to a bingo hall.

"Look at all the men here." Sam smiled cockily at her favorite cheerleader.

Brooke looked out over the crowded, smoky room. There was one man for every 9 women and the few she did see weren't holding up that well even with canes and walkers.

"These guys might be more your speed."

"Very funny, McPherson."

Sam walked past Brooke to a table selling bingo cards. She bought four and motioned for Brooke to follow her. They sat down at a table with five women and two men; Sam nodded to the ladies and winked at one of the men. He winked back.

"Looks like we have a hottie." Brooke looked wide eyed at the man and politely smiled while Sam spread two cards in front of her.

"We're actually playing bingo?"

"The jackpot is $300. C'mon get busy." The brunette handed some chip holders to the blonde.

An hour later the step siblings walked out of the bingo hall giggling.

"See that was profitable and fun! I can't believe I won $56.14." Sam showed off her winnings to Brooke waving them in her face.

"I liked how we were the only people there under the age of 70. And you're right it was profitable, I got that hottie's number." Brooke waved her winnings in front of Sam's face. She took a quick jump to get a few paces ahead of the brunette. "And he's all mine."

"I hope the two of you will be very happy together and mostly I hope you don't give him a heart attack if you two decide to…"

"Sam! Please, mental picture!" Brooke swatted Sam with her hand while laughing.


Part Five

The blonde and the brunette entered Brooke's motel room sober instead of drop floor drunk as the night before. There still was no evidence of Lisa in the room.

"She really is spending all her time there. Why did she even bother sharing this room with you?" The ever curious journalist questioned the blonde.

"I guess she didn't want to freak Jason out that much. Give him the illusion that she didn't just come down here for him. Although, I have to say I wish she would have gotten her own room. There is always the constant idea that she could come busting through the door at any time."

"Is it cutting down on your nude cheerleading time?"

Brooke rolled her eyes and smiled at Sam. "Sure is." Sam had heard the term 'shot of adrenaline' before; but she had never experienced a 'shot of libido' before. She shook her head and tried to dislodge an image of a naked cheerleader.

The star of the brunette's momentary fantasy walked over and turned on the television. "Oh, look Sammy. A Dawson Creek's marathon."

Thankfully, overly dramatic teens with a flair for psycho babble cleared her head. "You and your teen soap operas. Why can't there ever be a Law & Order marathon? Or a Homicide marathon?"

Two episodes later Brooke and Sam lounged in her bed sitting up with their heads against the headboard in almost matching pajamas under the covers.

"Thanks for the clothes. Although, we look like twins." Sam and Brooke both had on tank tops and boxers of different colors.

"Do you think if Jane and my Dad would have met when we were babies that they would have dressed us in matching outfits?" Brooke smiled goofily while peaking over at Sam.

"That idea is so horrific I'm not even going to think about it." Sam shut her eyes tightly. "Ah, the mental picture!" The brunette threw her hands over her face.

"Payback is a bitch sometimes." The blonde smirked.

"I guess so." Sam reached down into her bag off the side of the bed and retrieved a book. She opened it and started reading.

"McPherson, you're on vacation."

"This is for fun."

Brooke leaned over Sam for the book to read the front cover. "Political speeches of the 1960s? That doesn't sound like fun."

"For me it is." Brooke moved closer to so she could read over Sam's shoulder. After a few minutes she lowered her head onto the brunette's shoulder. Her eyes slowly drifted shut.

Somehow during the course of the night Sam became twisted in all the sheets and blankets leaving none for Brooke. With the air conditioner blasting cold air all night long the blonde woke up in the middle of the night very chilled. She looked over and saw that her favorite brunette had stolen every single cover associated with the bed. Brooke slowly started to pull the sheet and blanket away from Sam. It was getting her no where so she tugged harder. Sam rolled over to her side of the bed, still clutching all the bedding unconsciously. The blond continued to tug on anything she could get her hands on. The brunette tried to open one of her eyes.

"Hey, I'm cold too." Sam clutched tightly to the covers.

"How can you be? You have all the covers."

"I don't." Sam let down her journalist integrity and didn't open her eyes to check the facts.

"Some journalist you are." Brooke pulled more on the bed sheets and it caused Sam to hold onto them even more. In dire need of covers Brooke sat up and pulled as hard as she could on the covers.

"I'm done playing nice McPherson."

Sam groggily pulled back as hard as she could. The tug intensified until the two bedmates were almost side by side. Brooke managed to get an ample amount of sheet by tugging as hard as she could, the blonde rolled over to her side of the bed facing the wall. In frustration Sam grabbed more of the sheet and tugged in her direction. The blonde now had firm grasp of the bed sheets and none were budging. The brunette pulled harder as she leaned over the blonde. In her sleepy haze and vantage point over her beautiful sleeping bedmate's face she didn't think clearly as she planted a small kiss on the blonde's lips. Brooke's eyes flew open in surprise and before the action registered fully in her head her lips took charge and kissed Sam back.

The kiss only lasted but a few very brief seconds but it sent seismic waves with readings at least 4 or higher to the two young women. With the darkness as a shield and disoriented grogginess as a scapegoat Sam rolled back over and gave the greatest acting of her life as she feigned sleep. The brunette even threw in a snore or two to amp up chances of an Emmy worthy performance. Brooke didn't know what to make of what just happened. She tapped any acting skills she had for pretending to still be off in slumber land.

The morning sun peaked through a sliver of curtain opening and hit Sam in the face. She slowly sat up in bed and realized she was alone. Crap! I can't believe I kissed Brooke last night! Jenna's right! I need to focus on getting me a date before I try and seduce my almost sister and up on Springer! Why did I do that last night? I know why. She looked so cute and sexy and…stop! Brooke has probably fled from the room and is trying to forget the whole thing. I'll just blame a dream I was having, yes. I'll confess that I am gay and thought momentarily in my sleepy dream state that she was Angelina Jolie. That could work. That is if she's even talking to me.

At that moment the bathroom door opened and Brooke walked out dressed only in a towel, her wet hair falling over her creamy shoulders. Sam wanted to thank the cheap bastard who purchased short hotel towels thus revealing the blonde's athletic, slender perfect legs.

"Hey, morning sleepyhead." Brooke smiled at Sam and turned to the bathroom counter for some lotion.

"Morning." Sam croaked out of her throat. Brooke's near nakedness and wet state was rendering her speechless and thoughtless regarding anything other than x-rated musings. She shook her head; she had to focus on something else.

"I'm starving."

"Me too. What did you have in mind?"

Sam forced herself not to say anything dirty and instead spoke the first food that popped in her head. "Tacos?"

The two mcsiblings sat across from each other at an outdoor taco stand on the beach. They sat silent for a few minutes while munching down on tacos.

"How did I let you talk me into tacos for breakfast?" Brooke stopped for a moment and eyed her taco suspiciously, took a few things off and dropped them onto a napkin.

"It's fast and cheap." Sam continued to look down at her food only glancing up briefly a few times at Brooke. She desperately wanted to bring up last night but feared the topic with every fiber of her being.

Brooke made Sam gag on her taco with her next words, "About last night…"

After, Sam controlled her choking she managed to spit out, "Wow, that's an old movie. Wasn't Rob Lowe in that?"


"Brooke, I want to say I'm sorry. I was asleep…and…dreaming. I know that is no excuse and I'm really sorry if I made you feel weird. Maybe it's just because I haven't been on a date in awhile…and…" Sam told herself just to do it, just tell her and get it over with. Rip the band aid off instead of a slow painful peel. But before she could finish Brooke spoke up again.

"That is exactly what I was going to say!"

"Really? That I haven't been on a date in awhile?"

"No, that it was my fault too."

"Really?" Sam's heart started to race wildly. Was Brooke going to come out too? Could she be that lucky! Nah, not possible.

"Yeah. Besides something embarrassing is gotta happen at spring break or you won't have any juicy secrets to hide, right?"

"I guess so?" Sam was utterly confused now. "Again, how was it your fault too?"

"Oh…uh…well…I just have been so busy with classes lately I haven't had much time for dating…I've had this sort of dry spell you know…and I had…this…dream last night! Yeah…about a Backstreet Boy…so…"

"You still dream about the Backstreet Boys?"

"Sad, isn't it?"

"Completely." Sam didn't know whether she should fess up her fake dream scenario or not.

They both sat in awkward silence again. Brooke had a revelation in the shower. She had a great idea on how her and Sam could spend the rest of their spring break. However, it might constitute breaking a few state laws, not to mention a few laws of nature and have a ripple effect through their family for years…but it could be a whole lot of fun.

Brooke decided to go for it. She was on spring break anyway, she could blame the booze and sun later.

"Speaking of…last night gave me a crazy idea."


"I just had this idea…of how to hang out and cure this lack of dating thing…I don't know…the idea seemed much better in the shower."

"You had this idea in the shower?" Sam hated herself for where her mind automatically went.

Brooke stared intensely into Sam's eyes.

"No, it's really weird. Too weird." Brooke looked away and played with her food.

"C'mon! You can't bring up something and then drop it. What?"

"No, it's too weird. I'm a weirdo for even thinking it."

"Weirder than last night."


"Weirder than when I got a Mohawk?"

"Actually, yes."

"Weirder than everyone in Bobbi Glass's family all looking exactly alike?"


"Weirder than when we broke out into a long musical number while we were in detention?" Brooke thought for a moment.

"OK. Maybe not as weird as that."

"See. What is it?...Was it because of last night?" Sam shifted uncomfortably in her seat; a piece of thread hanging off her shorts became the sole attention of her fingers.

"Yeah, sort of along those lines." This comment totally had Sam even more intrigued. Something that had to do with last night, if that meant she would get to kiss Brooke again she was definitely going to go into a full hardcore journalistic questioning mode.

"C'mon, what?" Sam thought that probably wasn't her greatest line of questioning.

"I just had a thought since last night. We could…sort of…help each other…in a way."

"How?" Sam sipped her drink while eyeing Brooke.

"You make dating sound like doing your taxes or getting rid of a telemarketer."

"When did you get so dark? This dry spell dating period of yours has really messed with your head."

"Which reminds me; I signed us up for surfing lessons tomorrow morning."

"What? Why?"

"Cause you always said you wanted to learn how to surf. Especially since you saw Blue Crush." Sam looked away guiltily.

"Uh, thanks. So anyway back to…" Sam tried to imitate the hand wave that seemed to translate some meaning of what Brooke was trying to get across without saying the actual words.

"Ugh! Please! Just forget I said anything…its silly and embarrassing." Brooke brought her hands and put them over her face.

"No, I don't think it is." Sam knew it could possibly be one of the dumbest mistakes to make but when it came to Brooke she never made rational smart choices. "I'm…in or game or…whatever…" It was hard getting the words out of her mouth; the brunette managed it through short gusts of air. She eyed Brooke curiously to try and gauge her reaction. "I guess you could call it almost a cuddle call."

"What do you mean?"

"Well…you know instead of a booty call…"

"Right! Got it…Oh, God!" Brooke's face turned a nice red color and Sam had to smile, it was very cute to see the blonde flustered and probably frustrated too in many ways if she was proposing something like this and especially with her. "But seriously…forget I said anything…I think I'm still hung over! Or I think I might be coming down with that 24 hour mental illness."

"No, I think the idea has…merit?" Sam had a really hard time looking at Brooke when she said that and she could feel sweat to pool on her lip.

"You do not. Forget it. It would be too weird. Maybe if we didn't know each other…"

"But we're on vacation…that counts for something, right? Whatever happens on spring break stays on spring break…I mean in like Vegas…or whatever stays with spring break?" Sam knew she had to reign back in her emotions; she didn't want to scare Brooke off with getting over excitedly like some horny teenager going to their first rated R movie. Her shaky endorsement of Brooke's idea was sounding sillier and sillier the more she talked.

"Forget it! Please! It was a dumb idea…you're Sam and I'm me and we're like practically fully related and I don't know what I was thinking…"

Sam was just about to launch into a last ditch plea for Brooke to continue with her idea when she heard her name being yelled.

"Sam! I was looking for you!" The brunette and the blonde were jolted out of their intense discussion when Jenna walked over to their table.

"Good morning ladies." Jenna smiled at Brooke who was still a little confused over her last conversation to do anything but nod. Jenna took up a space next to Sam and kissed her on the check. "Still so hot." Sam shot Jenna an uncomfortable look. "Did she break a lot of hearts in high school?" Jenna looked at Brooke.

Sam cursed Jenna's horrible timing. She needed Jenna to leave immediately so she could talk to Brooke again about her bizarre proposal. She thought maybe if she kicked her under the table that would work.

"So what have you two been up Ouch!" Jenna looked underneath the table and then at her roommate. "Sam did you just Ouch!" After kicking Jenna under the table Sam then pinched her quite hard on the thigh to get her to stop talking. Jenna then whispered to Sam. "OK. I get the point."

Brooke eyed both of them suspiciously. Jenna put her arm around Sam's shoulder. "Well, I gotta run…have fun."

"No, wait! Stay and have breakfast with us." Brooke was desperate not to be alone with Sam right now. She wanted a third party present to prevent the discussion from starting up again. In fact she wished she could just go bury her head in the sand.

Jenna noticed Sam's unwelcome stare and slight shake of her head. "Actually, I have to meet someone right now, but maybe later?"

"OK, see you Jenna." Sam was more than anxious to be rid of her intruding roommate so she could turn her full attention back to Brooke and her PG-13 idea. Sadly, for Sam her roommate wasn't done with her yet.

"Can I borrow Sam for a second?" Sam rolled her eyes and glared up at Jenna. She reluctantly got up from her seat and followed Jenna along the sidewalk out of hearing distance of Brooke.

"What is going on McPherson? Why do you want me gone so fast?" Jenna had a devilish grin and a sparkle to her eyes.

"Brooke was revealing something very personal…kind of like Oprah stuff…so I just didn't want her to feel you know…vulnerable with other people around…"

"Really? Because she looks like a girl sitting and eating tacos to me."

"That's because she's brave and strong?" The brunette knew her words reeked of lies.

"Bull McPherson…" Before Jenna could press farther Brooke was standing next to them.

"Sam? Sorry, don't mean to interrupt. I just wanted to say I'll meet you back at the hotel later. OK?"

"Wait, I'll go with you." Sam knew she shouldn't push because the vibe she was getting was that the blonde wanted to be alone.

"Stay and catch up. I wanted to get some shopping done. I'll see you later. Bye Jenna, nice seeing you again."

"Bye Brooke," Jenna smirked at Sam while Brooke walked away. "You don't have to tell me what's going on now but later back at school, you're spilling."

"There is nothing to spill."

"You're forgetting I've lived with you for the past two years. I know the difference between your little white lies like you didn't use up all the toothpaste to big whopper ones like when you told me Ethan Hawke was your dream man…I practically knew you were gay then." Jenna had rarely seen her roommate as cagey as this; she knew the blonde had to be behind it. She would force the details out the journalist later; prime sunbathing time was wasting away now.

"Fine. If you say so. But if you're not having any fun I'm going to force you to meet…" Sam suddenly had a thought; she wanted to put it into action as soon as possible.

"Oh, I am! I've got to go!" Sam hugged a confused Jenna and started running off in the direction Brooke went. She looked back and yelled, "Keep the texts coming. I like to know you're alive."

"OK. Do something I would do!"

"I'm working on it!"

A silly thought had struck Sam about forcibly meeting someone, to be exact, slamming into them. She smiled and went looking for a certain someone to slam into. She ducked into several stores hoping to spot Brooke before the blonde saw her. She had checked out five stores and hadn't spotted the ex-cheerleader anywhere yet.

Sam finally found Brooke browsing in a bookstore. She ducked behind the history aisle before the blonde saw her. Brooke leafed through some books in the photography section while Sam peaked around the corner and watched her, trying to determine which direction the blonde would take. Brooke kept one book, she added it to her stack of magazines and put one back on the shelf. She held the reading materials close to her chest as she headed down the aisle. Sam took this as her cue and turned back to the aisle she was on to race down to the end, she grabbed some random books to put in her arms.

She waited and listened for Brooke's footsteps, for the perfect moment to turn the corner. Sam held her position and waited. When her target came into range, she stepped out and slammed straight into Brooke. She knocked the magazines and book to the ground that Brooke was carrying and she dropped the books she was holding as well. Both heads went down to gather the dropped books. Sam was busy picking up Brooke's stuff and handing it back to her, who was busy concentrating on the same.

"I'm sorry I didn't see…" Brooke looked up into the mesmerizing brown eyes that she knew far too well. "Sam? What are you doing?"

"Excuse me? Hi, I'm Marta. I think these are yours." Sam held out some of the magazines to Brooke who stood up really confused.


"I'm Marta." Sam smiled and reached out to shake Brooke's hand, "I'm here with some friends from Arizona State. Which school are you from?"

Brooke didn't know exactly what the crafty brunette was cooking up but she was intrigued. Obviously, Sam hadn't forgotten about her idea like she had wanted her too. Of course I didn't really want her to forget.

"Uh…Sorry. Ohio State."

"Ohio? Well, there's nothing wrong with Ohio…except the snow and the rain."

"So…Marta?…down for spring break?"

"Sure am…and looking to have some fun." Sam batted her eyes at Brooke who busted out laughing. "So what's your name?"

Brooke composed herself somewhat and pondered for a moment. "Shelly…Shelly Mc…Jones."

"Nice to meet you Shelly. I'm Marta…McSmith."

Part 6

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