DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Ryan Murphy and the WB. No infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is actually one of my earliest fics, written almost a year before the previous entry in the continuity.
CONTINUITY: This is in my Bram!verse and is next after 'The Eternal Question'.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Mixer
By Quatorz


"We're so glad you made it!" a perky voice snapped Brooke out of her reverie. She smiled congenially as she recalled the girl's name. Becky, wasn't it?

"Thanks," Brooke smiled. "It's fun."

The other day Brooke had been approached by Becky and her sorority sister Sabrina and invited to pledge the Delta Delta Delta sorority-or 'Tri-Delts' as they were known universally around campus. Brooke thanking them graciously, but suggested that she wasn't exactly what they were looking for.

"Of course you are!" Becky had gushed. "You're ideal Tri-Delt material."

Ideal, eh? Brooke thought to herself. Well, no sense in prolonging this.

"Well, ladies," Brooke smiled. Here it comes. "The thing is: I'm gay. And I--"

She didn't have to say another word. Almost on cue, two sets of eyes widened almost imperceptibly. Imperceptibly, that is, if Brooke hadn't been waiting for that exact reaction. She could hear their minds spinning, calculating: 'how can we get out of here tactfully'?

She was about to let them off the hook when the other girl, Sabrina, piped up. "That's okay," the dark haired girl had interjected. "We'd love to have you pledge."

Brooke shot a quick glance Becky's way. She was as surprised by Sabrina's offer as Brooke, but recovered almost immediately. "Yes," Becky agreed. "It is the twenty-first century, after all."

Becky and Sabrina made eye contact, and the latter issued the subtlest hint of a nod. Brooke smiled, seeing echoes of her old hierarchy at Kennedy. Sabrina was top dog here. Becky wanted to make sure she complied with her master's wishes.

It was her and Nicole all over again, and she suspected that Sabrina was the ruthless one in this dynamic. There was something about her. Brooke couldn't put a finger on it, but maybe being in the proximity of venomous snakes had given her a sort of sense for it-like Gaydar for bitches.

"Are you seeing anyone?" Sabrina asked.

"Yes, I am," Brooke smiled warmly.

"Bring her along," Becky offered. "We're having a mixer Thursday night..."

So here she was, making pointless conversation with Becky when what she really wanted to be doing was hanging out at home with Sam.

Home, she smiled. Since their relationship changed last Christmas, they had been on eggshells, stealing little moments of intimacy while avoiding the parentals' watchful eye. They'd moved into a two bedroom apartment a few weeks ago, and she'd never been happier.

The intimacy was no longer a problem, Brooke smiled to herself, and on many mornings she regretted taking an 8am class. But it wasn't the sex-okay, not just the sex. It was the two of them taking their first steps toward starting a life together.

Brooke loved when they went furniture shopping for the new apartment. They purchased a new living room suit, and new beds-beds plural to keep up appearances (Dad and Jane didn't know that 'Sam's room' was actually the spare bedroom).

They hadn't gone crazy, but Sam wanted mostly new furniture for practical reasons. She theorized that much of the tension from their early days as a family had been because Sam and Jane had moved into the Palace-where Brooke and Mike had memories and long standing routines. Sam thought that it was best to make their first place together as neutral a site as possible, and Brooke certainly saw the wisdom in that.

They had taken Mike up on his offer of the old table and chairs from storage, and they'd taken a cabinet for the TV from an unused guest bedroom.

But Brooke had insisted that they pick out new dishes for the two of them, and the day she shopped for plates and silverware with Sam had been one of the happiest in her life. It amazed Brooke that something so trivial could make her feel so good. But the pattern they chose was for their kitchen, for their dinners together.

Their home. It was her fantasy realized, and it was perfect.

For the first time in her life, Brooke felt like her own branch of the family tree. She was no longer just Mike McQueen's daughter. She had formed the foundation of her own family now, and had done it with Sam McPherson, of all people.

Sometimes that fact still amazed her, and she marveled at how much her life changed from when she and Sam first met. They went from bitter enemies, to a grudging respect, a budding friendship, and then more. Somewhere along that rocky road, Sam became her everything.

Not long after they got together, she realized that Sam had always stirred her passion like no one else. It was as if Sam held the key to her and with a look could unlock her carefully cultivated sense of self-control.

This loss of control evoked a violent reaction from her, manifesting itself in cruel, destructive behavior toward the other girl. But even from their earliest battles they had left their hooks deeply embedded in one another. Looking back now it was inevitable that they would come together. Fighting the attraction was what created the friction.

And if she ever had any doubts that Sam loved her (which she didn't), they vanished the day they moved into the apartment.

Of her own free will, Sam had taken the left sink. If that wasn't love, Brooke didn't know the meaning of the word.

Unfortunately, instead of being at home having a nice romantic evening with Sam, Brooke was here at the mixer for a sorority she had no intention of joining. But it had seemed like it could be fun. And she thought Sam might want to get out. They'd been cooped up just the two of them since they'd moved in together. She didn't want Sam to feel trapped just because Brooke wanted to play the homemaking hermit.

"Where is your girlfriend?" Becky asked, and for the first time in the conversation Brooke gave her comment her full attention.

"I was just wondering the same thing," Brooke said. "Sam and I really should be going. We both have class in the morning."

Becky just smiled. It was Thursday night. No one went to class on Friday morning.


Becky wasn't sure what Sabrina was up to, but knew it was something. When Brooke had told them she was gay-well, one, she couldn't believe it. Why on Earth would this girl be gay? That made no sense. She could have anybody.

Not that the girlfriend wasn't attractive-she certainly was-but Brooke would have been perfect for the sorority. Ah well.

Becky had intended to disengage from the blonde as politely as possible when Sabrina opened her mouth.

Becky looked down at her drink, and remembered when Sabrina asked if Brooke was seeing anybody. The girl's face had lit up, and Becky had known the answer instantly.

Brooke wasn't just seeing someone. This girl was in looove. She was so in love that she radiated from inside just thinking about it. It made Becky jealous. She wanted to feel that--

Not with Brooke, of course! But she wanted to feel that kind of love, and have someone feel that way about her. Whoever this girl loved was the center of her world. Becky had been dating Bret for a year and a half, but he never chose her over his friends-unless she made him. That was why she, well...

"There she...is," Brooke answered, and her face fell as she spoke. Becky followed her eyes. The striking brunette that she'd met earlier was in conversation with a brother from the Sigma Chi fraternity, and he had planted himself well within her personal space.

Trouble in paradise? Becky thought to herself. This should be interesting.

Becky pretended to spot another pledge and excused herself. Brooke, who'd only been half listening anyway, just nodded.

Sam was in animated conversation with some Frat Boy. He was taller than her, and leaning over her so as to suggest an intimacy between them that Brooke did not like one little bit.

Frat Boy was definitely handsome, and was smiling at Sam in a way that Brooke recognized. He was putting the moves on Sam. Brooke could spot the signs easily enough: guys had been putting the moves on her since she was thirteen.

Sam stepped back a little from Frat Boy's encroachment, and almost stumbled. Apparently she'd had a bit too much to drink.

She was such a lightweight.

Brooke took a swig of her own drink and analyzed the situation. She trusted Sam-whole heartedly. She knew that Sam was just talking to Frat Boy. She was friendly, after all, and very outgoing. She did great in social situations.

But on the flip side, she was drunk. And she didn't want Sam to get put in a position where--

You know what? Fuck this, Brook thought to herself. She set her glass down on the table, and made a bee line for Sam. Frat Boy is mackin' on my girlfriend, and I'm gonna put a stop to that right now.

It was that simple. No more rationalizing, no more analyzing. She was going over there, and she was going to mark her territory in no uncertain terms. For once she was going with her instincts, and it felt damn good.

"Hey," Brooke called out to the brunette.

Sam's face lit up on seeing her, calming her butterflies. "Hey! I was looking for you." She pointed to Frat Boy. "This is Steven. He's a journalism major. Isn't that cool? He was just telling me about the program."

"Oh," Brooke answered, making a very good impression of someone who gave a shit. "You want to get going?"

"What's the rush?" Frat Boy/Steven grinned. "I was just chatting with your friend."

"No," Brooke clarified. "You were chatting with my girl." Brooke turned to face Frat Boy and folded her arms in challenge. She gave him a minute to absorb what she said.

Right about then Sam found a clue on the floor. "Ohhhh. I'm sorry, Steven," she turned to him. "I didn't mean to make you think--" she stammered. "Yeah, I'm all about the ladies," she grinned lasciviously.

"Excuse me?" Brooke arched an eyebrow.

"Did I say ladies-plural?" Sam backtracked. "I meant la-dy," she informed Frat Boy, accenting the individual syllables. "Just one lady, actually.

"This one," she pointed at Brooke, grinning in a stupidly charming way that brought a smile to Brooke's face.

Frat Boy held up his hands in contrition. "Sorry, I didn't realize you were with somebody. I'll see you around campus, Sam."

Brooke was surprised by his reaction. She had misjudged Frat Boy. She had half expected him to mutter some derogative remark, or have the typical reaction and offer himself as part of a threesome. That one never got old.

Brooke linked her arm with Sam's. "Did you have fun?"

"Yeah," Sam offered in her noncommittal voice. "But I'd rather been home with you-just the two of us."

"Me too," Brooke smiled, and an understanding passed between them.

"I've never seen you get all territorial before," Sam grinned.

Brooke was embarrassed. Here Sam was probably learning some valuable information to help her get into the competitive journalism school, and she blew it because her temper had gotten the better of her. "I'm sorry. It's not that I didn't trust you--"

"No, I liked it," Sam confessed, surprising Brooke. "It made me feel special."

Brooke smiled.

Becky watched the two of them walk off together. A feeling of unease she hadn't been aware of loosened its grip. It had bothered her to see the blonde upset. The girl had such love in her eyes before. To see that light go out was like all the colors turning to gray.

Becky may not have that kind of love, but knowing it was out there-that it was possible-gave her hope that she might find it. When Brooke looked forlorn like she might lose it, Becky felt that she was losing something precious too.

She smiled as she watched the two of them make their way to the door. Good for them.

"Christ, she's a hottie."

Becky looked to her friend in shock. "What--?"

"You heard me," Sabrina smiled. Truthfully, Brooke made Sabrina's heart race. She didn't know what it was-she had never had that kind of reaction to a girl before, but it was primal and animalistic in its urges. She wanted to be with that girl.

No, Sabrina grinned. She wanted to conquer that girl.

She watched Brooke and her girlfriend-what's her name-exit the party. The brunette stopped them at the door, and placed a gentle kiss on the blonde's lips.

Becky alternated between watching the tender display, and watching Sabrina watching. Sabrina's eyes narrowed. "Lucky bitch," she said.

This was directed at Brooke's girlfriend, no doubt. "You've been drinking," Becky guessed. Sabrina wasn't always the nicest drunk.

"Uh-huh," Sabrina agreed.

"Thinking of taking up softball?" Becky quipped-quite cleverly, she thought.

Sabrina's lips quirked into a grin. "Maybe.

"I never guessed you had any Sapphic leanings."

"Leanings?" Sabrina answered. "Leaning is for bitches. I want to go all the way horizontal on that."

"Holy shit, Sabrina," Becky laughed. She'd never seen her friend like this.

"You breathe a word to anyone," Sabrina retorted coolly, "and I will personally tell Bret that you cheated on him at the Alpha Chi mixer."

Becky was stung. "Jesus, Bree," she hoped used the familiar nickname would placate her suddenly hostile friend. "I wasn't going to say anything."

Becky put down her drink, fighting back tears. "You know, I was sad the day you turned twenty."

"Why's that?"

"Because I could no longer call you Sabrina, the Teenaged Bitch." Becky stormed away in a huff.

Sabrina just shrugged. "Well you should thank me," she muttered after her friend. "I forced you to become more creative."

She snickered at her own joke, but her eyes never left Brooke's retreating form. Sabrina was captivated by the girl's shoulders, and the way her midsection tapered to her waist forming the most deliciously erotic 'V' Sabrina had ever seen.

She imagined how that back would look bare, and it made her shiver.

God, she'd never felt like this...this hunger. It took her breath away. Even when she'd been fucking what's-his-face, and they were going at it like barbarians locked in mortal combat-as painful as it was pleasurable-she had never felt this. She relished this new sensation. It was exhilarating.

Sabrina took a long drink of the liquor. Unlike the reaction most of the dipshits at the party experienced: the stumbling, the slurring of words, the idiotic admissions of 'love'-the hot liquid seemed to sharpen her, help her focus.

Finally, there was something to look forward to her junior year.

So how am I going to do this...?

Brooke walked arm-in-arm with Sam, taking a moment to enjoy a beautiful September evening. Sam seemed extremely interested in the sky, and Brooke enjoyed the look of unguarded, childlike wonder on her girlfriend's face.

"I love you," Sam said.

Brooke smiled. The words had sprung from her like the most natural thing in the world. "I know," Brooke answered. "I love you too. I'm so lucky to be able to say that."

"I'm the lucky one," Sam grinned. "Sometimes I still can't believe that of all the--"

She tripped, effectively halting the conversation. Brooke kept her from falling, and Sam started laughing.

"Careful, McPherson."

A new thought occurred to Sam. "Hey, when we get married, are you going to keep your name, or take mine, or hyphenate it or something?"

Married? Brooke just smiled. "You're drunk."

"I'm not that drunk," Sam protested. Okay, maybe she was drunk, but that had nothing to do why she said that.

The day she turned eighteen, a portion of her father's insurance money had been released to her. The rest would sit in the trust fund until she turned twenty-one. She hadn't touched any of it except for forty-five hundred dollars that she withdrew the day after her birthday.

She would always remember the look on the lady's face at the jewelry store when Sam had told her who the ring was for.

"You're not a six and a half," the lady smiled, able to tell that just from a glance at Sam's fingers. Sam had gone to great lengths to find out Brooke's ring size without giving anything away, and the plan had worked perfectly.

"No," Sam had smiled, "but my girlfriend is."

The lady's reaction was subtle, but priceless.

She was a professional. She hardly skipped a beat, and went right on helping Sam-even congratulating her and wishing the two of them luck.

But it had felt so good: to be open about the relationship to a stranger. It made it more real, somehow.

Like now, walking along the street arm-in-arm where anyone could see them, telling anyone who cared to listen that they were together. And that of all the people in this world, Brooke McQueen had picked her.

"Let's go home," Brooke sighed happily.

Home, Sam smiled. She liked the sound of that.

The End

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