DISCLAIMER: I don't own them, but I certainly wish I did. Damn Ryan Murphy and his unrivaled genius.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is in response to a challenge posted on a group a long time ago. What would happen if one of our favorite pairing stumbled upon the diary of the other.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Truth about Tippy Typewriter
By Teara


Part One

"Brooke?" Sam said as she leaned against Brooke's open door frame.

"Yeah?" The blonde answered, looking up from her calculus homework.

"I was just wondering if I could borrow your computer for a sec. I need to install a program on my laptop, so right now it's in defrag mode," Sam replied.

"And you need my computer to…?" Brooke asked.

"I have a mass email to send out to my team at the paper. I told them I'd have it out by 8:00, it's now, 8:15," she said looking down at her watch.

"I guess that's fine. Just don't fill my comp full of internet porn. I've seen your laptop," Brooke said trying to look serious.

Sam just smirked as she walked over to Brooke's desk. "I'm not the one with scantily clad bodies as my desktop wallpaper," she retorted, moving Brooke's wireless mouse, removing the blonde's annoying, bouncing, "Bring It!" Pep Squad screensaver. She pointed to the screen as if reiterating her point.

"It's a United Colors of Bennetton ad," Brooke huffed, sticking out of her tongue.

"Whatever you say," Sam replied with a huge grin as she turned back to the computer. She popped her disk in the A drive and began to type furiously.

The two worked in companionable silence. Brooke was somehow oddly comforted by the brunette's presence and the light sound of the keys tapping, barely able to be heard over the mixed cd playing in the blonde's stereo. At one point, they were both humming along with the sweet sounds of the Cranberries "Linger." It wasn't long before Brooke was done with her homework and Sam was thanking her and bidding her goodnight.

She took up the journalist's still warm spot on her desk chair and looked at her AIM away message screen. She had several messages from Carmen and Mary Cherry. She decided to answer their inane questions as quickly as possible. She had a test first period and she was hoping to get to bed early.

QueenMcBitch: Hey Carm, what did you need?

CheerBear2002: Hang on…one sec Brooke. Sam's asking me about my notes from our French class.

QueenMcBitch: K…

Sam was online? Brooke looked at her buddy list and sure enough the brunette's screen name was there at the top of her list. It was weird Sam hadn't messaged her. In the short time since Mac had been born and she'd almost lost her life to insane ex-best friend, she and Sam had become almost inseparable. That tends to happen when that person saves your life, Brooke thought. She was so grateful to Sam, not only for pushing her out of the way that fateful night, but the journalist had proven to be the best friend she'd ever had. She opened up a window to message Sam, when another popped up in the way.

MClovesJoe: Hey Brookie!

QueenMcBitch: Hey Mary Cherry…

MClovesJoe: R we still on 4 practice 2morrow after school? Joe and I have plans.

QueenMcBitch: Of course we still have practice. Weren't you at the pep rally last week? We looked like a flock of uncoordinated seagulls.

MClovesJoe: I know, Brookie, but Joe's takin' me to see the new Gwyneth movie.

QueenMcBitch: Well if you and Carmen can manage to get the others whipped into shape, I might let you go early.

MClovesJoe: But Brooke, you know that's damn near impossible. It's bad enuff that none of them are as coordinated or stunnin' as you and I are. I can't work miracles, hun…

Just then Carmen's window started blinking. She clicked on it pulling up the conversation.

CheerBear2002: OK sorry about that. I swear you would think she wasn't even in class…

QueenMcBitch: Carm…?

CheerBear2002: Oh right! I just made this ah-mazing mix for next week's game. I was wondering if you might want to hear it tomorrow.

QueenMcBitch: Uh yeah, sure I guess. We can listen to it on the way to school. I'll be by at 7 btw. I have a test first period.

CheerBear2002: OK cool, I'll be ready.

Brooke brought up the window for Sam's screen name again, ignoring the flash from the other two conversations that apparently were still taking place.

QueenMcBitch: Hey are you mad at me or something?

Auto response from LoisLane082884: trying to finish my homework…damn my procrastinating ways….

Damn I missed her, Brooke thought. She closed Sam's window and brought Mary Cherry's back up.

MClovesJoe: Brooke? Brooke? Where'd ya go?

QueenMcBitch: I'm here…

MClovesJoe: Well I have to get goin hun. Joe is on the phone.

QueenMcBitch: Oh ok, see you tomorrow

MClovesJoe: Bye hun…

MClovesJoe signed off at 9:06:47 PM

Now to get rid of Carmen…

CheerBear2002: My mom is totally psyched for Homecoming this year. Are you gonna run?

QueenMcBitch: I haven't really given it much thought. I'm probably going to just keep a low profile this year. The Bring It squad is more than enough for me to handle.

And that was true, ever since Nicole had transferred from Kennedy this year, she'd been named captain of the squad and Carmen co-captain. So far, things had been going great, and the groups had merged harmoniously, the last piece falling into place when Harrison had started dating Mary Cherry two months ago, much to everyone's surprise. Brooke shuddered, wondering what she'd ever seen in him. She just chocked it up to a momentary lapse in judgment.

CheerBear2002: Well I'm definitely gonna run again if I'm nominated. OMG! What if I'm not nominated? Brooke what am I gonna to do?

Brooke rolled her eyes. She didn't know how Sam had put up with this constantly talking Carmen off of a ledge routine. They'd been good friends for almost two years now, and she was definitely tired of it.

QueenMcBitch: Relax Carm, I'm sure you'll be nominated.

CheerBear2002: Thanx, well anyway I have one more calc problem to do, and then I'm heading to bed. See you in the morning.

QueenMcBitch: Night, Carm…

CheerBear2002 signed off at 9:24:55 PM

Brooke sighed with relief. She checked her list one more time, annoyed to see that little yellow "post-it" next to Sam's screen name. Josh and Sugar were both online, but she really wasn't up to talking to either one of them. So instead she pulled up her Internet Explorer and typed Yahoo Mail into the address bar. She clicked on the inbox tab and saw she had several emails. Her eyes were immediately drawn to the email saying she had a reply to a comment she'd made in someone else's livejournal. She hadn't updated or really read any comments for a couple of weeks, but she always got the random response or something from one of the arbitrary communities she belonged to.

Her hazel eyes scanned the email reading the lame response. When she came to the original comment she realized she hadn't written it. Not only had she not written it, it wasn't even her journal name. It wasn't a name she'd recognized at all. She closed the email, looking at the name displayed on the inbox. Sam had forgotten to sign out of her email. What's more, Sam apparently had a secret journal.

She immediately opened her journal in another window. She signed in and did a quick perusal of all of their friends' user profiles. None of them had the journal saved as a friend. She typed in the journal name and looked up the user information. Apparently Sam really didn't want this journal to be found. Sam had used the pseudonym "Tippy Typewriter" and had registered it to a completely different city and state. She didn't have really any friends, save for a few names Brooke didn't recognize. Brooke perused the communities "Tippy" belonged to. Most of them were musical group communities, a couple of fanfiction communities, more importantly, lesbian fanfiction communities, and lgbt communities. Sam's gay?! Brooke thought. She was shocked. Then again, as she thought about it, she wasn't all that surprised. Sam had always marched to her own beat and didn't care about what others thought. It would explain why she got so upset that time when they were locked in the Novak and Lily had confessed she'd kissed Carmen. Maybe she'd wished it had been her instead of Carmen.

Brooke thought she should be more upset about this. Sam was gay! Only it didn't bother the cheerleader in the least. It wasn't like she hadn't ever considered it, but then she'd fallen for Josh again, and then Jaime, and then Harrison, so she'd pushed those thoughts from her mind. Now she was intrigued. She knew she shouldn't, but she really wanted to read this "secret" journal. She got up and crossed her room to close her bedroom door. A part of her felt bad for what she was about to do, but curiosity seemed to overpower those feelings.

In all the time she'd known Sam, she'd never been able to figure her out, not completely. They'd been living together for almost two years and the brunette was still an enigma. Somehow Sam managed to deflect attention away from herself whenever it came to her emotions and thoughts. Brooke hoped that this would give her insight into Sam's world and eventually bring them closer together.

The blonde checked over her shoulder one last time before clicking the link to "Tippy's Journal." The entries had started about three weeks after junior prom, back when she'd been dating Harrison. It hurt her to read how upset Sam had been about Harrison picking Brooke. It had ruined her relationship with Harrison, which was the thing that she'd tried to avoid all along. It hadn't done much for her and Brooke's relationship in the beginning either. She skipped ahead a few entries, not really wanting to dwell on the negative things that had happened. She stopped when she found the entries that were about Sam's budding sexuality.

Sam had taken a very journalistic approach on her road of discovery. She'd read about it and watched all of the movies. In fact it seemed the only thing Sam had yet to do was put her experiment to practice. Brooke ignored the slight feeling of relief she got at that thought. She could read all of Sam's frustrations, hopes, concerns, and fear. For a moment, she wanted to walk into the journalist's room and wrap her arms around her, but she couldn't. Sam could never know she'd found this journal. She was just about to stop reading the entries, when she came across a few that caught her attention. It seemed that Sam had a crush on someone. She read on and discovered that whoever this mystery girl was, it was someone who went to Kennedy High with them. She tried to read the entries closely, looking for hints as to who it was. Sam had been very clever in keeping the identity a secret. She would only describe a smile that was thrown her way or a faint brushing of the hand in the hallway.

LoisLane082884:Why would I be mad at you?

The AIM window popped up out of nowhere, earning a startled gasp from Brooke.

QueenMcBitch: You were online and didn't message me. You also declined my offer to study together earlier tonight.

LoisLane082884: Oh…well I only signed on to get the French notes for our homework assignment. I wasn't ignoring you and I'm certainly not mad at you. I just really needed to get it done.

QueenMcBitch: Oh ok…

LoisLane082884: So, what are you doing? I could be there in two shakes, and we could hang out.

Brooke panicked. The last thing she wanted was Sam here as she read her diary.

QueenMcBitch: Actually, I'm about to turn in. My test…

LoisLane082884: That's right, your test. Say no more…I'll see you tomorrow. Goodnight Princess :p

QueenMcBitch: Goodnight, Mucky :p

Brooke quickly closed her window and shut her computer off, just in case Sam decided to stop by anyway. She walked down the hall to the bathroom to brush her teeth and wash her face. Sam's journal had certainly been an eye opener. Tomorrow she was determined to figure out who Sam's crush was.


Part two

Sam couldn't figure out why Brooke had been looking at her all day. Even now as she tried to listen to "The Claw" and take physics notes, she could feel the hazel eyes burning a hole in her face. She waited until Ms. Glass' attention was turned back towards the board before looking over at the blonde in confusion. Brooke just sent her an odd smile before turning back to the front. Sam shrugged and continued writing.

The bell rang shortly after that and Sam stood, grabbing her bag and books. She was heading out of the room towards her locker when she heard Brooke calling her name from behind her. Brooke caught up to her as she entered the combination on her lock.

"Hey are you headed to lunch?" Brooke asked a little winded.

"Of course, where else would I be going?" Sam asked a little suspicious. Something was going on with the cheerleader.

"Oh, well I didn't know if you had to go to the newspaper office or something."

"Nope just heading to the cafeteria," Sam replied closing her locker. "You coming?"

"Oh, yeah of course," Brooke answered walking along side the brunette.

They walked into the cafeteria and got in line followed by Josh and Lily. Sam took the proffered sloppy joe, ignoring Lily's look of disgust. "If it's any consolation, Lily, I'm pretty sure there's no meat in this whatsoever," she said before walking over to their lunch table.

They all now sat at the "popular" table, having long ago squashed the stupid rift that existed between the groups. She knew that was due, in large part, to her and Brooke becoming best friends. Sam was forever grateful to whatever force had landed them in this place at this time. Brooke had proven to be a great friend. Her home life had never been better. Her mother and Mike were planning another wedding and Mac was growing up nicely. She was even making slow progress repairing her friendship with George. She was just happy she hadn't lost Harrison after the whole fiasco last year.

She sat down in between Brooke and Carmen. The two immediately began talking about cheerleading. Sam wasn't really interested in anything they had to say. So she spaced, allowing the sweet lilt of Brooke's voice to lull her while she ate. She leaned over a little trying to catch the scent of Brooke's perfume and shampoo. Spending time as much time with Brooke as she now did, afforded her a lot of opportunities, benefits that fed and often fueled her little crush. She had finally admitted to herself, months ago, that her feelings for Brooke would never be sisterly. They were far from anything remotely close to sisterly affection.

Sam would never disrespect her newfound friendship with the blonde, but that didn't mean that she didn't take advantage when the opportunity presented itself. She now knew how to get Brooke to smile or laugh a certain way, or what cheered her up when she was having a bad day. Sam especially liked the last part because it usually ended with her receiving a hug for her troubles and Sam would do just about anything to receive one of those warm embraces. The memories had kept her company on many a lonely night.

"Hey ya'll," Mary Cherry said as she and Harrison sat at the table.

A chorus of 'hey' rang up from the table. Harrison became engrossed in the conversation Josh and Sugar were having while Mary Cherry joined into the riveting conversation Brooke and Carmen were having about routines, leaving Sam to listen to Lily's latest crusade. She felt Brooke shift next to her and their thighs brushed against each other. She fought hard to bite back the gasp, hoping no one would notice. She saw Harrison shoot her an odd look but smiled back, pretending nothing was wrong.

She ignored the warmth of the blonde's body when Brooke reached across her to grab a book from Josh and the slight brushes she was forced to endure. Such bittersweet torture, she wished she could just write an angsty poem about it and get it out of her system, but she'd tried that and it hadn't worked. She needed something to distract her, and Lily's ranting was only making her wish she could bury her head in something to drown out the sound. She could think of a few choice places her head could be buried at the moment. Having lurid thoughts at that moment was anything but conducive to her current state of being. She looked over at the oddity that was Harrison and Mary Cherry's relationship. That always did the trick. They were like some Maury 'When Opposites Attract' topic of the day guests. Never in a million years had she ever thought those two would end up together, but as she watched Harrison watching Mary Cherry, it somehow fit. He brought out a softer side to the blonde cheerleader and she knew that Mary Cherry really loved him.

He'd been right last year when he'd said that she and Brooke didn't really like him, they'd just disliked each other. Well, he'd been half right anyway. The only reason she'd even gone after him was because Brooke had somehow convinced her to exact revenge on him, but then the blonde had changed the rules midstream. Sam had had no other choice but to play along. And now watching as he and Mary Cherry fed grapes to one another, she was glad he'd finally 'gotten the girl.'

She looked over at Brooke and the blonde offered her a big toothy grin. She just wished for once she could 'get the girl.'

Sam sat on her bed with her laptop checking her email. Someone had responded to one of her posts in one of the communities she belonged to. She quickly signed into her clandestine journal and quickly replied to the comment. She really needed to post to her journal after enduring the day that she had. Brooke continued to stare at her with a suspicious look in her eyes and every time she would catch her, the blonde would blush and give her a shy smile. Sam wasn't sure how to take this new side of Brooke.

I guess tonight's post will be rather short. I have a pretty busy schedule of vegging to do and I would like to get to it in a hurry. School was pretty brutal today, but for more than one reason. My evil physics teacher loaded me down with so much homework it took two hours to get through. She is totally heinous. I'm beginning to wonder about the mental health of our fair school system that puts these ghastly, power hungry, tyrannical dictators in charge of our education. Seriously, do they go out of their way to find these people or do they just pick them off the street at random?

The other totally brutal part of my day was the beautiful torture I had to do endure from the oblivious object of my affection. She sent me sly glances the entire day, not even bothering to hide the fact she was caught staring. She just kept giving me these sweet smiles and brushing up against me whenever she was near me. If I didn't already have her scent memorized I would have by the end of today. She just kept showing up everywhere I turned. I'm not sure if it was a coincidence or just the fates trying to play some sort of game with an unsuspecting mortal. Either way, if this continues, I don't know how I will be able to keep my feelings a secret with her constantly invading my every thought, and now every move. I am so totally screwed.

She clicked the button that would post the entry. She then checked her email one last time, before messaging the blonde she'd just written about.

LoisLane082884: Ready to watch the oh so sexy, pelvis gyrating, Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing?

QueenMcBitch: Always…the rents are in bed, and I need the mind numbing sex appeal of Mr. Swayze to ease the tension from my very stressful day.

LoisLane082884: lol…I wouldn't go that far, but there's just something about that movie…

QueenMcBitch: I know. So why are we still on here talking? I already went and got the snacks. Let's just watch it in my room.

LoisLane082884: How come we never hang in my room?

QueenMcBitch: My bed's more comfortable, and like I said, I already got the snacks. Besides your room has a funny smell. :p

LoisLane082884: Hey!!

QueenMcBitch: Just get your ass in here, Mucky!

LoisLane082884: On my way, Princess.

With that, she put her away message up and walked two doors down to the blonde's room.


Part three

Brooke let out a frustrated growl it had been two weeks, and she was no closer to figuring out Sam's ever-elusive crush. Everyday she would watch the brunette and everyone she came in contact with and every night she would read the journalist's updates. It seemed with the every passing day Sam's 'oblivious object of her affection' got closer and closer and Brooke still had no clue who this phantom girl was. She'd pretty much narrowed it down to someone within their extended network, because Sam seemed to have constant contact with her. But who? Was it Lily? Carmen? Mary Cherry?! Brooke scratched that last one. There was no way that Sam had that poor of taste in women. Besides Mary Cherry was all 'over the moon' for Harrison like some bad Mariah Carey ballad.

To make matters worse, she knew that Sam was well aware of her watching her, but how subtle can a person be when they're trying to be all Nancy Drew about something? She'd scratched CIA operative off of her list of future careers a long time ago. Vague she could do, stealth, not so much. She was just lucky no one else seemed to have caught on. This couldn't go on for much longer. Someone was bound to notice and she knew the brunette was burning to ask her what was up with her lately.

A part of her was upset that Sam still hadn't let her in to this part of her life. They were best friends and Brooke was an open book as far as Sam was concerned. They'd been hanging out even more this week than ever before and still nothing. Did Sam not trust her even after all this time? The thought that the brunette might feel like she still needed to keep Brooke at arms' length bothered the blonde. Maybe she thought the Brooke wouldn't understand. Well, she would change that. They were going to the mall today and maybe she could ease the brunette's theoretical fears a little.

"Brooke are you ready to go?" Sam called through her closed door, as she knocked.

"Yeah, just let me grab my purse." She replied jumping up from her bed and throwing on her sneakers. She grabbed her purse and headed out of the door.

"What do you think of this?" Brooke asked.

"I think that Mac's only an infant and that little Britney Spears number is for a girl that's at least school age." Sam replied rolling her eyes.

"I know, but don't you ever get excited about one day being able to go shopping with her? Or having make believe tea parties?" Brooke said with a wistful smile.

"Oh yeah, the idea of shopping always fills me with such joy and if Mac has that sort of a fashion sense, then what we put Mom and Mike through will seem like a cakewalk."

"Well, maybe that outfit was a bit extreme. But I've seen you with her. You're always telling her about the articles you're writing or the latest book you're reading. I know you get excited," Brooke said, thoroughly enjoying the shade of pink that now tinged the brunette's delicate features. Sam was so adorable sometimes; whoever this mystery girl was would be a fool if she turned Sam down.

"Okay, maybe I get a little excited thinking about taking to her first poetry reading or concert," Sam admitted as they walked through the aisles.

"What makes you think I won't be taking her to her first concert?"

"Uh oh, no way is my little sister going to be caught dead at some Ace of Base concert."

"Hey, Ace of Base is hot." Brooke replied playfully.

"Whatever you say, Princess," Sam said rolling her eyes.

They exited the children's clothing store and made their way to H&M. It was the only store in the mall that they actually agreed on. It suited Sam's pithy tee, walking poster child for Hot Topic, casual style and Brooke's ultramodern, Prada-esque, Caroline Kennedy meets Gwyneth Paltrow sensibilities. Sam was immediately drawn to a pair of dark gray cargo style slacks and a long sleeve white shirt. She picked up a black and white t-shirt to go over top and held it up for Brooke's inspection.

"What do you think?"

"I think it's very…Sam McPherson," Brooke replied vaguely.

"What does that mean?"

"What do you mean what does that mean?"

"Is it a good thing or a bad thing?"

"What difference does it make? I think the outfit would suit you. That would be a good thing, right? I mean being Sam McPherson is a good thing, right?"

"Maybe, I guess I was just wondering if Sam McPherson might need some updating," Sam replied uncomfortably. She shifted from one foot to the other.

"Sam what's going on? Since when do you care what people think about your style?"

"I don't. Is it so wrong to just want to reinvent yourself?" She asked defensively.

"Of course not, but I don't know anyone that's as comfortable in their skin as you are. So again I'll ask what's going on?"

"Nothing's going on. I think maybe it's just time for a change."

"If you say so, but I personally don't think there's anything wrong with the Sam McPherson you are right now," Brooke said looking Sam up and down. You can't improve on perfection, she mused. She frowned at that thought. What was that supposed to mean?

"You really mean that?" Sam asked, interrupting Brooke's wayward thoughts.

"Of course I mean it. I think I spent enough time telling you the brutally honest truth for you to start questioning me about it now."

"True. I guess I just figured upon the advent of our best friends status, that maybe you'd start sparing my feelings a little," Sam said with a little chuckle.

"Well what would be the point of that? You've already seen me at my absolute worse and I've certainly seen you at yours. And we're still friends at the end of the day, because I know no matter what I say or what I do, you'll never judge me. I hope you feel the same about me," Brooke said pointedly. She saw the brunette shift uncomfortably for a moment before replying.

"Of course I know that. It's just some things are easier to say than others," Sam replied, and for a moment the blonde wondered if maybe Sam got the double meaning in her words. "I mean, before you would only tell me the 'brutally honest truth' to hurt my feelings and we're not in that place anymore."

"No we're not, so believe me when I tell you I don't think you need to change a thing, except maybe for those bangs," Brooke teased, running her fingers through Sam's hair.

"Hey, they're not that bad! Besides, they're growing back," Sam replied ducking away from the blonde's hand.

Later that night, Brooke sat at her desk waiting for her computer to boot up and reflecting on the day's events. It was rare that anyone ever got to see the vulnerable, insecure part of Sam and she was honored to have had such a privilege today. No one would ever suspect that it lurked under Sam's confident, independent, tough exoskeleton, but every now and again, a little crack would appear in the armor and there it was, just below the surface. That part of Sam was unbelievable fragile and Brooke was proud to have handled it so well. It had also given her the reason behind Sam's silence and she would just have to be patient and wait for her to be ready to say the words aloud.

When her computer was finished loading, she by passed checking her email or turning on her AIM and went straight for 'Tippy's Journal.' It seemed that Sam had updated right after they'd gotten back from the mall. Brooke wondered when she'd even had the time between then and when Jane had called them down for dinner. She read through all the boring stuff about Sam's new outfits, after all she'd been there and knew what they looked like. She was surprised a 'crush update.' They hadn't run into anyone while they were out. Maybe Sam had seen her from afar or something. She was almost disappointed when it seemed all the brunette wanted to do was wax poetry about the mystery girl. Brooke didn't understand why the journalist's extolling of every one of the girl's virtues bugged her so much, but she chose to ignore it. Then something caught her baby hazels.

It has to be some sort of cruel joke when the one person you want to tell how you feel the most, is the one person you can't. She said such wonderful things to me today. I never thought she was the kind of girl that would like me just the way I am. Especially after we both spent so much time tearing each other down. If only she meant she liked me the way I like her.

That was odd. The girl had said pretty much the same things she'd told Sam earlier that day. Especially after we both spent so much time tearing each other down. Brooke frowned as she read that line again. Who had Sam spent time tearing down their self esteem, except…no, she couldn't mean? There was just no way that Sam meant…was there? She thought back over the entries she'd read. She had been staring at Sam a lot lately. She had dogged the brunette's every step. She had brushed up against Sam almost constantly for the past two weeks.

"Ohmygod, Sam has a crush on me!" Brooke gasped. How could she have not seen it? Well she knew how. Sam never really let on when she liked someone, but after she'd read the journal, how had she not seen it?

Now what am I going to do? This changes everything! Brooke thought desperately. It wasn't like now that she'd read it, she could just act like she hadn't. She could deal with Sam being gay, but she definitely couldn't deal with Sam having feelings for her. She wasn't like that. She liked guys and Sam was just her best friend. She had to fix this.


Part four

"Brooke, I'm going to rent some movies. Wanna tag along?" Sam asked standing in the blonde's doorway.

"Nah, you know what? I think I'm going to Carmen's to work on some routines. Maybe next time…" Brooke responded, not even bothering to look up from the magazine she was reading.

"Yeah, next time," Sam replied with a sigh.

Things had been like this between her and Brooke for the past two months and she wasn't really sure why. She'd asked Brooke if she'd done something wrong to offend her, but the blonde had given her a weird look before brushing it off as her being paranoid. It was the same look she caught Brooke staring at her with. And they never spent any time together unless someone else was around, which made Sam very suspicious. It also hurt her immensely. What hurt most of all was whenever they accidentally made contact, no matter how innocent, Brooke jumped back as if she'd been burned.

Sam made it back an hour later, by passing the blonde's now empty room and headed straight for her own. She sat the bag of movies on her bed before moving her wireless mouse to get rid of her 'maze of pipes' screen saver and checked her away message box. She had two messages from Harrison and one message from Mia. She couldn't contain the smile that danced on her lips at the latter.

She'd met Mia via one of the communities her secret journal belonged to about five months ago. They'd read each other's post and sometimes leave comments. The comments had become increasingly frequent in the past three months and the two had begun chatting on instant messenger. After a month of chatting she learned that Mia was from California as well. In fact, she lived in the next city over and Sam had confessed that she wasn't really from Big Rapids, Michigan. Once they learned that they had more in common than their journals they started talking everyday, sometimes for hours, given Sam's sudden surplus in free time. They even exchanged pictures and eventually phone numbers. Sam figured it was safer to give out her cell number, instead of the main house, but they'd had some delightful conversations on the phone and she was very at ease.

She clicked on her away message box, getting rid of it and waiting for the two conversation windows to pop up. She checked Harrison's first.

TheNinthHole: Hey Sammy

Auto response from LoisLane082884: Running errands…call the cell…

TheNinthHole: Message me when you get back. I have a joke I want to tell you.

LoisLane082884: Hey Harry, what's the joke?

Auto response from TheNinthHole: Spending time with my lady love…call the cell or leave a message…better yet, just leave message ;)

She sighed, though she was sort of happy not to have to talk to Harrison. She really wanted to watch the movies she'd rented. She clicked on Mia's window and proceeded to read it.

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: Hey Sam

Auto response from LoisLane082884: Running errands…call the cell…

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: I have a question to ask u when u get back. I'm too shy to ask u on the phone. I'll just wait for u to get back.

LoisLane082884: I'm back

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: Hey did u have fun running errands?

LoisLane082884: Eh, I just went to the video store.

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: Ooo, rent anything good?

LoisLane082884: I was feeling sort of like having an 80's brat pack night. So I got Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire and The Lost Boys.

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: Oooo, good choices. I'm so jealous. I wish I could watch them with you.

LoisLane022884: Me too :">

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: Well u may get ur chance…shoot, I have to sign off for a bit, my dad needs the phone.

LoisLane022884: You need to get a cable modem…

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: I know, I actually convinced my dad, finally. We're getting it next week. But anyway, I'll be back in about an hour or two…have fun watching ur movies. ttyl

LoisLane022884: Later babe…

CalifrnaDreamnGrl signed off at 6:56:34 PM

Sam sighed, realizing she hadn't asked Mia what her question was. She'd make sure she did that first thing when Mia got back online. She checked Carmen's away message to see if Brooke was over her house.

LoisLane022884: Hey Carm…

Auto response from CheerBear2002: Going over routines with Brooke McQueen.

The brunette tried not to roll her eyes. She didn't understand what Carmen's obsession with her blonde stepsister was. Well she did, but she was pretty sure that Carmen wasn't in love with Brooke, at least not the way she was. She sighed deeply, wondering how she was going to repair her relationship with the blonde cheerleader. Deciding not to dwell, she popped The Breakfast Club into her DVD player and lost herself in the beauty of 80's teen angst.

Brooke came home sometime during the second movie, St. Elmo's Fire and Sam decided for once not to go and knock on her door, at least not until she had a plan. When the movie ended, she took a break and sat down in front of her laptop. Harrison still hadn't come back, Carmen hadn't returned her message either, but Mia was back, much to her delight.

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: Hey I'm back

Auto response from LoisLane022884: Paying homage to early teen angst…God I love the 80's…

LoisLane022884: Hey I'm back too

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: Hey how's movie night going?

LoisLane022884: Can't go wrong with the classics.

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: So true

LoisLane022884: Oh! Before I forget, you mentioned you had a question for me. Something you were 'too shy to say on the phone?'

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: Right, well…see the thing is, we've been talking for what five months right?

LoisLane022884: In various forms, yes…

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: And things have been good thus far right? I mean we like each other right?

LoisLane022884: I know I like you. I can't speak for you…

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: Oh, I do! I mean I like u a lot…

LoisLane022884: Okay, so we like each other and enjoy talking to one another. Where is this going because I'm confused?

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: Well, I was wondering if, maybe u might want to

LoisLane022884: Might want to what?

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: Might want to meet up and hang out sometime…

Sam blinked and stared at the screen. While it was true that they had talked for a long time and she most certainly liked Mia, she'd never really thought of it progressing beyond cyberspace. Then again, this was someone she'd thought she'd come to know well enough and it wasn't like she was going to have the true object of her affection. They were barely talking right now as it was. Besides, she certainly wasn't going to meet any girls at Kennedy. So what the hell? Right?

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: OMG, you know what? That was a stupid suggestion. Just forget I said anything and we can put the whole ugly sordid mess behind us.

LoisLane022884: Really? Okay, if you're sure, because I was going to say it was a great idea.

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: Really?

LoisLane022884: Yep

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: Wow! Okay great! I mean cool…

LoisLane022884: Yeah, cool…

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: Well, I have to get offline again. My grandmother is supposed to be calling and I'll talk to u tomorrow about setting up a tentative date and time.

LoisLane022884: Okay sounds like a plan

CalifrnaDreamnGrl: Great! Well, good night Sam

LoisLane022884: Talk to you tomorrow, Mia.

CalifrnaDreamnGrl signed off at 11:34:13 PM

Excitement fluttered through her as she thought of the possibility of meeting this new stranger. They'd had some pretty amazing conversations over the past months about everything and nothing at all. She'd told Mia some things she hadn't even told Brooke and she felt like they had a real connection. She could even see herself possibly dating Mia some where down the line. Barring that the meeting goes well and they have a real connection. But what if Mia thought this was a date? It wasn't a date right? Cause she wasn't so sure that she was quite ready for a date with a girl. She needed some advice and she knew of only one person that could help her with this problem. Though she wasn't sure if she should ask, but she really needed the help. She opened a new IM window.

LoisLane022884: Brooke, are you busy?

QueenMcBitch: I was just heading to bed.

LoisLane022884: Oh, well never mind then…

QueenMcBitch: What's up, Sam?

LoisLane022884: Nothing, it can wait until the morning. I just needed advice on something. But you're tired…so it can wait.

QueenMcBitch: I'll be there in two…

LoisLane022884: Okay, thanks Brooke

Auto response from QueenMcBitch: In Sammy's room…call the cell if you need me.

Sam was barely finished reading the away message before the blonde was crossing her room and sitting on her bed. She swiveled her computer chair around and looked at the cheerleader. She felt like she hadn't truly seen Brooke for weeks. She was struck, as always, by the beauty that was Brooke McQueen.

"Okay, what's up Sam?" Brooke asked, giving Sam her undivided attention.

Sam took a deep breath. How was she supposed to start? Hey Brooke, I'm gay! Oh by the way, I figured it all out when I fell in love with you and now I need your help to woo this other girl? Somehow she didn't think that would go over well. Still, she and Brooke were past that petty need to destroy each other and she felt like she could tell the blonde anything.

"Well, um, you see the thing is…the thing is I like someone." Sam started off slowly, not able to quite meet the blonde's hazel eyes. She was sure, however that she'd seen the cheerleader stiffen as she spoke.

"Well, who is this guy? Is he cute? Is it someone that I know?" Brooke asked in such rapid succession that Sam could barely keep up.

"No, you don't know the person I like. They don't go to Kennedy, and…" Sam said letting her words trail off.

"And…?" Brooke asked in a weird tone.

"And…it's not a he, but a she." Sam finished in a rush.

"So?" Brooke asked nonchalantly. Sam stared at her. Of all the reactions she'd expected from the blonde, cool indifference hadn't been one. It was almost as if Brooke wasn't surprised by her admission. Brooke's hazel eyes studied her face for a moment before she continued to speak. "Sam, it's fine that you're gay. It's not a big deal that you like girls, unless it's a problem for you."

"Uh, no, no it's not a problem for me," Sam stammered.

"Well okay, then so there's no problem, unless the someone you like is me. And that's not what's happening right? You don't like me do you, Sammy?" Brooke asked and there was an edge in her voice that Sam didn't quite understand.

Where was all of this coming from? It was almost as if the blonde knew about her feelings for her, but that couldn't be the case. She hadn't told anyone about her feelings for Brooke, not even Mia. Mia knew she had a crush, but Sam had made it clear the crush wasn't up for discussion. In fact the only place she ever talked about it was in 'Tippy's Journal' and there was no way Brooke knew about that.

"No, it's not you I like. That would be crazy, wouldn't it? I mean could you imagine that?" Sam chuckled, playing it off. She didn't miss the look of surprise that washed over the blonde's beautiful face, before she could recover it. What was going on with Brooke lately?

"Okay, so tell me about this mystery girl. You said I don't know her right?"

"Right, well her name is Mia. I met her when she left me a message on my…IM. Anyway, we've been talking for about five months. We've even talked on the phone a couple of times," Sam said.

Brooke arched a blond eyebrow. "Okay, and where's the part where my advice is needed?"

"Right, well so like I said, we've talked a lot over the past few months and I've really grown to like her. She's interesting and smart and not bad looking from what I can tell from pictures." She paused looking over at the blonde with a slight blush. Brooke nodded her head, encouraging her to continue, even though Sam had to wonder at the strange look in the blonde's eyes. "Well, tonight, she asked if maybe I wanted to meet up and hang out."

"And you said?" Brooke asked slowly.

"I said yes."

"And the problem is?"

"Well, for one, this is someone I have never met before and I'm a little nervous. And two, what if she thinks this is a date? Is this a date? And if it's a date what do I do? What do I wear? How do I act?"

"Whoa, calm down there, Mucky, before you hyperventilate. The first thing you're going to do is breathe. I think what you need is a 'wing man.' Someone to accompany you on this date or whatever it is that will, keep the conversation flowing, but could also provide the alibi for a quick get away, just in case this girl turns out to be a total skankzilla or something."

Sam chuckled, marveling at how Brooke was able to ease all of her fears with so few words. She was glad that she could come to the blonde with this. She always knew just what to say. All she needed was a 'wing man' and she would be fine. But where was she going to find said 'wing man?' There was no way she was telling any of her other friends about this. She just wasn't ready yet. She looked over at Brooke uncertainly and she knew the blonde could read her unvoiced question.

"Don't worry, I'll do it."


Part Five

What the hell am I doing here? Brooke asked herself for the tenth time that evening. Two weeks, it had taken them two weeks to decide to meet up at the movies, which had been Brooke's original idea. But oh no, she'd been subjected to the phone calls that lasted way too long for her liking and the constant text messages whenever she and Sam were studying. That was when they actually got time to spend together. Sam was always busy doing something lately and what little time they did actually see each other, she couldn't stop talking about Mia.

Mia, she now hated that name. She wasn't even sure why. She should be happy. She was no longer the subject of 'Tippy's Journal.' No, she'd been replaced by another cheerleading blonde that was on her debate team and the school paper. It should have made spending time with the budding journalist easier. Instead she went to bed feeling unsettled and angry and she didn't understand why. She'd liked it better when she'd been avoiding Sam, but Sam was her best friend and she was trying to be supportive.

So here she stood in front of the theater with a very nervous Sam and all she wished she could do was go home and curl up in her bed. Sam was shifting from foot to foot and bouncing incessantly. She ran a shaking hand through her hair before turning uncertain brown eyes to Brooke.

"Are you sure I look okay?" Sam asked.

"For the five hundredth and seventy third time, yes, you look great." Brooke answered in an exasperated tone, but she'd meant it. Sam really did look good. She was wearing the outfit they'd gotten from the mall months ago and she'd done some cool twisty thing with her hair. She'd even asked Brooke do her make up and the ending result was amazing.

Just then a blonde with long wavy hair and sparkling bluish green eyes appeared beside them. Judging from the gleam in those blue eyes, Brooke knew she wasn't the only one that appreciated the time Sam had put into her appearance. Sam caught the look in Brooke's hazel eyes and turned around.

"Mia?" She croaked.

"In the flesh, so I guess that makes you Sam," the blonde said with a bright smile.

"Yeah…um…yes, I'm Sam," the brunette replied moving forward to hug the girl.

"Wow, the pictures really didn't do you justice," Mia said with a shy smile

"I could say the same about you," Sam said with bright pink cheeks.

Brooke had to fight making a gagging noise at the two blushing girls. She took one look at the blonde and decided that she didn't like her much. She grudgingly admitted that girl was beautiful, if you went for that petite, leggy, runway type of girl, but she was all wrong for Sam in Brooke's opinion. She was too perky and friendly. Who wore a skirt that short on a first date? Brooke shook her head, telling herself that she didn't really care. She just wished Sam would stop staring the girl's well-toned legs.

"Oh, where are my manners?" Sam turned towards the silently fuming blonde. "This is my stepsister, Brooke. Brooke this is Mia."

Thanks for finally noticing me, Sam. Brooke put on her best, I don't like you, but I'll pretend I do for Sam's sake smile and held out her hand. Something about the brunette introducing her as just her 'stepsister' didn't sit to well with her, but she decided to deal with that later.

"Nice to meet you Brooke. I've heard so much about you," Mia said in her sweetest voice and it made Brooke want to wretch.

"All nice things, I hope."

"Only the best," The shorter blonde replied, before turning her attention to a tall, blonde haired boy, with movie star good looks and a letterman's jacket. "This is my best friend, Ethan. Ethan, that's Sam and this is Brooke."

Ah, he was to be her 'date.' Brooke gave him a once over and she had to admit he was definitely her type, at least her type back when she dated guys like Josh Ford. She wasn't into those guys any longer. She now preferred dark haired, dark eyed guys that were into books instead of sports. Boys who wrote more than the required essays for school were her forte now. This boy with his flaxen hair, deep green eyes, and Tom Cruise smile did nothing for her. Wow, he even had a dimple in his right cheek. Nice touch, Brooke thought exasperatedly.

As they stood in line for their movie tickets, Ethan regaled her with the highlights of his high school football career. All the while she attempted, in vain, to hear what Sam and Mia were whispering about. She didn't like how close Mia stood next to Sam and how, when they talked, the blonde always seemed to need to touch the journalist in some way or another. She was half-tempted to say something, but the brunette didn't seem to mind. In fact, Sam had fixed Brooke with a very excited smirk, which caused the blonde's heart to sink down into her stomach.

She sat in between Ethan and Sam in the movies with Mia on Sam's other side. The two held hands and talked while waiting for the previews to begin, while Ethan went on and on about hair gel. She rolled her eyes, making sure that her mouth was always full of popcorn to avoid having to actually talk to the quarterback. She was grateful when the movie began so she could feign interest in that, while covertly spying on the two girls to her left.

Once the theater went completely dark and the opening credits began to roll the nonstop chatter and giggling ceased between the two girls, much to Brooke's delight. Their hands remained intertwined and she could see them casting flirtatious glances at each other throughout the movie. She had to suppress her triumphant grin when Sam declined a kiss from Mia. It was short lived, however, when Sam took Mia's hand in her own and kissed the back of it in a heartbreakingly sweet and tender kiss. Brooke sat back in a huff and turned back towards the screen. She wouldn't be looking at the two girls again.

They stood outside of the theater talking for a few moments, since it seemed Sam and Mia could barely stand to end the evening.

"How about we go out for coffee?" Mia suggested.

"That sounds great!" Sam replied, looking over at Brooke cautiously.

Brooke could see Sam begging her for more time and she almost gave in, but she didn't think she could stand one more second of Sam and Mia making eyes at each other. "Actually, I'm not feeling all that great, movie theater popcorn loaded with butter always makes me feel a little nasty. Besides, I'm not much of a coffee drinker." She could see the disappointment in Sam's eyes, but blithely ignored it, thanking God that she'd driven that night.

"Brooke's my ride so…" Sam said letting her words trail off.

"We could always drive you home," Mia suggested with a coy smile.

Brooke's heart almost stopped. Why hadn't she thought of that? Would Sam go with them? Why should she care if Sam did? But Sam wouldn't ditch her, right? She really hoped Sam wouldn't. She held her breath, waiting for the brunette's response.

"Not tonight, maybe some other time. Call me tomorrow," Sam said to a very disappointed Mia. Brooke could feel another victorious smile spread on her face and didn't miss the pointed look the other blonde shot her.

When Sam moved forward to kiss Mia on her cheek, the shorter blonde returned the grin with one of her own. All traces of the smile Brooke had been sporting vanished. The foursome said their goodbyes. Everyone seemed oblivious to the silent battle being fought between hazel and blue eyes. She hooked her arm in Sam's as they made their way back to the car.

"So what did you think?" Sam asked excitedly as they drove home. "Wasn't she gorgeous?"

"Eh, she was okay. If you like that type," Brooke replied, trying to suppress her groan. She so didn't want to be doing this right now.

"What type is that? Blonde, leggy, and supermodel hot?" Sam asked with a big grin.

"Was she supermodel hot? I hadn't noticed."

"Oh come off it, Brooke, you'd have to be Helen Keller not to see," Sam said with a smirk. "Ethan wasn't too bad on the eyes either," she said looking over at the blonde driving curiously.

"No, I don't suppose he was, but honestly, he's not my type."

"Brooke, he's everybody's type! Heck, I'm even thinking about switching back teams. If it wasn't for Mia that is," she quickly amended.

Brooke rolled her eyes. She just wanted the conversation to end. "Yes, but guys like that they don't have a lot of substance. I'm looking for someone with depth and Ethan had about as much depth as a wading pool."

Sam chuckled, before her look became pensive. "Do you think she liked me?"

Brooke looked over at her incredulously. Then she saw Sam was serious. "Are you kidding me? She couldn't keep her eyes off of you. Or her hands for that matter."

"Yeah, but I've never been in this situation before. I didn't know if all of that was just per the course. So you really think she liked me?"

"She'd be a fool if she didn't," Brooke said and was warmed by the smile that graced Sam's beautiful features.

She still didn't like Mia and thought Sam could do a whole lot better, but she could play the supportive best friend role. She just hoped she'd survive it.


Part Six

Coming out to her friends had been surprisingly easy. They'd been really supportive, a little too supportive at times. Lily had offered to start up the gay/straight alliance again. She and Josh were still living in Glass' basement and she was sure she could convince her to be the faculty advisor. After all, she'd convinced the "Claw" to let her and Josh have one big bed. Sam believed that blackmail was somehow involved. Carmen was a little weird at first, but once Sam assured her that she would never do anything to make her uncomfortable, everything had gone back to normal. Even Harrison had been supportive once he'd gotten over the initial shock. In the month she and Mia had been dating, the blonde had met all of her friends. They even double dated with Josh and Lily and Harrison and Mary Cherry sometimes and much to Sam's amazement, Mia adored Mary Cherry.

From what she could tell, all of her friends seemed to really like her girlfriend. Everyone that is, except Brooke. Brooke was a whole different story. It was true that the coolness that had briefly existed between them was long gone, but every time she even mentioned Mia's name to Brooke something in the air changed. She would roll her eyes or simply change the subject. Sam didn't understand. Whenever Mia was around them, the she went out of her way to be nice to Brooke. She guessed some people just didn't click. It really hurt. She and Brooke were becoming close again. She wanted to be able to come home from dates with Mia and have someone to gush to. Granted, she had to admit that it was weird to talk to someone you were hopelessly in love with about the new person you were dating.

Dating Mia hadn't lessened her feelings for her blonde stepsister, but she hadn't really expected that it would. After all, if her feelings could be lessened by someone else's presence, then were they really sincere to begin with? Mia was fun to be with and they had a lot in common, but she wasn't expecting this to turn into a marriage proposal years down the line. This was her first girlfriend and she just didn't operate like that. Mia was exciting, but she didn't make Sam feel even half the things that Brooke had and she'd never even dated Brooke. No, she and Mia would not be a great love affair written in the history books. They hadn't even kissed yet.

Not that Mia hadn't tried, because she had, a lot. Sam just wasn't ready for that. She didn't understand her apprehension because she knew she really wanted to, but this was her first kiss, at least with a girl and she wanted it to be at the right moment. Maybe tonight would be the night. They were supposed to be going out with Harrison and Mary Cherry to a drive-in. They were taking her car because she, of course, had the convertible, which was the whole point of going to the drive-in. Maybe she'd drop those two off and when she walked Mia up to her door, she'd just pull her close and do the cliché thing and kiss her good night. She sighed, that didn't seem romantic enough. Err, why was dating so hard?

What she really wanted to do was go ask Brooke what she should do, but given how Brooke reacted to that sort of thing, she thought better of it. After pacing around for about twenty more minutes, she decided that she just couldn't walk into this unprepared. Like it or not, she needed Brooke's input. She walked out of her room and down the hall, knocking on the blonde's door. She could hear the strains of Nsync's 'Girlfriend' coming from the room loud and clear. When she got no response, Sam opened the door and leaned against the frame. She crossed her arms over her chest and enjoyed the view of the blonde gyrating to the beat. She wondered for a moment if she should feel guilty for watching. Yes, she had a girlfriend, but this was Brooke. Besides she would never do anything to betray Mia.

She wondered how Brooke could ever think there was anything wrong with her body. So far Sam hadn't been able to find one single thing wrong, except for the fact that she couldn't see more of it. Just then, Brooke did a move that would make a stripper blush and Sam thought she should say something, or risk turning into a puddle. Clearing her throat, she put on her best McPherson smirk. "Is that a new move for the Bring It squad? Cause I got to say, it will be a hit at the pep rallies."

The blonde spun around in surprise, clutching her chest. "God Sam! Knock much?"

"Actually I did knock, Goldilocks, but you were to busy doing…well what you were doing."

Brooke took a long drink from her bottled water and regarded Sam for a moment. "Did you actually need something, Mucky, or were you just adding voyeur to your ever expanding repertoire?"

"Actually I came to ask you for some advice."

"You know for all the time I spend playing shrink to you, I should start charging," Brooke said with a chuckle. "What's wrong now? Barbie can't find the keys to her Corvette?"

"Brooke…" Sam said in a warning tone. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea, she thought

"You're right. I'm sorry. That was uncalled for," Brooke replied, though she didn't look the least bit contrite.

Deciding to just let it go, Sam pressed on. "Well, Mia and I have been dating a month now and I think tonight might be the night."

The blonde's hazel eyes grew impossibly large. "The night? Geez Sam, don't you think that it might be a little too soon?"

Sam blinked at her in confusion. "No…I mean it has a been a month. How much longer should I make the girl wait?"

"At least until you're ready to say 'I love you'. You're not ready to say 'I love you', are you?"

"Definitely not! Why…why would you ask me something like that? I mean I wasn't ready to say 'I love you' to George or Harrison when I did it with them."

"Harr..Harrison? You did this with Harrison?! When?"

Sam didn't understand what was upsetting Brooke. These were things she knew already. "Week after spring break, hello remember? He and I were quarantined. George walked in saw us doing it. Ring any bells?"

"I thought George only saw you two kissing?" Brooke said in confusion.

"He did see us only kissing. That's all I've ever done with Harrison, or anyone for that matter. Brooke, you know all this."

"Wait, Sam. What do you mean tonight might be the night for you and Mia? The night to do what?"

"I think tonight's the night I'm going to kiss her," Sam answered slowly.


"What did you think I was talking about?"

"Well I thought tonight was the night you were going to…wait, you and Mia haven't kissed yet?!" Brooke asked incredulously.

"No, we haven't kissed. And what did you think I was talking about?" Sam asked suspiciously.

"It doesn't matter, but it definitely wasn't kissing. You mean at all? Not even a peck on the lips?"

"Nope nothing but some cheek action." Sam answered defensively.

"I can't believe it. Why haven't you done it? I mean it has been a month."

"I know that," Sam growled. "I've just been waiting for the right time. I mean this is my first girl on girl kiss. I want it to be perfect."

Brooke offered her a sweet, wistful smile. "I wish more guys put that kind of thought into a first kiss."

Sam blushed. "So how do I know when it's the right time?"

"Oh Sam, I don't know. All I can say is trust your heart to tell you."

Sam just hoped that her heart didn't betray her.

It turned out that that night hadn't been the right time either. There was something about listening to Mary Cherry talk about getting fat sucked out of her ass and put into her breasts that had put Sam in a decidedly unromantic mood. Brooke had been waiting up for her that night and she wasn't positive but she thought the blonde had looked pleased that she hadn't kissed Mia-but that couldn't be right-could it?

She stood chopping onions in the kitchen with her mother, nervously helping her make dinner. Ever since she'd told her mother about Mia, Jane had been insistent on meeting her. She'd finally relented after about a week and Mia had been more than happy to meet her family. Jane had taken the news of Mia very well and Sam was grateful yet again to have such a supportive and progressive mother. Mike had taken the news in stride and was still a little weird about it, but it didn't really bother her. It wasn't like they were terribly close

"And you remembered to tell Brooke what time dinner was?" Jane McPherson asked as she stirred the bowl in her arms.

"Yes, Mom," Sam replied, cracking an egg. "I'm going to leave in an hour to go pick up Mia and I told Brooke to be here at six o'clock on the dot."

"Okay, good," Jane said, looking around the kitchen. "Look, Mike's upstairs with MacKenzie and I've got things pretty much taken care of in here. Why don't you head up to get Mia early?"

Sam gave her mom a big smile and kissed her on the cheek. "Thanks Mom, you're the best. And you're going to love Mia. I just know it."

"Well I already like the things I do know and she's dating you, so I know she has good taste," Jane said with wink.

As she walked out the door towards her car, Sam rolled her eyes at her mother's corniness, but inside she felt like she might burst. It meant a lot to her that her mother was being so great about it. She even helped Mike feel a little more at ease. Now if only she could fix whatever was eating at Brooke and solve world hunger, her mother could be a superhero. She made a mental note to check her mother's closet for capes.

She shuddered as she thought about Brooke's reaction to the news that Mia would be coming over for dinner. Sam had never seen anyone's mood shift so quickly. Gone was the laughing talkative girl and in her place stood a girl whose eyes were colder than ice.

"Gee Sam, that's an awfully big step to take with someone you're not ready to say 'I love you' to. Are you sure you're not rushing it?" Brooke had asked in a cold voice before walking out of the room.

Sam was so lost and hurt by Brooke actions lately. She wondered if the blonde even considered her a friend any longer, let alone a best friend. She missed the old Brooke. This girl was someone she didn't even know. Determined not to let Brooke's dour mood dampen what looked to be a promising evening, she turned up her radio and sang along to the sweet sounds of John Mayer's "No Such Thing." She sang along with the lyrics, letting the words wash over her.

"' Welcome to the real world',

she said to me


Take a seat

Take your life

Plan it out in black and white

Well I never lived the

dreams of the prom kings

And the drama queens

I'd like to think the best of me

Is still hiding

Up my sleeve"

Sam laughed as she sang this. That verse always reminded her of the beginning of sophomore year. Back then everything had been so much simpler and yet so complicated. Sometimes she longed for those days. She longed for the time when it was just easier to hate Brooke than to love her. But I loved her even back then, she thought with a sigh.

"They love to tell you

Stay inside the lines

But something's better

On the other side"

She knew for a fact that things were not better on the other side. If the last two and a half years had taught her nothing else, it had taught her that. After the Kelly fiasco that caused her mother and Mike to split up, the George/Harrison/Brooke love square and Brooke almost losing her life on prom night, 'be careful what you wish for' took on a whole new meaning.

"I wanna run through the

halls of my high school

I wanna scream at the

Top of my lungs

I just found out there's

no such thing as the real world

Just a lie

you've got to rise above"

She wondered if that part was true. She wondered if, after high school, the only thing that changed was location and circumstance, but the people stayed the same. From what Brooke and Carmen had told her about the behavior of the college students at the frat party they'd gone to, she knew it was true.

She made it up to Mia's and back in record time. When she walked back into the house it was spotless. All signs that the kitchen had ever been the wreck it was when she left were gone, and her mom had set the table with candles and fresh cut flowers. When her mom said she had a handle on things she meant it. She stepped aside, letting Mia in the door. She took the cheerleader's jacket, and hanging it in the closet. Just then, her mother came down the stairs holding Mac.

Sam hefted ten-month-old Mac from her mother and bounced the cooing baby. "Mia this is my mom, Jane McPherson."

"Hi Mrs. McPherson," Mia said with a bright smile and a little wave.

"It's nice to finally meet you, Mia. Sammy talks about you constantly," Jane said warmly.

"Mom…"Sam said as her cheeks turned bright red. She turned to Mia, holding the cooing baby up proudly. "This here is Mac."

Mac cooed and offered Mia a big smile, showing off the few teeth that she did have.

"Nice to meet you, Macky. I've heard so much about you," The blonde said bending over the baby and shaking her tiny fist. She turned back to Sam's mother, who was taking something out of the oven. "Is there anything I can help you with Mrs. McPherson?"

"Oh no, don't be silly. You're our guest, Mia. Why don't you sit down and relax? I'm sure Sam is just dying to pull out the photo albums and show you all of her baby pictures. The 'Sammy in the bathtub' series is everyone's favorite."

The brunette's face was bright red by the time her mother was finished talking. "Gee, thanks Mom," She muttered under her breath before she saw blue eyes staring up at her in curiously. "Don't get any ideas in that pretty little blonde head of yours. It's not going to happen."

Mia gave her her best pout before she reached out her hand and stroked MacKenzie's cheek. "She's really beautiful. I think she looks like you."

"Really? I think she looks a lot like Brooke. Some of their baby pictures are almost identical," Sam said thoughtfully. She wondered at the weird look that crossed Mia's face when she'd mentioned Brooke's name.

"The McQueen genes are certainly strong," Jane said coming back to Sam and taking the baby from Sam's arms. She fed Mac the half full bottle of juice she'd just retrieved from the refrigerator and the three of them stood making small talk.

Mac let out a big belch and an even bigger smile, causing everyone in the room to laugh. Mac really enjoyed being the center of attention and her hazel eyes shimmered with laughter. She wrapped a chubby little hand around a chunk of Jane's hair and tugged.

"Uh oh, that means someone's a little hungry. She certainly has Sammy's appetite. If you'll excuse me, I'll sit Mac in her seat with dinner and then I'll begin serving everyone else," Jane said, walking over to the table and putting Mac in her high chair. Once she had the baby squared away, she called Mike to the table and served everyone's food.

Sam had begun to worry when there was no sign of Brooke at quarter to the hour. It was six o'clock exactly when they all sat down to the table and Brooke still wasn't there. They waited twenty more minutes. Brooke had yet to show. She hadn't even called. Mike and Jane were worried, but Sam was beyond pissed. She knew Brooke was pulling this little stunt on purpose.

"Well, there's no sense in making our guest wait. Why don't we just eat? I'm sure Brooke will be here soon," Jane said, smiling over at Mia.

Things at dinner were a little awkward in the beginning. Mike was unusually quiet and had barely glanced in Mia's direction. Jane was a little busy attending to Mac while trying to feed herself and Sam tried to keep the conversation flowing by talking about a test she'd had in Physics earlier that week. Mia was being a really good sport about the whole thing and Sam grabbed her hand under the table, giving it a little squeeze of appreciation.

"Mrs. McPherson, everything tastes absolutely delicious," Mia said as she took a bite of her pork chop.

"Why thank you, Mia. I'm glad you're enjoying it. Tell us a little about yourself."

"I go to Lady Bird Johnson high school. I'm a junior and a cheerleader, but don't hold that against me," she deadpanned and earned a hearty laugh from the 'rentals. "I'm on the debate team, and I-"

"Sorry I'm late, guys. I had cheerleading practice. I completely spaced on the time. Ooo, I see we have company. Was that today, Sammy?" Brooke said as she walked into the kitchen and took her seat. She looked over at the fuming brunette as if she were a paragon of innocence.

But that just couldn't be because every word that had come out of her mouth was a lie, and Sam knew it. There had been no practice today. Carmen was at an AA meeting and Mary Cherry was in Texas for a week. Practice had been canceled two weeks ago. She had personally texted Brooke and sent her an email reminding her of the time for tonight's dinner. What game was Brooke playing?

"You're…Mia, right?" Brooke asked not even bothering to wait for a reply and blithely ignoring the glare that Sam sent her way. Instead she looked down at her plate and took a big bite of her food. "Mmm, Jane this is just delicious."

"Thank you, Brooke. Mia, here, was, uh, just telling us about being a cheerleader and on the debate team."

"Oh really? You know, I always thought Sammy should be on the debate team. She can argue with the best of them. We used to have some brutal fights. I'm saying like the celebrity death match of verbal spats. Didn't we Sammy?" Brooke asked, finally looking over at the brunette. Sam narrowed her eyes.

"We, uh, sure did Brooke, but those days are far behind us, aren't they?"

"Oh definitely, we're best friends now. Closer than sisters even," the blonde said looking at Sam pointedly.

"Actually I write for the school paper too," Mia added trying to break some of the tension that had settled around the table.

"Wow, debate team, school paper, cheerleading, and a girlfriend. I bet with such a jam-packed schedule, you barely have time to study. Your grades must be suffering since you started dating our Sammy here," Brooke said with a smug look.

"Actually, I'm a straight A student. I have to keep my grades up if I want to get into Columbia. Sam and I study together quite a bit. She's been a big help to me," Mia said with her own smug smile.

Sam watched the two of them go at it and wondered if what Mia had said was right. Her girlfriend was convinced that Brooke had anything but sisterly feelings for Sam. At first Sam had dismissed it. Now she wasn't sure what was going on. It made her head spin. She looked at her mother with eyes that said 'do something!' Jane nodded at her and turned back to Mia.

"So you write for the paper? Sam's the editor of the school paper at her school. Did she tell you that?" Jane asked brightly.

"She sure did. I've actually had the privilege of reading a few of her articles. I was very impressed."

"That's our Mucky. Hey did you catch any of her stuff from sophomore year? It was pretty cutting edge. I mean she got my friends and I busted for cheating on a bio midterm, and almost got me suspended from cheerleading. Back then she really had it in for the cheerleaders. I guess that's all changed now that she dating one."

"What's that supposed to mean?!" Sam asked.

"I think you know exactly what it means. You spent the better part of two years telling me exactly what a useless activity cheering was. How it served no purpose in the grand scheme of life except to divide the masses of high school into social classes. It's great to see that you've been able to climb down from your soapbox and admit that you fall into the shallow category that you've always lumped me and my friends in. Because at the end of the day, you're no different than anyone else. You've abandoned your principles for a pretty face, a short skirt and a set of pom-poms."

"How dare you?! I haven't abandoned anything! You're the one that's always trying to prove to everyone that you're more than just another dumb blonde cheerleader. Oh, and FYI Brooke, if you spent less time pretending that you're a good person and actually took the time to become one, maybe you'd have friends that don't stab you in the back or try to run you over with their car."

"Sam…" Jane said in a warning tone.

"Oh that's just so utterly Sammy to throw that in my face. If you hadn't been so selfish about the whole Harrison thing, then I wouldn't have been in the road in the first place. But oh no, you just couldn't stand to see me win! You didn't want Harrison, but you didn't want me to have him either."

"Newsflash, Princess, you always win! That Harrison thing was a mistake on both of our parts. At least I'm woman enough to admit when I'm wrong. You can't even admit that you were at fault in that situation too. Just admit that the only reason you've spent the past few months pretending to be my friend is to assuage your guilty conscious."

"Only after you admit that the only reason that you're dating the sweater over there because she looks like…because you're just as shallow as the people you claim not to want to be anything like!"

"Girls!" Jane said loudly, startling Mac.

"Brooke, I think that's enough. Don't be rude to our guest," Mike said evenly.

"I'm not being rude, Daddy. I'm sure Maya wants to hear all about Sammy, the real Sammy."

"Her name is Mia, Brooke and I'm sure she's heard plenty, especially from you," Sam said through clinched teeth.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means that you have been nothing but spiteful and uncouth since you walked in here. I mean, my God, Brooke did you take bitch pills this morning or something?"

"Sam…" Jane said in a warning tone as she was trying to settle Mac.

"No Mom, she's been completely out of line since she sat down. Now, dinner is ruined. Come on Mia, I'll drive you home because I can not stand being in this house with her for one more second," Sam said standing up from the table. She held out her hand to the girl sitting next to her, and they walked towards the door.

"Thanks for dinner, Mrs. McPherson and Mr. McQueen. It was lovely," Mia called over her shoulder as the two walked out of the house.

Sam fumed all the way up to Mia's house and back. She arrived home an hour later, after apologizing for Brooke's behavior profusely. Mia had been very understanding, suggesting that maybe the other blonde had just had a bad day. She gave Sam a long hug and promised to call her tomorrow.

Sam stormed into the house and up the stairs, never stopping until she'd made it to Brooke's room. She threw the door open.

"What the hell is your damage, Brooke?" She fumed.

"I don't know what you're talking about, Sammy. And do you want to keep it down? Mom just got Mac to sleep," the blonde responded looking up from her vanity as she brushed her hair.

"You know exactly what I'm talking about. What was that stunt you pulled at dinner? Why are you always so rude to Mia? Is it that you don't like her?"

"I wasn't pulling anything, Sam. I was simply trying to tell her stories about you. I'm sorry if that offended everyone," Brooke replied sarcastically.

"Like hell you were. I don't know why you don't like her, but that's not even the point. How could you do that to me? I thought we were friends. You're supposed to be my best friend."

"I'm your friend? Tell me something, Mucky. When in the last month since you've been dating your precious Mia, have we ever spent any real time together? It seems the only time you ever actually want to talk to me, hell even give me the time of day, is when you need my advice on what to do about Mia or when you want to talk about her. When's the last time you asked me how my day was?"

"Is it so horrible that for once, I want to gush about someone that I'm seeing? Okay, so I haven't been as attentive as I usually am, but this is all new for me. It hasn't exactly been easy to be around you. You turn into a megabitch if I just mention her name. So excuse me for taking a step back from our 'friendship.' I hesitate to even call it that after that disastrous dinner we had."

"So what are you saying, Sam? You don't want to be my friend anymore?" Brooke asked turning around to face the pacing brunette. Was that hurt that Sam saw in her eyes?

"What I'm saying is with friends like you, why do I need enemies?" Sam scathed before walking out of the room and slamming the door.

Part 7

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