DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of these characters, they're the property of Ryan Murphy and company (sorry, but I don't know companies name); I'm just borrowing them for a short period of time.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Well, This Happened
By Janine


Part One

It was Monday. Brooke hated Mondays. She firmly believed that Mondays were a horrible way to spend one seventh of your life. Then, to top it all off, it was gym class. Brooke was beginning to hate gym class. Sighing dramatically, she yanked her top over her head and sat down, reaching into her gym bag. As she yanked--and yank she did--her tank top out, another shirt, a red one, came out with it. It was Sam's. Jane had caught Brooke just as she was going out the door and shoved--alright gently handed--the shirt to her, asking her if she would be able to give it to Sam. Brooke sighed again. The shirt smelled like jasmine, just like Sam, and it was red, Sam loved red.

Pulling her own shirt over her head, Brooke looked up and across the room. Sam was standing on the other side of the locker room, talking to Carmen and gesturing emphatically. From the way Sam was gesturing at Carmen's top half, Brooke guessed she was trying to bum a shirt off the girl seeing as she was standing there half dressed. Half dressed, Brooke thought to herself longingly. Half dressed was a good look on Sam she decided. Letting out a frustrated sigh, the cheerleader picked up the red shirt that had been lying next to her and balled it up. Then, taking one last look at Sam, she drew her arm back and threw the balled up piece of cloth in Sam's direction hitting her with it squarely on the head.

The locker room went quiet as the cottony red ball arched across the room; everyone was following its path from point A to point B waiting for the super bitch fight they were sure was going to occur after it reached its destination. The animosity between Brooke McQueen and Sam McPherson was legendary--they were like Superman and Lex Luther, Xena and Callisto, Pinky and the Brain--and now Brooke had just shot a projectile at her nemesis. Chaos was sure to ensue and they were all eagerly awaiting it, after all Brooke and Sam had practically turned hostility into an art form. They were poetry in motion really.

Sam slowly reached up and peeled the shirt from over her head, then equally slowly she turned around and looked in the direction the t-shirt bomb had came from. What she found was Brooke staring directly at her, eliminating all other possible options. The blonde was the guilty party and seemed to want Sam to know it. This confused Sam, however, as she looked at the expression on Brooke's face the ball-of-bitch that had been building up in her as the shirt whacked her upside the head drained away with comprehension.

"What was that?" Sam asked calmly. She felt that she had to address the situation verbally, seeing as the entire locker room was watching them, and she got a slight kick out of the fact that her unruffled reaction seemed to leave everyone else in the room confused and slightly dazed.

"Your mom gave it to me…to give to you…which I did," Brooke mumbled, then looked away. Her eyes had been locked on Sam's chest as she spoke and she knew that she couldn't keep that up for much longer before somebody noticed.

"Did she tell you to hurl it at me?" Sam asked, trying to contain a smile. She knew what this was all about now that she had seen the way Brooke was looking at her.

"No, I came up with that myself," Brooke muttered before bending down to tie her shoes, effectively ignoring Sam for the rest of the allotted change time.

Bouncing on her feet lightly Sam took the shirt that now rested in her hands and pulled it over her head. Once she got it on, she rolled her shoulder around and bent her neck from side to side before clapping her hands together energetically.

"Are you okay?" Carm asked, looking at Sam oddly. She had been acting like a sugared up eight year-old for the past couple of days, it was all very bizarre. That worried Carmen because the last time Sam had acted this bizarrely was when she had gotten together with Brooke and Carm wasn't sure if she could handle another surprise of that magnitude.

"Yeah," Sam responded, bounding some more. "I'm just ready to go, you know, burn some energy," she went on. "It's all good."

Carm nodded in response, but somehow she got the impression that was NOT indeed all good.

'Spandex, it's a privilege not a right,' Sam thought to herself as she bounced on her feet a little, "and she is certainly privileged," she continued as she stared at Brooke. She broke her gaze momentarily when the teacher began to speak, but just as quickly her eyes returned to their previous task, which consisted completely of staring at Brooke's ass with an almost scholarly interest. She bounded some more. Then rubbed her hands together. Then bounded some more.

"Ouch, Carm!" Sam whispered harshly in response to her friend knocking her on the arm.

"McPherson, Ferrara…make mouths shut now!" the teacher called from in front of them. Sam and Carm both smiled politely and nodded.

"You were staring," Carm whispered softly, trying to minimize all mouth action.

"Was not," Sam responded, however even as the words left her mouth her eyes were back on Brooke and she was definitely staring.

Carmen knocked her again.

"Ferrara! Nobody beats anyone up around here without my explicit permission. Understand?" the teacher asked darkly.

"Yes ma'am," Carmen responded before shooting Sam a nasty look. Sam was the one suddenly stricken with a severe case of 'dirty-old-man' disease and she was the one that got yelled at. She just couldn't see how that worked out on the karmic cycle. On top of that the look had absolutely no effect on Sam since she had immediately returned to her previous activities the moment the teacher had spoken. Carm sighed, it was going to be a long day.

Part Two

"Sam?" Harrison asked, snapping his fingers in front of the girl's face.

"Yeah, yeah," Sam said, returning to the real world. She had been staring at Brooke from across the lunchroom for the better part of fifteen minutes, only stopping momentarily to pick up the container of salt she had knocked over when Brooke flipped her hair, which consequently turned Sam into a pile of boneless mush that in turn flopped around and knocked the salt shaker over. "I heard you," she went on even though she had no idea what he was talking about.

"So, it's a deal then. Next time you go on one of your anti-Brooke campaigns, I get a front row seat and backstage pass?" he asked, confirming what he had said earlier.

"Anti-Brooke? Since when are you anti-Brooke?" Sam asked. Now that Brooke had been mentioned Harrison had her full attention. Unfortunately for him it seem there was no more anti-Brooke in Sam, if he was going to anti he would have to anti-himself.

"He's mad at her," Lily responded, trying to smother a smile as she mentally recalled the display she had witnessed earlier.


"He was talking to her today between first and second period and halfway through the conversation she snapped at him," Carmen started excitedly.

"Then he bitched back at her! Then after a minute of that…" Lily continued.

"Brooke ended up calling him J.C. and asked where Justin and Lance were," Carm finished trying unsuccessfully not to laugh out loud.

"Ha! Ha, ha. That's really funny," Harrison remarked dryly as he shot the two of them deadly looks. When he noticed the small smile on Sam's face he observed her keenly for a moment before speaking. "What did you do to her?" he asked accusingly.

"Me? Do? To her?" Sam asked incredulously.

"Yeah, you've been acting like the energizer bunny for the past couple of days while she's descended into the deep pits of Hades to emerge Princess Bitch-a-lot, sister and right hand to Satan," he replied accusingly.

"Listen, I haven't done anything to her," Sam responded more soberly. "Maybe YOU just need to brush up on your social skills a bit," she continued somewhat antagonistically. It was one thing for her to have previously made Brooke's life a virtual hell on earth, but nobody else had better try it or she'd be forced to non-violently kick one hundred percent of their ass.

Part Three

Sam regarded her friends carefully, bouncing on her feet a little, but mostly watching her friends carefully. After lunch Lily and Carm had made a big production of ditching Harrison and then tracking her and staring her down like prison wardens. The last time she had seen that particular look on their faces she had spilled just about all of the beans she had, and she wasn't particularly looking forward to spilling anymore. She quite felt like holding onto her beans this time around.

"What?" she asked finally. They had to get this over with sooner or later and she and her beans preferred that it be sooner.

"Is everything alright?" Lily asked softly as she watched Sam keenly.

"Yes," Sam replied, drawing the word out as long as humanly possible before bouncing on her feet some more and blinking rapidly.

Carm and Lily exchanged a look that did not go unnoticed by the prisoner.

"How's Brooke?" Carm asked, her voice had that lilt to it that people usually reserved for small children and animals. Sam didn't appreciate it.

"She's fine too," Sam responded, preparing to bounce some more. However, once she got onto the tips of her toes Carm reached and grabbed her shoulders pushing her back down to the ground.

"Stop that," Carm admonished. "Please, please stop that," she went on, her voice holding a pleading tone to it.

"Stop what?" Sam asked, struggling to bounce under Carmen's grasp.

"That!" Carm said pointing to Sam's feet. "That psychotic bouncing. Up and down, up and down, side to side, up and down. Please, please stop!"

"Okay," Sam responded softly, looking at Carm like she had two heads. "I'll stop, you just take a deep a breath. Look, no more bouncing," she went on, smiling reassuringly. She couldn't believe that she was the one they were doing an intervention on when Carm was so obviously very, very tense.

"The thing is," Lily started after Carm nodded, indicating that she should continue the interrogation while she gathered her wits, "that for the past week you've been acting increasingly like a speed freak and Brooke seems to be acting according to the gospel of St. Bastard or something…so, we were kind of wondering if…you know…you two were having problems…or something."

"We're fine," Sam responded. But even as she spoke a shadow of something crossed her face.

"No, no we don't think that you are. Something is definitely wrong," Carm responded having come back to herself. "You know we're going to badger you until you tell us, take the easy road for once Sam, you might even like it."

"Brooke and I are fine. There is no trouble in paradise," Sam responded. They simply stared at her and she got the distinct impression that they wanted more. "It's just that…well, paradise has gotten a few new inhabitants since we spoke last and one of them, of the Dad variety, fractured his ankle and doesn't leave the house. Ever," she went on, her tone darkening and her brows scrunching together in consternation. "Ever," she added again just for good measure. "He's just there, all the time, like a lawn gnome or dust mites or something."

There was a long moment of silence then the exclamation of "Ohmygod!" by Carm, which was followed my many mini 'ohmygods' until she forced herself to calm down when passersby started to look at her. "You're not getting any," she whispered, pointing at Sam knowingly. "That's why you've been…and she's been…Ohmygod," she continued in a hushed tone.

"It's not funny," Sam whispered menacingly as she shot Carm a look that would have made Medusa run away with her tail between her legs. And it wasn't funny, it was a terrible situation, absolutely abominable. The situation made her very, very sad, and very, very hyper, and it made Brooke very, very cranky.

"I beg to differ," was Carmen's response as she doubled over. To Carm, this was priceless, absolutely priceless. Sam was always authoritative, so imposing, that to see her dissolve into a restless pile of nerves was absolutely priceless.

"Sam's right," Lily stated after Carm spoke. "Sexual frustration can be incapacitating, and routinely forces people to do things they wouldn't do under normal circumstances. In fact that's how the women of Sparta ended the Peloponnesian war."

"What? They wouldn't sleep with each other because they were afraid their parents would catch them?" Carm asked dissolving into another giggle spree, and just when she had started to get herself under control, damn!

"This is just great," Sam responded moodily as she bounced on her feet unconsciously, sending Carm off into another set of laughter. "Just know that I hate you intensely at the moment," Sam continued before starting down the hall.

Carm and Lily went after her.

"Come on Sam," Carm whispered once they had caught up. "I'm not getting any either," she continued starting to laugh again. "Besides you'll always have gym class, and spandex and cold, cold showers."

"You're evil," was all Sam said in response, before bouncing on her feet again, an absolutely despondent look coming over her face.

"We've gotta get this girl outside for a while," Carm said turning to Lily. She actually felt bad once she saw the look on Sam's face. She looked like one of the puppy dogs on those humane shelter commercials. It was pathetic in a rather compelling way. She wanted to help.

"The cheerleaders are practicing," Lily responded absently.

"Let's go," Sam responded instantaneously making a U-turn and heading for the stadium. Once again Carmen and Lily exchanged amused looks and quickened their steps to catch up with their rapidly retreating friend.

Part Four

Brooke ran a hand through her wet hair, a slight shiver running through her body. That shower had certainly been cold. Wrapping the towel more securely around herself, she walked over to her vanity mirror and leaned over, placing her hands on the top of it and stared at her own reflection studiously. 'Brooke,' she thought to herself, 'you have got to pull yourself together.' These were some very true thoughts, thoughts that she carefully took into consideration, strenuously believed, and just couldn't seem to follow through on for the life of her.

Sam crept down the hall stealthily towards Brooke's bedroom, carefully opening the door and sneaking in. Turning around with a pleased smile on her face she observed Brooke observing herself in the mirror before walking over to her. Wrapping her arms around Brooke's waist, Sam then rested her chin on the blonde's shoulder and stared forward into the mirror.

"Are you trying to tell your fortune?" the brunette asked, smiling.

"Not exactly," Brooke replied, dipping her head down so that she was looking at the table surface. "I was talking to myself."

"You might want to keep that on the down low...or at least blame it on your hand so that people don't think you're crazy," Sam responded lightly, before adding in a more serious tone, "What were you consulting yourself about?"

"I've got this problem you see," Brooke started, looking up into the mirror once more, her eyes locking with Sam's in the reflection surface. "I've got this really sexy girlfriend, I mean hot…hotter than Angelina Jolie in the Arizona desert in August at high noon," Brooke continued. "But that's not my problem…actually I'm quite pleased with that." Sam smiled. "My problem is that I have this condition…"

"Condition?" Sam asked knowingly, her eyes hooding slightly as she listened to the now low timbre of Brooke's voice.

"Yeah. My hands, they seem to have a mind of their own…they do things that I don't remember telling them to do," Brooke responded as one of her hands reached back and started to make it's way up Sam's thigh.

"What kind of things," Sam asked softly, she was momentarily distracted by Brooke's problematic hands and the very pleasant effects they were having on her.

"All kinds of things," Brooke responded with a dramatic sigh. "I don't know what to do. I just can't help myself."

"Sometimes," Sam began, "the best way to beat temptation is to yield to it," she continued before brushing Brooke's hair aside and licking her neck sensuously. Brooke groaned and turned around in the circle of Sam's arms, leaning forward but not quite bringing their lips together.

"We can't do this," Brooke whispered, her mouth hovering dangerously close to Sam's. However, she didn't sound terribly convinced, even to her own ears. In truth, she sounded acutely desperate to do it.

"Carpe Deum, Brooke," Sam whispered back. "Seize me," she continued before closing the distance between them and bringing their lips together in a heated embrace. Brooke, unable to help her response, drew her arms around Sam bringing them closer together as the kiss deepened.

"Sam," Brooke practically moaned as she pulled away. "They're just downstairs."

"They're busy," Sam responded distractedly as she leaned in to take Brooke's lips once more. "Some conference call from Tokyo." Certainly the situation wasn't ideal, but Sam had given up quixotic ideas such as flowers, and candles, and Marvin Gaye days ago. Desperate times called for desperate measures and Tokyo would do.

"What about your mom?" Brooke asked, allowing Sam to draw her into her.

"She's sitting in on it," Sam responded, pleased to see Brooke start to relax. "I heard them talking."

Brooke smiled, "You mean you eavesdropped."

"Essentially," Sam answered with a matching grin. "But aren't you glad that I did?"

"Extremely," Brooke responded before bringing their lips together once again.

The first contact was like heaven, both of them having felt as if it had been months, years, or even decades since they had last been free to touch each other unreservedly. Since their parents had come back, it had all been quick kisses here and there, brief moments snatched for themselves in dark corners...a covert operation, a hot/cold war as it were.

On those days, after dinner at pre-arranged times, Sam would sneak into a mostly deserted area of the house, to be joined by Brooke a few minutes later where all they could do was fan the fire that was burning them up inside instead of extinguishing it. And, even though it actually made their situation worse, made them long for each other's company with a greater intensity than before they had met, they continued to do it. Because the idea of being even further removed from each other than they already were was unthinkable to them. To each other they were life giving, a galvanizing impetus, simply a daily necessity for the continued existence of the unique species categorized as Sam and Brooke. So those stolen moments, those clandestine meetings were cherished and dreaded at the same time, for when it was time to part--and they always had to part--the world was a little bit colder than before, and Sam a little more hyper and Brooke a little more ornery.

"It feels like forever since I've gotten to hold you," Brooke whispered softly when the briefly separated. "To touch you," she continued almost reverently.

"Forever is far too long," was Sam's response, to which Brooke smiled. Sam then turned her attention to Brooke's neck as one of her hands parted Brooke's towel and leisurely made its way underneath, tickling Brooke's skin along the way. As Sam's hand began to explore Brooke's hidden treasures the only thing that was keeping the towel attached to Brooke's body was the intimate proximity of their bodies; and as Sam's hand trailed up Brooke's torso to cup her breast, Brooke just couldn't seem to find it within herself to care.

"Brooke?" a voice called from outside the door freezing the two girls in their positions. They were only spurred into motion when they saw the knob begin to turn and heard the door start to creak open.

Sam removed her hands from Brooke's body and stumbled backwards until there was an acceptable distance between the two of them, leaving Brooke to clutch her towel to her body desperately as Jane McPherson walked into the hormone filled bedroom, completely oblivious to the activities which had been going on previous to her arrival and the distress that the occupants of the room were now in.

Spotting Brooke first, she gasped, "I didn't know you were in here," a slight blush coming to her face to match Brooke's own flushed complexion. "I thought you were in the shower, although I guess you were…I just wanted to return this," she went on, extending her hand to reveal a book Brooke had leant her.

"Oh, it's alright, you know…the more the merrier," Brooke responded in what she hoped was a blasé tone, although she shifted her weight, uncomfortably aware of the fact that she could still feel Sam's hands on her and her body was still reacting like nothing had changed from a few moments before, even though everything had changed. She clung to the towel that now hung precariously on her body more fervently. "Are you finished already?" she went on, more for the sake of distracting herself more than anything else as another shiver ran through her body.

Jane was about to respond to the inquiry when a movement off to the side caught her eye. Recalling Brooke's comment about 'the more the merrier' she was suddenly dying to know and terrified to find out who could possibly have been in Brooke's room after she showered. Turning her head slightly, she spotted her daughter standing off to the side, and was relieved but somewhat confused to see it.

"Sam?" she asked in a tone that was mildly surprised but nothing really more than that.

"I thought she was in the shower," was Sam's somewhat odd response considering the tone her mother had employed. The brunette sounded more like she was giving testimony than answering a simple greeting.

"What?" Jane asked, not quite following her daughter's train of thought.

"I came to get my bio text," Sam responded, pointing the book lying on the bed, having spotted it a moment before. Sam knew enough about biology to know that both she and Brooke were in bad shape at the moment, and watching Brooke shift and shudder, the flush previously on her skin not going anywhere, Sam knew too that she had to get herself and her mother out of there. "To do homework," she added after that, really for no discernable reason other than she didn't want to be thinking about Brooke's body at the moment.

"I see," Jane responded, returning her attention to Brooke who was fiddling with her towel trying to tie it again. "The…" she started to say to the cheerleader but was cut off by Sam coming up behind her and nudging her. "What are you doing?" Jane asked in regards to the mini body check Sam had just given her. She had seen baby elephants engaged in this type of behavior on the Discovery Channel before, but it wasn't really as cute coming from her own child.

"We should go," Sam said gravely. "She's like naked," she continued looking at Brooke quickly before turning away. "We shouldn't be here when she's almost naked," Sam went on nudging her mother towards the door. "In America we don't like nudity, that's why it's only on late night TV and pay per view. We should definitely go." And with that both of the McPherson's were outside and room and Sam quickly turned around and shut the door, her anxiety level lowering considerably once Brooke was out of sight, and out of reach.

"You didn't take your book," Jane pointed out once they were in the hallway.

"What book?" Sam asked distractedly.

"Your textbook," Jane said, watching her daughter. Sam had been acting oddly lately, and she was beginning to get suspicious although she didn't know what she beginning to get suspicious about. She was, however, certain that she was suspicious of something.

"Oh, yeah," Sam replied. "I guess I already got my biology lesson for today," she continued, looking back at the door, then smiling uncomfortably when she realized what she had said and who she had said it to.

"You're a strange child," Jane responded, shaking her head.

"I prefer the term eccentric," Sam related. Jane smiled and drew her arm around Sam's neck, dragging her down the hall. This meant quality time. Sam sighed. It was the perfect end to the perfect night. "I thought you had a conference call to Tokyo," Sam commented a moment later unable to resist. She should have had at least two hours and she was a bit bitter that things didn't work out that way.

"Oh, that got postponed to tomorrow night…after Mike gets his cast off," Jane replied.

"Figures," Sam muttered darkly.



Part Five

Nicole Julian leaned against one of the lockers opposite the Novak, idly looking at her perfectly coiffed nails in between scanning the hallways. She knew that most people thought of her as cold, unfeeling, and devastatingly beautiful, and too be sure she was all of those things, but too many people confused her indifference to her surroundings with an inability to understand them. This was a very big mistake, one those unfortunates usually paid for dearly. Lately, this underrated power of observation that Nicole was gifted with had been turned towards her best friend, Brooke.

She had first noticed a change in Brooke shortly after her father and the McPherson woman had gone away on vacation, and after the night Brooke had told her Sam was cooking dinner for her. For the few days following that night, Brooke had been very tense, and that apprehension increased considerably whenever Sam entered a room. But unease wasn't the only thing Nicole had noticed during those days, almost more interesting had been the fact that even though Brooke was quietly hostile--as is her way--towards Sam, she had been oddly captivated by her, staring almost constantly at her and speculating out loud what the brunette could have been thinking about. This had originally drawn Nicole's attention because she could have cared less what was going through Spam's infantile little mind, but then maintained her interest because she was certain Brooke shouldn't have given a flying fuck what Sam was thinking either and she wanted to know why Brooke had suddenly taken an interest in the goings on of that particular cranium.

And then, after days of mounting hostility and just when the friction between the two of them seemed to be reaching its pinnacle, nothing happened. At least not of the explosive, earth-shattering variety that Nicole was rather fond of. The very next day, not only were things no longer stressed between the two, but they seemed to be friendly terms. There was a politeness to their interactions after that, and, Nicole had noticed with some confusion, a kind of coyness on Brooke's part. As for Sam, gone was the perpetually furrowed brow whenever she came into contact with them, and gone were her constant pissing and moaning about them and her even more exasperating silent accusations. There seemed to have been a kind of peace formed between the two of them, and Nicole didn't understand or like it.

And then came the cancelled gatherings. Almost every night of the subsequent week Brooke had cancelled the plans she had previously made with them. She had cited everything from homework, to exhaustion, but Nicole knew those weren't the real reasons she was canceling. She had always had homework and had always been busy, but had never cancelled on them. To be doing it so frequently then, was highly suspicious. She had no concrete proof, of course, but she was certain that it wasn't a whatever that was causing Brooke to cancel, but a someone and she was certain that someone was Sam.

Her, 'it has to be Sam' theory was momentarily thrown when Brooke had suddenly shown up at her house one night sporting a hicky and rumpled clothing she was unaware she was sporting. Nicole had then been forced to modify her theory slightly, coming to the conclusion that Brooke had begun to secretly date someone--of course she could have merely been fucking someone, but Nicole knew that wasn't Brook's style--and Sam must know about it which was why they had changed from enemies to 'frienemies'. Brooke was just protecting her interests.

That theory had suited Nicole rather well until the last week or so when she began to notice something else. Brooke and Sam weren't simply looking at each other - they were looking at each other. Nicole noticed Brooke's eyes follow Sam's figure down the hallway much longer than was necessary on many occasions, not merely tracking her but raking her eyes over her with an expression--momentary as it always was--of hunger. In addition she noticed Sam gazing at Brooke across from the other side of rooms--it didn't really matter which room as long as they were in it together--with a look that Nicole was forced to describe as 'longing'.

This new information caused another revamping of her theory, or more accurately a combining of her previous ones. She hadn't really been wrong those other times, she just hadn't seen the big picture--which she was confident she now did. Brooke's sudden change did have to do with Sam. Brooke was seeing somebody new and Sam did know about it, because Sam was the person Brooke was seeing. This was now known to her, and it was time for Brooke to explain herself.

Buffing her nails one last time, Nicole waited for Brooke to reach her before pushing off of the locker and grabbing the other girl's hand pulling her towards the Novak.

Part Six

"Out! Out! Get out. Do I look like I care? Don't ever wear those shoes in my presence again, thank you. Out! Do I even need to say it? Goodbye," Nicole said as she herded all the occupants of the washroom out of it in record time.

Following the last of the flock to the door, Nicole slammed it shut knocking the last of the girls out and locked the door.

"Much better," she exclaimed twirling around dramatically to face Brooke.

"What going on, Nic?" Brooke asked wearily. She had seen this look on Nicole's face before and wasn't really impressed with the end results when she had.

"It occurs to me that we really haven't had the time to just sit down and talk lately," Nicole started, stopping momentarily to observe her reflection in the mirror before turning to face Brooke once again. "And I really think that we need to talk. Wait, scratch that…YOU need to talk."

"You're gonna have to be more specific," Brooke responded, folding her arms across her chest defensively.

"Okay," Nicole said her posture tightening and her eyes narrowing a bit. "When were you going to tell me about you and Lois Lane?"

"Lois Lane?" Brooke asked, feigning ignorance even though she knew exactly who Nicole was talking about.

"Don't fuck with me Brookie, you know who I'm talking about. Spam. Now spill," Nicole responded, moving closer to Brooke, invading her personal space.

"What about Sam?" Brooke asked with a slight sigh. She should have seen this coming.

"Just tell me one thing, have you gotten in her pants yet?" Nicole asked, circling around Brooke like a shark around injured prey.

"What are you talking about?" Brooke asked, keeping her gaze forward. She had tried to follow Nicole's movements for a while, but the way the girl was moving was just making her dizzy. She had to stay calm here, focused. She couldn't really tell where Nicole was on this and she wanted to try and feel her out a bit more before admitting anything. Nicole was a force of nature, and like most natural occurrences she could and gladly would leave devastation in her path. Brooke had seen it before and she knew she would see it again, and she was absolutely certain that she didn't want to be one of the objects of Nicole's ferocity.

"I'll admit, it took me longer than it should have," Nicole started slowly, coming to a stop in front of Brooke. "But it did come to me. I've noticed…how you've changed…and I know why," she practically purred. "I've seen you looking at her…the only other time I've seen such raw lust displayed so openly on a human face was during the Sax's 5th Avenue labour day sale in '97," she continued, now so close to Brooke they were almost touching. "You could as well just hump her leg…it's obvious she's got your digits and that you've got hers," she concluded, backing up a bit to examine her handy work.

"Nic…" Brooke started, but she was cut off by the shorter blonde's raised hand.

"I know Brookie…just give it up," Nicole said, lowering her hand.

Brooke lowered her eyes from Nicole's and ran a hand through her hair anxiously. When she looked back up the answer was written all over her face and Nicole turned away from her. Brooke sighed and rubbed at her eyes, waiting patiently for her friend's reaction to her admission.

"You've made things very difficult," Nicole said slowly and softly as she returned her gaze to Brooke's. "Do you know what this could mean?" she asked in a more dangerous tone.

"Of course I know what it could mean," Brooke shot back at her. "Do you think I haven't thought about this, that I haven't lost sleep over this…I know, Nic…it's a cataclysmic inconvenience," Brooke went on, shaking her head. "But I--"

"Couldn't keep your pants on?" Nicole suggested. Brooke looked over at her sharply. Nicole found the reaction very intriguing. "If you were into girls, we could have found you someone who hasn't made our lives a living hell and who isn't soon going to be your SISTER!" she went on with increasing verve.

"What do you mean 'found me someone'?" Brooke asked, distracted from the bigger picture momentarily.

"I know people, and you're good looking," Nicole responded absently. "Some people actually decide they're not going to fuck everyone they know up the ass for a roll in the hay," she continued.

"It's not like that," Brooke replied. "And as hard as it might be for you to believe, this isn't about you."

"But it is," Nicole said, looking at Brooke intently. "Because whether or not we want it, I'm your goddamn Rizzo." There was a hostility in her voice when she said this that Brooke couldn't help but pick up on. She opened her mouth as if she was going to say something, but then quickly shut it again. She found herself quite at a loss for words. This conversation wasn't going how she would have wished it, but it wasn't going as badly as it could have. She was relatively certain by this point that Nicole was going to back her up, all she had to do was not piss the girl off anymore and ride out the wave.

"Are you in love with her?" Nicole asked finally, breaking the silence brought on by Brooke's non-answer. Brooke merely caught her eye in response then looked away. "That's just fan-freaking-tastic," Nicole muttered to herself. Brooke said nothing. "This can't get out," Nicole said coming to stand in front of Brooke.

"I don't want this to get out," Brooke responded honestly. "I don't to be the real life version of 'But I'm a cheerleader'…I…I just want to be with her," she finished softly. This answer seemed to please Nicole, at least on the surface.

"That's good," Nicole responded, her voice somewhat distant. "If you can control yourself enough not to look at her with those dopey 'fuck-me-eyes' anymore, things might just work out," and with that she turned away from Brooke and headed for the door, unlocking and walking out with a smile before the other girl had a chance to respond or see her expression.

Part Seven

"No, I'm serious," Brooke exclaimed excitedly. "She has a sense of humor, she just doesn't know it yet!"

"Yesterday you referred to her as the most fabulously boring person ever to be noticed for being so utterly and completely unnoticeable," Sam responded dubiously. "I remember because I said that your verbiage was excessive and you stuck your tongue out at me and referred to me as Murphy-freaking-Brown for the rest of the night."

"Oh that," Brooke responded. "That was cute though. Wasn't it?"

"No," Sam responded, pouting a bit. "You're going to do it again aren't you?"

Brooke smiled at that. "Possibly," she responded. "At least until you start to think it's cute."

"Why do you suddenly think she got a sense of humor?" Sam asked, changing the subject.

"I was in English, and I was talking to Random Guy," Sam smiled at that but said nothing, " so Miss Collins called on Claire to go to the front. So, she goes up there and starts to read her composition which is obviously the most unbelievably boring thing I'd ever heard--including the last Presidential debates--until she gets to this one part where she stops mid-sentence and declares 'Hey! I'm a poet and I didn't even know it!'" Brooke went on. "I don't care if it was Claire that said it, that was just funny."

"I'm a poet and I didn't even know it?" Sam asked trying to contain her smile.

"I'm a poet and I didn't even know it," Brooke confirmed.

"Ohmygod," Sam exclaimed before dissolving into a fit of laugher. Brooke wrapped her arms tighter around the trembling girl in her arms and rested her chin on Sam's shoulder.

"I told you," she whispered smugly.

"I told you," Sam repeated mockingly, twisting her head around so that she was looking at Brooke. "I could think of better things for you to be doing with your lips."

"Why Samantha McPherson," Brooke responded with a faux southern drawl. "Are you propositioning me…again?"

"Me? You're the one who brought me to make-out-point in Archie's jalopy," Sam replied.

"Hey, this isn't just any old jalopy, it's like the jalopy's bad-ass cousin from New York. It's at least got 30 per cent more 'jal' and 70 per cent more 'lopy'," Brooke responded. "And, might I add, it was not easy to procure this fabulous machine, but I did it for you," she continued before dipping her head down and gently nipping at Sam's neck.

Sam rolled her head back, giving Brooke more access to her neck, sighing contentedly. "You're very, very good to me," Sam said softly as Brooke's tongue tickled her skin. "Are you going to have your way with me now?"

"No," Brooke responded, removing her lips from Sam temporarily. "I didn't bring you up here to have my way with you, I brought you up here to have you all to myself," she went on, intertwining her fingers with Sam's. "I've just missed you."

"I've missed you," Sam replied sincerely. "Also, I'd like to note that I would turn around if I could but can't so I won't."

"I've got you," Brooke responded, hugging her.

"I know," the brunette said softly. "I know."

"I didn't realize how much I had gotten used to touching you until I couldn't anymore," Brooke said a moment later. "I think it caused a minor mental situation."

"Tell me about it. Cagney and Lacy cornered me a few days ago. Apparently, I've been acting like a speed freak and…" Sam trailed off before she got into their description of Brooke.

"And," Brooke prompted.

"It's not pretty," Sam warned her.

"I figured as much," Brooke replied. "Lay it on me."

"You were crowned Princess Bitch-a-lot, sister and right hand to Satan," Sam related.

"Ouch," Brooke commented. "Carm?"

"Harrison," Sam replied.

"Figures," Brooke responded knowingly. "I should apologize, shouldn't I?"

"It's what Britney or Christina would do," Sam answered with a smile before tilting her head back and bringing her lips and Brooke's together.

Once they separated, Brooke sighed softly and rested her head on Sam's shoulder, unconsciously tightening the hold she had on the brunette. They sat in silence like that for a moment before Sam couldn't take it anymore. Brooke had been acting like this all night, most of the time she fine but then she would get very quiet and hug Sam to her almost as if she thought the brunette were going to float away. It was starting to worry Sam.

"What's wrong?" Sam asked quietly, placing her hands over top Brooke's stroking them lightly as she waited for Brooke's answer.

"She knows. Nicole, she knows about us," Brooke related hurriedly, before she could lose her courage; the only part of her body to move at all being her lips. Sam's eyes widened at the revelation. She knew that Brooke had been hesitant to tell her friend, and knowing Nicole Sam knew exactly why she had been hesitant. Nicole Julian was the reason for the saying 'keep your friends close and your enemies closer'.

"What happened?" Sam asked, instinctively knowing that Brooke hadn't been the one to inform Nicole of the situation.

"She just…saw it I guess. You know what she's like, she got suspicious and started collecting clues. I think I'm going to have to face the fact that I stare at you far too much…I thought I was being stealthy but apparently not," Brooke answered dejectedly.

"How'd she react?" Sam questioned gently. From the way Brooke was acting she almost feared the answer.

"Alright, I suppose," Brooke said finally, raising her head from its resting-place. "She was forward, as expected. Abrasive, as expected. And insulting, once again as expected, but she seemed to be okay with it." Sam was less than comforted by this answer.

"What does that mean? She didn't outright threaten you?" the brunette asked.

"Basically," Brooke responded, sighing again and replacing her head. "I've just got a bad feeling about it."


"She was too nice, Sam," Brooke mumbled in response. "It was like Nicole-lite, like she was warming up or something. I don't know," she finished, shaking her head.

Sam squeezed Brooke's hand reassuringly. "We'll just have to wait and see, there's nothing else we can do," she said, still holding onto Brooke. "Complex mess of complications," she continued, feeling Brooke smile against the skin of her neck.

"Complex mess of complications," Brooke repeated as her hands began to make their way under Sam's shirt and her lips attached to the brunette's neck.

"I want to see you," Sam mumbled softly as she began to struggle in Brooke's arms. She had tried to turn around once before, but she was only playing then. Now she was serious and nothing was going to stop her.

Placing her hands on Sam's waist, Brooke loosened her hold on Sam, helping the other girl turn around so that they were face to face. However, it soon became clear to them that they wouldn't be able to stay in that position very long, so Brooke reached back pressing the release button on the seat, folding it down then shifted her position so that she was lying on her back, one of her legs braced on the floor and the other resting on the seat with Sam in between.

Sam slid her hands up Brooke's thighs until they came to rest on the brunette's hips. Once she had reached her intended destination, she then slowly traced her finger along the seam of Brooke's pants until she reached the button which she quickly popped open with a smile. Once that was taken care of, Sam grasped the tip of Brooke's zipper and slowly slid it down before beginning to drag her hands up Brooke's abdomen once again, this time taking the hem of her shirt with her.

Having dragged the shirt half way up Brooke's chest, Sam left it where it was and shifted her position so that she was lying instead of sitting in between Brooke's leg and lowered her mouth to the smooth skin of Brooke's stomach. She then traced her teeth on a downwards path along the smooth expanse of skin until she reached the waist band of Brooke's panties, which she sensuously dipped her tongue under before licking a path up towards Brooke's navel. Brooke arched up into Sam's mouth as the brunette continued to tease her in the most delicious of ways, an almost guttural moan escaping from her lips.

"I know," Sam began, her hands slipping underneath Brooke and around to her back, "that you said you weren't going to have your way with me," she continued as she deftly unclasped the blonde's bra. "But I," she went on, bringing her hand back to the front of Brooke's body, "made no such promise." And with that she slid up Brooke's body heatedly pressing their lips together as her hand slipped under Brooke's now unclasped bra to massage the tender mound of flesh underneath.

Brooke bucked up into Sam's busy hands, groaning into the kiss as her own hands began to roam over Sam's body frantically.

Sam broke the contact between their lips momentarily as she freed Brooke from the confines of her shirt, despite the blonde's muttered pleas of disapproval at the loss of contact between them. Then once that was done, Sam once again returned her lips to Brooke's hungrily as both of their hands began to roam once more.

Brooke's body quivered upon hearing the sound torn from Sam as the blonde worked her leg in between the brunette's, and she gasped ecstatically when she felt Sam press down against her and nip at her neck desperately. Brooke's body then began to tremble violently as she felt Sam slide down on her thigh until the brunette's groin was resting snugly against her hips and her hand slipped under the waistband of Brooke's panties towards the center of her molten hot desire.

As Sam slowly entered her, Brooke's eyes fluttered shut and her lips parted sensuously, a low, sexy moan escaping from deep within her throat as Sam began to move within her. As Brooke's hips rose to meet Sam's questing fingers she could feel the brunette grinding against her hip bone urgently as she sucked on her bottom lip and her breath came in shallow pants.

Brooke reached up, desperately bringing her hand to the side of Sam's face, and ran her thumb across her lips tenderly before leaning up and crushing their lips together as Sam entered her one last time and Brooke tensed, moaning her release into Sam's mouth as her body began and shake intensely.

A moment later, Brooke felt Sam stiffen as well; lovingly holding onto the girl as her body quaked and her breathing hitched before her eyes fluttered shut and she collapsed on top of the cheerleader, where they stayed together as their breathing calmed and their hearts slowed back to their normal paces.

Once she felt that she once again had control of her faculties, Brooke raised her hand to Sam's forehead--which was nestled against her shoulder--and brushed back a few arrant strands of dark hair before pressing her lips to Sam's temple softly.

"I hope you know," Brooke began softly as she ran her hand along Sam's back soothingly, "that Sugar Daddy is never going to let me borrow his truck again," she finished gravely.

There was a moment of silence after Brooke spoke that was then interrupted as Sam began to laugh burying her face even deeper into Brooke's neck and hugging the blonde towards her.

Part Eight

Josh followed Nicole reluctantly to a fairly empty area of the school--one that became completely empty after Nicole worked her unique brand of magic. The blonde had sought him out after his last class and essentially ordered him to follow her, and, like all people who knew her, he listened to her because, quite frankly he was afraid. It was a manly fear to be certain, but it was fear nonetheless.

"What's up?" he asked somewhat reluctantly. He was certain that whatever she was about to say would end up causing some sort of problem in the near future.

"It's about Brooke," Nicole started timidly which immediately put him on the defensive. "I'm worried about her," the blonde continued, looking up at Josh through her eye lashes coyly.

After their talk in the Novak, Nicole had given some very serious thought to the situation at hand. Brooke was her friend and really loyal, like a puppy, when it came down it, because Brooke was essentially a good person. Certainly she could be manipulated into doing things that went against her instincts, but for the most part she was concerned with others' feelings and didn't want to hurt other people so that she herself could benefit. This contrast in Brooke was the reason she was the queen-bee. She could be nasty when she needed to be, but was also essentially likeable. Add to that the fact that she was unquestionably beautiful and it all equaled immense popularity. This had served Nicole well over the years, but it was now time to question the order of operation.

While Nicole herself had benefited greatly from Brooke's popularity by being her best friend, she had also worked extremely hard to get where she was. She had gone from being worse than a nobody to the girl everybody wanted to be or at least feared. She liked the upgrade, and she wasn't willing to give it up for the sake of Brooke's libido. However, she did feel some sort of obligation to her sister in arms which is why she wasn't content to simply break ties with Brooke and destroy her. She was going to offer the head cheerleader a chance to redeem herself. If Brooke accepted it, then so be it, however, if she denied the opportunity that was so graciously being offered her Nicole wouldn't hesitate to take her down and step over the corpse to take the crown.

"She seems fine to me…a little tense, but other than that," Josh responded, trailing off. However, despite his answer he wondered if something really was going on with Brooke. Since they had broken up, they hadn't spoken as much as they used to, and especially lately Brooke had been keeping to herself.

"I don't think that she's handled your break-up well at all," Nicole related with a touch of sadness. "I think it's really messed her up."

"She's the one that broke-up with me," Josh responded somewhat dismally. It was still a sore spot for him.

"I know," Nicole said soothingly, "but I think she just did it because she was confused, and now she doesn't know what to do. Sometimes I don't even recognize her anymore. It's like she's made a complete 180. Especially now that…" she trailed off, removing her eyes from Josh's and off to the side.

"Now that what?" Josh asked curiously. He hadn't noticed that big a change in Brooke, in fact she had seemed quite happy.

"It's just…it's as if she's decided that if she couldn't have you she was going to give up on men altogether," Nicole said, forcing a note of alarm into her voice.

"Give up men?"

"I know, crazy but true," Nicole replied. "I…I don't know if I should say it…it's just sooo…oh I don't know," she said, dragging him along. She was enjoying this.

"You can tell me, you know I love her," Josh said pleadingly. He just had to know what was wrong with her. Even if they weren't going out anymore, they were still friends, at least he thought they were.

"Do you remember, how about a month ago Brooke was acting very anxious?" Nicole asked as her mind raced trying to figure out how exactly she wanted to drop the bomb.

"Yeah," Josh responded simply.

"Well, you know she and Sam were alone in the house at that time," Nicole continued. Josh simply nodded his agreement. Brooke had talked to him about how she was dreading being alone with Sam. "Well, I think that she may have turned to Sam for comfort, you know tried to bond with her," Nicole went on. "But I think Sam comforted her too much."

"I'm not following you," Josh replied. If Brooke and Sam were getting along--which they seemed to be doing--that was a good thing, or at least he thought it was.

"They became engaged," Nicole started carefully. "Romantically. Sam comforted Brooke in her bed," she went on gravely.

"What!?!" Josh exclaimed. "That's insane. Brooke's not…gay," he said, his voice dropping secretively as he said that last word. "She wouldn't…not with Sam of all people!"

"But she did and she is. That's why I came to you. She doesn't know what she's doing Josh. She just wanted somebody to love her after you broke up. But," Nicole said almost giddy to finally be getting to the climax of her operation. "If you go to her now, and ask her to take you back, I know you can help her. This…aberration with Sam, if it goes on much longer people will find out. Can you imagine what would happen? With Brooke so vulnerable? Hell, Spam is probably going to write an editorial about it! We can't let this ruin her, Josh, you have to help straighten her out again," Nicole finished dramatically.

"I don't know…I…this is all so," Josh started, his mind reeling with everything Nicole had just told him.

"Josh," she said. "There's no time for this."

"I'll try," he said finally, straightening up.

"No Josh, don't try…DO," Nicole said, her voice hardening a bit now that she knew she had him. "You have to fix her, or else things aren't going to be pleasant for anyone."

"What are you saying?" Josh asked, seeing the Nicole he knew and feared starting to rear her head again.

"Brooke won't be the only one to go down if this gets out, I can't allow that to happen. Think about it, if everyone finds out that Brooke's diddling her step-sister what will that say about you? If our homecoming queen and head cheerleader is a lipstick lesbian, what does that mean about our homecoming king and star quarterback?"

"I'm not…" Josh started, but Nicole interrupted him.

"I know that but they don't. Do you think that anybody thinks that Brooke is? You used to date her, what do you think people are going to think? And then there's the Glamazons; we'll all be linked by association like it was some sort of gay sewing circle. Do you want to go down like that?" Nicole asked, getting right up in his face.

"No," was his only response.

"Then win her back and do it soon," Nicole responded, and with that she walked away, leaving a dumbfounded Josh staring into space.

Part Nine

It only took Josh a couple of minutes to locate Brooke before practice started. The Glamazons were practicing, so he knew that she had to be around. He wasn't prepared for the sight that greeted him however, although he supposed that he should have been given his chat with Nicole. Brooke was dressed in her uniform and was standing off to the side of the bleachers with Sam. Brooke had her head tilted away from him, but he could tell that she was laughing, and Sam had her hand up by her face obviously laughing as well. They were standing closer to each other than was necessary, or even really acceptable in some circles--a particularly noteworthy event considering that they didn't used to be able to occupy the same room. It became painfully clear to him that Nicole was on the right track about the two of them, and he immediately headed over.

"Hey," Brooke said, spotting him coming towards them. She was still smiling, and Josh couldn't help but think that she didn't look like someone who was an emotional wreck. Still he had his mission, when coach called a play you executed it even if you did have doubts.

"Hey," he replied with a smile of his own. "Sam," he said turning to the brunette. She in turn offered him a little smile and a salute. "I just need to borrow her a minute," he continued gesturing towards Brooke before resting his hand on her back and pushing her away. Doing such he missed Sam's raised eyebrow and Brooke's amused shrug.

"You know, I am capable of walking on my own," Brooke commented once they were a safe distance away.

"Sorry," Josh commented distractedly. He was eyeing Sam, who had taken out a notebook and was writing something in it, his mind involuntarily going back to Nicole's comment about Sam writing an expository on Brooke. He frowned.

"Is everything alright?" Brooke asked, looking at the boy carefully. Even though things hadn't worked out between them, she still cared deeply for him and was disturbed by the idea that something might be wrong with him.

"No," he said, his voice wavering a bit. "Things are just…I mean I know that we're not…anymore…but I really need to talk to you."

"You know I'm here for you," Brooke responded sincerely.

"Yeah," Josh responded, although he sounded less than convinced. "I can't talk about it here though…could you come by later?" he asked gazing at Brooke with puppy dog eyes.

Brooke observed him for a minute. He had been so despondent after she had broken up with him, and really had never bounced back to his previous self, and for that she felt terribly guilty.

"Of course," she responded, happy to see him smile.

"Great," he responded. "I'll see you later then," and with that he headed off towards the field and Brooke walked back over to where Sam was waiting for her.

Part Ten

"I swear to god I thought it was tofu," Carmen exclaimed pleadingly.

"It was chicken!" Lily shot back. "I'm a vegetarian."

"I know, I know…which was why I was happy when I thought it was tofu," Carm responded. "The menu said tofu, it looked like tofu…it tasted like chicken, but so does everything!"

"Hello ladies," Harrison said, walking up to his bickering friends unknowingly saving Carmen's hide.

"You're awfully chipper this afternoon," Lily commented.

"That's because it's been a very good day," Harrison responded, smiling broadly.

"Who is she?" Carm asked knowingly.

"I think you know," Harrison replied.

"Oh no," Carm and Lily replied together.

"Thanks for the encouragement," Harrison responded, frowning slightly. "I'll have you know that this very afternoon Brooke tracked me down and apologized for what happened, not only bestowing upon me a dazzling smile but also a hug," Harrison said quite pleased with himself.

"You know that we're here for you, and that we'd encourage you in an obtainable venture, but Brooke? You've been after her since third grade…you've got to face the facts, it's never going to happen," Carmen told him as gently as possible.

"Come on, have a little faith," Harrison responded. "The stars are all in alignment right now. Brooke and I have never gotten along better, we're both single, and I've been working out," he continued. "It's as close to destiny as I'm gonna get."

"So close and yet so far," Lily muttered under her breath before addressing him directly. "She's not as single as you might think. The cards are still stacked against you," she said ignoring the look Carm shot her.

"What are you talking about?" Harrison asked, he hadn't heard about Brooke hooking up with anyone after Josh.

"There's a prospect," Carm responded cryptically. "She's off the market."

"How do you two know about this and I don't?" he asked suspiciously.

"We kind of stumbled across the information, but we've been sworn to secrecy," Carm responded. "We've only said this much because we didn't want to see you get hurt."

"Who?" Harrison asked desperate to know who had beaten him to the punch.

"We've crossed our hearts and hoped to die," Lily responded. "We can't say."

After that, Harrison proceeded to badger them for a few more minutes but they wouldn't budge from their position.

"You know what? This blows!" he responded. "I'll find out myself," and with that he stormed off down the hall.

"Oh boy," Carm muttered once he was gone. "This isn't going to be pretty."

"Definitely not," Lily confirmed.

Part Eleven

"I didn't think that it would be so cold out," Josh commented as he spotted Brooke rubbing her hands together. Once Brooke had arrived he had suggested they take a walk around the golf course adjacent to his house since he really didn't want to have a run in with his parents. "Here," he continued stopping and reaching over for her hands pulling them into his and rubbing them briskly. "We could go back if you want."

"It's okay," Brooke responded lightly. "I like it out here."

"Yeah me too," he said, letting go of her hands and turning back around.

"I remember," Brooke responded, dropping her head slightly as they began to walk again. "How are things with your mother?" she questioned finally, assuming that his family problems were the reason he had asked her to meet him.

Josh rubbed his neck uncomfortably and scrunched his face up at the question. "It's…not good," he said slowly. "He just doesn't get her…or me…it's like he's still in the days of black and white TV." He paused there, working up the courage to continue. "I think…maybe that's why it was so hard for me when we broke up…because I thought we had what they didn't, I thought we got each other," he went on slyly, checking on Brooke's reaction.

"I think that we did…that we do," Brooke responded slowly, carefully. "But relationships aren't that simple," she continued.

"I know," Josh replied just as carefully. "That's why people have to work at them, which is why a lot of them don't work out," he continued, keeping his gaze on the grass beneath his feet. "I've just been thinking about this a lot, and I was thinking that we could work on ours, we both have strong work ethics in regards to everything else so why not this," he continued finally looking up at her.

"Josh…" Brooke started, he knew what she was going to say and interrupted her.

"Just hear me out," he stated, though there was a somewhat pleading tone to his voice. "We're both still not seeing anyone," he continued even though they both knew it was a lie, "and I'm not saying that we have to jump back in right away, just that we were good together, and think that we could be again. I miss you, and I think that we could be like romantic friends or something like that anyway until it was just romantic again, you know?"

"You know I care about you so much," Brooke said, ceasing to walk. "But…" Once again Josh knew where this was going, at least in regards to him. She was going to tell him that they should stay friends, he needed to pre-empt that, so he did the thing that he thought would make the most sense, he closed the distance between them and kissed her.

Brooke was stunned at the first touch of Josh's lips to hers, she truly hadn't seen that one coming. After a moment however, she realized what was going on, and that when she hadn't pulled away, Josh had started to deepen the kiss. And as they stood there together, Josh's lips pressed against hers all she could think about was how she felt absolutely nothing, how although Josh was many things and a great guy he wasn't Sam, and he would never be able to make her feel how Sam made her feel, and she wrenched her lips away from his.

"Don't do that again," Brooke said in a low, warning tone once they had separated.

Josh was quiet for a moment, looking down at his shoes once more. Despite Brooke's words, he was comforted by what he assumed to be her positive response to the kiss. For the first time since talking to Nicole, he began to believe fully that Brooke was just with Sam because he wasn't around. Why else would she have let him kiss her for as long as she did? He decided to play the cards that he held in his hand, to let Brooke know that it was okay, and that he'd take her back despite what she'd done with Sam.

"We should be with people that we love, not just with anyone who's around or who'll give us what we temporarily need," Josh said quietly a moment later.

"What?" Brooke asked, beyond confused by his response.

"I know that you're seeing someone," he continued, ignoring her question, "that you were lonely after we broke up, but you shouldn't let pride ruin you or blind you to what's happening around you."

"If I'm seeing someone," Brooke started carefully, still not sure what to make of Josh's cryptic speak, "it's a decision I made. Not out of loneliness, not out of pride, and not out of fear, but because I wanted to," she continued firmly, confident at least in the statement of her own feelings.

"Because you wanted to," Josh repeated, mostly for his own benefit, but Brooke picked up on it.

"Because I wanted to," Brooke repeated confidently. She didn't want to hurt Josh, but she didn't want to give him false hope either. She couldn't have him walking around thinking that there was a chance for them.

"But Nicole…" Josh started to say, looking up at Brooke with shining eyes, he trailed off however, not sure if wanted to continue.

"But Nicole what?" Brooke asked with a strong sense of foreboding. "Please Josh," she asked when she saw him hesitate.

"Nicole said that reason you were with her was because you missed me," Josh responded, not able to keep all of the hurt and accusation hidden. "She said that you were upset…and Sam comforted you 'too well'," he went on.

"She told you? About Sam?" Brooke asked, slightly stunned.

"She said I needed to straighten you back out or there would be unpleasantness, she said it was for your own good, that Sam was taking advantage of you. She never said that…it was your decision. I didn't know that you wanted…" he trailed off and turned his head away from her, the pain that he was in so clearly written over his face and in his voice.

Brooke stood by watching him helplessly, she was torn up inside seeing him like that. Finally, she crossed the few steps separating them and reached out to him, drawing him into a hug. She had never wanted to hurt him, and she had loved him, did love him in a way. She just wasn't in love with him, and not for the first time she was overcome with guilt for it. She should have loved him, they were perfect for each other, everyone had said so. But it didn't work out that way, and not for the first time she wondered why.

Finally, Josh pulled himself together and moved away from Brooke. "You're not going to take me back are you?" he asked even though it was clear from his tone that he already knew the answer.

"No," she replied as gently as she could while rejecting him once more. "I can't," she said, deciding to leave it at that feeling that to tell him she loved Sam would be rubbing salt into an open wound.

"Nicole," Josh said, straightening his shoulders. "She'll take you down if you stay with Sam," he continued. "She says it'll ruin all of us, not just you. I got the distinct impression that after me the only game plan was seek and destroy."

Brooke listened to his words and knew with certainty that he was telling the truth. It only confirmed what she secretly feared and the feeling that had been rattling her ever since her encounter with Nicole in the Novak. Still, even though she shouldn't have been surprised as this was classic Nicole Julian, she couldn't help feeling extremely hurt and betrayed. She felt tears come to her eyes and turned her head away from Josh trying to blink them out as she wrestled with her emotions.

"Et tu, Josh?" she asked finally, a tear running down her cheek even as she turned to face him. "What do you say?"

"I say," Josh started softly. "That I wish you could have loved me half as much as I love you. I say, I wish that Nicole had never come to me and told me what she knew. I say that even though it's tearing me up inside, if you're happy, then I'll do what I can though I have no idea what that could be. And finally, I say that the past ten hours have really, really blown," he concluded.

Brooke reached out a hand and placed her on his face when he had finished. "Thank you," she said softly, her voice cracking with emotion. He shrugged stoically simply observing her for a moment.

"She'll do it you know," he said finally. "She'll do it in front of the whole school gleefully."

"I know," Brooke said, dropping her gaze and her hand. "She's been waiting for this, to usurp the crown. She wants to be Sandra Dee and I've given her just what she needs," Brooke responded, finally seeing the reason behind the hostility in Nicole's voice when she had referred to herself as Brooke's Rizzo. Nicole had risen through the ranks like a superstar, but once she got to a certain point there was nowhere for her to go because Brooke was standing in front of her, and as long as Brooke was there, Nicole would always be number two, and second place was never good enough for Nicole Julian, she was a gold medallist--even if she had to lie, cheat and steal to get to the podium.

"What are you going to do?" Josh asked curiously.

"I don't know yet," Brooke replied honestly. "How does one go about thwarting an evil genius?" she asked before chuckling darkly. "It's funny, I don't know how to defend my position because I've never had to. Nicole's always been there in the trenches flinging mud at anyone who came near, snapping at their heels for me. Only now she's flinging it at me, and I think that she's out of my league," Brooke finished wearily, dejectedly.

They stood in silence for a moment after that, each of them considering what a victory for Nicole would entail and shuddering at the thought of such a bleak future. "I've gotta try though," Brooke said finally. "But I'll need your help." Josh simply nodded his agreement. "I need to buy some time," she said in response to his nod. "Just tell her that you think that her plan's working and I'll take care of the rest," she continued, although she really had no idea what on earth she was going to or could do.

Part Twelve

It was just past nine by the time Brooke made it back home, the walk between her house and Josh's having passed by in a blur. Her mind was spinning with everything that had happened in not only the past few weeks or days, but the past few hours. Everything that had happened came clashing together in her mind painfully, making her head pound and her heart contract agonizingly every time she took a breath. She felt like everything was falling apart right before her eyes, and she couldn't help the fact that her mind kept wondering back to times before, times when things were if not simple then at least easier. She wondered what had possessed her to think that she could get away with coloring outside lines, that thinking outside of the box would bring anything but trouble, misery and destruction. Everything she knew was on the verge of collapse, her whole life was hanging on the edge of some precipice she had seen herself approaching but disregarded until it was too late. Now all of the players were on the stage and all the cards had been laid out and all eyes were on her. And, she discovered, at this critical moment, she suddenly found that the only thing she was sure of was that she wasn't sure of anything anymore. In fact, the only thing that seemed to be going at all her way was that by the time she got home everyone had just finished eating dinner, which meant she would be spared the agony of having to sit through it on this particular night.

Making a little wave to three people gathered in the kitchen, she then made a bee-line for the stairs offering no other acknowledgment of their presence. Once she had reached the landing, she made a movement to her left towards her door, then stopped. Although she had initially ignored it, almost the moment after she had passed the kitchen she had become aware that someone had started after her. She knew who it was, and that it probably would have been easier for her to just continue on into her room, but she just couldn't, so once she stopped she slowly turned around and waited for Sam to catch up with her.

"Is everything alright?" Sam asked, watching the blonde carefully.

"I'm just tired," Brooke responded, evading the question and Sam's eyes by looking at the wall just beyond her. "I'll see you in the morning," she continued a moment later, seizing the opportunity presented by Sam's momentary silence. With that she started to turn around and head towards her room, but something stopped her before she had actually begun to move again and compelled her to turn back towards Sam. Closing the small distance between them, Brooke placed her hand on Sam's cheek then leaned in pressing her lips to the brunette's drawing her into a brief, confused kiss, that was desperate, and sad, and longing all at once. Then pulling away from the other girl, Brooke immediately turned around and made her exit.

Sam watched Brooke's retreating figure worriedly, her eyes trailing the other girl all the way into her room. On a normal day this type of desolate, anti-social behavior would have worried the brunette, but considering the fact that Brooke had already been tense because of Nicole's reaction to them, and the fact that she had just come back from a long midnight stroll with her ex-boyfriend, Sam was beyond worried. Sighing, the brunette ran a hand through her hair restlessly, then headed for her own room, deciding that the entire situation sucked to high heaven.

Part Thirteen

Sam sat sullenly at the lunch table, listening to the others talk with only half an ear. Her attention was mostly focused on moodily rolling an apple from one hand to the other and observing Brooke from across the room. The blonde had been distant that morning, just like the night before; the only interest she showed in Sam being the extensive lengths she had gone to to avoid the brunette. It had changed the bad feeling she'd had the previous night into a nauseous feeling in the morning that had steadily gotten worse throughout the day, and was reaching its climax now that she observed Brooke sitting beside Josh--her proximity not at all congruent with their 'ex' status--smiling at Josh, and generally--in her opinion--just fawning over him. She felt like she was going to be sick.

"Well, you were right about Brooke," Harrison said, addressing Lily and Carmen but drawing Sam's attention to him as well, probably for the first time since they had sat down to eat. "She's off the market again," he went on, oblivious to the wide-eyed look Sam was sending at him. "You," he said, finally turning to the gaping brunette but not registering her expression, "could have told me. How could you have kept quiet about this?"

Sam simply stared at him blankly in response. Harrison looked at her oddly, but upon receiving only silence her. continued to address the other occupants of the table.

"I don't know why I'm surprised," he went on, "it's like they were destined to be together, it's just so perfect," he continued, shaking his head.

"They are?" Carmen and Lily asked in unison, both perfectly surprised by how well Harrison was taking the news considering how he had reacted during the whole situation with his mother.

"Brooke and Josh? Come on, it's like Ken and Barbie! We all should have known they'd get back together," he responded.

"Brooke and Josh," Carmen repeated, genuinely confused. "What are you talking about?" She had expected Sam to pipe up sometime during the conversation, but upon looking at the other girl she wasn't even sure that the conversation was registering with her.

"You can give it up now," Harrison said, wondering why they would still be trying to keep it a secret. In fact, he still hadn't figured out why they were keeping Brooke's secrets at all, but that was besides the point at the moment. "I was returning Josh's putter today and I heard him and Nicole talking. Apparently he and Brooke went on a romantic moonlight stroll last night and she totally gave into him on the golf course. Josh mentioned tongue, but I don't think there's any need to get into that," he continued. "Isn't that just so movie of the week?"

"Sam," Lily asked softly, noticing the other girls eyes squeeze shut, a single tear emerging from underneath and running down her face. The only response she got however, was as Sam stumbled up and out of her chair -- knocking it over in the process which drew looks from around the room, including the popular table--and staggered out of the room.

Carmen and Lily immediately turned to look at Brooke, who seemed to follow Sam's progress, a haunted look momentarily passing across her face, but she diverted her attention once again. It soon became clear to Carmen that Brooke was not going to get up and go after Sam, like she had somewhat idealistically assumed she would, so she herself stood up and made her way out of the room and after her friend.

"What was that about?" Harrison asked Lily in an utterly confused tone.

"I don't know, but I know it's not good," was Lily's soft reply.

Part Fourteen

Brooke unceremoniously dropped her bag in the hallway once she got home and headed into the kitchen. Her day had been utter crap, and if she were in a movie she would have darkly stated that she needed a drink. Upon entering the kitchen and finding it already occupied, she almost turned right around but she had been spotted and was addressed before she could make her exit.

"Brooke?" Jane asked, resting the paper she had been reading on the table top. Brooke pasted a smile across her face and walked over to the table sitting opposite Jane as she mumbled some greeting to the older woman.

"I know I'm old and unhip and that it's no longer cool for kids today to talk to adults about how their days went, but, I was wondering if something happened at school today?" she asked tentatively.

"Why would think that?" Brooke asked, forcing a note of curiosity into her voice.

"Sam came home during lunch with Carmen. She looked very shaken up…I think she had been crying, and now she's barricaded herself up in her room. The only evidence I've got that she's till alive up there is that she started playing Patsy Cline on a continuous loop after Carmen left," Jane related worriedly.

"I don't…I mean I haven't really seen her all day," Brooke responded haltingly, a cold wave passing through her body.

"I know it's asking a lot, but she won't talk to me, and I know that the two of you have become friends…and I was wondering if you'd try," Jane replied.

"It's not that…I mean it's not a lot to ask…I just don't think that she wants to talk to me," Brooke said softly, guiltily, however Jane interpreted the tone as modesty and pressed on.

"I'm just really very worried about her," she went on, shaking her head despondently. "The last time she played Patsy Cline was after her…" Jane trailed off there momentarily, but Brooke instinctively knew what the end of the sentence was: "was after her father died," was what Jane had been about to say. "If you could just check on her…" Jane continued a second later.

"I…I'll see what I can do," Brooke responded, then hastily got up making her exit.

Part Fifteen

Brooke ran an unsteady hand through her hair, tugging at it nervously. She had messed up, she had screwed up really badly and now she was dreading what had to be done to at least try and make it better. She had been so concerned with her own thoughts and fears, so introverted after speaking with Josh that she didn't realize what it would look like to Sam. She had known that if Nicole was going to hold off on her campaign of terror, she would have to make it look like she really had begun to take Josh back, that she had to play the part of soon-to-be girlfriend to him, only Sam didn't know she was playing a part. 'She didn't know because you didn't tell her', the little voice at the back of Brooke's head whispered to her. Brooke shook her head. That had been a minor major oversight. But as she paced the hallway outside Sam's door, she knew that she wasn't being perfectly honest with herself. She had wanted the best of both worlds. Pretending to be back together with Josh was a dishonest way for her to try and figure out if she could take him back, if she could take the road most traveled and be marginally happy in breeder land without jeopardizing what she had with Sam while doing it. She had wanted the best of both worlds and it had blown up in her face, big time.

Gathering her courage, she raised her hand and knocked at the door. There was no reply, which didn't really surprise her. She opened her mouth as if to call out, but suddenly closed it thinking better of the situation. If Sam knew that it was her outside the door she might shove a dresser or something in front of the door before Brooke could get a chance to talk to her. Instead she decided that it would be best if she just let herself in. The lock on Sam's door was old and slightly defective if you knew it's weak points which Brooke did.

Heading into her room she grabbed a hair pin from off of her dresser then made her way back to Sam's door. After a moment of fiddling with the lock she heard the door click open and pushed her way inside.

The room was dark, and upon entering the only sound that Brooke could detect was the mournful sounds of Patsy Cline. As Brooke scanned the room for Sam, the words coming from the radio flittered into her brain making her heart heavy with guilt for what she had done.

Crazy for feeling so lonely
I'm crazy
Crazy for feeling so blue

I knew
You'd love me as long as you wanted
And then someday
You'd leave me for somebody new

Why do I let myself worry
What in the world did I do

For thinking that my love could hold you
I'm crazy for tryin'
Crazy for cryin'
And I'm crazy
For lovin' you

Finally Brooke spotted Sam sitting in the corner of the room between her bed and the wall next to Sir Hugglesworth: The Most Cuddliest Bear In The Whole Wide World--or so a five year old Sam McPherson had deemed him many years ago. As Brooke approached the brunette she could feel Sam's eyes on her, watching her with a brutal intensity that she felt she absolutely deserved.

"Sam," she said softly, her voice splintering near the end. At the sound of her voice she saw Sam's eyes close almost painfully, a tear streaking down her face as she hugged her knees closer to her body. As Brooke watched her she felt her own eyes begin to tear not for the first time that day, and she knelt down, instinctively reaching out to brush the tears from Sam's cheek.

The moment her fingers made contact with Sam's skin, Sam flinched away from her touch, turning her head, before bringing her own hand up a moment later to bat Brooke's hand away. "Don't touch me," she whispered harshly, her voice breaking with every syllable she uttered. Until that day, Sam had always thought the saying 'dying of a broken heart' was a flight of fanciful imagination, but as she sat there shaking into her own arms, she understood the sentiment of the colloquial most intimately. The way she felt, she could as well have been dying.

"Please," Brooke responded, letting her hand drop. "Let me explain."

"I hate you with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns," Sam replied acerbically as she tried to turn away from Brooke. "I hope you choke on a pom-pom."

"Please, Sam," Brooke responded desperately, "just let me talk to you." She could see Sam still shaking and it took all of her self-control not to reach out and try to comfort her again, knowing that it would only would it make things worse.

"Please?" Sam asked incredulously. "Listen, I can only please one person a day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow's not looking too good for you either," she continued. The tears were coming less frequently now, and she was beginning to come back to herself enough to know that she was really, really pissed off. "Did you mean any of it?" Sam asked a moment later, a note of vulnerability creeping into her voice despite her wishes. But then she figured that it shouldn't have surprised her. She had never really been able to hide her emotions from Brooke, so why should it be any different now that it was pain she was feeling instead of love. "Or was it just part of some sadistic plan to fuck me for those editorials? Literally, and figuratively," she continued in an accusatory tone.

Brooke's eyes closed agonizingly as she listened to Sam's words. "Whatever you heard, whatever you're thinking right now…that I did, I didn't do…I haven't done, and I absolutely positively do not want to do. This has all been one epic case of 'telephone' gone bad," Brooke said, slowly moving a bit closer to Sam. "I meant everything I've said to you, I mean everything I've said to you," Brooke continued. "I love you…you're my heart."

"Harrison heard Josh talking to Nicole…about what you and he did last night," Sam responded, refusing to meet Brooke's eyes. "If that's what you do with your heart than I don't want it."

"I didn't do anything with Josh last night," Brooke stated. "The only thing that being with him did was testify to the fact that nobody makes me feel the way you do. That I love you more than I have words to express it," Brooke continued, moving again so that she was kneeling directly in front of Sam. "You're the one. You're the only one, and I need you," she finished, leaning forward and gently bringing their lips together.

When they separated Brooke could feel Sam's body begin to shake against hers and could feel the wetness of Sam's tears against her cheek as they once again began to stream down her face. Before she could react to that, however, she felt Sam begin to push against her violently as she muttered obscenities at her, but Brooke wouldn't let go this time. Instead she grappled with Sam's hands until she managed to get a good hold on the girl then drew her into the circle of her arms, where Sam continued to struggle for a moment before relaxing into the circle of Brooke's arms crying out her heartache onto the shoulder of Brooke's shirt.

Part Sixteen

Brooke gazed out the window, the events of the last half hour playing through her mind over and over again torturously, like a broken record. She could still feel the warmth of Sam's body against her, trying to repel her, hating her with every breath and every tear. She could still feel Sam's heartache through her slightly damp collar, breaking her heart again as she fingered the wet material. She raised her fingers to her lips and traced them gently, they were still slightly bruised. Moments after she had stopped struggling Sam had raised her head, tears still streaming down her face, and kissed Brooke with an almost savage intensity, as if she were testing the blonde and punishing her at the same time. As their lips crashed together painfully Brooke had tightened the hold she had on Sam, taking her punishment gracefully, even gratefully, softly stroking Sam's cheek as she kissed her, for even in that package Brooke realized what the kiss was, salvation. Sam was going to forgive her, and finally she could breathe again.

Now, Brooke stood in front of the window trying to find an answer, no, trying to work up the courage to give the answers to Sam that she knew she had to. The questions Sam asked, teary eyed and pale, needed to be answered, the issues addressed. Brooke knew this, she just dreaded it. She had just gotten Sam back and now she had to tell her everything that could push her away again. Now, Brooke stood in front of the window trying to find an answer, no, trying to work up the courage to give the answers to Sam that she knew she had to. The questions Sam asked, teary eyed and pale, needed to be answered, the issues addressed. Brooke knew this, she just dreaded it. She had just gotten Sam back and now she had to tell her everything that could push her away again.

"I don't know," Brooke said finally, running her hand through her hair again as she remained looking out the window. "I just got scared," she continued turning around to face Sam plaintively. "I've spent my entire life living inside the box. No, living inside the box inside the box. You don't become popular by being different, you find out what the model is and then you shape yourself to it…and once you get there, you're comfortable, and all you have to do is tow the line to stay in."

"And you worked hard to get there?" Sam asked although it was really more of a statement. "And Nicole threatened to take it away?" she asked in the same tone, her eyes flittering away from Brooke's.

"You don't understand," was Brooke's reply. Sam already knew the answers to the questions she asked so there was no need to address them directly. "It's all that I knew in life and all that I'd ever needed to know. I'm popular Sam, it's what I do…it's what I am," she continued. Sam looked away from her and flopped down onto the bed. "It's all I've ever been…for better or for worse."

"So why are you here?" the brunette asked finally. Her voice was a bit more cutting than she had intended, but she couldn't really help the antagonistic feelings that had been brought up by Brooke's little sermon. Everything the blonde had just said were reasons why Sam had denied what she had felt for her in the first place. When the plebeians mixed with the patricians disaster always resulted. Brooke was royalty that had consorted with the peasant stock and was now threatened with being disinherited. This was a proposition that Sam had never seen end well, inevitably social friction always tore the lovers apart and Sam was dreading that that was what was happening to them. Rubbing at her eyes she wasn't sure who she was more angry at, herself for falling for Brooke, or Brooke for being Brooke.

Brooke sighed heavily before responding. "All popularity has gotten me is an eating disorder, an inferiority complex, chronic indecisiveness--because we can only be independent thinkers if everyone else is--a clan of psychotic backstabbers for friends, and at times a kind of bipolar personality that really is beginning to worry me," Brooke responded, crossing over to where Sam was sitting and kneeling down on the floor in front of her. "That's option A. Option B, starts with an 'S', ends with an 'M' and has an 'A' in the middle, which in the circle that is me spells unimaginable happiness," she continued, resting her head in Sam's lap tentatively, then relaxing once the overture wasn't rejected. "Now, you'll have to excuse me because I am blonde *and* a cheerleader…but eventually it became clear to me that there really wasn't a choice at all."

Sam trailed her fingers through Brooke's hair as she spoke, before trailing her hands along Brooke's jaw line and under her chin tilting her head up so that Sam could look into her eyes. From that position, she bent her head down and fleetingly pressed their lips together, her body flooding with relief. She could've told herself over and over again that Brooke was no good for her and she was no good for Brooke, but she had tried that earlier on and now knew for a fact that it just didn't do any good. Even though their relationship was riddled with problems the size of planetoids they were in love, and that meant that nothing else really mattered, which sometimes meant that they were going to be fucked up the ass with a chainsaw every now and then, but mostly meant that they were happy.

"So now what?" she asked looking down at Brooke once they separated. Her eyes were searching the blonde's, looking for clues as to where she really was, what she was feeling under their fuzzy pink feelings for each other. "We headline?"

"I would prefer not to," Brooke responded, her eyes traveling the contours of the ceiling. Despite her declarations she was still trying to deal with the entire situation. She just didn't know if she was strong enough to endure the whispers and the looks, she just couldn't fathom what it would be like not to be admired.

"I know you don't want to go from pin-up to poster girl," Sam responded knowingly, "it just sounds like Nicole's taken that option away," she observed more soberly. "I only see three options: we can be outted…as it were, we can be out," she said, placing emphasis on that one, "or we can be over," she finished softly.

Brooke looked over that Sam intensely after she finished speaking, watching her for a moment. "That's not an option," she said softly in response to Sam's last statement. "And the other two don't necessarily need to be either," she continued thoughtfully.

Sam watched Brooke carefully, there were so many emotions floating across her features that the brunette couldn't keep track of them. She would have asked what Brooke was thinking, but she wasn't really confident that the blonde had any more of an idea what was going through her head than Sam did. "What do you mean?" she asked, deciding to concentrate on the small picture of the moment.

"I want to talk to her, maybe convince her not to do this," Brooke said softly. "I know you all think she's some evil demon spawn, but there's more to her than nice hair and biting one liners, I've seen it. If I can get at that part of her, the part that's been my friend then…" Brooke trailed off, knowing the rest of the sentence would come to Sam intuitively.

"And if not?" Sam asked gently. She could tell that it was a painful subject for Brooke, that the cheerleader wanted to believe that her friend wouldn't sell her out, but she also heard a kind of dubious tone in Brooke's voice, as if she wasn't completely confident that she could convince Nicole herself.

"If not, then it comes down to this: It's all about being popular, Nicole thinks that if this gets out I'll be dethroned and she can take over as Princess of Candyland, and she's probably right," Brooke started thoughtfully, pushing her more sentimental feelings to the side. "But as much as Nicole knows my secret I know hers," she continued a somewhat haunted look taking over her features. "So, it becomes a matter of whose secret is more scandalous, and whether or not she's willing to let hers out to out us," she concluded.

"I see you didn't go all of those years without picking something up from her," Sam responded softly as she ran her fingers through Brooke's hair soothingly. "What did she do? Steal money from a homeless shelter?" Whatever it was would have to be huge, since gayness was a pretty big deal.

Brooke beckoned Sam to lean down, then whispered something in her ear.

"Ohmygod!" Sam exclaimed, her lips curving into a smile, then her brows scrunching together before being followed by a look of revulsion but also fascination. "Are you serious?"

"Perfectly," Brooke responded, slightly amused by the expressions on Sam's face. She must have looked the exact same way when she found out. It was an oddly fascinating tale, even though you kind of felt bad for being intrigued by it.

"That'll do it," Sam replied sobering up a bit. "That'll definitely do it."

"Yeah," Brooke agreed, resting her head against Sam's thigh wearily. "I just hope it doesn't have to come down to that."

"She means a lot to you, doesn't she?" Sam asked, running her hand under Brooke's chin and tilting her head up so that they were looking at each other. Brooke merely lowered her eyes, confirming Sam's question silently. "Sometimes," Sam said a moment later, "we don't always get what we want…but if we try, sometimes we just might find we'll get what we need."

Brooke was silent for a minute than smiled. "And sometimes, we can't get no sa-tis-faction," she replied, breaking out into a full-fledged grin. Nothing cheered her up more than words of wisdom from the Rolling Stones, actually ice cream did, but this was good too.

Sam looked down at her for a moment after than, a soft smile playing across her features as she watched Brooke seem marginally happy for the first time in days. When the blonde finished laughing, she meet Sam's eyes and the watched each other for a while in a comfortable silence. Sam's eyes were drawn to Brooke's lips after a moment, they were slightly red and puffy, and she reached out and traced them lightly with thumb. She had done that to her she remembered sadly. Sam let in finger fall after a moment and leaned down bringing their lips together softly, lovingly as if trying to erase the damage she had done earlier.

Part Seventeen

Sam rubbed at her finger nervously as she scanned the hallway, left and right, left and right. After Brooke had left her room the afternoon before, Sam had sat down and considered, at length, the reality of their situation for the first time since she was swept of her feet. She realized that the social implications in regards to her were pretty negligible, as a part of the school newspaper she only ranked just above the audiovisual club in terms of nerdiness, and was about par with the drama club as far as what people expected from her socially. Basically, the reputation she did have wasn't likely to suffer at the hands of any public exposure of her relationship with Brooke. And, with the recent developments in the whole Nicole situation Sam was fairly certain that that public exposure--which wouldn't really hurt her socially--would indeed come about. That being the case, there was only one thing that she really needed to take care of, Harrison. Whatever was going to happen with Nicole, whether good or bad, was going to happen soon, of that Sam was sure, that meant that she had to find Harrison and tell him what was going on before he could hear it from someone else.

Honestly, she wasn't really looking forward to it, which was why she had put it off for so long. Harrison's infatuation with Brooke was no secret, the fact that he was still infatuated with her was no secret, and when he found out that Sam was sleeping with her, he was most likely not going to react well to the situation. Sam's relationship with Brooke wasn't a betrayal of Harrison because there was nothing between him and cheerleader to betray, but Sam knew that he wouldn't see it that way. Still, he was going to find out sooner or later, and it was better that it come from her no matter how he reacted to the news.

So there she was, scanning the hallway for her friend so that she could smash his heart into a million pieces.

"Hey," Sam greeted, sidling up to Harrison as he made is way down the hall.

"Where'd you come from?"

"Around the corner. I was stalking you," Sam responded.

"I get that a lot," Harrison replied, nodding along. "What's up?"

"No idle chit chat with you huh?" Sam asked, rubbing the back of her neck. "Truthfully, I need to talk to you," she continued, drawing up her courage, lord knew she would need it.

"Sounds serious," Harrison commented, observing her keenly. She was nervous, very nervous, that worried him because Sam wasn't easily unnerved.

"It is," Sam confirmed, she could feel her stomach tightening up and had to pause for a moment to concentrate on breathing. She was suddenly very glad that Carmen and Lily had saved her the trouble of having to go through this with them, it was nerve racking as hell, and she hadn't even gotten to the juicy innards yet. "I don't want to talk about it here…are you free later?"

"I think my schedules clean, when and where?" he asked, intensely curious what she could possibly have to say to him.

"My house…no…yeah…um…no…wait, yeah," Sam responded haltingly. "Yeah, my house, around three, nobody should be home then," she finished.

"Alright, it's a date," responded checking his watch. "Gotta jet, one more late and they toss me in the dungeon," he continued, speeding up and making his way down the hall.

"In civilized society we call it detention," Sam called after him before turning around and letting out a deep sigh, that was spectacularly disappointing. She didn't even want to think about what kind of reserves she was going to have call up to make it through the actual conversation.

Part Eighteen

"Do you want something to drink? I could get you something to drink? We have cold drinks…there's…"

"It's okay, I'm good," Harrison said, holding up his hand effectively cutting off Sam's manic speech.

"Are you hungry? I could get you something to eat…"

"Really, Sam, I'm fine. Take it easy, you look like you're about to rupture something," he said, starting to get concerned about why she wanted to talk to him. This wasn't at all in character--not counting her recent bouts of weirdness.

"Sorry. I'm just a bit stressed. I'm tense, I mean my back's all knotted…it's not pleasant," she replied, rubbing at the back of her neck anxiously once again.

"Yeah, I caught on to that whole anxiety thing," he responded softly. "Why don't you just tell me what's on your mind, and maybe we'll both feel better, because quite frankly you're kind freaking me out here."

"Right," Sam said, sitting down on the couch then immediately standing back up again. "I don't know if you've noticed, but lately I've been rather…"


"Not the word I would've gone with, but essentially," Sam responded, frowning slightly. "Well it's kind of because I've got this thing."

"Thing?" Harrison asked only vaguely following her. "What like a growth? Oh my god is it a brain tumor?" He had heard that brain tumors often caused odd behavior in people due to the way they pressed on the brain.

"No! No. I don't have a tumor or a growth, by thing I meant that I have got this…relationship," Sam said, slightly unnerved by his exclamation.

"Relationship? Ohhh, get down with your bad-self," he responded, making sound cheap porno sounds and doing a little dance.

"Right, the only thing is it's not that simple," she went on, running a hand through her hair. "It's not…a conventional relationship."

"Why, is he like shorter than you?" Harrison asked. It pained Sam to no end that he asked the question with the utmost sincerity. If he had at least been meeting her half way it would have all been okay, but no, he had choose today to lose his brain.

"No! I mean…he's a she," Sam blurted out. That was necessary, if she didn't just say it was never going to get said.

"A girl?" Harrison asked, staring at her unblinkingly. "You're dating a girl?…in a gay way?"

"That's kind of how it works," Sam confirmed.

"Is anybody in this town still straight?" he asked, throwing his hands up in the air dramatically. "At least you caught it young," he continued, turning back around so that he was facing Sam.

"That's true," Sam responded more for the sake of saying something than anything else.

"You know what this is fantastic, I can't believe it. YOU, can get a girlfriend and I can't," he went on. "Where's the justice in that? She's probably gorgeous too, isn't she? She's hot right?"

"I…" Sam started, caught off guard by his reaction, "yeah."

"I thought as much, that would complete the circle," Harrison responded, shaking his head dejectedly. There was no justice in the world, he was sure of that now. "If she models for Victoria's secret I'm moving to a deserted island and dedicating my life to the study of exotic birds and fauna," he went on, pacing the room. "Do I know her?" he asked, finally stopping. Truthfully, he was kind of intrigued. Like almost all guys he found the thought of two girls together extremely exciting, even if one of them was his friend. Actually, that just made it better.

"Yes," Sam responded somewhat hesitantly.

"Well, are you going to tell me, or are we playing twenty-questions?" he asked, looking at her expectantly.

"Yeah, that was kind of the point of asking you here," Sam responded, stalling for time.

"Okay, then. Who?" he was intensely curious as to who it could be, and her hesitation was driving him nuts.

Sam paused, her ears were ringing and she was fairly certain that she was shaking. This was the moment of truth and she felt like she was going to pass out. "Brooke." She knew that she opened her mouth and that she had spoken, but she couldn't remember hearing the word actually come out of her mouth. If it wasn't for the instantaneous reaction on Harrison's mouth, she might have thought that she hadn't really said it at all.

"What?" he practically chocked out. He felt like his heart had stopped beating, the second Brooke's name came out of Sam's mouth it was like a complete suspension of his existence.

"Brooke," Sam repeated, her voice was stronger this time, it was almost as if the mention of her lover's name had infused her with some badly needed backbone. "I'm seeing Brooke."

"Brooke McQueen?" Harrison asked dumbly. His head was pounding, and his vision was blurring. She couldn't have meant Brooke McQueen. It was L.A. Brooke's were all over the place, over run only by Stephanie's and Jennifer's. Sam had to be talking about some mysterious Brooke, she just had to be.

"Brooke McQueen," Sam confirmed, watching him sadly. She had never wanted to hurt him, but she had no choice in the matter, her heart had made her decision for her and there was no turning back.

"Why?" he asked finally, flopping down onto the couch. His voice wavering with an emotion Sam couldn't readily identify.

"Why?" the brunette asked, confused by the question.

"Why her? Why of all the tens of thousands of teenagers in L.A., of the thousands of students at our school, why out of all of those people did you have to pick the one girl I've wanted since I before I even knew what wanting was?" he asked, his voice raising, his hands clutching at the couch desperately. Sam thought that she could see tears in his eyes, she took a step back.

"I didn't pick her," Sam responded softly. "It wasn't premeditated, I didn't even know what was happening until it happened and by then it was too late. I had fallen…and I didn't want to get up."

Harrison didn't respond to her verbally, he merely looked up and over at her with shimmering eyes, piercing her with his pain. And she felt it as acutely as if it were her own, in fact only a day before it had been her own and she knew how he felt, she more than knew how he felt, and it tore her up because she knew it was hell. He was mourning the loss of a love he never had, like she had been mourning the loss of a love she had barely tasted. Of the two she wasn't sure what was worse, because if it had been true, that Brooke had gone back to Josh, at least the brunette could say that she had loved Brooke and been loved in return and that was something real, something tangible. Harrison, he only had a phantom of love, a love Sam knew to be the sun, and the moon and whole world.

"Sam, you're not gonna believe this…okay, okay, I'm in line at the Pottery Barn…" Brooke started saying, coming in the door, emoting before she had even made it all the way inside. "Yeah, I know, don't ask me why. So I'm in line at the Pottery Barn and guess who…" the blonde paused as she came to the threshold of the living room and saw the picture inside. "Oh," Brooke commented softly as her eyes darted around the room and she considered the fastest way to get the hell out of there.

However, just as she was about to make her move and pray for the best Sam turned her head to look at her, and the moment she saw the expression on her girlfriend's face she knew that she had told Harrison about the two of them. And, considering the silence that hovered around the room, and the morose looks on their faces, she knew that it hadn't been roses and sunshine. Actually the fact that it had gone horribly wrong seemed to fit in beautifully with recent events, it comforted her in a sad kind of way.

She immediately made her way over to Sam who looked like she was at her breaking point. "Are you okay?" Brooke asked softly as she placed her hand on Sam's shoulder rubbing it tenderly with her finger. She was aware of Harrison's eyes on them, but she was only one person and as such could only deal with one of them at a time. Harrison was just going to have to wait his turn.

Sam simply nodded her head, her posture straightening and her eyes clearing at the feel of Brooke's touch.

Once Brooke was certain that Sam was indeed okay, she turned her head so that she was looking at Harrison. He was watching them with one of the most disparaged expressions she had ever seen. She had seen the same look on Josh's face at the golf course a few nights before and it had broken her heart then. It still did.

"Harrison," she started. She knew how he felt about her, she had known for a very long time that he was attracted to her, she would have had to be unbelievably slow not to have realized, and because of that she was sure that he was finding it particularly difficult to accept that she was with Sam. Especially, considering that Brooke had always assumed that his feelings towards Sam were a bit more than friendly--even if he didn't admit it. Now, he had lost both of them, to each other. She decided that that proposition had to suck real hard. "I know…" she continued stopping only when he stood up and held up his hand to her.

"Don't…just don't," he said, shaking his head. There was nothing she could say to him that could make the situation any better. "Congratulations…or whatever, I'm not quite sure what the etiquette for a situation like this is so you'll have to excuse any faux pas on my part."

"Harrison," Sam tried, finally finding her voice. She didn't want it to be like this.

"No," he said, waving his hand still watching them intently. After Brooke had walked over to Sam, he had noticed his friend move towards her, into her, almost unconsciously. When Brooke had first walked over there had been a small space between them, but that had disappeared imperceptibly, leaving Sam literally in Brooke's arms, where for the first time all day she actually seemed relaxed. "I mean it. Congratulations. Really." Even though at first he had held out hope that Sam's declaration was some badly conceived joke, watching the two of them he could see the closeness. He also considered everything that had happened recently and had to admit that the two of them being involved with each other explained it all, especially Sam's reaction in the cafeteria the day before.

"Just one question," he said, looking at Brooke suspiciously.

"Long story short, it was a misunderstanding," Brooke responded, knowing where he was heading with his question.

With that, he nodded then turned around and made his way out of the living room, then into the hallway and finally to the door for some much needed fresh air before he completely lost it. Sam and Brooke, Brooke and Sam, he shook his head as he kicked a rock along the sidewalk. Raising a hand to his head he began to tug at his hair restlessly, realizing with an agonizing clarity that he had lost both of them. What made it worse was that he didn't even realize he had wanted Sam until she was out of his grasp. Brooke was always out of his league, but Sam, if he had realized sooner, if he had managed to stop fixating on Brooke for just one second, he might have been able to have had something with her. Now they were both gone, gone into each other's arms. He covered his face with his hands, this was the worst day of his life.

Part Nineteen

Harrison sat down in front of the computer and rested his hands on the desk, pinching the bridge of his nose with his right hand. He was suppose to edit the article Sam and he had worked on last week and add captions to the pictures so that it could be ready to print in the following week's paper but he just couldn't seem to do it. Every time he looked at the article it reminded him of Sam, and every time he thought of Sam he thought of her and Brooke, and every time he thought of her and Brooke he became unbelievably pissed off and it gave him a headache. When he had left their house a few days before he had fully intended to be okay with their relationship, but he found that intentions were easy to hold and hard to achieve.

The thing that really got him was that he could see as plain as day that they were in love with each other. He had started watching them with an almost psychotic interest since he had found out, and that tenderness that he had observed that day at the house coated their every interaction with each other. They reeked of love and the stench was driving him insane.

He was interrupted from his musing only by the sound of a familiar voice coming from behind him.

"I've given this a lot of consideration and I've decided that your lack of response to me means one of two things. Either all of the phones in your house spontaneously combusted severing all of your contacts to the natural world, or you're doing a very good job of avoiding me," Sam said steadily as she walked into the room closing the door behind her. Harrison had been avoiding her ever since she had told him about her and Brooke, and while she was hoping that he would work out whatever he had to work out on his own, it became clear to her that she had to talk to him. He was one of her best friends and she couldn't just leave things the way they were. She had to at least try.

"One of those is a winner," Harrison responded, removing his hand from his face but not turning around.

"Can we talk?" Sam asked, pulling up a chair beside him and sitting down.

"Isn't that what we're doing?" he asked dismissively.

"Actually I've probably talked more to your mother in the past week than you," Sam replied.

"I suppose you two would have a lot to talk about," Harrison responded. "Maybe she could give you some pointers," he continued, finally turning around to face Sam. His voice was low, his lips set in a hard line and his eyes accusing.

Sam blinked at him, mildly surprised by the hostility in his voice. She wasn't expecting a walk in the park, but she wasn't expecting an outright attack either. She wasn't sure who should be more insulted, her or his mother. However, since she was the only one of the two present in the room she decided that she had to represent.

"That was low," she responded softly, turning away from his accusing eyes. "I know that you're having a hard time with this, I just thought that after playing together since we were in jumpers, we might be able to have a civil conversation."

"Shouldn't you be at the pep rally ogling the cheerleaders?" Harrison responded after a moment, turning back around so that he was facing the computer screen once again.

Sam considered him for a moment silently. She could feel her eyes beginning to burn and blinked back the tears that were forming in her eyes. She wasn't going to let him see what he was doing was her.

"I don't need to be at the pep rally," Sam began in a soft voice, "I can see all or anything of Brooke whenever I want to," she continued in a haughty tone, reacting to his treatment of her, trying to goad him on.

"How positively Greco-Roman of you," Harrison shot back. "Your parents must be so proud."

Sam ran her hand through he hair, nervously tugging at the strands anxiously as she watched Harrison stare aimlessly at the computer screen in front of him.

"Please don't be like this," she said finally. "I never meant to hurt you, neither of us did. What happened between Brooke and I, it took us by surprise just as much as anyone else. I mean it's me, Sam, falling for Brooke was the equivalent of Lily going to a Texas barbeque. I didn't want to, I just couldn't help it," she continued with a somewhat pleading tone in her voice. She wanted him to understand what was going on, because she knew with the way he was feeling only complete honesty about the situation could abate it. "And I do love her. Can you understand that?"

"Good for you. You love her and she loves you. That's the way to do it, believe me things work best that way. But just because you're walking in some flowery country paradise of bliss, doesn't mean I'm going to get on the train and join you," Harrison said, turning around to face her once again. "You said you can't help how you feel…well neither can I. I don't like it, I don't want you to be with her, and I can't accept that you're with her and be peppy and excited about. Can you understand that?"

"So what? You're saying that we can't be friends anymore? That the fact that I'm with Brooke now negates our entire friendship? Because if that's what you're saying than no, I can't understand that. The world's full of nasty, ignorant people, I know that. I just never thought that you were one of them," Sam responded, the tears she had been holding back escaping from the confines of her eyes and streaking down her cheeks.

Harrison watched her for a moment, tracking the progress of the tears falling from her eyes. He felt himself being torn in two different directions. There was the part that saw probably his best friend in the world crying because of him, that wanted to reach out and wipe her tears away and hug her telling her that he would work it out and that things would be okay; fighting against the part of him that saw the girl-who-stole-the-girl-he had-been-in love-with who was at the same time the girl-he-could-have-seen-himself-falling-in love-with stolen by the girl-he-had-always-wanted-to-be-in love-with him.

In the end, he found that the pain of what could have been outweighed the rightness of what should be, and he clinched his jaw and turned away from her. He guessed that was what he was saying.

Sam watched him for a moment, then stood up quietly and walked out of the room. Apparently that's what he was saying.

Sam flung the blankets off of her body and dark out into the dark room. She couldn't sleep. Every time she tried to fade away into unconsciousness, her mind would drift back to the confrontation she'd had with Harrison in the afternoon and any chance she'd had of falling asleep would immediately disappear. She was so tied up in knots that she could barely lay still. Unconsciously she turned her head toward Brooke's room. The blonde had been gone all evening on a company yachting trek with Mike's company, which meant that Sam had been deprived of her presence since then. She wasn't even sure if they had gotten back yet. Checking her clock she saw that it was just past three and decided that she would go and check. She didn't know what she was going to say or do, only that she at least needed to be around Brooke. The blonde just had an uncanny ability to cheer her up.

Leaving the doors between her room, the bathroom and Brooke's room open, Sam slipped into the blonde's room. Brooke was indeed in her room, lying on her bed with her hair splayed out across the pillow, the top of her emerald silk pajamas just visible above the top of her blanket. Sam watched her for a moment, a gentle smile playing across her lips, before she approached the bed and lifted up the edge of the blanket, slipping in beside Brooke.

Brooke became hazily aware of the feel of a head resting on her chest and an arm draping around her waist, and lazily she cracked open one sleepy eye. What she saw was a mess of brown hair resting just above her left breast and a pale arm strewn across her stomach. Turning her head to the side slightly she placed her lips against Sam's forehead kissing her softly. She couldn't see it, but somehow she was absolutely certain that the brunette smiled before burying her head into Brooke's chest even more.

"I can't sleep," Sam mumbled a moment later as Brooke played idly with her hair, while sporadically placing butterfly kisses all over Sam's face.

"Is the boogie man under your bed again, because Dad said he had taken care of that," Brooke responded. Her voice was low with sleep, but that couldn't hide the gently teasing tone that it carried.

"Unfortunately not this time," Sam responded, her voice barely a whisper but even at that audibly sad.

"What happened?" Brooke asked, shifting her position so that she was now lying on her side facing Sam. She had been on the verge of falling asleep again, but the tone of Sam's face woke her up immediately.

"It's nothing," Sam said, lowering her head, effectively breaking eye contact with Brooke. Brooke watched her for a moment, it was clear as crystal to her that whatever was going on was most definitely not nothing.

"It's not nothing," Brooke responded softly, reaching out and placing her hand on Sam's cheek. "It's got you upset and that makes it most definitely something."

Sam didn't respond verbally, instead she chose to close the distance that had formed between them when Brook turned to face her and draw the blonde towards her once again. Brooke wrapped her arms around Sam and held her to her, bringing Sam with her as she lay back down on her back. They stayed in that silence for a long time, Brooke tenderly stroking Sam's back as the brunette hugged her, so long in fact that Brooke began to think that Sam had fallen asleep. But, after ten minutes or so the journalist whispered, "I saw Harrison today."

"What happened?" Brooke asked, already knowing that it would be some variation of 'I got bitch slapped like a two dollar whore in Harlem', from the way Sam had been acting.

"This is going to sound fairly schoolyard," Sam started, "but he basically told me that we couldn't be friends anymore." Despite the sardonic tone that she used, Brooke could hear the pain behind her words and shifted again so that she was facing Sam. Leaning forward, she brought their lips together softly, then placed her lips next to Sam's ear hugging her.

"He just needs some time," Brooke responded benevolently. However, as the words left her mouth she was thinking that what Harrison really needed was a nice hard slap upside the head, and that she was just woman to deliver it. Truthfully, she had expected more from him, not to mention the fact that with Nicole still on the warpath she didn't really want anyone else raining on their parade. "Try to get some sleep," Brooke continued a moment later settling Sam against her, "maybe things will look different when the sun comes up," she went on resolving to talk to Harrison first thing in the morning.

"Optimism is an attractive characteristic," Sam mumbled into Brooke's nightshirt.

"Don't I know it. I'm just full of attractive characteristics. In fact I'm fairly certain that if I only had a little humility I'd be perfect," Brooke responded grinning down at Sam. The brunette looked up at her with a stern expression but couldn't keep it up for long soon dissolving into wearing a stupid grin herself. She thought that she might finally be able to get some sleep.

Brooke placed her arm on Josh's shoulder and told him that she would catch up with him in a moment. They were on their way to English class, but Brooke had spotted Harrison just down the hall and made up her mind to talk to him then, so that he would have enough time to beg and grovel for Sam's forgiveness later on in the day. So, having sent Josh on his way, Brooked stalked over to Harrison who was leaning against his locker talking to Emory Dick, and said, "Can we talk?"

"I'm busy, but if you leave your name and number I'll get back to you as soon as possible," Harrison responded without even turning around to face the blonde cheerleader standing beside him.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean for that to sound like a request," Brooke responded flatly. "We're going to talk. Now."

Harrison simply crossed his arms and stared at her.

"Emory, don't you have an elsewhere to be?" Brooke asked pointedly. "Because now would be a good time to disappear there," she continued when the small blond boy hesitated to move.

"Don't talk to him like that," Harrison responded, stepping in front of Brooke's face.

"Like you have any right to be giving me etiquette lessons," Brooke responded, stepping right back up in his.

"What's that suppose to mean?" Harrison asked hotly. Neither one of them noticed Emory sneak away.

"Just that you could out bitch me any day of the week," Brooke responded. "Sam could testify to that."

Harrison stared at her for a moment, then turned around and started to walk down the hall.

"Doesn't it get hard? You know, running away without a spine?" Brooke asked, following him down the hall. At that he stopped walking and turned around, his manly pride wounded by her words.

"Fine, you wanna talk, let's talk," Harrison said, opening the door to the janitor's closet and waving Brooke inside.

"I don't want you to talk," Brooke said as he closed the door behind them, "I want to talk and I want you to listen. If you want to act like a self-important asshole that's fine with me as long as you're the only one your stupidity hurts. Yesterday, it hurt Sam, which makes it no longer alright with me. I know how you feel, despite the protests I can see ready to spring to your lips, I can comprehend what's going through that pea brain of yours, and to tell you the truth I really don't give a shit. I don't want to get to the root of your issues, and I'm not here to give reassurance to your manly, heterosexual charms. I'm here to tell you what's what. I love Sam, she loves me, and it's going to take a lot more than someone acting pissy to break us up. That means that you have one of two choices, you can yank the stick out of your ass and remain friends with someone who you probably don't deserve, or you can firmly grasp said stick and fuck yourself with it by pushing her away. To most people this would be a no brainer, but to be perfectly honest you haven't been impressing me with your intellectual prowess lately."

"Are you finished?" Harrison asked, crossing his arms and giving Brooke the stink-eye. He couldn't really do anymore than that in response to her speech since she had been indignant enough for both of them, thus taking the wind right out of his sails. Also that fact that she was right played a little part in it.

"Yeah, I'm done," Brooke, responded rather pleased with herself. She was feeling very commanding today, and decided that she was going to go have her bitch fight with Nicole after this.

"Good, so am I," he replied, opening the door and walking out, a ghost of a shadow haunting his face as he made his way down the hall and out of sight.

Part Twenty

Nicole took a seat on the plush, maroon loveseat in the Novak, rubbing her thumb and forefinger together deviously, while watching Brooke out the corner of her eyes. Something seemed different with the other girl, she had lost that glow she had had for the last month or so and Nicole began to wonder if Josh had seriously won her back. Truthfully, she had made the offer not really thinking it would work, if Brooke was smitten enough with Spam to have actually endangered her social standing by sleeping with her, Nicole had doubted that she would just dump her like yesterday's news. Either way, she was intensely interested to hear what Brooke now had to say.

"I think," Brooke began, pacing the length of the room restlessly, "that we're beyond small talk regarding this particular matter," she continued, wanting to get straight to business. She doubted it would be pleasant whether it took them an hour or a minute to get down to it, and frankly her heart couldn't handle an hour.

"What particular matter would this particular matter be?" Nicole asked, smiling sweetly at the other girl. She wondered what had taken Brooke so long, after the scene in the cafeteria she had expected to have a little chat with Brooke, however the blonde disappeared for the rest of day.

"My relationship with Sam," Brooke responded, meeting Nicole's gaze.

"I was under the impression that that had passed," Nicole responded.

"It hasn't," Brooke responded, meeting Nicole's gaze with a steely one of her own. "I could say more, but I don't think it's necessary. The reason I asked you to come here is because I know what you're planning to do."

"Planning to do? What ever are you talking about?" Nicole drawled lazily. She was at least pleased to hear that she hadn't wasted the years she had spent under Brooke, over that period of time she had learned to read the other girl like a children's novel. Brooke, so nice, so bloody predictable.

"I'm talking about you outing us," Brooke responded simply. She wasn't going to play these word games with Nicole, she didn't have the time or the inclination. The brutal honesty of the statement caused Nicole to stop inspecting her fingernails and look over at the girl standing in front of her. So Brooke could still surprise her every now and then, that didn't mean anything.

"Outing is such a harsh word," Nicole responded carefully. "I prefer to think of it as spreading the good news. What ever happened to singing it from the mountain tops, Brooke?"

"You can think of it however you 'prefer' to, it doesn't change what it is," Brooke responded solemnly. "Please Nic, don't do this."

"You're the one that did the doing, Brookie," Nicole responded. "You knew what it would mean and you fucked her anyway. I hope it was good, Brooke, cause you'll be suffering from the consequences of that indulgence for a while. Basically, you're screwed."

"It doesn't have to be this way," Brooke said, a pleading tone entering her voice. "You're supposed to be my friend…my best friend, I never thought you'd stab me the moment I turned my back to you."

"Never turn your back to anyone Brooke, especially not to someone like me," Nicole responded, her tone darkening. "I'm no good. People have been telling you that for years. But you never believed them, did you? Even when you saw me rip through people without breaking a sweat. That's what I loved about you Brookie, your unwavering faith. But a cheetah can't hide her spots forever, and now you're finally having to connect the dots. You were convenient, now you're a liability. On the African plains when a lion becomes weak the others leave them to die, then rip them shreds…so the strong can survive. You're reign is over…your most stunning defeat by your own tongue," Nicole finished as she circled Brooke. She was like a vulture circling her pray in the hot desert sun, taking little nibbles at it before died.


"What? You think I don't mean it?" Nicole asked, her voice raising slightly. "I'm tired of being your lap dog. Someone would have torn you apart years ago if it wasn't for me. Christ, Mary Cherry has got more balls than you do. That girl would kill, literally, for what you've got, and you piss and moan it away. Well, you're on your own this time, you've engineered your own defeat. This time it's all on you, because the only thing I've got on my side is the truth. And if that's what you're scared of, then you've got bigger problems then me."

Brooke simply stared at the girl once she finished speaking, her head was pounding and she found herself falling into a nearby chair. Under the hostility, and the snide-ness and the Darwinian logic, Nicole had a point. There was a bigger issue there than the betrayal of confidence that Brooke had been focusing on. This wasn't an issue of Nicole merely threatening to tell her secret, it was a case of her being ashamed of her secret. Nicole was right, the truth was that Brooke was dating Sam, that they loved each other and that Brooke was absolutely terrified of the population at large finding out about it. The only thing that gave Nicole power in this situation was their fear, her fear.

Intellectually, Brooke had always known that was underlying principle behind it all; that being involved with Sam would have a slew of after effects that wouldn't be nearly as pleasurable as the fact that they were together. And sitting there in the washroom of her school with Nicole staring down at her like some predator from the safari, Brooke was painfully aware of all of the reasons she wanted to keep the relationship a secret, and alternately of all the reasons she felt terribly ashamed for feeling ashamed of what she and Sam had together.

Nicole was right, Brooke did have bigger problems than her, and Brooke had no idea what to do about them.

"I love her," Brooke breathed out wretchedly as she squeezed her eyes shut, trying to hold in the tears threatening to fall. "Why can't that be enough?" She wasn't sure who she was talking to, herself of Nicole.

"Because it's not," Nicole answered softly. The malevolence so prevalent in her previous sermon had dissipated as a result of Brooke's collapse and uttered declarations. Despite herself, Nicole was moved by the display. She could see Brooke tearing herself apart, digging into herself and bleeding. It was oddly compelling, seeing her fall apart like that, seeing her disassemble right before her own eyes.

"I don't know what to do," Brooke continued, as the tears she had tried so valiantly to hold escaped from their prison and cascaded down her cheeks. "I love her so much I almost can't remember what it was like before we were together…but being with her is killing everything that I know. Sometimes, it hurts so much and I get so scared that I can't breath…but I can't stop feeling how I feel. Even though it's ruining me, I can't stop loving her," she concluded, looking up at Nicole with luminescent, tear filled eyes.

Nicole watched Brooke disassemble even further after that, could see her crumbling in front of her eyes until all that she could make out of the girl was a mass of quivering, wet flesh. She turned away. This was the opportunity that she had been waiting for. Yes, Brooke had been a friend to her, the best friend that she had ever had, but that was in the past and it was time to look forward. She had to look forward. However, even as these thoughts ran through her head the blonde turned back around to observe Brooke's figure, small and cowering. She felt her eyes begin to well with the sting of unshed tears and she averted her eyes once more.

Struggling with herself for a moment, Nicole finally turned back to face Brooke. She stood there watching her for a moment more, then crossed the short distance between them and wrapped her arms around Brooke who almost immediately turned into her shoulder and began to cry in earnest. Nicole held the shuddering body in her arms and sighed deeply to herself. There was a reason Brooke McQueen was the most popular girl in school, and it wasn't because she accessorized well, and was tall and blonde--although those things didn't hurt. It was because there was a fine line between being admired and incurring people's hate, it was a line that Brooke walked masterfully without even knowing it. To put it succinctly, the girl was a sympathetic character despite her obvious privilege. It wasn't a matter of having to love her, or even like her, as much as the fact that you couldn't quite hate her, and that was enough.

"Thank you," Nicole heard Brooke whisper as she finally pulled herself together and began to separate herself from her friend.

"Yeah, well, I've always had a soft spot for blondes…that's why I became one," Nicole responded, standing up and offering her hand to Brooke. "We have to get you cleaned up cause, to borrow a phrase from Mary Cherry, you look like you look like ten miles of bad road."

Brooke grasped her hand, but regarded the other girl somewhat dubiously.

"I let you cry on Pashmina, don't even think about looking at me like that," Nicole responded grumpily.

"It's good to have you back," Brooke replied, smiling slightly. Nicole rolled her eyes in response but a small smile appeared on her face too. A little--and she stressed the little part--of her was glad to be back too.

Part Twenty-One

Jane shifted the laundry basket she was carrying, shifting the weight of it so that it rested on her hip freeing up one of her hands. Opening the door, she quickly pushed her way inside and flipped the light on. Looking around the room, she shook her head, the place was an absolute mess. Of all of her daughter's wonderful qualities, keeping an orderly room was not one of them.

Shifting the basket once again, she made her way over to Sam's bed unceremoniously dropping the laundry basket onto the mattress. She then spun around and surveyed the room once again. As long as she was there it couldn't hurt to tidy the place up a bit, she thought to herself, her eyes focusing on the natural disaster that for at least two days out of the month served as Sam's desk.

Making her way over to the offending object, she sighed deeply, wondering where to begin. Taking another step forward, she failed to notice a book lying on the floor in front of her and tripped over it, knocking into the desk which sent a myriad of papers and books plummeting to the ground. Regaining her balance she looked at the damage she had done, an ironic smile crossing her face. At least now she knew where to begin.

Bending down she began to pick up the scattered objects, placing them into drawers or onto the bookshelf in an orderly fashion, then she turned her attention to the rest of the desk doing the same with the objects resting on it. Finishing up with that she took a step back to survey her handy work, and pleased with the results was about to turn around when she noticed one book partially hidden under the desk.

Reaching out for it she noticed something sticking out of its side, but paid no attention to whatever it was until it fell out of the book as she picked it up. It had fallen so that the back of it was facing up, so all that she could tell immediately was that it was a pamphlet of some kind. Shrugging her shoulders she reached down and picked it up, opening the cover of the book to replace it when she caught sight of the front of it. What she saw almost made her drop it again.

"Same sex equals safe sex, a guide to safe sexual relations for the other ten per cent," Jane read out loud. She could read the words, individually she understood them, but she just couldn't seem to wrap her mind around what she was seeing.

Placing the book down on top of the desk with a shaky hand, Jane opened up the pamphlet. It was certainly a guide, she thought to herself as she flipped through the pages. A sensitive, yet informative guide for teenagers engaged in homosexual relationships. She closed the pamphlet and placed it in the book lying it back on the ground where she had spotted it lying only moments before, then she took a step back from the desk.

The primary question that kept running through her mind was 'why did Sam have a pamphlet that was basically a manual for gay relationships?' It was a question that she could only come up with a few answers to, two of which she found particularly startling. The first option, the one she favored although honestly didn't believe, was that it was research for an article Sam was writing. Sam was a budding journalist, it was possible, but the way in which she found it went against her daughter's modus operandi regarding her work. Despite the state that her room was often in, Jane had noticed that Sam kept meticulous notes on whatever she was writing about at a given time, titled file folders which held various articles and notes on the subject for one. This wasn't like that at all. Not once had Jane seen Sam just shove something she was working on into a book and leave it on the floor.

This then brought her to her next option, which surprised but didn't quite alarm her. That was that Sam was curious about same sex relationships. Teenagers were often curious, that was their job after all, to learn. She was curious and she had sought out information, that was a very responsible, very Sam thing to do, Jane thought to herself. This option was very plausible, and to Jane much, much, much more acceptable than option number three, which was that Sam was already engaged in a gay relationship and wanted to know how to go about hitting a homerun. This thought distressed Jane greatly. Her baby was too young to be engaging in acts not even the Kama Sutra explored. Plus, she didn't even want to consider who the girl was that had deflowered her daughter. No, she wasn't going to consider that at the moment, she couldn't consider that a moment. What she had to do was sit down. Yes, she was going to go sit down and then once she calmed down she was going to consider things rationally.

What she did however was make her way down stairs and fix herself a rum and coke.

Part Twenty-Two

Brooke practically skipped into the house, her body fused with vim and vigor. She was a happy girl, she could as well have been in a musical comedy for all of the saccharine that streaming out of her every pore. In other words, she was having a good afternoon. Hearing a movement in the living room, Brooke placed her prize behind her back and carefully moved forward to see who it was.

"Hey," Brooke greeted spotting Jane. If she had been in anything other than the completely euphoric mood she was in, she would have noticed that the older woman looked a little pale, and slightly dazed, but she was in the completely euphoric mood she was in and she didn't notice that the older woman was a little pale and dazed. "Is Sam home?" she asked, trying not to sound totally like a kid at a candy factory.

"She's upstairs," Jane responded, shaking herself out of the stupor she had been in ever since she had left her daughters bedroom. "You're in a good mood," she commented noticing Brooke's sudden animation. It surprised her, because for the last couple of days both she and Sam had been moping around like they were straight out of an after school special.

"Yeah," Brooke agreed, leaving it at that. Somehow she didn't think that declaring that she had come to terms with the social implications of the love she felt for Jane's daughter, would go over well so she decided that a simple 'yeah' would do the trick. "Later," she continued a moment later as she began to maneuver herself so that Jane couldn't see what was behind her back. She then quickly made her way to and up the stairs, just barely hearing Jane's comment that she was heading out to the grocery store as she continued her ascent.

Sam's door was slightly ajar when Brooke reached it; this she took as a sign from God to continue so she did so without reservation. Once in the room, she spotted Sam typing diligently away at her computer. Two months ago this sight would have terrified Brooke to the very marrow of her bones, since the brunette had had an uncanny way of focusing a great majority of her work on Brooke--the reason why Brooke now knew and it turned her frown upside down--but now the blonde just found the display terrible cute. Closing the door behind her silently, Brooke snuck up behind Sam, bent down and wrapped one of her arms around the girl so that all that stood between them was the back of the chair.

"I saw you," Sam stated. But Brooke had felt her jump momentarily at the first touch of her arm and knew better.

"Of course you did," the blonde responded with an indulgent smile that she was probably lucky Sam couldn't see. "Pour vous," Brooke continued a second later, unfurling the arm which had remained behind her back, presenting Sam with a single red rose.

At that sight of the rose Sam turned around to look into Brooke's smiling face. "Thank you," she breathed.

"You're welcome," Brooke said, raising herself a little so that she could bring her lips to Sam's.

"You're in a good mood," Sam commented once they separated. She could feel the energy coming off of Brooke in waves. It was actually quite intoxicating and, not for the first time by any means, Sam wished that they had the house to themselves once again. She really, really wished that they had the house to themselves. Really. Really.

"So I keep hearing," Brooke responded, standing up and moving to lean against the corner of Sam's desk. "I talked to Nicole today."

"I take it things went well," Sam replied, surprised but pleased. Maybe Brooke hadn't been projecting when she said that Nicole actually had a heart buried somewhere in the deep Siberian mineshaft she called a heart.

"Eventually," Brooke said, half sighing dramatically. "I only had to have a nervous breakdown, before things started to go really well."


"I think I'd been really tense for the past couple of days, I have a tendency to bottle up emotions, and today I basically caved in like Rosie O'Donnell at a Hostess sale. Nicole…picked up the pieces," Brooke related in a steady tone, though her face revealed some of the emotions that she must have gone through during their confrontation.

"So she not going to tell?" Sam asked just to clear things up.

"I don't think so," Brooke responded. She was quiet for a moment after that, then she smiled. "But that's not the issue. The truth is somewhere after the begging, and towards the end of the breakdown I realized that I don't care if she tells…and *that* feels pretty excellent," she continued, before pausing once more. "Unless you care, because I can threaten her if you want."

Sam smiled at the last part because she was sure that Brooke would do it. She was finally beginning to realize that as much as she was powerless when it came to Brooke, Brooke was powerless when it came to her. She found it oddly comforting. "That's sweet, but not necessary. I'm sleeping with the head cheerleader, I've already gotten my props."

Brooke smiled then swooped in kissing Sam's cheek before moving so that she kneeling beside Sam's chair.

"What are you doing later?" the cheerleader asked. "Nothing? Good," she continued before Sam had a chance to respond. "I was hoping you'd say that."

"Let me guess? You have an idea," Sam replied, looking down at Brooke curiously. "It better not involve the removal of clothes and a tub of jello."

"That was just a suggestion," Brooke responded although she leered at Sam suggestively anyway. "Actually," she continued, ignoring the look Sam shot her, "I have reservations."

"Reservations about what?" Sam asked.

"Reservations at a restaurant," Brooke clarified.

"A restaurant?" Sam asked.

"A restaurant," Brooke confirmed.

Sam looked at her blankly, and Brooke smiled again standing up and pulling out Sam's chair. Once Sam's legs were free of the desk she then sat down on the brunette's lap and draped her arm around the back of the chair. Sam looked at her with a bemused expression but didn't still didn't say anything.

"This is me," Brooke started, "asking you to accompany me to dinner tonight. Dinner at a restaurant, one with menus and waiters, and cheesy elevator music and those cute little dessert trolleys."

"A date?" Sam asked, looking up at Brooke.

"Yeah, an honest to God date," Brooke responded. "I think it's about time, don't you?" she asked, smiling.

"And here I thought all this time I had been seeing the cheapest woman in the world," Sam replied with a smirk.

"Yeah, well, mamma hit the jackpot and who better to spend it on than her bitch," Brooke responded, leaning in and rubbing her nose against Sam's, effectively diffusing any scathing response the brunette could have come up with.

"Were you born this charming, or is this the result of tireless hours of practice?" Sam asked sarcastically though a beautiful smile was gracing her equally beautiful lips.

"I'm all natural baby," Brooke responded, bringing their lips together playfully.

"Tell that to Clairol," Sam replied, a wicked grin spreading across her face.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Brooke stated, drawing her head back slightly so that she could see Sam's face.

"I've seen the bottles," Sam responded, the smile never having left her face.

"That's…it's just to lighten it," Brooke stammered.

"I love you anyway," Sam replied.

"That's very big of you," Brooke commented.

"I know. That's why I'm fabulous," Sam agreed.

"Shut up and gimme some sugar," Brooke responded, smiling as she leaned in. Sam smiled back and brought her head forward bringing their lips together in a deep, passionate kiss. "Come on," Brooke said softly when they separated, taking Sam's hand into her own.

"Where?" Sam asked, allowing Brooke to lead her nevertheless.

"To the door," Brooke responded, walking them over to said object which she locked upon their arrival. "Then to the bed," she continued once again leading Sam by the hand to the object in question.

"My mom," Sam started.

"Your mom's gone grocery shopping," Brooke responded with a wide smile as she lifted the laundry basket resting on the bed to the floor. "We have the house all to ourselves."

"I wish I had a million dollars," Sam whispered as a smile covered her face.

"What?" Brooke asked quizzically, drawing Sam towards her all the same.

"When you first came in, I wished that we had the house all to ourselves again," Sam responded, placing her hands on Brooke's hips. "Since that wish came true, I just thought that I'd cover my bases," she continued as her hands found their way under Brooke's shirt.

"That's my girl," Brooke responded before leaning forward and pressing her lips Sam's. As she did this, Sam slipped her hands underneath Brooke's shirt, massaging the soft skin there as she leaned into Brooke and felt her body begin to hum. After minutes, or hours, or a life time--Sam wasn't sure which and really didn't care--Brooke pulled away from her minutely, only mere centimeters separating them and looked at Sam with wide open eyes. Her cheeks slightly flushed, and her lips slightly parted she stood there, offering herself to Sam.

Sam immediately began to push the material of Brooke's shirt up but with an almost painful slowness, her eyes taking in every inch of skin as it was revealed, worshipping not just the body but the girl in front of her. Pulling the shirt over Brooke's head, Sam let it fall to the floor absently as she leaned in and attached her lips to Brooke's neck, licking and kissing her skin sensuously but hungrily. Leaving a wet trail in her wake, Sam made her way over to Brooke's shoulder, nipping at the skin as her hands made there way behind Brooke's back and unhooked her bra.

Stepping back, Sam then raised her hands to Brooke's shoulder and freed the blonde from the confines of her bra before renewing the contact between them, just into time to hear Brooke gasp slightly and feel the tremble that ran through her body. Ducking her head down Sam placed her lips over Brooke's heart kissing her, then trailed her way in between the valley of the cheerleaders breasts and down her stomach to the waist band of her pants. With her head now level with Brooke's waist Sam ran her hands up Brooke's legs bringing them to the waist band of her pants and unhooked them, slowly drawing the zipper down, then peeling the parasuco's off of the blonde's body.

Standing up and taking a step back once Brooke was free of the garment, Sam gazed at Brooke, who was standing perfectly still allowing the inspection without the slightest sign of protest.

"How can you do that?" Brooke asked softly as Sam watched her, a note of wonder creeping into her voice.

"What?" Sam asked, drawing her eyes to Brooke's.

"Look at me like you've never seen me before," Brooke responded.

"Because every time I see you it *is* like the first time," Sam replied as reverently as Brooke had posed the question, a gentle smile crossing her lips as she raised her hands to her own body and began to disrobe. Brooke reached out for her, but Sam stepped back shaking her head, that gentle smile she had gradually turning impish. Brooke returned to her former position, settling herself to the idea that this was now Sam's show. Actually, as the brunette began to left her shirt up teasingly and caressed her own abdomen sexily, Brooke had to admit that she really couldn't find anything wrong with that. Teasing Brooke with her excruciatingly slow movements Sam revealed herself inch by inch, never letting Brooke touch her until she was completely undressed.

"Oh god," Brooke breathed out desperately when Sam finally freed her from her prison and allowed their skin to meet for the first time. Pressing herself firmly against the brunette Brooke brought their lips together, her hands roaming over Sam's body frantically, as Sam moaned and arched into her.

Somehow, neither one of them actually certain how it actually happened, they ended up on the bed, Brooke smiling and leaning over Sam. The brunette responded to their new position by pulling Brooke's mouth down to hers, forcing the blonde to drape her body over Sam's completely, so that almost every part of them was in contact.

Breaking the contact between their lips almost regretfully, Brooke dropped her head down and began to shower kisses along Sam's neck, trailing her lips across her collar bone and then downwards, encircling Sam's right breast with sweet kisses. Sam arched up into Brooke's mouth, crying out into the still of the room, her sounds of passion exciting Brooke even further as the blonde captured Sam's nipple in her eager mouth. As Brooke's lips concentrated on Sam's chest, her hands once again began to explore the brunette's body, another moan escaping the confines of Sam's lips as Brooke's fingers danced along her torso causing waves of pleasure to roll over Sam, her head turning to the side as she bit down on her lips hotly.

Slowly, adoringly Brooke kissed her way down Sam's body, as her hands rose to take over where her lips had left off. Sam's breath caught in her throat, and her eyes closed, a decidedly erotic sound making it's way from deep within her which brought an answering whimper from Brooke.

Now, dragging her hand down, Brooke let her hand intimately explore the smooth, soft flesh before removing her lips from Sam's abdomen and looking up at Sam's face; her eyes were closed and her bottom lip snared between her teeth erotically. Brooke watched her with something close to awe. Her hand stopped it's movements, and she stayed in the position she was in watching Sam, silently wishing that she would open her eyes. And when those brown orbs did flutter open Brooke was captured by their vibrancy, her breath hitching with look of raw passion clouding them, directed at her. Not taking her eyes off of Sam's Brooke shifted her position slightly, moving further down on the bed, then lowered her lips the flesh of Sam's inner thighs, licking and kissing the skin she found there passionately.

Sensations were running rampant throughout Sam's body, wonderful, exhilarating feelings that seemed to engulf her completely as Brooke kissed her way up Sam's legs. When the blonde finally reached her intended destination, her tongue slipped out and dipped between the folds of Sam's sex with an indolence that was almost unbearable yet maddeningly exciting at the same time. Sam's eyes once again closed at the touch of Brooke's mouth to the center of her being, despite the fact that she was desperately willing them to stay open, and her hands grasped at her sheets, her fingers retracting into fists as she grabbed handfuls of sheet and her body undulated.

Prying her eyes open with an almost superhuman force, Sam's eyes held the blue of Brooke's for a moment before she felt the blonde's mouth close around the bud of her pleasure and her fingers slipped inside of her, moving in and out of her attentively as Brooke lips and tongue caressed the nucleus of her pleasure. Sam's body rose and fell vigorously, as her right hand clutched at the sheets beside her and her left hand held Brooke firmly in place, as if there was any place else the blonde would rather have been. Brooke reveled in Sam's death grip as she felt the body beneath hers tense, Sam's body rising one last time before the physical and emotional pleasure she was feeling finally cumulated into one mind-blowing orgasm that washed over her like a tidal wave, her body shaking and shivering as she moaned Brooke's name over and over again.

Sam reached out blindly, drawing Brooke upwards needing to feel every inch of the cheerleader against her. Raising herself up, Brooke planted small kisses along Sam's body as the brunette's body came under control. Raising her face above Sam's, Brooke simply gazed at her until she felt Sam's hand come to rest on her cheek and caught those magnificent eyes watching her. Having already learned that words often failed her at moments like this, Brooke simply leaned down and brought her lips to Sam's once more, trying to pour everything that she felt for her into it, trying to make her kiss the embodiment of her love.

Breaking from the kiss, Sam stroked the side of Brooke's face gently, her fingers following a pattern only she could detect on the warm skin of the blonde's face. "What are you thinking?" Sam asked, truly having no idea what the cheerleader was thinking. She had discovered that after they made love Brooke's mind usually wandered to strange yet wondrous places.

Brooke turned her head to side and could just see over the edge of the bed to the laundry basket lying on the floor. "I think that we should do this load," Brooke responded decisively. Sam rolled her eyes and tilted her head up to the ceiling, her body trembling with barely restrained laughter.

Part Twenty-Three

Brooke carefully exited her room, checking to see if the hallway was clear before making her way out into the hall and over to Sam's room. Checking the knob, she found the door open and slipped inside noiselessly. Sam was standing in front of her mirror, her back turned to Brooke, and the blonde leaned against the door she had just closed with a smile and observed the other girl with a soft smile on her face. Sam was dressed semi-casually--as Brooke had suggested so they won't draw too much attention when leaving the house--and standing there watching her brush her hair Brooke was certain that if she wasn't already entirely in love with Sam, she would have fallen for her watching her there in the pale light and peace of the moment.

"In civilized society it's considered customary to knock before entering someone's private space," Sam drawled lazily, not for a moment stopping her actions.

Brooke smiled wider and made her way over to her girlfriend. "If someone had been ready on time, this barbarous act would need not have been commented," she responded, stopping slightly behind Sam, meeting the brunette's gaze in the mirror. "You're gorgeous," Brooke continued a second later.

Sam smiled a wicked, sexy smile and turned around so that she could see Brooke completely. "I suppose," she replied in an almost whisper, "that it takes one to know one," she went on, raking her eyes over Brooke, who--she noticed in a naughty kind of way--was turning a bit red.

"Don't look at me like that," Brooke warned, feeling herself begin to react to the positively lecherous look on Sam's face. "We're already late."

Sam put up her hands in the universal sign of peace, although she still looked rather amused and a little bit lecherous. "I'm ready."

"Is everything set?" Brooke asked before gallantly taking Sam's hand into hers and kissing it softly.

"The elder," Sam said started, smiling over a Brooke, "thinks that I'm off to the movies with Carm and Lily, and that it's very sweet of you to drop me off," she continued deciding to omit the part about her mothers almost dictatorial questions about her plans for the evening.

"Chanel boutique for me," Brooke responded. "After you my dear," she continued, crossing over to the door and spryly opening it.

Part 24

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