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Zapruder and Carrot Cake
By Ruby

Part Three


"McPherson," Glass said walking to her desk, "Principal Hall wants to see you."


"Now McPherson."

A puzzled Sam stood and left the class having asked Brooke to grab her books if she wasn't back. Making her way to the principal's office she wondered what it was about. Knocking on the door she heard a muffled, "Come in" and entered. "Ah Samantha, sit down." Wondering how it was possible that Hall knew the smell of everyone in the school she complied. "How are the articles for the paper going?"

"Erm, good thanks."

"I realise it's not been printed yet but Mr. Grant has read me the latest one on drugs, a fine piece of journalism."

"Thank you" Sam replied warily.

"I take it you wouldn't have been being creative with the truth?"

Sam was offended, "Of course not."She had been surprised that Nic had been able to come up with quite so much information; she had thought maybe there were E's and Marijuana available; but she had been stunned when the cheerleader had come back from her fact finding mission with an assortment of prescription pills and club drugs, especially when she mentioned she'd also been offered Crack. It appeared being Nicole Julian really was an entrance card that no-one said no to.

"Mmm, and you would agree I think, that drugs have no place anywhere but certainly not in a High School."

"Absolutely," a sense of foreboding came over her.

"Good... then you won't mind furnishing me with the name of your informant so we can crack down before the article is published."

"Erm... well actually..."

"Is there a problem?"

"My informant was asked by me to see how easy it was to buy drugs, they don't have anything to do..."

"I realize that" the principal cut in, "but they will be able to provide me with the names of people who were involved, unless of course they told you, in which case this need go no further."

"They didn't and telling you their name would be professionally unethical and against my 1st amendment right as a journalist."

"Quite, I can see you'll go far, however the fact that drugs are being sold on school premises outweighs your moral dilemma by several factors of magnitude."

"What about the safety of my informant, it will be putting them in a dangerous position."

"As I imagine drugs are sold to a significant minority of the school, there's no reason for them to suspect that any particular person informed on them."

Sam wasn't convinced, and there was no way she was giving up Nicole's name without even talking to her about it. "I need to think about it."

"I understand, but you must understand that we need to move quickly. You have until the end of the day, if I don't have a name by then I will have no choice but to suspend you for impeding a criminal investigation."

Sam got up and walked out of the office in a daze, having no desire to go back to class she headed to the Novak to think.

"Well I don't see why you're..."

"Sam's not anywhere else so she's got..."

The door burst open and five people came tumbling through it.

"See, I told you she was in here."

"Sam, are you ok?"

"Here's your bag..."

"My lawd, is she dead?"

Nicole watched as Lily and Carmen sat either side of the brunette, Brooke attempted to give her her bag and Mary Cherry waved a hand in front of her face. Her eyes narrowed, "Right, out the lot of you... Spam and I are going to have a little talk."

Sam opened her eyes and realizing she was surrounded, stood up and looked over at Nic "You got that right Satan, but for a change you'll be doing the listening."

"I don't think so, been over-reaching again have we..."

"Clearly not as much as you..."

"I thought I told you to leave..." Nic said looking at Carmen and Lily.

"It's ok" Sam said encouraging them towards the door, "I'm more than capable of dealing with the Whore of Babylon on my own."

"Listen McBitch... Brooke get her out of here will you" she said pointing to Mary Cherry who had sat down and started opening snacks.

Brooke dutifully, though with some difficulty, complied.

Finally managing to shut the door and get some peace Nicole turned, "Whore of Babylon?"

"Er yeah, sorry about that! Did you wink at me?"

Nic grinned, "So what's up?"

The reporter sighed and sat down again, "I've got until the end of school to tell Principal Hall my source for the drugs story or she's suspending me."

"What! why?"

"Impeding a criminal investigation. Now you've found them the school wants them rounded up before the article comes out.""

"Makes sense."

"What? Nic they know you, it's not a great jump from you suddenly wanting to buy stuff to them being caught to realizing you set them up!"

"I can take care of myself hon, been doing it for years" Nicole said dismissively.

"But you shouldn't have to, there has got to be another way they can do this."

"Er... I'd worry about yourself, they're more likely to think it's you after the article comes out" Nicole pointed out, privately touched by the thought that Sam was looking out for her.

"I didn't think of that" Sam muttered, it was true, she'd been so busy worrying about what they might do to Nic that she'd forgotten what had started it all off.

Nicole looked down before saying, "Look I know we're not friends..."

"Nic... you know things about me that Lily, Carmen and Harrison wouldn't guess at..." Sam butted in, she paused for a moment to think about that, "wow, you know that's weird but actually true... and I never, ever thought I'd say this, but we are friends."

"Really?" the cheerleader said, trying hard not to smile and failing.

"Sure" Sam nodded feeling oddly pleased that she'd put a smile on Nicole's face.

"Well then, I know this is going to sound truly weird, but I want you to trust me."

"On what?" Sam asked suspiciously.

"When does the paper get printed?"

"Wednesday night, that way it can be distributed on Thursday."

"And can you put in articles up until then?"

"Deadline is midday the day it's printed, but things only get changed that day in extreme circumstances, why?"

"Sam, I actually agree with principal Hall and if we come up with another article to replace the one about drugs no-one need ever know it was written. Look we'll do the one on eating disorders, I've been doing some work on it anyway, can you get some factual stuff together?."

"Sure, but even if we could come up with one that fast, which by the way isn't possible, it still leaves you as the only possible source of information."

"It'll be ok... Just remember what I said loser!" Nicole turned and started to walk out as the door opened.

"Don't threaten me you anorexic freak of nature!" Sam yelled at her back as Carmen walked in, worried about her friend.

"This is amazing Nic, how do you know all this stuff about Marley?" Sam asked as they sat in her bedroom after a very tired looking cheerleader had climbed through her window the following night.

"Oh come on, I was that bitch's pack horse and whipping post... I tried to get her to eat and you know even when she got so thin you'd think it was impossible to get any thinner, she still managed it. When it comes to lessons on anorexia, Marley Jacob was the bible... and there's no way Brooke is going to end up like that while I'm around."

"You really care about her don't you?"

Nic looked at her, "I care about a lot of people Sam, you'd be surprised."

"No I wouldn't" Sam grinned, "You really aren't half the bitch you try to be."

"Thanks, wish I could say the same, but you are definitely half the..." Nicole stopped when a pillow hit her in the face.

"It is a good job this lipstick is smudge-proof hon, or the depths of my retaliation would know no bounds... you don't really think I'm anorexic do you?" Nic asked thinking back to the insult the brunette had hurled at her the day before.

"No Nic, I've seen you eat... you don't, you know... after?"

The cheerleader half smiled, "I think the polite word is purge. No, I don't... have I in the past? Oh yeah, despite everything I know, sometimes it catches you when your not looking. A great dress a size too small, a picture in a magazine, a row with my mother, you think maybe if you were thinner..."

"Nic, you're gorgeous!" Sam interrupted, "I mean... I'd kill for your body!"

The blond smiled, "You're not exactly a slouch in the looks department Sammy."

"Riiiight... I have the figure of a boy!"

"I never saw a boy that looked as good as you do" did I just say that out loud? "So... going back to the article, did you get the factual stuff?"

"Yeah, pretty much finished" the reporter said sitting back at her computer glad to be doing something, did Nic really mean that or was she just being nice?

Nicole watched Sam's right hand from beneath hooded lids, she was making casual circles with her finger, hitting the scroll wheel on the downward stroke to move the page as she scanned it. The blond had never seen anyone use a mouse like that before and it was doing strange things to her libido. "Just got a couple more organizations to do, you want to read it before it goes in?

"I'd love to but I don't think we have time."

"Well if you don't mind reading off a screen you can do it now."

"Haven't I spent enough time here, I mean..."

"Look if you want to go Nic just..."

"No it's... well don't they find it weird you spending so much time up here alone?"

Sam shrugged, "They know the article's due."

Nic got up and walked over, "you want me to read over your shoulder?"

"What?... oh no, here" Sam said getting up.

A few minutes later the cheerleader was totally engrossed in the article when she found a paper plate placed in front of her, looking down she grinned "Thanks."

"You want something to drink with that? I'm going to get some milk."

"That'd be great!" Nic said continuing to read.

Coming back Nicole noticed that Sam only had one glass, "Brooke was down there, erm... here you have it."

Nicole took a sip and then handed her the glass, Sam just looked at it, "I don't have cooties and unfortunately you can't catch a sense of style" the blond said before putting some cake into her mouth and watching as the brunette drank. "This is good Sam" she said gesturing at the screen, "I only hope that the people who need to, read it." She yawned, "I'd better go, I was up half the night with that and I really need to crash."

Sam frowned, "are you going to be ok getting home?"

"I'll be fine" the blond replied picking up her bag and ducking her head under the strap, "Oh here's the disk" she said rooting around and handing Sam a floppy disk.

Part 4

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