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Zapruder and Carrot Cake
By Ruby

Part Seven


Thursday arrived and Nicole, having successfully managed to avoid Sam outside of class was too caught up in her own feelings to notice the looks the reporter had been getting. She was walking through the halls with Brooke when the cheerleader put a hand on her arm and Nicole saw her eyes narrow, looking up she watched Carmen and Lily walking towards them with Harrison. Brooke waited until they were level before saying "So which one of you is it?"

"It isn't" Carmen replied calmly, "we thought it was you."

"Me! There's no way...."

"Oh mah Lawd Brookie!" a loud drawl began from behind them, "Ah just wanted to say that ah never thought that you..."

"What am I missing here?" Nicole asked confused.

"Didn't you read Sam's latest article?" Brooke inquired pulling the newspaper out of Mary Cherry's hands and giving it to her.

"Why would I ...".

"Just read the final paragraph" Brooke cut in.

Nic wondered what the matter was, looking down she found the article and noticed that a paragraph had been added to the end...

Nicole was stunned, fortunately they had all turned to watch the author walk down the hall so no one noticed the slightly slack jawed expression on the blond's face.

"Does this mean you're, you're..." Brooke couldn't finish her sentence.

"Gay? Yes I guess it does", Sam said perfectly calmly.

The cheerleader's mouth dropped open in shock.

"I have some pamphlets" Lily mumbled rummaging around in her bag, "...but then I guess you've already read them".

Sam grinned, "Brooke looks like she could use them".

"So who's the co-author?" Harrison asked still disbelieving what he had read.

"You don't really expect me to tell you that do you?"

Nicole pulled herself together and got up in her face, "I thought staying silent was the biggest threat to us all" she said waving the paper under her nose.

Sam, trying to work out if the blond was angry or not caught the paper as it came up one last time, "back off Satan, you'll be wearing KMart before I give it up".

"Well I still say you'll be wearing Gucci before you get any!" Nicole replied.

Sam stepped backwards and laughed, leaving everyone bar Nicole looking confused. Making sure the blond was watching, she lifted her left arm and pulled up her sleeve displaying the bracelet.

"Oh mah, that's from the latest collection, it cost's like..."

"hmmph, well at least it's a woman with taste", Nicole cut in, before running her eyes over the brunette, "Think you can get her to do anything with the rest of you?"

"Oh I'll certainly try" the brunette smirked.

Realizing that flirting in the hallway with all their friends watching was probably not a good idea however happy she was, Nicole uncharacteristically backed off. "You realize you've just made it harder for yourself, that you'll be stalked by your loser friends until they know who it is." she paused, "but know this Spam, I will be the one to tell the school".

Sam looked away, Nic's words sinking in, she was right, they would get no peace. She knew her friends well enough to know that while they would do it for the right reasons, stalking was still stalking, and she really, really, didn't like the gleam that came into Mary Cherry's eyes. She turned back as Lily said, "Does she know you just outed yourself and her?"

"I imagine the whole school does now" Sam said softly, "besides I didn't out her, I just wanted to tell her she had my heart, I don't know if I have hers".

"Newsflash girly, not even Mary Cherry gives Gucci unless there's feeling involved" Nicole said insulted.

"She's right" Mary Cherry nodded, "Gucci is seriously serious".

The thought that she had made a fatal mistake occurred to the reporter, "What am I going to do" she groaned.

"Doesn't that rag have an advice column?" Nicole said as Sam glared at her, "what? I was only asking. Come on Brooke I've had enough teen angst for one day" she turned to the brunette, "I doubt you want my advice, but your getting it anyway... Obviously your feelings are returned, so talk to her, she might just surprise you". The cheerleaders stalked off in the direction of the Novak.

"I hate to admit it, but Satan's right" Carmen said, "you need to talk to her".

"We could come along if you like, you know, for moral support" Lily added, Sam just smiled.

"So Nic, what dastardly plan have you thought up to find out the ahdentity of Spam McPherson's significant other?" Mary Cherry's eyes were aglow.

Nicole grinned and continued primping her hair in the mirror while regarding the miserable cheerleader sitting on the tuffet, "You ok Brooke?"

Brooke looked up, she was having a hard time coming to terms with the news. "Er, yeah... this is just so weird".

"What's weird Brookie?" Mary Cherry asked sitting beside her, "the fact that your soon to be step sister is a rug muncher who you have to share a bathroom with? The fact that she has in all probability seen your bodacious self nekkid? The fact that..."

Nicole was getting annoyed, "Hey Peabrain, Spam has better things to do than watch Brooke in the shower", or at least she'd better have, Nic thought. Feeling the need for damage control she continued, "Brooke, we are going shopping, I really think you need the kind of therapy that only a platinum card can give. Mary Cherry" she said seeing the girl's eyes light up at the prospect, "you are going to cover for us".

"But ah...."

"This is the time we need to rally around Brooke" Nic said firmly.

Having shopped, almost literally until they dropped, Nicole realized that her friend's heart really wasn't in it. Getting them both a coffee and low-fat ciabatta, Brooke being slightly better since the article on eating disorders, she decided it was time to bite the bullet. "What's the matter? Is it Spam?"

Brooke looked up, "It's just... I know you don't like her but... I thought... I thought that we were becoming friends and..." she couldn't finish.

"and?" Nicole asked quietly.

"and now everything seems like a lie... like I didn't really know her at all... and everyone thinks that I'm... that I'm..."

"The person she's talking about", Nic finished for her. Brooke nodded unhappily. "Which bothers you more?" she asked sitting down.

"I don't know".

"Sam is no different a person than she was yesterday" Nicole began calmly, "She's still an extremely annoying freak of nature with no fashion sense and questionable taste in friends", Brooke opened her mouth to object but Nicole carried on, "and just because she prefers girls to boys doesn't mean you do, it's not catching after all."

"But she should have told me", Brooke replied.

"Why? If I suddenly told you I was gay, it wouldn't mean I'd lied to you before, it would mean I hadn't known or been ready to admit, the truth. In any case would it negate our friendship?"

"No of course not".

"Well then, why do you think Sam lied to you, do you tell her about feelings you're not sure of?"

"No but..."

"So do you think she did it on a whim to mess with your head?"

"No of course not!"

"Then I don't see the problem, Sam is obviously coming to terms with it in her own way, granted announcing it to the school is an unfortunate way, but that's reporters for you".

"But what if Mary Cherry's right..."

Nic sighed and fought the desire to slap the blond, "If you were living with Harrison, would you watch him in the shower?"

"Eww" was the only reply.

"So what makes you think Sam is watching you? Being gay doesn't mean not having standards anymore than being straight does".

"I know your right, it's just... wait, are you saying I'm not up to Sam's standards?"

Nicole couldn't believe she was hearing this, "No Brooke, I'm just saying that since she's clearly fallen for someone else, she wouldn't be thinking about watching you in the shower".

"Oh right... yeah... ok."

"So are you ok with it now?" Nicole asked, regarding her friend with some trepidation.

"I guess so" Brooke replied, "I just wish she'd told me rather than finding out like that... So who do you think the other girl is?"

"Er, yeah about that..." Nicole stopped and finished her coffee, "Do you want another one?" she asked holding up her cup.

Brooke, her brain recovering from the shock it had received earlier, suddenly realized that the cheerleader was nervous, very nervous. "Nic, why are you fidgeting... and why are you sticking up for Sam anyway?"

"Well, I thought I should let you know... that is to say that for a while now I..."

Brooke's mouth once again flew open in shock, "it's you isn't it!" Nicole could only nod.

Sam was feeling dejected. Her friends had not left her alone, Mary Cherry had made not so subtle references that included the words 'Sinner' and 'Hellfire' and Nicole had vanished off the face of the earth. Sometimes, she thought, staying silent wasn't such a bad idea. Looking out of her bedroom window she noted that Harrison was lurking by the corner and she could have sworn she'd seen Carmen skulking about earlier. Great, my life has turned into movie of the week! Sighing she pulled her curtains across and went back to researching an article on animal rights.

Nicole pulled the car up beside the palace and noticed a shadow disappear around the corner. Well no climbing for me tonight she thought sighing. "are you coming in?" Brooke asked.

"Well I er..."

"Doesn't look like you're going to see her alone any other way" Brooke stated as a head peeked back around the corner.

"Are you sure you don't..."

"Look, I can't pretend I'm not finding this weird... very weird in fact. But you're my best friend Nic and I don't want to lose that..."

Nicole smiled, "hey, you're dealing with it a lot better than I did".

Hearing footsteps coming up the stairs Sam braced herself for confrontation, she had no idea where Brooke had been, but judging by her inability to finish a sentence earlier, she was not happy.

"Don't you think you should have told me?" Brooke asked opening the door.

"I wasn't thinking" Sam said turning "I...".

"Yes you were hon, you were thinking about me" Nicole said stepping into the room and shutting the door, watching as her newly significant other floundered like a guppy out of water.

"I... I..."

"I think it's safe to say Brooke knows" the cheerleader said looking at her with amusement.

"You... you..."

"and to think you've been hailed as the next Bernstein!"

Sam shut her mouth and frowned before beginning again, "exactly when did this become the twilight zone?"

"Look Sam, I don't have a problem with it... well not really anyway, I just think you should have told me. But as Nic has more to say to you on the 'taking out an advert' front, I'll just say this... Hurt her and your life won't be worth living". Nicole smirked, "that goes for you too!" Brooke continued catching her. The cheerleader held up her hands in mock surrender. Turning to see Sam looking at her best friend with a strange expression on her face, Brooke walked to the door, "Ok, as there is such a thing as too much information, I'll be leaving now", neither of them heard her as she opened the door and quietly left.

Sam bit her bottom lip, "did you..., are you...?"

The cheerleader walked towards her, a predatory look in her eye, "You know, telling the world before you told me, not the best idea you ever had Sammy!"

"I just didn't... I don't know why I... I just couldn't hold it in any more".

Nicole stopped in front of her and picked up her hand, pulling Sam to her feet, "Well we'll deal with that later, right now..." she paused and then smiled, "what do you want to do right now?"

Sam grinned back, "well I do recall you confidently predicting things happening should I ever be the proud possessor of a certain designer label" she said shaking her wrist.

The blond laughed, "all you have to do is ask".

Sam blushed, "Kiss me?"

Nic looked smug, "It's about time!"

"So, um..." Sam said a while later, enjoying the sensation of the cheerleader snuggled in her arms, "What are we going to do about the whole school thing?"

Nic groaned, "You would have to spoil a perfect moment wouldn't you!"

"Sorry but... I'm being stalked, everyone thinks I was talking about Brooke and I'm pretty sure Mary Cherry's about to re-enact scenes from the exorcist"

"The drama queen you can leave to me" Nicole said her eyes narrowing, "but your friends are your problem."

"I don't think they have a problem with me being gay, well except perhaps Harrison... but the whole me going out with Satan... that's really going to spook them".

Nicole raised her head so she could see Sam's face, "So what, you want to break up already?"

"No!" the brunette replied quickly, "it's just, going to take some time, we need to... let them get to know you".

"Sam, you managed to come out to the entire school and almost put Brooke in therapy, we also have to be back there in twelve hours, time is the one thing we don't have".

Groaning Sam put an arm over her face, "I really screwed up didn't I!"

Nic pulled the arm away, "It was incredible sweet... if a little misguided... but why didn't you just tell me?"

"I don't know, it just... didn't seem enough somehow."

The blond sighed, "Well, much as I've enjoyed sneaking around doing these articles, and making you fall for me... even though it took you so long I was running out of ideas..."

Sam smirked, "No more sneaking in through my window then?"

Nic pulled a face, "While Harrison's out there? I think not. Anyway, much as I've enjoyed it..."

A discreet knocking at the door alerted them to Brooke's impending presence, trying to get up Sam looked at the arm that had been flung across her chest, Nicole just looked at her. Settling back down she said, "come in" as Nic removed her arm.

A head appeared around the door, "Er, hi..."

"Come in Brooke" Nicole said, making no effort to move.

The cheerleader came in and closed the door, attempting to look anywhere except at the two figures snuggled on top of the bed.

"Erm, Jane wondered if you were staying and... er... I didn't...er"

"No... but we were just talking about the school problem" Nicole said, "and as it affects you as well..."

"It honestly didn't occur to me that everyone would think I was talking about you!" Sam said, this time succeeding in sitting up.

"Yeah well", Brooke said a little self-consciously, "since we live in the same house, I guess it was an obvious mistake to make... So what are you going to do?"

"Spam, thinks her playmates are going to think she's had a breakdown, going over to the darkside an' all" Nicole sat up and smirked.

"Yeah, well believe me they've got nothing on Mary Cherry" the brunette replied, "according to her my kind will be crisply frying come the Day of Judgment!"

Brooke's eyes narrowed as she sat on the edge of the bed, "Nic, if you and I sat with Sam at lunch tomorrow, how long do you think it would take Mary Cherry to get over her decidedly un-Christian sensibilities?"

Nic grinned, "my guess? the five seconds it took her to realize she was sitting on her own!"

"So what about everyone else?" Sam asked

"What? you want to take out another ad?"

"No, but if you and Brooke sit with me tomorrow, everyone's going to think that..."

"that it is me" Brooke finished.

"Well we'll just have to show them it's not, won't we?" Nicole replied firmly.

"Er Nic, remember what you said about social pond scum?"


"Because you could become it, coming out."

"Sam the only way people can treat you like scum is if you let them. We have nothing to be ashamed of and as I was about to say before Brooke came in, I for one am sick of hiding, believe me it takes way too much energy that I have better uses for".

Brooke looked at the blond with new respect, maybe this would work out ok after all.

Part 8

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