Rating PG to PG-13. The absence of smut baffles me too.
Timeline: This spans across the girls' senior year. It places my previous fic right before that, which means that "The Road Goes On Forever" completely ignored Nicole running over anyone. Since I didn't see it, I can't write about it.
A/N: As the title infers, this is a series of short interludes in the lives of Brooke and Sam. Most of it is done by dialogue so that I didn't have to set up any elaborate setting to go along with the words. No one beta read this story for me, so please ignore any glaring spelling or grammar mistakes. I don't own the characters, don't know who owns the characters, and don't expect to make any money off this. They can sue me if they feel it necessary, but I don't even have a job so its not going to do them much good. Feedback is always welcome and certainly appreciated. I'll be Xfjnky2@yahoo.com if you need me.
I Ain't Got No Crystal Ball
"Do you ever think about the future, Sam?"
The question was so simple, yet so complex. A wealth of information and meaning was stored in those eight words, and despite the relative levity of the question itself, it wasn't one to be treated lightly.
It was early December, ACTs and SATs were finally behind them, and the couple was going on their official second month anniversary. Dating anniversary, that was to say. They'd been together in the more carnal sense of the word for longer but the dates that marked the passages of that time didn't seem as meaningful.
Sam's glee as the end of football season drew near had only turned to despair when she figured out that cheerleaders cheered at basketball games too, though she could rightfully maneuver her way out of a few of those, there being so many. Usually she went though, and she didn't mind too much because she could manage to get some work done in the stands, and sitting there for a few hours was well worth the satisfaction that she got from knowing that it pleased Brooke. Besides, lounging around in the stands was a great way to learn the new scuttlebutt, to find new topics on which to test her journalistic might aside from the more obvious. She'd been rather proud of the Title IX style piece that she'd written, and the girl's basketball team had been suitably appreciative of the new uniforms they were now sporting, so she couldn't honestly say that she didn't get something out of it.
None of that, however, answered the question she'd been posed.
"Sure I do. Don't you?" ::Best to answer a question with a question when you don't know the exact right response::, she decided, content with her reply.
Brooke sighed. It was a typical Sam answer, giving nothing away until it was pried out of her with a crowbar. The blonde shifted slightly, sniffling as she moved over, putting a little space between them. It was her unconscious way of signaling that she wanted to talk, and suppressing a groan, Sam readied herself for the experience. Actually, she'd be lying to herself if she said she didn't enjoy times like these, times when they could snuggle together, their movements not guided by the frenzy of passion. Though she'd never give up the intimacy that they had between them, she was content to interact like this as well, limbs wrapped loosely around one another, touches reassuring more than exploratory, the object of the exercise to just relax or, sometimes, to talk.
"More so now than usual," Brooke admitted.
Aware that whatever was driving the blonde to talk was something that she had obviously given a lot of thought to, Sam shifted as well, rolling onto her side so that she could look into the expressive hazel eyes that told her far more that their owner realized. What they held now was a lot of apprehension tempered with a goodly dose of love.
"What about the future?" Sam was well aware of her role in this little game. She was to listen, to make comments only when appropriate, and to provide just enough probing questions to make this seem like a conversation. She'd share as well, but Brooke had initiated the conversation, so the issues that they would delve into were ones brought to light to ease some uncertainty on her part.
"I think about us," Brooke said softly, her voice no more than a whisper as one long-fingered hand reached out, gently tucking a stray lock of mahogany hair back behind the fragile shell of an ear. "What are we going to do, Sam?"
"About the future? Live a day at a time and see what it brings us, I suppose," the brunette replied, floundering slightly. She wasn't really good with emotions, whether it was dealing with others or her own, but she was especially poor at dealing with her own.
"You know what I mean," came the slightly exasperated reply. "We're not going to live in this bubble forever. College is coming up. I know that you've given a lot of thought to it, haven't you."
"Well, sure. I mean, application deadlines are just a few weeks away. For those of us seeking scholarships, that is," Sam amended. She snuggled a little closer to the lithe body lying alongside hers. This had all the makings of a taxing conversation, and early on she had found that she dealt better with those when she could feel the comforting warmth of her partner.
"I'll bet you want to go someplace far away, don't you? Columbia… University of Missouri," Brooke threw out, and Sam's brow wrinkled in surprise. The blonde had obviously been doing her homework, reading up on where the premier journalism schools were located.
"I'll apply to those schools, but I'll apply to schools close to here too, you know." Unsure of the appropriate response, she hoped it was the right one, looking now to lay fears at rest. To be truthful, she hadn't really given much thought to how college was going to affect them. She'd always known she was going, and somehow, as she filled out her applications these past few weeks, she'd just assumed that Brooke would be in there somewhere with her. What if that wasn't the case? She'd never really asked about it, nor stopped to consider that there might be someplace that the blonde had her heart set on going that wasn't anywhere near where she'd end up. That thought brought with it a bolt of nausea, and suddenly her interest in the conversation tripled.
"What about you?" she queried hesitantly after a few minutes of silence.
A long sigh was her only answer for a few moments until finally, hesitantly, Brooke spoke. "I want to go, of course. I mean, that's always been the goal, though until recently it has only been a rather abstract one. High school just seems like something that will be forever, you know, and I've been there so long that I guess I'm just used to thinking of Kennedy as someplace where I'll always be. Its silly, I know, but I hadn't really given much thought to it. I just… I don't want us to lose this closeness. You'll probably think that I sound like a stalker, but honestly, I just hope that I get in wherever you want to go and that you don't mind me tagging along. I don't have any grand plans for the future, at least not yet, so there's no place that I just absolutely must be accepted to..." she trailed off, vaguely uncomfortable, afraid that she had sounded too dependant, too needy.
Feeling something loosen inside of her, aware of a sense of relief that she hadn't anticipated, Sam smiled, her lips curling upward as she gave a little shrug. "To be honest, I never really did give it much thought. Somehow, I guess, I just expected things to work out, for us to be together. However, I do realize that planning and foresight might actually facilitate this goal," she quirked, taking note of the look of relief that seemed to wash through Brooke's eyes.
"Do you ever think that we're lying to everyone?" Brooke asked, and Sam barely restrained a flinch. Quick changes in the flow of conversation never signaled anything good, especially when they started out like that.
"What do you mean?" she asked evenly, not wanting to delve too deeply into the subject unless she and Brooke were on the same wave length.
"You know, to our friends, to our parents. The only person who knows about us besides us is Lily. Sometimes I get so tired of all the sneaking around, of all the lying, of having to hide. I'm proud of you, and proud that you've chosen to be with me, and it hurts that I feel like I can't shout it from the nearest rooftop so that everyone will know," she confessed, lowering her eyes slightly, not wanting to see the reaction to that statement.
"Lying to them is such a harsh way to put it," Sam sighed, feeling a headache coming on. "I would say that its none of their business, but objectively, I guess it is. What we do affects the people in our lives. I just… I just don't want to have to deal with all of the pressure, with all of the people who would be watching us like hawks. If we tell our friends, then we come out to the whole school because once something like that gets started, you can't keep it quiet. You know what they say… a secret's only a secret if one of the people is dead. Its not that I'd mind that, necessarily, because it'd be great to be able to walk through the halls holding your hand, to know that there'd be no speculation among the ranks about who you're going to prom with, but it wouldn't just end there. Eventually, it'd make its way back to Mom and Mike. Someone would tell them in line at the grocery store, or at the DMV, and that's not how I want them to find out. Because, out of all the people in our lives, they're the ones that we've lied to the most, and I don't really want to hurt them like that. Not to mention, I'm not quite sure that your dad wouldn't duck tape me into an ice cooler and accidentally dump me in the Pacific," she joked, trying to lighten up the suddenly too serious conversation but failing miserably.
"They're going to find out sooner or later though," Brooke whispered. "I mean, I know we can't predict the future and I know that we'll never know what all is going to happen, but I'm not in this for a short term fling. I'm not sure about you, but for me, this is the long haul. You're not getting rid of me until one of us dies or you move to a South American country and don't leave me a forwarding address."
"I'm in it for the long haul too, Brooke. But, think of it this way… if we're lying to them, then we're lying to them, no matter how long we do it. I'm much rather wait until we're more secure, until we have a life of our own completely separate from theirs. Telling them now could cause all sorts of problems. Their relationship is new, our relationship is new, and I'm not sure what kind of damage all the strain that is sure to result from their knowing would cause," Sam reasoned, hoping that she didn't sound too pragmatic about the whole thing.
"I know. Its just that I feel so guilty sometimes, and sometimes I worry that our reluctance isn't fear but embarrassment. Are you sure that that's not what it is? Shame? Would you be ashamed for people to find out that you and I are together?"
The headache had arrived in full force, but Sam resisted the urge to reach up and pinch the bridge of her nose. "Never. I'm not ashamed of you, and I don't think that you're ashamed of me. I just want to be with you, and not have to worry about what the world thinks of us, or how our parents are going to react. I don't want to have to be anybody's poster child, and I don't want to have to explain our relationship to people who just won't get it, who'll decide not to like us, to vilify us, just because of who we love."
"We could just be blowing this all out of proportion, you know," Brooke said sadly. "All our fears could be for nothing."
"Could be, but I'm just not sure that I'm ready to take that chance. Can you live with that? Are you upset with me for not pushing for more?" Sam asked worried, afraid, suddenly, that Brooke wouldn't be content with what she could give, that her love wouldn't be enough.
"I could never be upset with you for being honest about your feelings," Brooke said on a sigh, scooting closer so that her head was pillowed on the crook of Sam's shoulder. "I'm not ready for all of that either. I don't want to worry about the future anymore. My present it too good to spend all of it worrying about things that might never happen."
Sam stroked the golden blonde hair tickling her chin, eyes closed. She wished things weren't so complicated, that she could take the world and make it right and lay it at the feet of her lover so that they could live without these worries. But, she mused, complications were what made life what it was, and if she had to deal with a few of them to be with Brooke, then she could handle that.
They were in charge of McKenzie for the afternoon, and Sam was more than a little scared of the prospect. It wasn't that she didn't love her little sister. Oh, no doubt about it, she was quite fond of the little tyke. It was just that she wasn't completely sure how she was supposed to act around her. The few times that Brooke had caught her playing with the baby, she'd laughed for hours, ignoring the dark scowls directed her way. It wasn't Sam's fault that she had no real experience with children. She'd been an only child, without cousins to speak of, and so the only way she knew to deal with the little buggers was how she dealt with everyone else - rationalization and logic.
She remembered the first time Brooke had laughed at her. She'd been playing with the baby's rattle, watching the adorable little faces that McKenzie made when she'd hide the object and then bring it back into sight, rattling it slightly, when the baby had made a wild grab for it. Content to let the child take it, she'd been more than a little surprised when McKenzie had proceeded to try and stuff it down her throat. So, accordingly, she'd taken the rattle away, warned the child of the dangers of choking and gave her a head's up on the germ content of unwashed toys. It was, she thought, what big sisters were for. Brooke, however, had howled, had actually rolled around on the floor laughing, and Sam had decided, at the very instant, not to play with the infant when the blonde was anywhere in sight.
Today, though, they'd both been put on babysitting duty, and Brooke had resolutely refused to handle it on her own. So, she'll pulled Sam into the nursery with her, and had been cooing over the infant non-stop for the past half hour while Sam sat in the corner brooding. She would have normally enjoyed spending time with little Mac, as she privately called the baby, but there was no way that she was going to put herself up for public ridicule again.
Brooke was currently on her back on the floor, flying little Mac over her head like a diapered airplane, apparently oblivious to the dollops of drool that occasionally made their way down to splash on her tee-shirt. Sam thought the display was precious, but since she was in one of her moods, she refused to comment.
"Do you ever think about having kids?" Brooke asked wistfully, and it took a moment for Sam to fully realize that the question was directed at her.
"Who… me?" she squeaked, looking around as if there were someone else to whom that particular query might be addressed.
Brooke leveled an unamused glare her way. "No, my imaginary friend Wilma," she muttered. "Yes you. Well, maybe not you, exactly, but us. Someday, that is. Certainly not in the near future."
Sam took a deep breath. This was a loaded question, and if she didn't answer it perfectly, then her penance might be severe. "I hadn't really given a lot of thought to it," she said cautiously. "Besides, I'm not exactly sure who explained the birds and the bees to you, but you and I are in no danger of becoming parents."
"Don't be obtuse, you moron," Brooke shot back, her tone slightly irritated now, and Sam stifled a sigh. "There are ways to get around that. Have you honestly not given it any thought?"
"Well, no. I'm not even 18 years old yet, Brooke. Motherhood isn't something that I contemplate. Not that it wouldn't make gift giving for the grandkids at Christmas time easier for our folks," she joked, hoping to divert some of the wrath.
Brooke frowned for a moment before deciding to let it go, apparently not wanting to get into an argument about something that they wouldn't have to face for a long time, if ever.
"I take it that you've thought about it?" Sam ventured finally, not wanting the conversation to end like it had.
"Some. I mean, I think I'd like it one day. You know, a cute little Sam Jr. that I could enroll in cheerleading classes," Brooke said flippantly, enjoying the arched brow sent her way.
"Cheerleading classes my…"
"Not in front of the baby," Brooke interrupted with a scowl. "Her precious little virgin ears aren't going to be corrupted by your foul mouth."
"Oh, I see. Unlike my ears, which you've corrupted on numerous occasions," Sam shot back with a grin.
"Sam, honey," Brooke said gravely, "I'm not sure who explained the birds and bees to you, but you're certainly not a virgin."
"No thanks to you," Sam retorted, shooting an accusatory glare her way.
"That's right. Your deflowering was my handiwork, wasn't it," Brooke said contemplatively, wiggling her brows. "Well, it appears that I've thoroughly compromised your virtue, Miss McPherson. What are you going to do about it?"
"And here I thought you said I couldn't talk about things like that in front of the baby," Sam teased, feeling only a slight flicker of regret shoot through her at Brooke's offhand words. She was well aware that while Brooke might have been her first, the same didn't hold true for the blonde. It was something she couldn't change, and something that really shouldn't matter at all, but a selfish part of herself wished that Brooke hadn't slept with Josh, that they had come into this relationship on equal footing. Another part of her wished that their first time hadn't been the result of too much tequila and too much provocation. Some things, though, you just couldn't change, and there was no need to cry over something that wasn't going to alter itself. Besides, the past didn't really matter. What mattered was that they had found their way here, that they were together now.
"Looks like you're doing some pretty heavy thinking over there," Brooke commented, breaking the silence that Sam hadn't even noticed falling between them.
"Just running through my choices," she replied, grinning rakishly. "You know, making plans for later, ways in which you can make up for compromising my precious virtue."
"Oh, no need to choose," Brooke said blithely. "Just add them all to my tab. I'm sure we'll get around to them eventually."
"What should I call you?"
"Most people generally go with Sam, though a few have been known to use my middle name, 'cold, heartless bitch', for those really special occasions. Why, suffering from a short term amnesiac fit?" was the flippant reply.
Sam was driving, something that she didn't usually get to do. Strangely enough, Brooke was rather controlling when it came to who was going to be the one operating motor vehicles. The brunette was convinced that the fact that she wasn't allowed to drive was indicative of some major issues, but she wasn't going to psychoanalyze too much. What she was going to do, however, was enjoy those few times that she managed to get behind the wheel, and that didn't include any serious conversations.
"You know what I mean," was the exasperated reply, and with a heart-felt sigh, Sam gave in to the conversational flow. Once it got started, there was really no way to escape it short of a head on collision that threw her passenger through the front window. Even then, Brooke would probably pick her battered and broken body up off the pavement, limp back, and pepper Sam with questions.
"Actually, I can truthfully say that I have no idea. I was fairly certain that my parents had solved that pesky moniker question right after my birth," Sam shot back, eyes narrowing.
"I mean, what should I call you when I introduce you? I mean, I could go with stepsister, but that just sounds so… I don't know, incestuous," Brooke said with a shudder.
"Ah, but it's the truth. The nuptials have made it so," Sam observed. "I don't understand who exactly it is that you're going to be introducing me to that we need to worry about this anyway. I'm fairly certain that most of the people we cross paths with already know who we are."
"But we're going to be meeting new people one day, Sam. Should I go with girlfriend?" Brooke mused, and Sam wondered if her participation in this conversation was really necessary, or if she could get by with letting the blonde work it out aloud with no input from her.
"Again, a true observation."
"It just sounds so juvenile, so flighty. Girlfriend just doesn't seem to have the right flair to it. How about lover?" she offered.
"Its like broadcasting the fact that you're one of the lucky ones having sex on a regular basis when you put it that way," Sam contended, not entirely certain that she minded being called a lover, just willing to play devil's advocate.
"Makes us sound like the Lone Ranger and Tonto," Sam muttered. "I'm not sure I'm ready to be saddled with that one quite yet."
"Well then, what do you suggest?" Brooke asked, somewhat huffily.
"I think that I'm just going to go with girlfriend. Everyone knows what it means. Besides, it would be bad enough introducing people to the gorgeous blonde I'm dating, letting them know that she is in no way available for them to ask out, ogle, or even drool about at night without additionally rubbing their faces in the fact that I'm also lucky enough to be sleeping with her, so I don't see me using lover. Partner just seems to require too much additional explanation. No, we're not in business together, no we aren't crime-fighters… Girlfriend is a nice, simple, easily understandable way to convey what I mean without flaunting my good fortune. How about that?" Sam asked with a sly grin.
"Oh, you are so getting lucky when we get home," Brooke replied with a smirk. "The good fortune bit was a nice touch, by the way."
Sam buffed her nails against her shoulder, blowing a light breath across them as she grinned. "You just find it too difficult to resist my overwhelming charm, that's all. Besides, if you want a little loving, all you have to do is ask. No need to make it look like I manipulated myself into it. Despite the severe hardship it imposes, I've decided to put myself at your disposal 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
"Wonderful. So that means that you're free to wash my car this afternoon, right?" Brooke asked with a wide grin.
"Upon further review, I've decided to amend my earlier statement. When it comes to all matters carnal, I'm available 24/7," Sam edited. "When it comes to menial chores, I'm afraid that I'll be unavoidably detained elsewhere… permanently."
"But it could be so much fun," Brooke urged suggestively. "We could both throw on thin little tee-shirts, drench each other with water and bubbles…"
"Ooh, and we could film it and put it on the internet and sell copies for $24.95. I can see the ads for it now. Stepsisters Gone Wild! Watch these two horny teenagers get wet and wild in the front yard!" Sam shot back sarcastically, mimicking the voice of a television announcer.
The blonde pouted for a minute, arms crossed over her chest, brows furrowed. Sam waited her out as long as she could, then, with a feeling of foreboding, she muttered, "Its not just going to be me right. You're going to help too."
A cocky grin was her only reply, and Sam consciously chose not to think about what her capitulation indicated.
"I love your hair." The words were more a wistful sigh than a statement, and Sam pried her rapidly closing eyes open with effort.
"You what?" she asked, her voice sleep-soft and vaguely confused.
"I love your hair," Brooke repeated, this time reaching out to run her fingers through the mane in question.
"Oh. Well, its nothing special. Just hair," Sam said awkwardly. She wasn't sure why she couldn't just accept compliments gracefully, but she seemed to possess some type of internal block against doing so, always demurring kind or appreciative words sent her way.
"Oh no," Brooke replied, her tone emphatic. "Its wonderful. I mean, its so thick that I can bury my fingers in it completely and it'll cover them like a blanket. Its so long, too, and I love the way it feels on my shoulders when you hold yourself above me, how it teases my breasts when you kiss me, how it tickles my belly when you… well, you get the point."
"So I shouldn't get it cut, eh?" Sam was fully awake now, and despite the fact that they had slaked their passion just moments before, she felt the hot, familiar stirrings in her belly at Brooke's words.
"Definitely not. I mean, you know how excited I get when I straddle you from behind and I can reach up and wrap that thick, ever so soft ponytail around my wrist and pull back and…"
"BROOKE!" Sam yelped, feeling her cheeks flush in embarrassment, glad that the darkness of the room hid her reaction. "Can we not talk about that?"
"Why Sam, are you… embarrassed?" Brooke teased, watching the brunette cringe. "I mean, honestly honey, if we've done it then there's no harm in talking about it. How you can be embarrassed to talk about something that you weren't embarrassed to do is beyond me."
Sam squirmed uncomfortably. "I'm just… well…"
"You just don't want to admit that you like it," Brooke said triumphantly, sure that she had arrived at the right answer. "Little Miss always in control is embarrassed to admit that she likes it when she's most definitely not… in control, that is."
"We could stop talking about this any time now," Sam pleaded, wondering briefly how big the fall-out would be if she simply got up and retreated to her own room to escape the conversation.
"Its okay," Brooke whispered conspiratorially, amusement evident in her tone. "I won't tell anyone your little secret. The fact that Sam McPherson likes her blondes to get a little forceful on occasion will remain between you and me. My lips are sealed."
"It better. If not, I'll tell all about the time you made me put on your cheerleading outfit. If the rest of the Glamazons found out just how much you dig girls in uniform…" Sam broke off with a taunt.
Brooke looked suitably horrified. "You wouldn't dare."
"Try me. Now, speaking of forceful blondes…" Sam said hopefully, rolling over so that she was on top of Brooke, held above the blonde by her elbows.
"Why Sammy, you wouldn't be propositioning me, would you?" Brooke teased, pressing up with her hips, delighting in the moan that she wrung from her companion with the move.
"I understand if you're not up for it, Brooke," Sam said, faux sympathy coloring her tone. "I mean, not everyone can have as much stamina as me."
"Oh papergirl, you're in trouble now…"