TITLE: The Easy Way
AUTHOR: Jos Mous
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of these characters and am not making a profit.
RATING: PG-13, although some could consider it R
NOTE: This, more or less, is an attempt of mine to describe something without actually describing it. I'm not quite sure I succeeded, but I still had a guilty kind of fun writing it, so that's OK. More or less.
Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck!
Brooke was late. It wasn't entirely her fault, but that didn't matter. She was still late. If there was a person she'd blame for her lateness it would be Mr. Briggs, who taught Psychology. He was an elderly man who spoke enthusiastically, yet slowly. Brooke and most of her fellow students considered his classes to be some of the best ever, especially compared to some of the others. And if Mr. Briggs hadn't been able to finish his story before time was up, nobody really minded staying put for a few more minutes so that the man could finish.
Today, Mr. Briggs once again had not managed to end his class in time, which was the direct cause of Brooke running at her highest speed across the college grounds, jingling slightly as she did so.
Reaching the parking lot, Brooke practically dived into her car and raced away as quickly as she could manage. Only then did she risk a glance at her watch.
She was about five minutes behind schedule, which was about 300 seconds too long.
Brooke turned into the streets and slowed down a little. She was aware of the fact that constant speeding in reality didn't do much to get anywhere faster. This was especially the case if the speeding ended with the car being wrapped around a tree or being pulled over by a very inconsiderate police officer who just couldn't understand that the speed limits only applied to other people.
Even this knowledge, however, didn't stop Brooke from accelerating to reach the orange light in time or cutting a few corners whenever she could get away with it.
Brooke pulled up in the parking lot of the apartment building where she shared an apartment with Sam. When the girls had gone to college, they'd decided not to take a regular dorm room for a variety of reasons, most of which concerned Brooke's health. Mike and Jane had been very understanding about the whole thing and had even gone so far as to buy them the apartment.
Brooke bounded up the stairs, jingling even louder, ran down the hallway and stopped in front of door XII. She took a few deep breaths because it wouldn't do to stumble into the room panting and then went in.
Sam was sitting at her desk, calmly doing her homework. She looked up.
"Hey Brooke," she said, smiling.
"Uhm. . . hi," said Brooke.
Sam looked meaningfully at the clock. "Bit late today, aren't we?"
"Yes," said Brooke, looking down at the plush red carpet.
"Well, that's OK. It's not like we had anything planned now is it?" said Sam.
Brooke looked up, astonishment evident on her face. She opened her mouth once or twice.
"Something you want to say?" said Sam.
"N-no. . . no, not really, I guess," said Brooke.
"OK then," said Sam.
"Uhm. . . you really don't mind?" said Brooke.
Sam rolled her eyes. "Oh just go make your homework or whatever."
"Sure," said Brooke. "Right."
Brooke sat hunched over her own desk, trying to do her homework. She wasn't having too much success. She kept getting distracted by an enormous sense of wrongness. It was as if, as if suddenly the whole world had changed and nobody had bothered to tell her.
Sam didn't mind? What the Hell was that all about? Since when didn't she mind?
Brooke shifted uneasily on her uncomfortable chair.
Maybe Sam wasn't feeling very well or something.
No, that couldn't be it. Even when she'd been stuck to the bed with a particularly nasty flu did she keep a close eye on Brooke.
Maybe. . . maybe. . .
Brooke tried to stop the thought, but it rose up from the depths, bringing icy terror with it.
Maybe Sam just didn't care any more.
Brooke shook her head. No, that wasn't true. That couldn't be true. After. . . after. . . well, after everything they'd been through it was impossible to think that Sam would just stop caring suddenly and out of the blue.
Brooke got angry at herself for even daring to think like that and refocused on her homework with grim determination.
When Brooke had finished her homework she wasn't feeling very angry any more, but everything still felt incredibly wrong somehow. She looked around and noticed Sam was sitting on the couch which more or less defined their living area. She was reading a book and seemed totally oblivious of Brooke's existence.
Brooke opened her mouth to tell Sam that she'd finished her homework and had second thoughts about it. And then even third thoughts.
She turned back to the stack of books on her desk. It probably wouldn't hurt to do some stuff in advance.
"Hey Brooke, it's about time for you to start on dinner."
Sam's voice shook Brooke from her thoughts. The blonde looked down at what she was writing. She was right in the middle of a sentence somewhere in the middle of a very lengthy answer. She agonised over finishing it for a split second before putting down her pencil and walking to the small kitchen area.
Brooke looked at the counter and felt relief flood her when she saw all ingredients laid out neatly in front of her. At the very least, Sam still minded what she ate.
Brooke put the last of the pans down on the table. Sam, who had been sitting at the table and watching Brooke for some time now, smiled briefly. She took a plate, filled it up with food and handed it over to Brooke, who'd moved next to Sam.
"There," she said. "Eat up."
Brooke looked at the plate without moving to sit down somewhere. As always, it had been filled right up to the edge. Brooke still had an ambivalent relationship with food. She knew that she needed food in order to survive, but deep down, she knew that food was The Enemy, waiting to ambush her and make her Big, Fat and Ugly.
Much to her father's despair Brooke just couldn't eat to survive. But she found that she could eat because Sam Told Her To. It might not have been an ideal arrangement, but it worked and that was good enough for Mike.
After Brooke had finished her plate, she handed it back to Sam. The brunette glanced at it once, snorted and handed it back to the blonde.
Brooke dutifully licked it clean, feeling better about her place in the world already.
Brooke and Sam were having a quiet night in watching TV. As soon as the clock hanging above the television started to strike ten, Brooke wordlessly got up from the couch and walked to bathroom to brush her teeth. She re-entered the main room after she was done, walked to the single bed and undressed, revealing much more metal than anyone would expect on somebody like Brooke.
Brooke lifted the blanket and was about to slip into bed when Sam stopped her.
"What do we think we are doing?" the brunette said, not turning away from the television.
"Going to bed?" said Brooke.
"Really?" said Sam. "But weren't you between one and ten minutes late today?"
"But. . . but you said you didn't mind," said Brooke.
"What's that got to do with anything?" said Sam. "There are Rules, Brooke, and so help me, you'll follow each and every one of them no matter if I mind or not."
"Of course. That was stupid of me," said Brooke, putting the blanket back.
"Yes it was," said Sam. "So don't forget it again."
Brooke lay down on the floor at the foot of the bed. She tried to make herself comfortable for a moment, even though she knew that was completely impossible.
When she started drifting off to sleep, Brooke smiled broadly, happy that the world was still exactly the way it should be.
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